As a devout Catholic and advocate for working people, I want to address some important perspectives on my faith and its tenets related to labor. I have always viewed my faith and my advocacy for workplace rights as inextricably linked. Each reinforces the other. Therefore, I have been troubled by attempts by some to drive a wedge between Catholics and working people, attempts driven by an agenda of corporate greed in complete ignorance of some the most basic underpinnings of the Catholic faith. The most egregious of these attacks has been the push for a "right to work" law in Missouri.
By now, every Catholic -- and a whole bunch of non-Catholics -- are aware the Church faces a vocations crisis.
Yes, we need more women and men discerning a call to join the religious life and the priesthood. It's important that adults in the pews encourage such discernment as a legitimate, honorable and holy life choice for a young person. The future of the Church will look much different if that doesn't happen.
That isn't the vocation about which I'm talking right now. I'm thinking of an equally important vocation.
A priority of my first year as superintendent was to assess our progress on the priorities and goals of the Alive in Christ! Mission Advancement Initiative. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson inspired us in Jan. 2010 with his vision that Catholic schools and parishes be "truly Alive in Christ! As centers of faith, learning, and service, they will be vibrant in their Catholic identity, growing, financially healthy and assisting those in need."
In modern times, it has become difficult to approach life with the big picture in mind. Ironically, our world overloads us with rapid information and data yet simultaneously slows down and even paralyzes our ability to discern well. As information consumers, we connect to all kinds of media and have grown accustomed to searching for desired information at any moment.
Over the past year, St. Louisans have worked together toward common goals of peace and justice. The journey hasn't been perfect, but one would be hard pressed to declare it moot.
But for a short time Aug. 9 and 10, it was easy to wonder. Nights were eerily similar to those a year ago, when protests devolved into riots.
By most accounts -- certainly by those who know Ferguson and the movement that has grown out of it -- the protests again were essentially hijacked by a small group intent on fighting. Semi-professional trouble-makers, perhaps.