Articles

Politics as life-long engagement

protest

I remember the scene clearly: it was just after midnight and the house lights were switched on in the auditorium of the Teatro Argentina in Rome. Moving from stage lighting to the lighting of the whole house was meant to affirm the role of the audience in the dawning of a democratic process in Eumenides, the third play in Aeschylus’ The Oresteia cycle, as a vote is cast on Orestes’ charge. Is he guilty or innocent? Athena, then, declares the theatre to be a court crowded with people. Sadly, while the lights revealed the glories of the theatre’s internal box features, it also revealed how the seats had emptied during the performance. As the show ran so late, many of the spectators had to leave early to catch public transport.

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Organ harvesting and trading

In his encyclical, Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis highlights the related practices of slavery, trafficking in person, women subjugated and forced to abort and kidnapping for organ harvesting or organ trafficking. He notes that, whether by coercion, deception, or by physical or psychological duress, human persons, created in the image and likeness of God, are deprived of their freedom, sold, and reduced to being another person’s property.

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Love the Stranger – youchat’s “perspective”

This week’s post on the Catholic social thought blog is a bit different. Instead of the usual article written by one of our authors, the article is a reflection on the document published by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Love the Stranger, which has been produced by youchat which is powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Specifically, youchat was asked to produce an article summarising the document. The article follows (no changes have been made to the original produced by youchat).

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“Now, I’m a Union Man”? – Catholic social teaching and trade unions

Stikes

The band “The Strawbs”, perhaps most famous for “Now, I’m a Union Man”, was formed at St. Mary’s before it was a university (they were originally called “The Strawberry Hill Boys”). The lyrics of that song, don’t really accord with Catholic social teaching on unions (“I say what I think, that the company stinks”…”With a hell of a shout, it’s ‘Out brothers, out!’ And the rise of the factory’s fall”…“And I always get my way If I strike for higher pay”…), but it is a good song and forms an interesting preface to an article on Catholic social teaching and trade unions.

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Listening to faith communities – lessons for Labour

Interfaith

Listening to the Archbishop of Canterbury speak on ‘reconciliation’ the other day at Digby Stuart College, I was reminded of my time working as the first ever faith advisor appointed at Cabinet level in the UK. While the current Archbishop had worked out a series of steps by which to address reconciliation in a variety of contexts, back then the argument was who best, and how best, for faith voices to be heard or engaged by government as a prelude to building up social harmony and collaboration in UK society. The whole approach was, for a while, qualified by long lists of ‘who not to talk to’ even if they were going to be key to the future.

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