Make a plan to vote this Monday, September 20!

Dear friends,
 
The big day is almost here. Monday, September 20th: Election Day in Canada. This will mark the end of our fourth Catholic Action campaign, offering formation and discernment tools for Catholic voters. First, let’s begin with the most critical message of this newsletter: please vote this Monday! If you have any questions about where your polling station is, what ID you need, or other logistical questions, visit www.elections.ca for everything you need.
 
As you exercise your calling to vote prayerfully and thoughtfully with a well-formed conscience, we are praying for all of you, and we ask you to keep us in your prayers as well. More importantly, please pray for your fellow Canadians. Pray that all those voting on Monday will do so with the common good of all at heart. Pray that all of those seeking elected office—whether they are elected or not—will also seek that same common good and continue putting their lives at the radical service and love of others. Pray that the party elected to form government, and the leaders elected to serve us, will make the best decisions for all Canadians, for the human dignity of all, and will be guided by the Holy Spirit to true, political love. If you would like to join us in these prayers, the final day of our nine-day rosary novena for the people of Canada is happening this Monday morning. We will pray a rosary together and entrust voters to Mary and Saint Joseph. We welcome you your participation.
 
We hope we have been helpful to you, your parishes, and your dioceses in supporting Catholic voting discernment and turnout in this election. Please, if you have any feedback, ideas, comments, or concerns, we always welcome your thoughts and collaboration. This work will only continue to improve if Catholics like you—passionate about bringing Gospel values into the public square—help light our way forward.
 
God bless you and may we all have a blessed Election Day—as well as a blessed future for this country, for our people, whom we all so deeply love.
 
Sincerely,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

Upcoming Events

JOIN THE FINAL SESSION OF OUR NINE-DAY ROSARY NOVENA FOR THE PEOPLE OF CANADA, THIS MONDAY AT 9:00 AM EDT

During the 2021 federal election, it has been our great joy to host a nine-day rosary novena for the people of Canada. For eight days, we’ve prayed a rosary with brothers and sisters in Christ for Canadian voters as we collectively discern who will serve as our next federal government.

Our final rosary is being prayed over Zoom this Monday, September 20 at 9:00 AM EDT. We invite you to join us as we entrust Canadians to Mary, Seat of Wisdom and Queen of Heaven, and St. Joseph, Patron of Canada, on the day we go to the polls to vote.

Please join us as we pray for our people, our country, and our leaders during this important moment for the future of Canada.

RSVP for login details by clicking below!

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP


ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, JOIN OUR WEBINAR ON ECOLOGICAL CONVERSION WITH SISTER DAMIEN MARIE SAVINO—PART OF OUR BEAUTY OF CREATION SERIES

In Laudato si’, Pope Francis calls us to ecological conversion, and writes that “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue.” Join us in conversation with Sister Damien Marie Savino, a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and Dean of Science and Sustainability at Aquinas College, as we explore:

  • This call to ecological conversion and its meaning;
  • The Catholic idea of integral human ecology, and its synthesis with the health, environmental and ecological sciences; and,
  • The way forward for integrating care for God’s creation into our daily practices of discipleship.

We will be led in this exploration by an extraordinary apostle living out her vocation as both a religious and an expert at the crossroads of theology and science.

MEET OUR GUEST

Sister Damien Marie Savino, FSE, Ph.D., is a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and currently serves as the Dean of Science and Sustainability at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this position she oversees the Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography and Environmental Studies departments and the college’s Center for Sustainability.  Sister Damien Marie received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biogeography from McGill University, her Master of Science degree in Soil and Plant Science from University of Connecticut, her Master of Arts degree in Theology from The Catholic University of America and her Ph.D. degree in Civil (Environmental) Engineering from The Catholic University of America. She has lectured and written widely on Laudato Si’ and integral ecology, as well as on themes related to ecological restoration and resilience theory, ecological health, ecology and theology, and science and faith.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP


Works of Mercy In Out Community

VOTE WITH A CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE: READ OUR CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING-BASED PARTY PLATFORM COMPARISON

As Catholics, we are called to discern our vote, participate in the political process, and engage in charitable dialogue with others in our community prayerfully and thoughtfully. Our Catholic party platform comparison will empower you to look at each of the political party’s policy commitments through the lens of Catholic social teaching.

In accordance with our duty to participate, this page offers a summary of issues relevant to Canada’s next federal election, setting Catholic teachings side-by-side with the policy positions of the parties, using the parties’ own words.  This summary is intended to help you in deciding your vote, whether you are Catholic or simply a good person interested in a better world.

Our party platform comparison looks at the parties’ key policy proposals from the perspective of:

  • The sanctity of human life;
  • Stewardship of creation;
  • Family, community and the common good;
  • An economy for all;
  • Rights, responsibilities and subsidiarity;
  • Solidarity; and,
  • Good government, democracy, justice and peace;

👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Conscience Conversations

CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE PRESENTS: THE VIRTUAL ALL-PARTIES FORUM FOR THE 2021 FEDERAL ELECTION
DEEPER CONVERSATIONS: LEARNING FROM ONE ANOTHER

As we approach election day in Canada this coming Monday, September 20, we are excited to share with you a virtual forum where Catholic representatives from Canada’s major parties offered their perspectives on issues facing our country through the lens of Gospel values and Catholic social teaching.

We want to express gratitude to each of our representatives for joining us and answering our questions: Filomena Tassi, the Liberal candidate in the Ontario riding of Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas; Garnett Genuis, the Conservative candidate in the Alberta riding of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan; and Norm Di Pasquale, the NDP candidate for the Ontario riding of Spadina—Fort York. Each candidate took care in thoughtfully reflecting on their party’s platform through the lens of their Catholic faith. We appreciate them speaking directly to Catholic voters in this election by participating in this forum.

Below you can watch the full forum, where these candidates offer their party’s vision and policy ideas related to the common good, life and dignity of the human person, Reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, building an economy at the service of people, care for God’s creation, rights, responsibilities, and participation in society, solidarity, and Canadian culture.
Please share this forum with your family, friends, and parishioners! Thank you. We hope you enjoy, and that this forum aids your prayerful discernment of conscience as you prepare to vote.

Click here to watch the full Forum:https://youtu.be/VH_1KdrV-xI

You can also watch answers from each individual party representative.

From the Liberal Party:https://youtu.be/fFxLZMrSums

From the Conservative Party:https://youtu.be/PZMPVQqzTA0

From the New Democratic Party:https://youtu.be/sJClxUBRA1s

Serving Your Community

MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20!

This Monday, there’s one way we are all called to love and serve our neighbours—by voting in the federal election.

Make a plan to vote. It’s simple. Consider:

  1. Where your polling station is;
  2. How you will travel there;
  3. What time you will travel there;
  4. What ID you will need to vote; and,
  5. Of course, if you haven’t decided yet, who you will vote for!

To answer those first five points, visit the Elections Canada website. There you can input your postal code and find out where your polling station is. You’ll also find a list of all the ID you can use to vote.

For help deciding your vote, you can visit the Catholic Conscience website. There you’ll find our party platform comparison tool, where you’ll see side-by-side the parties’ key policies across a range of issues through the lens of Catholic social teaching.

Thank you for loving our people by voting!


👉 CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE ELECTIONS CANADA WEBSITE

👉 CLICK HERE FOR OUR PARTY PLATFORM COMPARISON TOOL

From The Holy Father

OP-ED: A CRITICAL MOMENT FOR YOUNG VOTERS

We usually reserve this space for news or comment from our Holy Father, but with Election Day on Monday, we instead wanted to share the words of 18-year old Kathleena Henricus—a first-time Catholic voter—and her call to action for all young people to vote in this election.

My hope for our the 44th Canadian Parliament is the amplification of Indigenous voices, the devising of a serious plan to bring back our economy, a focus on reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions and reversing climate change, a commitment to increase public-health funding and overall enhancement of safety, mental health and legal access systems. It sounds like a big ask, and it is, but it is exactly what we need to expect when the House of Commons reconvenes.

And it is up to us, particularly youth. So many of us in Generation Z are being empowered with the ability to participate in the democratic process in a new, impactful way — and it is important to participate.

It is often a trope, among news anchors and teachers, that young people don’t vote, don’t engage, don’t take part.

Our aim, if we could only choose one, should be to turn that stereotype completely on its head. Participate in the greatest generational voter turnout this country has ever seen — in spite of the pandemic, the lack of on-campus voting, the exhaustion of the past two years.

I hope all Canadians vote on Sept. 20. And I hope all vote for kindness and respect, amplification of the underrepresented and overall progress and growth. I hope your choice will help manifest the Canada you want to see. 

We couldn’t agree more, Kathleena!

 👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL OP-ED

What We’re Watching

TALKING ABOUT THE 2021 FEDERAL ELECTION AND CATHOLIC POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE THINKING FAITH PODCAST

Brendan joined Deacon Eric Gurash and Dr. Brett Salkeld, the hosts of the Archdiocese of Regina’s Thinking Faith podcast, to take a closer look at the 2021 federal election from a Catholic perspective.

In episode one, they discussed the need for deep, prayerful discernment on the part of Catholic voters in this election.

“We have in front of us a pretty wide range of policy options that have been placed on the table by the different party leaders. And so, I think this places a lot of focus on us as voters to do our research and to prayerfully discern and to think deeply…”

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO EPISODE 1

In episode two, they discussed Catholic social teaching and Catholic political engagement.

“I want more Catholics to learn more about Catholic Social Teaching, and…how blown away you will be about the consequences of Christ’s love for all his people, and the way that manifests in how the Church teaches how we live in community with one another.”

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO EPISODE 2

Prayer

A PRAYER FOR CANADIAN VOTERS

With Election Day this Monday, September 20, we once again want to share this beautiful prayer, written by Regina’s Archbishop Donald Bolen, for entrusting your vote and the votes of all Canadians to the Holy Spirit.

God bless you as you vote this Monday—we are praying for you, for all the candidates, and for whoever will serve in the next government of Canada. May we all serve the common good and the dignity of our neighbours!

Lord, father of our human family,
Your son Jesus taught us in the parable of the good Samaritan that each of us is called to care for our brothers and sisters without concern for our differences, or what divides us.
Pour your spirit out upon each and every one of us. Give us, and all involved in the forthcoming election,


A spirit of humility to acknowledge our failures,
A spirit of gratitude for each of the gifts you have given us,
A spirit of wisdom, to guide our actions in accordance with your teaching,
A spirit of fraternity, so that we might have concern for the most vulnerable,

And a spirit of love, so that we might abide even more fully in You.

O God, Trinity of love, from the profound communion of your divine life grant each and every one of us a deeper sense of unity. Give to us a desire to sacrifice ourselves for our brothers and sisters. Help us to live like your family did, with simplicity in Nazareth, and as the early Christian community did, whose charity has spread throughout the world.

O Good Shepherd, Christ the King, you are our Guide. Continue to guide us then to your will in this, and in every moment of our lives.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Joan of Arc, pray for us.
San Juan Diego, pray for us.
St Keteri Tekakwitha, pray for us.
Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys, pray for us.
St André Bessette, pray for us.
St Vincent de Paul, pray for us.

Amen.

Human Uniqueness

This is the opening discussion in our series on Faith & Science, called ‘The Beauty of Creation’, where we’ll be engaging with leading scientists, philosophers and theologians. We hope to learn from them as we look for new syntheses that build upon and deepen our understanding of the world from the perspectives of science and faith, which are mutually enriching.

PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER BAGLOW

Chris Baglow, P.h.D., is Professor of the Practice in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and the Director of the Science and Religion Initiative of the McGrath Institute for Church Life, where he creates and directs programming that assists Catholic leaders in bringing the Catholic faith and modern science into dialogue for the sake of the New Evangelization. He has led programs of academic integration at two Catholic high schools, including the STREAM™ Program at St. Mary’s Dominican H.S. in New Orleans, LA. In 2011-2014 Baglow directed the Templeton-funded Steno Learning Program in Faith and Science for Catholic Secondary Educators (SLP), a week-long seminar experience for Catholic science and religion teachers. Baglow is the author of Faith, Science and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge, 2nd ed.(Midwest Theological Forum, 2019). Professor Baglow is a member of the executive board of the Society of Catholic Scientists and serves as chair of its Theological Advisory Board.

Resource Links:

Catholic Conscience newsletter
https://catholicconscience.org/newsletter

Society of Catholic Scientists
https://www.catholicscientists.org

John Paul II letter to Scientists
https://inters.org/John-Paul-II-Coyne-Vatican-Observatory

Forthcoming book (November 5th, 2021) from Professor Baglow: Creation: A Catholic’s Guide to God and the Universe
https://www.avemariapress.com/products/creation

Faith & Science textbook: Faith, Science and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge, 2nd ed.(Midwest Theological Forum, 2019)
https://www.theologicalforum.org/Category/100/Product/597/Faith_Science_and_Reason_2nd_Edition

Virtual All-parties’ Forum For The 2021 Federal Election

Catholic Conscience presents:

The Catholic Virtual All-Parties' Forum For The 2021 Federal Election

As we approach election day in Canada this coming Monday, September 20, we are excited to share with you a virtual forum where Catholic representatives from Canada's major parties offered their perspectives on issues facing our country through the lens of Gospel values and Catholic social teaching.

We want to express gratitude to each of our representatives for joining us and answering Catholics' questions: Filomena Tassi, the Liberal candidate in the Ontario riding of Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas; Garnett Genuis, the Conservative candidate in the Alberta riding of Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan; and Norm Di Pasquale, NDP Candidate for Spadina—Fort York in Ontario. Each candidate took care in thoughtfully reflecting on their party's platform through the lens of their Catholic faith. We appreciate them speaking directly to Catholic voters in this election by participating in this forum.

Below you can watch the full forum, where these candidates offer their party's vision and policy ideas related to the common good, life and dignity of the human person, Reconciliation with Canada's Indigenous peoples, building an economy at the service of people, care for God's creation, rights, responsibilities, and participation in society, solidarity, and Canadian culture.

Please share this forum with your family, friends, and parishioners! Thank you. We hope you enjoy, and that this forum aids your prayerful discernment of conscience as you prepare to vote.

Full Forum

Conservative Party of Canada

Liberal Party of Canada

New Democratic Party

A special federal election issue

Dear friends,
 
We mentioned last month speculation that there would be a federal election in late summer or early fall. The speculation turned out to be true! As you undoubtably are aware, a federal election will be held on September 20, and the campaign has begun.
 
This special edition of the Catholic Commons is dedicated to our Catholic Action campaign. Catholic Action is our ongoing initiative to educate Catholic voters about Catholic social teaching, empowering them to discern their own vote through the lens of that teaching, and to encouraging greater Catholic voter turnout. Throughout this newsletter you’ll find more information about the several activities we are undertaking to support Catholic voters in this federal election. We learned recently through the B.C. Catholic that in past elections the number of practising Catholics who voted has been lower than the number of voters who don’t attend church. The purpose of our Catholic Action campaign is to change that, and to empower Catholic voters to form their consciences well for the common good of all our neighbours.
 
For all our Catholic Action resources, you can visit our website by clicking here. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CatholicConscience.org.
 
We wrote an op-ed for the B.C. Catholic that shares a broad outline of a Catholic approach to discerning your vote, and some points to ponder for Catholic voters in this election. Here is the full text of the op-ed for your consideration.
 
A federal election has been called for Sept. 20, two years before the nominal deadline. In the current circumstances, this places a heavy burden on Canadian voters, particularly for those who hope to make wise and well–formed choices.
 
There is much to consider, even compared to ‘normal’ elections: we continue making our way through a dangerous pandemic, with important decisions to be made about the form and the timing of efforts to restore, and hopefully improve, our national economy.
 
One question voters might consider is: in such circumstances, is it wise or in the best interests of Canadian society – including particularly the poorest and most vulnerable – to force an early election on such a short timeline?
 
In any case, voters – and particularly Catholics – should always be prepared. We have a moral obligation to stay engaged throughout the election cycle, so that when the time comes, we are ready to discern our votes prayerfully and independently for the good of all.
 
As Pope Benedict XVI explained, it’s not up to the Church to provide specific solutions. Rather, the Church, through the votes of individual Catholics, supports ranges of solutions that fairly comply with the Church’s teachings. It’s up to each of us to exercise our “free and responsible judgment.” We are called to vote prayerfully and independently.
 
Catholic social teaching – our faith’s vision for life in society – is the best tool for discerning our votes as Catholics. To “vote like a Catholic,” Catholic Conscience proposes a four-part process: discernment, discussion, participation, and reflection, or examen.
 
Discernment: Your vote, being precious, should be firmly grounded in knowledge and truth, based on at least two independent media sources, preferably of differing political perspectives. Importantly, these should include faith-based sources such as our Catholic newspapers. We should learn to apply Catholic social teachings across the full range of issues – from the environment to economics, from social policy to foreign policy, and to exercise prudential judgement in determining which party, in our own view, most comprehensively and effectively addresses these issues. Don’t forget to pray for guidance.
 
Discussion: Sharing well-formed knowledge is a spiritual work of mercy. Offering our thoughtful, charitable views in conversation with others, and listening respectfully to theirs, is an important way to us discern our votes. Open and respectful dialogue can be a powerful way of considering and testing counterarguments and differing points of view, collectively discerning a fuller picture of the truth and determining more fruitful paths forward for all. To learn more about respectful discussion, consider take a look at our virtual July 21 workshop “Communicating Like a Catholic.”
 
Participation: Candidates want to meet you, especially during elections. They will come to your door to do it. Take the opportunity to build respectful relationships with those who want to represent you. Raise important issues with them, especially when issues aren’t addressed in their party’s platform. Personal relationships matter, and can endure when they are respectfully forged. And since only one out of 10 Canadians express their views to their politicians, charitable dialogue can have an outsized impact on their own discernment as political leaders. 
 
Examen: Ask yourself, what has political engagement done for your soul? Has it helped you grow in virtue, charity, hope, and faith? In the end, what matters is helping to gather souls to Christ. Examination of your conscience can help ensure that your politics and your Christian witness stay aligned, and that your love of neighbour is nourished.
 
In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis appealed for “a renewed appreciation of politics as a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, in as much as it seeks the common good.” Whenever the next election comes, we are called to this high form of charity. We must all, through our prayerful, well-discerned vote, contribute to the common good.
 
Sincerely,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

Upcoming Events

ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, JOIN US FOR A WEBINAR ABOUT HOW WE CAN ADVANCE A CATHOLIC SOCIAL VISION IN POLITICS FEATURING JOHN MILLOY

“How did religious faith, particularly the Catholic faith, which has been such a source of strength and comfort to so many Canadians, assume such a negative connotation? Why is anyone associated with public life encouraged to keep a major part of their identity separate from their public work? Why has the wisdom of Canada’s faith communities been prevented from even being discussed in the public square?”

These are some of the questions posed by former Ontario cabinet minister and prime ministerial advisor John Milloy in his new book, Politics and Faith in a Polarized World: A Challenge for Catholics. In it, Milloy brings to bear the full weight of his experience and analysis to one of the most crucial questions for Catholics in Canada today: how do we effectively bring a Catholic social vision into our political engagement—a crucial core of our call to public witness—in a highly-secularized political environment where Catholic perspectives are often denied a place in the public conversation, or, at worst, are treated with outright hostility? Milloy offers ideas for the way forward that will both inspire and challenge Catholics to think differently about how we can bring Pope Francis’ idea of political love to life in Canada today as our country’s single largest religious voting demographic.

In a wide-ranging conversation at the apex of the 2021 federal election, we will discuss the past, present, and future of Catholic political engagement at the federal level, as well as the ongoing election campaign—Catholics’ place in it, and Milloy’s analysis of the state of Canadian politics as we prepare to elect our next federal government.

Catholic Canadians passionate about the future of their country won’t want to miss this timely and relevant conversation with a Catholic civic leader who has served at the senior-most levels of Canadian politics. Participants will also enjoy a discount code for Milloy’s new book, courtesy of its publisher, Novalis.

Join us for this free webinar on Wednesday, September 15th at 7:00 PM EDT. RSVP on Eventbrite for login details.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP


FOR THE 2021 FEDERAL ELECTION, JOIN OUR VIRTUAL NINE-DAY ROSARY NOVENA FOR THE PEOPLE OF CANADA AS TOGETHER WE ENTRUST CANADIAN VOTERS TO MARY AND ST. JOSEPH

As Catholic Canadians, we are called to “seek the welfare of the city,” in the words of the Book of Jeremiah. We are, after all, citizens of two nations: this earthly country Canada, this place and people we all love, and the heavenly Kingdom of God. Let’s come together to praise the Lord of both these nations and to call on the intercession of the heavenly Kingdom for the needs of our earthly nation.

Join Canadians from coast to coast as we gather for a nine-day rosary novena to pray for the people of Canada, as Canadians each discern their own consciences in preparation to vote for our next government during the 2021 federal election. Voting determines the future of our country, by determining who we entrust with the common good of all Canadians. During this rosary novena, we will pray that all Canadians vote with love of neighbour at heart; with the core principles of Catholic social teaching in mind, including the common good, life and dignity of the human person, community, participation, rights and responsibilities, the preferential option for the poor, subsidiarity, solidarity, care for God’s creation, the dignity of work, and more; and that the Holy Spirit inspire all those running to lead their communities and serve as MPs, that they may live a superhuman oblation of self out of love for their constituents and the future of our country.

NOVENA SCHEDULE
1. Wednesday, August 25 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of the North.
2. Sunday, August 29 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of British Columbia.
3. Wednesday, September 1 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Alberta.
4. Saturday, September 4 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Saskatchewan.
5. Wednesday, September 8 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Manitoba.
6. Sunday, September 12 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Ontario.
7. Wednesday, September 15 @ 8:00 PM EDT: Pray with us for the people of Quebec.
8. Saturday, September 18 @ 10 AM EDT: Pray with us for the people of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
9. Monday, September 20 @ 9:00 AM EDT (Election Day): Entrust the voters of Canada to Mary, Seat of Wisdom & Queen of Heaven, and St. Joseph, Patron of Canada.

Part of our commission as disciples of Christ is to love and serve our neighbours, through concrete acts of service—including prayer. Together, let’s pray for the people of Canada during this critical moment for all of us, and entrust our fellow Canadians to Mary, the Seat of Wisdom & Queen of Heaven, and Saint Joseph, the Patron of Canada.

RSVP for login details!


 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP


ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, JOIN OUR WEBINAR ON HUMAN UNIQUENESS WITH A LEADING EXPERT ON HOW HUMAN BEINGS IMAGE GOD, THROUGH THE LENS OF SCRIPTURE AND SCIENCE

Many today draw a red line between faith and reason—what Scripture tells us about the world and what science tells us are seen as contradictory, as different ways of knowing. The reality is the opposite: that faith and reason are complements and companions in seeking and discerning the truth. Professor Christopher Baglow has spent his career demonstrating and exploring the relationship between faith and science. He is a leading expert on how we image God. Through the lens of Scripture and science, he explains how we can come to terms with our evolutionary origins and heavenly destiny.

Our conversation with Professor Baglow will focus on the nature of this extraordinary human uniqueness as children of God; demonstrating the deep harmony between the Catholic faith and an evolutionary perspective; the book of Scripture and the book of nature; and what science can tell us about God’s ordered creation, and how we are called to live in and with it.

Please join us on Thursday, September 16 at 7:30 PM EDT for a fascinating conversation that will enlighten and edify your faith.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP


Works of Mercy In Out Community

VOTE WITH A CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE: READ OUR CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING-BASED PARTY PLATFORM COMPARISON

As Catholics, we are called to discern our vote, participate in the political process, and engage in charitable dialogue with others in our community prayerfully and thoughtfully. Our Catholic party platform comparison will empower you to look at each of the political party’s policy commitments through the lens of Catholic social teaching.

In accordance with our duty to participate, this page offers a summary of issues relevant to Canada’s next federal election, setting Catholic teachings side-by-side with the policy positions of the parties, using the parties’ own words.  This summary is intended to help you in deciding your vote, whether you are Catholic or simply a good person interested in a better world.

Our party platform comparison looks at the parties’ key policy proposals from the perspective of:

  • The sanctity of human life;
  • Stewardship of creation;
  • Family, community and the common good;
  • An economy for all;
  • Rights, responsibilities and subsidiarity;
  • Solidarity; and,
  • Good government, democracy, justice and peace;

👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Conscience Conversations

FOR HELP DISCERNING YOUR CONSCIENCE, WATCH VOTE LIKE A CATHOLIC

To help you think more prayerfully and deeply about a Catholic approach to discerning your vote, we hosted a Catholic Civics Workshop webinar in February entitled Vote like a Catholic. In conversation with theologian and author Dr. Brett Salkeld, we discussed some of the truths and myths about Catholic teaching on voting and political participation. Critically, we also discussed a Catholic approach to deciding your vote via discernment, discussion, participation, and examination.

With a federal election coming on September 20, this is a great time to watch our webinar and consider how you will approach discerning your conscience in this election! Click below to watch the video.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH

Serving Your Community

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO VOTE IN THIS FEDERAL ELECTION: AN FAQ

As part of our Catholic Action campaign, we’re working to ensure Catholic voters have the information they need to vote. You can find everything you need on www.elections.ca.

Did you know you can vote by mail? Click here to learn more and how. This is a great option for those who are nervous about voting in-person given the ongoing pandemic.

Did you know there are four different ways to vote? You can vote on election day, Monday, September 20, at your assigned polling station. Polls will be open for 12 hours. If you can’t vote in-person on election day, you can vote during advance polling days. Vote at your assigned polling station from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on:

  • Friday, September 10;
  • Saturday, September 11;
  • Sunday, September 12;
  • Monday, September 13.

You can also vote by mail or at any Elections Canada office. Click here to learn more about ways to vote.

Not sure what ID you need to vote? Click here for the full list.

Did you know you should receive a Voter Registration Card in the mail from Elections Canada? Click here to learn more.

Most Canadians who are eligible to vote are already registered. To check if you are registered or to register to vote, click here.

If you recently moved, you can still vote. Simply update your address using the Online Voter Registration Service or at any Elections Canada office across Canada by Tuesday, September 14, 6:00 p.m. You can also update your address at your assigned polling station before you vote on advance polling days or on election day.

Your Voter Registration Card—which you should receive in the mail in coming weeks—will tell you where your polling station is. To find out online, use the Elections Canada website. Click here for the Elections Canada home page—you can input your postal code into the purple “My voter information” box to find out what riding you’re in, and where you can vote.

 👉 FOR A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF FAQs IF YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER QUESTIONS, CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM ELECTIONS CANADA

From The Holy Father

POPE FRANCIS AND BISHOPS APPEAR IN NEW VACCINE PSA: GETTING VACCINATED IS “AN ACT OF LOVE”

Pope Francis is adding his voice to a campaign to overcome vaccine skepticism, issuing a public service announcement insisting that vaccines are safe, effective and an “act of love.”

In his message, the pope said, “Thanks to God and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19. They grant us the hope of ending the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we work together.”

Getting inoculated “is an act of love” for oneself, family, friends and all people, he said.
“Love is also social and political” as these individual “small gestures of personal charity” add up, “overflowing” into something universal that is “capable of transforming and improving societies,” he said.

“Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable,” the pope said.

“I pray to God that everyone may contribute their own small grain of sand, their own small gesture of love; no matter how small, love is always great. Contribute with these small gestures for a better future. God bless you, and thank you,” he said.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

What We’re Watching

WHERE YOU CAN WATCH THE POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS’ DEBATE AND HOW YOU CAN SHARE YOUR CONCERNS WITH THE LEADERS

From Global News:

The official English leaders’ debate, scheduled for Sept. 9 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT, is produced by the Debate Broadcast Group: CBC News, APTN News, CTV News and Global News.

Leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada, Conservative Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois have been invited to participate in the debate.

What do you want the main party leaders to talk about? Let us know by answering the questions in this form. Your concerns will help form the questions and direction of the debate.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Prayer

A PRAYER FOR CANADIAN VOTERS

We had the great honour of working with the dioceses of Saskatchewan during the 2020 Saskatchewan election. During that election, Regina’s Archbishop Donald Bolen wrote this beautiful prayer for voters discerning their consciences for the sake of the common good. We share it now as a prayer close to our hearts, especially to be said during elections.

Lord, father of our human family,
Your son Jesus taught us in the parable of the good Samaritan that each of us is called to care for our brothers and sisters without concern for our differences, or what divides us.
Pour your spirit out upon each and every one of us. Give us, and all involved in the forthcoming election,


A spirit of humility to acknowledge our failures,
A spirit of gratitude for each of the gifts you have given us,
A spirit of wisdom, to guide our actions in accordance with your teaching,
A spirit of fraternity, so that we might have concern for the most vulnerable,

And a spirit of love, so that we might abide even more fully in You.

O God, Trinity of love, from the profound communion of your divine life grant each and every one of us a deeper sense of unity. Give to us a desire to sacrifice ourselves for our brothers and sisters. Help us to live like your family did, with simplicity in Nazareth, and as the early Christian community did, whose charity has spread throughout the world.

O Good Shepherd, Christ the King, you are our Guide. Continue to guide us then to your will in this, and in every moment of our lives.

Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Joan of Arc, pray for us.
San Juan Diego, pray for us.
St Keteri Tekakwitha, pray for us.
Ste. Marguerite Bourgeoys, pray for us.
St André Bessette, pray for us.
St Vincent de Paul, pray for us.

Amen.

The Beauty of Creation: Introductory Panel

Exploring the glory and majesty of God’s created world, as revealed through science, natural philosophy, and our Catholic faith.

An introductory panel discussion for our new webinar series on the beauty and integrity of God’s created world.

From August 2021 to February 2022, Catholic Conscience is excited to present a new monthly webinar series called The Beauty of Creation—on the glory and majesty of God’s created world, as revealed through science, natural philosophy, and our Catholic faith.

This video is an introductory panel discussion on the integrity and beauty of creation, and the opportunities and challenges of humanity’s increasing mastery over the natural world.

The conversation will feature:

Geoffrey Woollard
Graduate student at the University of British Columbia

Peter Copeland
Thinker and writer

Matthew Marquardt
Founder & President, Catholic Conscience

Brendan Steven
Executive Director, Catholic Conscience

References mentioned in the video:

Scientia et Fides article critiquing transhumanism
https://apcz.umk.pl/czasopisma/index.php/SetF/article/view/SetF.2019.020/18268

Reference to “Christian materialism” in a famous homily “Passionately Loving the World” by St Josemaria Escriva 
https://opusdei.org/en-ca/article/passionately-loving-the-world-2/

Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft 
https://www.amazon.ca/Socratic-Logic-3-1e-Platonic-Questions/dp/1587318083

Aquinas and the Environment Symposium, Nova et Vetera, Winter 2012 (Vol. 10, No. 1)| 
https://stpaulcenter.com/product/nova-et-vetera-winter-2012-vol-10-no-1/

Catholic Civics Workshop: Catholicism & Progress

Join us to explore Catholic perspectives of progress: one of the most influential and contested ideas of our times.

Progress is one of the most influential ideas in today’s culture and politics. It’s also one of the most contested. What is progress? Progress for who? And who or what is progressive? Join us to explore Catholic perspectives of progress featuring two leading thinkers on political theology and Catholic social teaching.

Featuring:

Douglas Farrow
Professor of Theology & Ethics, McGill University

Mark Shea
Catholic writer and speaker
(You can buy Mark’s books at https://markpshea.com/mark-shea-shop/. You’ll find his blog at https://markpshea.com/ )

The next federal election, new webinars, Indigenous Reconciliation, and more

Dear friends,
 
With summer in full bloom and the end of the pandemic in sight, the last thing many Canadians want to think about is a federal election. Recent research bears this out: Nanos Research, a major Canadian polling firm, found that only one out of four Canadians are interested in having a federal election this fall. That’s certainly understandable, given that this current federal government wouldn’t need to hold an election till October 2023 at the latest.
 
Nonetheless, many of you have been reading about the prospects of a federal election this summer or fall. While we can’t offer anything substantive to the speculation—and remember, it is all purely speculation—it is worth taking a moment to talk about how Catholic Conscience is preparing for the next federal election campaign.
 
One of our keystone programs is the Catholic Action campaign, a voter education and engagement initiative that we launch for federal and provincial elections. The aim of the campaign is to educate Catholic voters about Catholic social teaching and its application to contemporary political issues, and to inspire greater Catholic voter turnout during elections.
 
We’ve organized the Catholic Action campaign over a number of election cycles now, and every time we do it, we have new ideas or learn new things. We wanted to share with you a few features of the campaign you can expect whenever the next election comes around, as well as some new ideas:
 
Party platform comparisons: Where we’ll show side-by-side each of the party’s key policy proposals related to a range of issues, along with some insights into what Catholic social teaching has to say about these issues—all with the aim of inviting the reader to dig deeper and learn more.
 
Printed and digital vote pledge/prayer cards: A fun element of the campaign where, online and offline, we provide voter pledge/prayer cards with the dual purpose of offering a short prayer to help Catholics discern their votes and reminding them when election day is. Research suggests that materials like these helps improve voter turnout.
 
All-party conversations: In different Catholic Action campaigns, we have found different ways of bringing together political party representatives for direct conversations with Catholic voters. In the 2019 federal election, we worked with the Archdiocese of Toronto in supporting their federal election debate from a Catholic perspective. In the 2020 Saskatchewan provincial election, we organized online interviews with representatives from each of the parties to ask them questions from a Catholic perspective. Stay tuned for details about what will be organized for this coming federal election.
 
Election newsletter: You can watch out for special election editions of the Catholic Commons newsletter, including plenty of useful information about how and where to vote, what ID you need, and links to relevant resources for helping you discern your vote.
 
“How to vote” resources and workshops for new Canadian voters: Every year, thousands of new Catholic Canadians arrive in Canada from around the world. Research suggests that first-generation Canadians face some of the most difficult barriers to exercising their right to vote. In the next election, we are working to formulate resources and/or workshops specifically aimed at supporting those Catholics who have recently become Canadian citizens and will be voting for the first time.
 
A weekly rosary novena for the Canadian people: During the next election, and depending on its length, we intend to host a weekly, open-invitation rosary novena for the Canadian people as they discern their votes, collectively select our next federal government, and determine the future direction of our country. We look forward to bringing together Catholics from across the country for these virtual rosary prayers.
 
Catholic Action is one of our favourite programs, and no matter when the next federal election is, we look forward to engaging Catholic voters and inspiring them through Catholic social teaching! We believe well-formed Catholic voters can change our politics for the better, and Catholic Action is—pun intended—one way we put that belief into action.
 
If you’re interested in helping us out in the next Catholic Action campaign, or bringing the campaign to your parish or diocese, please send us an email! We always welcome passionate volunteers. We look forward to hearing from you.
 
Whenever the next election is, all Canadians will continue to be in our prayers as we approach the end of this pandemic and its still-mysterious aftermath—that all of us may recommit ourselves to the common good of all amid our current trials, and whatever trials may come. May we build the Kingdom of God together, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit!
 
Sincerely,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

Upcoming Events

ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, JOIN US FOR A CATHOLIC CIVICS WORKSHOP ON PROGRESS: ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AND CONTESTED IDEAS OF OUR TIMES

The idea of progress is omnipresent in contemporary political discourse. It’s an idea used to describe and decry a wide array of policy ideas, movements, and visions for the future of our society. What is progress? Progress for who? And who or what is progressive? In this conversation with two leading thinkers on political theology and Catholic social teaching, we explore Catholic perspectives of progress—and how they apply to the many, competing secular conceptions of progress Catholic citizens encounter in today’s political and cultural life.

If you’re interested in political science, philosophy, and the ideas that define public life today, you won’t want to miss this conversation!

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP


ANNOUNCING OUR NEW WEBINAR SERIES: THE BEAUTY OF CREATION

We’re excited to announce a new series of webinars we will be presenting and hosting between August 2021 and February 2022. Called The Beauty of Creation, our series will explore the glory and majesty of God’s created world, as revealed through science, natural philosophy, and our Catholic faith. The series will touch on a wide array of topics for those interested in creation issues—like human uniqueness, Green Thomism, ecological conversation, health and well-being, and more. We are so excited that these conversations will be led by some of North America’s most impressive Catholic scientists and philosophers, sharing years of experience and insight from the intersection of their scientific disciplines and our Catholic faith.

Stay tuned to this newsletter to RSVP for each individual webinar. You can RSVP now for our panel discussion introducing the series by clicking below.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Works of Mercy In Out Community

CATHOLICS FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION: VISIT THE WEBSITE TO DONATE OR PLEDGE YOUR COMMITMENT

When the news reported the discovery of unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools operated by Catholic institutions, many Catholics were shocked, disturbed, and energized into action. A Facebook group formed called “Catholics for Truth and Reconciliation”, to galvanize conversation and action about how lay Catholics and Catholic institutions could make a deeper contribution to reconciliation and justice for Canada’s Indigenous communities.

That group has now launched a website, www.catholics4tr.com, where Catholics interested in taking action can donate to three, national Indigenous-led organizations working in different areas of Reconciliation, or can donate to various fundraising appeals launched by Canada’s bishops.

The group writes to fellow Catholics:

The recovery of graves associated with the dark legacy of Canada’s residential schools has shaken the whole country. As Catholics, we know that upholding the dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, is central to our faith. We acknowledge that this central tenet of the faith was violated by those involved in the Residential School system and in the wider abuses that Indigenous peoples have suffered through colonization.

Catholics have inherited this legacy of participation in the evils of Residential Schools and the suffering and destruction of Indigenous peoples and their spirituality, culture, and language. Catholics for Truth and Reconciliation recognize that we are called to engage in the Truth and Reconciliation process and work towards healing.

This website is an invitation for Catholics to ignite or deepen our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation alongside Indigenous peoples through donations and action pledges. We hope you will join in this important work.

👉CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Conscience Conversations

WATCH JUNE’S CATHOLIC CIVICS WORKSHOP ON USING MONEY LIKE A CATHOLIC

In June, we had the pleasure of hosting two thoughtful Catholic experts—Paul Perrone, a Catholic Chartered Financial Analyst, and Michael Ryall, Professor of Strategic Management at Rotman School of Management—for an insightful conversation on how Catholics are called to use money in their personal and professional lives. This was one of our best-attended webinars yet, and we’re grateful to our guests for bringing their extraordinary professional insights to the discussion.

We’re also grateful to the Catholic Register, which published an article about the workshop:
Evidently, the decision of what to do with money is becoming more convoluted for young Canadians. For any still overwhelmed by the possibilities, Perrone gives a piece of simple advice.

“Whether we’re saving, investing — the test that I use is: Is my heart getting bigger, or is my heart getting smaller?”

If you missed the workshop, we’re happy to share the recording. Click below to watch the full webinar now.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH

👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE CATHOLIC REGISTER’S ARTICLE

Serving Your Community

DIOCESES LAUNCH NEW APPEALS FOR RECONCILIATION AND RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVORS

Amid the horrifying news of the discovery of unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools, Canadian Catholics across the country have sought new ways of contributing to the cause of reconciliation with our Indigenous communities and supporting our Indigenous brothers and sisters, most especially those whose families were affected by residential school experiences.

Catholic Conscience is proud that some of the dioceses we have worked most closely with these past years—namely, our friends in the dioceses of Saskatchewan and the Archdiocese of Toronto—are leading the way in launching new initiatives so Catholics can continue making positive contributions to the work of Reconciliation.

For those who live in Saskatchewan or in Toronto, we highly encourage you to participate in and make a generous contribution to these local Reconciliation initiatives led by our bishops.

On July 13, 2021, the Bishops of Saskatchewan announced a new province-wide Appeal for Support of Healing and Reconciliation – sponsored by the dioceses and eparchy in Saskatchewan. The overall goal of this campaign is to support Indian Residential School survivors and their communities, and to engage more deeply in an ongoing commitment and response to the Truth and Reconciliation process.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND DONATE

👉 CLICK HERE TO WATCH A MESSAGE FROM REGINA’S ARCHBISHOP DONALD BOLEN ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS NEW APPEAL

The Archdiocese of Toronto is currently establishing working groups, each enriched by Indigenous voices, to help guide and support their efforts. To that end, the archdiocese has identified the following priorities:

  • Education – initiatives to educate clergy, staff and the faithful regarding the tragic legacy of residential schools and its continuing impact on Indigenous people, and to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of Indigenous spirituality.
  • Outreach and Spiritual Support – initiatives to support survivors of residential schools and those suffering intergenerational trauma. These may include healing circles, personal or group counselling, workshops, speakers, listening sessions, opportunities for prayer, reconciliation services, and other spiritual supports.
  • Financial Support – the Archdiocese of Toronto is developing a financial campaign to support ongoing healing and reconciliation efforts. A diverse working group will assist in formulating the campaign framework and related details in the weeks ahead. In response to those who have expressed a desire to contribute immediately, the Healing & Reconciliation fund has been established. Donations can be made online, by phone (416) 934-3411 or through any Catholic church in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

From The Holy Father

THE JOURNEY OF DIALOGUE ACCORDING TO POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis’ prayer intentions for the month of July are dialogue and social friendship. The Pope writes, “I would like to invite everyone to go beyond their groups of friends and build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well. We especially need to have a renewed encounter with the most impoverished and vulnerable, those on the peripheries. And we need to distance ourselves from populisms that exploit the anguish of the people without providing solutions, proposing a mystique that solves nothing. We must flee from social enmity which only destroys, and leave “polarization” behind. And this isn’t always easy, especially today when part of our politics, society and media are bent on creating enemies so as to defeat them in a game of power. Dialogue is the path to seeing reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.”

The theme of dialogue in society has been at the core of this pontificate and is a central topic in both Evangelii gaudium and Fratelli tutti, two of Pope Francis’ encyclicals. We greatly enjoyed reading this detailed analysis of Pope Francis’ idea of dialogue from the website Where Peter Is:

Key to understanding Pope Francis’s idea of dialogue is that it does not involve a mere exchange of opinions or voicing of concerns. It is rather a process—a journey that is meant to proceed slowly and serenely. It may not produce immediate results, but can bear fruit over time, making new things possible. At the same time, it is not something that can or should occur only among friends and during placid times. Instead, it is when progress seems impossible that dialogue is most needed. It is not mere “talk” to distract from the grave issues at hand, but the most direct and daring approach we can take when trapped in a painful rhetorical stalemate.

👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

What We’re Watching

GLOBE & MAIL OP-ED: Taxing today’s religious institutions because of residential-school horrors would be missing the point

In the wake of the discovery of unmarked grave sites at former residential schools, some voices have once again raised the possibility of taxing religious institutions. In response to critics of churches’ tax-exempt status, we greatly enjoyed reading this op-ed by Brian Dijkema—vice-president of external affairs at the Canadian Christian think tank Cardus—reminding Canadians why religious institutions are afforded this unique privilege.

For every dollar in a religious congregation’s budget, the wider community receives a benefit worth an estimated $4.77. That benefit comes in many forms, including soup kitchens, housing programs, substance abuse counselling and refugee resettlement. Add in economic spinoffs, and all that activity is worth an estimated $35-billion per year to Canada.

The exemption of houses of worship from property taxes, then, recognizes that these organizations are unique engines that multiply good in the wider community, beyond those physical walls…

Recent news about residential schools should force us to reckon with injustices. But taxing churches isn’t the place to start. Rather, we should point out that such injustices are at odds with professed beliefs, and remind religious communities to renew their efforts at reconciliation and loving their neighbours.”

 👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL OP-ED

Prayer

THE POPE’S JULY PRAYER INTENTIONS: FOR DIALOGUE AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP

Every month, Pope Francis shares his prayer intentions – for us, an opportunity to unite our prayers with the Holy Father and the faithful around the world. This month, Pope Francis invites us to pray that, in social, economic and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship. Below is the Pope’s message and prayer for this intention:

The Bible says that whoever finds a friend has found a treasure.

I would like to invite everyone to go beyond their groups of friends and build social friendship, which is so necessary for living together well.

We especially need to have a renewed encounter with the most impoverished and vulnerable, those on the peripheries. And we need to distance ourselves from populisms that exploit the anguish of the people without providing solutions, proposing a mystique that solves nothing.

We must flee from social enmity which only destroys, and leave “polarization” behind.

And this isn’t always easy, especially today when part of our politics, society and media are bent on creating enemies so as to defeat them in a game of power.

Dialogue is the path to seeing reality in a new way, so we can live with passion the challenges we face in constructing the common good.

Let us pray that, in social, economic, and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship, men and women who always hold out a helping hand, and may no spaces of enmity and war remain.

Amen.

Catholic Civics Workshop: Communicating Like a Catholic

Our topic is a critical one for Catholics in public life today: communicating like a Catholic. It will be a conversation about having political conversations—how we can live out the dignity of the human person in the ways we evangelize, advocate, and communicate with our fellow citizens in public discourse, on social media and elsewhere; and how we can model Christ through love, joy, and hope amid a polarized public conversation too often defined by hatred and dehumanization. This is especially critical when in conversation with those who disagree with us.

This workshop is all about effective communication and, crucially, charitable communication through the lens of our Christian faith. How do we communicate with others as disciples called to see the face of Christ in everyone we talk to? This workshop aims to answer that crucial question and empower you as a Christian communicator no matter your vocation.

This is an important skillset for every Catholic civic and political leader—which is all of Christ’s disciples, including you! We hope you’ll join us for the discussion, featuring two extraordinary Catholic leaders and communicators:

  • Catholic author and speaker Leah Perrault; and,
  • Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation producer and host, Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann.

Catholic Civics Workshop: Using money like a Catholic

Applying Catholic social teaching, principles of stewardship, and Christian virtues to the ways we use money at home, office, and community.

Featuring Professor Michael Ryall, Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and Paul Perrone, a Chartered Financial Analyst and experienced investment industry professional.

Matthew 6:24 famously reads, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” Yet as a Catholic living 2021, there’s no avoiding money and its powerful role in our lives and the society we participate in every day. How we use money lovingly, effectively, and with Catholic social teaching in mind is crucial to how we serve God and neighbour in this life. How do we as Christian disciples use our money in Christian ways? How do we steward the money of others, in our professional workplaces or our community projects? And how can we resist a money-centric culture that often reduces our human dignity to consumption and production, while also recognizing money’s role in pursuing the common good?

Join us on Wednesday, June 30 at 7:00 PM EDT for a Catholic Civics Workshop with two Catholic experts who will help us answer these critical questions: Michael Ryall, Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management, and Paul Perrone, a Chartered Financial Analyst and experienced investment industry professional.

Reconciliation, communicating like a Catholic, a politician-saint, and a new name

THE CATHOLIC COMMONS

COMMON SENSE. COMMON PROJECT. COMMON GROUND. COMMON GOOD.


Dear friends,

You may have noticed the slightly different subject line of this email, and some of you may have already guessed: we are changing the name of the Common Good Catholic to the Catholic Commons. Why? As you know, the common good is a central principle of Catholic social teaching—and one we treasure at Catholic Conscience. But in our time leading this lay apostolate, the word “common” has come up in a few different ways related to Catholic social teaching and our work. We’ve talked for some time about these ideas, and changing the name of the newsletter to reflect them. These “commons” are:

Common sense: Talking to Catholics across the political spectrum, with different vocations and different issues-of-interest, we have often heard Catholic social teaching described as common sense. We’ve come to value this description. When you radically assert the infinite dignity of every single human being, and work to conform politics and communal life to this fundamental truth, a certain common sense—that is, a sense of what is or should be common—emerges in how we should approach the issues we face as a society. We honour Catholic social teaching by pointing out that its values and principles are common sense for a well-formed person, willing the good of their neighbour.

Common project: This simple line from Gaudium et Spes—Vatican II’s pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world—has served as a spiritual commission for our work here at Catholic Conscience: “Great care must be taken about civic and political formation, which is of the utmost necessity today for the population as a whole, and especially for youth, so that all citizens can play their part in the life of the political community.” The key word here is all. Central to the expression of human dignity is participation. We all have something unique and irreplaceable to contribute to our communities, our civil society, and the wider political life of our country. We share, as Pope Francis writes in Fratelli tutti, a duty to a common project: “To be part of a people is to be part of a shared identity arising from social and cultural bonds. And that is not something automatic, but rather a slow, difficult process… of advancing towards a common project.” We belong to God, therefore we belong to each other—even when we disagree! This common project becomes a source of unity, even though we often contest its characteristics, challenges, and course towards the Kingdom. This brings us to…

Common ground: This is a cornerstone of our work, and indeed, it’s a cornerstone of Catholic social teaching overall. We all have unique gifts, unique contributions to the common project that is our shared civic and political life together. When bringing together differing perspectives and differing knowledge, disagreement arises often and energetically. We’ve seen when disagreement delves into hatred, disunity, and the intense polarization that today defines too much of our public discourse. It is good that we disagree. Indeed, we cannot come to the fullness of the truth without the fullness of the perspectives a wide array of brothers and sisters brings to the table. However, we should always disagree with a deep sense of respect for those who share their differing points of view with us.  When we approach it properly, we share a common ground in our Catholic faith, even when we disagree. The most important common ground we have is this, and the fact we are all children of God. He loves us equally and zealously. In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis writes, “Political charity is… expressed in a spirit of openness to everyone. Government leaders should be the first to make the sacrifices that foster encounter and to seek convergence on at least some issues. They should be ready to listen to other points of view and to make room for everyone. Through sacrifice and patience, they can help to create a beautiful polyhedral reality in which everyone has a place. Here, economic negotiations do not work. Something else is required: an exchange of gifts for the common good. It may seem naïve and utopian, yet we cannot renounce this lofty aim.”  That aim is the last and first “common” we have come to treasure.

Common good: In Catholic social teaching, all roads lead here. It was the first name of this newsletter, and of course it remains at the centre of this project. For this is the final goal of all our work at Catholic Conscience, whether we are forming civic and political leaders, or supporting Catholic voters in their discernment, or doing our best to inspire inventive and inspired Catholic service in civic life. All of these are aimed at the common good, that high ground all human beings fully alive with God’s love march towards together. Pope Francis writes: “When the dignity of the human person is respected, and his or her rights recognized and guaranteed, creativity and interdependence thrive, and the creativity of the human personality is released through actions that further the common good.”

Releasing and engaging the creativity of the human personality through actions that further the common good—as always, the Holy Father puts excellently our goals as a lay apostolate, and indeed, the goals of this newsletter you are reading now.

With the spirit of these “commons” in mind, we hope you enjoy this edition of the new Catholic Commons. We pray it releases the creativity of action that the common sense of Catholic social teaching, the common project of civic life, the common ground of our shared dignity as children of God, and our “lofty” goal, the common good, offer all of us.

Sincerely,
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven

Upcoming Events

ANNOUNCING OUR JUNE CATHOLIC CIVICS WORKSHOP: USING MONEY LIKE A CATHOLIC

Matthew 6:24 famously reads, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” Yet as a Catholic living 2021, there’s no avoiding money and its powerful role in our lives and the society we participate in every day. How we use money lovingly, effectively, and with Catholic social teaching in mind is crucial to how we serve God and neighbour in this life. How do we as Christian disciples use our money in Christian ways? How do we steward the money of others, in our professional workplaces or our community projects? And how can we resist a money-centric culture that often reduces our human dignity to consumption and production, while also recognizing money’s role in pursuing the common good?

Join us on Wednesday, June 30 at 7:00 PM EDT for a Catholic Civics Workshop with two Catholic experts who will help us answer these critical questions: Michael Ryall, Professor of Strategic Management at the Rotman School of Management, and Paul Perrone, a Chartered Financial Analyst and experienced investment industry professional.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP


Communicating like a Catholic

ANNOUNCING OUR JULY CATHOLIC CIVICS WORKSHOP: COMMUNICATING LIKE A CATHOLIC

On Wednesday, July 21 at 7:00 PM EDT, we invite you to join us for July’s Catholic Civics Workshop. Our topic is a critical one for Catholics in public life today: communicating like a Catholic. It will be a conversation about having political conversations—how we can live out the dignity of the human person in the ways we evangelize, advocate, and communicate with our fellow citizens in public discourse, on social media and elsewhere; and how we can model Christ through love, joy, and hope amid a polarized public conversation too often defined by hatred and dehumanization. This is especially critical when in conversation with those who disagree with us.

This workshop is all about effective communication and, crucially, charitable communication through the lens of our Christian faith. How do we communicate with others as disciples called to see the face of Christ in everyone we talk to? This workshop aims to answer that crucial question and empower you as a Christian communicator no matter your vocation.

This is an important skillset for every Catholic civic and political leader—which is all of Christ’s disciples, including you! We hope you’ll join us for the discussion, featuring two extraordinary Catholic leaders and communicators:

  • Catholic author and speaker Leah Perrault; and,
  • Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation producer and host, Deacon Pedro Guevara-Mann.

RSVP by clicking below for webinar login details.
 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Works of Mercy In Out Community

A CATHOLIC APPROACH TO TRUTH & RECONCILIATION WITH OUR INDIGENOUS NEIGHBOURS

We have all been disturbed by the recent news out of Kamloops and Saskatchewan, where the unidentified, unmarked graves of children were identified on the grounds of former residential school once operated by Catholics. Since this news, there has been an authentic desire among many lay Catholics to make a greater contribution to the work of reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Canada. This is a good and healthy instinct. But where to start and what to do? Discerning this is not always clear. The public conversation around these graves has also made it clear that many Canadians—including Catholics—are not aware about the history of residential schools, the role the Church played in them, and importantly, the work the Church has done and is currently doing to advance reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples.

Writing in the B.C. Catholic, the Catholic Conscience team has outlined some of the challenges our Catholic community faces in productively moving forward on the reconciliation journey, as well as a new initiative we are working on to help Catholics discern their own contribution and become better informed about the Catholic role in Reconciliation:

I once had an Indigenous colleague who, in response to the feeling of helplessness arising from the enormity of the challenge of reconciliation, made a good suggestion: organizations in Canada should look seriously at committing to one or two of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls-to-Action, specifically those that the organization has the expertise or mission wherein a tangible contribution would be possible.

At the thoughtful prompting of one of Catholic Conscience’s closest collaborators  –  Sabrina Chiefari with the Sisters of St. Joseph – we’re thinking about the potential of building out some resources for Catholics discerning the question, “What must we do?” when it comes to reconciliation.

Here’s what we are considering:

  • Putting together a compilation of resources for Catholics who want to become better educated on the history of these issues and want to better understand reconciliation. We think this is an important component, to direct Catholics to resources that will leave them feeling empowered, rather than media narratives which can leave Catholics with many mixed feelings;
  • Assisting Catholics and Catholic organizations in discerning which of the TRC Calls to Action they could commit to. Specifically, which ones fit with their pre-existing mission and expertise and could be effectively integrated into their own work. Obviously, this fits well with our mission to offer formation for effective and engaged Catholic citizenship;
  • Potentially, some Conscience Conversations with key voices from a Catholic perspective on how Catholics can productively move forward on reconciliation.

We are not experts in reconciliation. Perhaps what I’m describing already exists, either from a secular perspective or a Catholic perspectiveIf you have thoughts or ideas on this subject, please share them with us. We are still discerning. If we do proceed, we want to do so thoughtfully and prudentially. We also want to ensure that we consult with and engage the support of Indigenous individuals who are actively involved in Reconciliation work and can help us provide the best possible supports for the project.

My hope in this is to help Catholic Canadians feel like they can productively engage in this issue, and can make a positive contribution – allowing them to do something, instead of just abiding in the painful realities of the history and the contemporary situation.

DO YOU HAVE IDEAS TO SHARE OR WANT TO LEND A HAND?
EMAIL US: BRENDAN@CATHOLICCONSCIENCE.ORG👉 CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Conscience Conversations

JOIN THE CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ NOVENA TO SAINT JOSEPH IN THE LEAD-UP TO CANADA DAY

To mark the Year of Saint Joseph—Patron of the Universal Church and Patron of Canada—the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has launched a new initiative of consecration and entrustment to Saint Joseph across our country:

In keeping with the celebration of the “Year of Saint Joseph”, the CCCB National Liturgy Office and the Office national de liturgie have composed a Novena and an Act of Entrustment to Saint Joseph. The Novena begins on June 22 and ends on June 30, and is followed by the Act of Entrustment on Thursday, 1 July 2021 (Canada Day). The Novena and Act of Entrustment are available for wide use and distribution in dioceses/eparchies, parishes, religious communities, families (domestic churches) and schools.

Saint Joseph is a special patron for all Canadians—patron of our country, guardian of our Church, and a model of Christian virtues and trust in God. We all aspire to be like Saint Joseph in life and spirit, and so we at Catholic Conscience are very excited to be participating in this novena. We’ll be sharing the novena prayers each day on our Facebook—please follow along by liking our page!

CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE NOVENA ON THE CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE FACEBOOK PAGE

CLICK HERE FOR THE NOVENA AND ACT OF ENTRUSTMENT

CLICK HERE FOR MORE CCCB YEAR OF SAINT JOSEPH RESOURCES

Providentially, the end of the novena is timed perfectly for our next Catholic Civics Workshop on using money like a Catholic. We invite you to join us at this free event, where we will pray the final novena prayer together.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO RSVP

Serving Your Community

THANK YOU TO OUR FIRST-EVER CATHOLIC LEADERS MISSION COHORT!

n 2021, Catholic Conscience launched our newest project—the Catholic Leaders Mission. Designed to fill a gap in formation opportunities for Catholics in civic and political life, the program brought together leaders from across civil society and the political spectrum to grow in their faith, deepen their knowledge of Catholic social teaching, and learn more about how Catholics are called to love and serve their neighbours as servant-leaders. We were joined by approximately fifteen participants across two days of intimate workshops featuring Catholic leaders from across Canada. Our participants represented different political parties and different vocations—from political staffers to candidate, to activists and policy experts—all of whom shared a common desire to become more effective servants of their neighbours in public life, through the lens of their faith.

Thank you to our participants, trainers, presenters, and supporters, all of whom were essential to bringing this first CLM program to life!

Stay tuned for details about next year’s Catholic Leaders Mission cohort, and how you can participate.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CATHOLIC LEADERS MISSION

From The Holy Father

REGINA’S ARCHBISHOP BOLEN SAYS CANADIAN BISHOPS ORGANIZING MEETING WITH POPE AND CANADIAN INDIGENOUS LEADERS

We encourage you to read this interview with Regina’s Archbishop Donald Bolen, given to the Regina Leader-Post in the aftermath of recent news that the unmarked graves of children were found on the grounds of a former, Catholic-operated residential school.

Archbishop Bolen has been energetically engaged in the work of reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters and shares his thoughts about the tragedy in this interview, as well as information about a planned, upcoming meeting in 2021 between the Pope and Canadian Indigenous leaders.

“We will do everything we can,” Bolen added.

In a letter, written and addressed to Delorme on Thursday, Bolen expressed his grief upon hearing the news out of Cowessess.

“The news is overwhelming and I can only imagine the pain and waves of emotion that you and your people are experiencing right now,” wrote Bolen.

Having been in the role since 2016, Bolen said he has worked towards reconciliation with First Nations. In his letter, Bolen recounted how Delorme had reached out in 2018, with regards to the cemetery at Cowessess.

“I extended an apology for the failures and sins of Church leaders and staff in the past towards the people of Cowessess. I know that apologies seem a very small step as the weight of past suffering comes into greater light, but I extend that apology again,” said Bolen in his letter.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

An important note about this article: The article states that the Pope has not apologized for the Church’s role in residential schools. This claim has been widely reported without context and is misleading. In 2009, Pope Benedict expressed his sorrow to a delegation of Indigenous Canadian leaders who had travelled to the Vatican to meet with the Holy Father about this issue.

In the aftermath of that meeting, Phil Fontaine—then the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations—said, “I think His Holiness understands the pain that was endured by so many and I heard him say that it caused him great anguish… I also heard His Holiness say that the abuse of the nature that was inflicted on us has no place in the Church, it’s intolerable and it caused him great anguish.” “What I heard,” Fontaine added, “it gives me comfort.”

When the Truth & Reconciliation Commission presented its final report in 2015, it asked the Pope to offer a more expansive apology than the one offered at the 2009 Vatican meeting—an apology on Canadian soil, in the style of the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse. Call to Action #58 of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission final report states:

We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic run residential schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.

You can read further details about why the TRC is calling for an apology of this nature on pages 219-223 of the Truth & Reconciliation final report summary by clicking here.

On the issue of the Pope apologizing in Canada, Archbishop Bolen notes in his interview with the Regina Leader-Post:

Bolen said he and others have been trying to facilitate such an apology, but have thus far been unsuccessful.

“We tried to bring, as Saskatchewan bishops, we tried to bring the Pope to apologize here five years ago. We learned that you can’t do that as a little group of Saskatchewan bishops,” he said.

Bolen said right now the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has a “working group” on Indigenous relations and has arranged that a delegation of “Indigenous leaders and survivors and elders, knowledge keepers and youth will go to meet with Pope Francis before the end of the year.”

What We’re Watching

A NEW POLITICIAN-SAINT? POPE FRANCIS SETS FORMER FRENCH PRIME MINISTER AND “FATHER OF EUROPE” ON PATH TO SAINTHOOD

All of us—even politicians—are called to be saints. Pope Francis is giving us a new model of sainthood in political life and public service. In June, the Church recognized the heroic virtues of former French Prime Minister and Robert Schuman, according him the title “Venerable” and beginning the formal path to sainthood. This will not be his first title of honour—contemporary Europeans refer to him as the “Father of Europe”. A miracle attributed to Schuman as part of the canonization process would lead to his beatification; another miracle would, in turn, lead to Schuman being declared a saint.

So, who is Robert Schuman? From Vatican News:

Robert Schuman (1886-1963) was a French Catholic committed to politics – understood as a mission and a service, and as an act of obedience to God’s will – who lived in prayer and was nourished by the daily Eucharist. He was arrested and imprisoned by the Gestapo from 14 September 1940 to 12 April 1941. He managed to escape and lived in hiding until the end of [World War 2], taking refuge mainly in convents and monasteries. At the end of the war, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of France in 1945 and 1946. As a member of parliament, he took on important roles in the French government: Minister of Finance, Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice, becoming a moral point of reference for the country and working for the creation of a common system of economic and social growth. Together with Konrad Adenauer and Alcide De Gasperi, he is considered one of the founding fathers of a united Europe. Their work led to the Treaty of Rome of 25 March 1957, which established the European Economic Community. In 1958 he was elected by acclamation as the first President of the new European Parliament. The following year he was struck down by a severe form of cerebral sclerosis. Unable to continue his work, he was appointed honorary president of the European Parliamentary Assembly. He died in Scy-Chazelles (France) on 4th September 1963, at the age of 77.

 👉 CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

👉 CLICK HERE TO READ A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF SCHUMAN BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Prayer

AN ACT OF ENTRUSTMENT TO SAINT JOSEPH

The Canada-wide novena to Saint Joseph instituted by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops culminates on July 1—Canada Day—where Canadian Catholics will together pray an Act of Entrustment to the Patron of Canada. We encourage you to pray the below Act of Entrustment to Saint Joseph on July 1, that our entire country may be guarded and guided by this great saint who intercedes for us always.
 
SIGN OF THE CROSS
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
 
ACT OF ENTRUSTMENT
O loving and humble Saint Joseph,
Protector of the Holy Family
and Patron of the Universal Church and of Canada,
we honour you as the model of Christian virtues
and entrust ourselves to you
as our inspiration and guide in living an authentic Christian life.
 
Modelled after you, whom the Scriptures call the Just man,
draw us closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
that we may easily turn to the Lord in every circumstance of our lives
and, consecrated to Him, we may know, in our vocation,
the peace and joy of a holy life.
 
A man of listening and of action,
you who have always been so attentive to the voice of the Lord
and to the fulfilling of His will,
help us to discern the signs of the times
and to engage in the transformation of our world.
 
Husband, father and worker,
in solidarity with the human condition,
teach us how to be faithful to our baptismal promises
and sensitive to the sufferings and needs of our sisters and brothers.
 
A man of great faith, unshakeable hope
and a heart burning with charity,
come to the aid of the Church and our country,
watch over the elderly, the weak and the infirm,
protect our children and families,
and sustain those who give of themselves selflessly in pastoral and health care.
 
Merciful and compassionate companion on our journey,
you who know the burdens weighing heavily on our hearts,
intercede for our many needs, so that, by your powerful prayer,
we may be delivered from the many dangers that surround us
so as to experience safety and solace in the Lord and, at the hour of our death,
come at last to the glory of our eternal home.
Amen.
 
V. Joseph, who placed your hope in the Lord,
R. Pray for us.
 
V. Joseph, who experienced the unconditional love of Jesus and Mary,
R. Pray for us.
 
V. Joseph, whose poverty was turned into treasures in God,
R. Pray for us.
 
V. Joseph, who taught Jesus how to pray,
R. Pray for us.
 
V. Light of the Patriarchs,
R. You enlighten our path by welcoming the One who is the Light of the world.
 
V. Patron of the dying,
R. You accompany us on our journey into Life.
 
Amen.

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