There are several angles by which a Catholic political theorist might consider the upcoming presidential election. I suppose that as a Dominican, a member of the Order of Preachers, it only makes sense to hone in on the issue of speech. The state of our political discourse certainly stands at the center of our collective discontent with respect to our political climate. In this three-part series leading up to the election, I’d like to (1) diagnose some of the problems with our political discourse, (2) explain what political discourse is for a Catholic, and (3) consider what a Christian might hope for from politics.
I spoke at a recent “Theology on Tap” event for my parish, reflecting on Pope Francis’ 2018 World Communications Day address, “The Truth Will Set You Free: Fake News and Journalism for Peace.”
Pope Francis has called Catholics to find better ways to generate, consume, and spread the torrent of information found in mass media. This topic is evergreen, yielding endless opportunities for me to update such presentations, partly due to my deepening fears that respectful, inclusive, problem-solving conversations are disappearing in our polarized public square.
Social media (and its potential vices) has been widely discussed since its inception. The conversation has become particularly fractured in the Catholic community—whether or not Catholics ought to take an active role in shaping our online culture is taken up in countless articles, op-eds, and debates. With Lent just around the corner, many people are considering fasting from social media, but it’s worth considering the potential gifts it has to offer the Church as well.
Editorial Note: This fall, we're featuring profiles of people who are or have been part of the Echo program in the McGrath Institute for Church Life. Echo provides students the opportunity to earn a Master's degree from Notre Dame while gaining real-world experience in parish ministry or teaching high school theology, all while receiving robust spiritual and human formation.