It’s Tuesday, May 30, 2017, feast day of St. Joan of Arc, 15th-century French mystic. Recalled in France as a heroine for her leadership in battles during the Hundred Years’ War, she was burned at the stake during political pressures. The subject of much literature, film, and other cultural works, she is also remembered for a great love for the sacraments. As a result, she is considered a patron not only of battle-related subjects (e.g., soldiers and prisoners), but also those ridiculed for their piety or faith. Pope Benedict XV canonized her in 1920.
Today's notes in brief: The State Department plans to allow more refugees to enter the U.S., per reports. Pope Francis discusses the dignity of work. And one writer chronicles the rise of the self-esteem culture in the U.S.
Pew Research Center's recent analysis of State Department data on refugee arrivals, which showed declines in most states since Oct. 2016. Screenshot
The State Department plans to lift certain restrictions on the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States, according to reports over the weekend. The move adjusts quotas from around 900 weekly refugee arrivals to approximately 1,500, according to refugee advocates, and while it has occurred amid court battles about President Trump’s travel ban (background), this and other reports say it has to do with budgetary constraints from last fall that weren’t included in a spending bill passed this month (example). This report overviews what was known of the change as of Saturday, including that some effects were uncertain. Said one refugee resettlement agency official: “This happened quickly, and everyone is still trying to figure out what it means.”
+ Some reports note that, amid earlier uncertainty, some organizations serving refugees have cut staff in recent months (example). According to one agency worker: “Even if the money is made available, it will take time.” (New York Times, Los Angeles Times)
+ Meanwhile, an update related to religious freedom. Federal officials are reportedly reviewing an “interim final rule” on the HHS contraception mandate. Earlier this month, President Trump signed an order called for related “regulatory relief” (background); last May, the Supreme Court directed the Obama administration and nonprofits toward finding a compromise in the highly-watched lawsuit related to the rule (background), but it has been left largely unresolved. (New York Times, Washington Post)
Pope Francis greets workers as he arrives at the ILVA steel plant during his May 27 pastoral visit in Genoa, Italy. CNS/Giorgio Perottino, Reuters
Pope Francis on Saturday visited the Italian city of Genoa (background), starting at a factory with a Q&A with people in different roles related to business and labor. In answers (full text), Pope Francis gave his own definition of “businessman” (one who works alongside his workers and with them); discussed how an economy can be “ruined” when bosses become “speculators” rather than businessmen; and noted how welfare checks don’t solve problems. “The real objective isn’t income for all but work for all,” he said. “Without work for all, there won’t be dignity for all.” This report overviews his entire Genoa visit, which also included Q&As with religious (full text in Italian) and with youth (full text in Italian).
+ In both his Q&A with the “world of work” and with religious on vocations, Pope Francis connected a few answers to issues affecting young people (e.g. unemployment in Italy). The next synod will discuss young people, faith and vocational discernment (background). (Crux)
Jesse Singal chronicles the rise of the self-esteem culture and its effects in the U.S. “The movement was so successful that it has become embedded in the national conversation as truth — it’s never going to fully recede into the past: Of course it’s important for kids to have self-esteem. Of course you can’t really love someone else unless you love yourself,” he writes. “Or: Of course oversimplified stories about human nature are irresistible.”
John Allen notes that Pope Francis’ remarks about business over the weekend were not as unfavorable as many would expect. “He’s basically a Latin American populist whose sympathies are always going to be with labor over management, and who’s got a strong skeptical streak about the moral fiber of huge corporate operations,” he writes. “Nevertheless, it also confirms that Pope Francis is not hostile on principle to business life or the pursuit of profit, and that what he’s after isn’t imploding capitalism but making it sustainable over the long haul — because, in his view, respecting human dignity is also good business practice.”
P.S. To be clear, the links here don't necessarily reflect our views or the views of the Catholic Church. They're here to help you understand what your friend, next-door neighbor or colleague might see or think about a given topic. Read more about Always Forward.
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