Our Lady of Lourdes June lecture series looks at papal encyclicals on peace

by Catholic Herald Staff

To read the original Catholic Herald Article, click here

The June reading list at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Arlington is about as far as you can get from the usual carefree, easy and disposable summer beach fare.

Father Frederick Edlefsen, pastor, is inviting “all people of good will” to a four-week series of Tuesday evening talks June 7-28, that will delve into modern proposals by the Catholic Church to promote world peace, justice and global development. As background, he’s asked participants to read the groundbreaking encyclicals of several modern popes, starting with Pope (now Saint) John XXIII’s groundbreaking letter, “Pacem in Terris” (Peace on Earth).

In his June 7 presentation, Father Edlefsen will explain Catholic social teaching and its modern historical context, and give an overview of “Pacem in Terris.” And he’s not just going to lecture: “We will discuss it,” he says in his invitation to the series, described in detail on the parish website. “Everyone is encouraged to read the letter and come with questions.”

The June 14 talk and discussion will focus on the proposals of the Second Vatican Council’s “Gaudium et Spes.” Addressed to “all people of good will,” the document offers new proposals for international cooperation, especially in the United Nations, to foster development in poorer nations.

For June 21, Father Edlefsen asks participants to read the encyclical “Populorum Progressio” (On the Development of the Peoples), written in 1967 by Pope (now Saint) Paul VI. Building upon previous encyclicals, it confronts the problems faced by developing nations in the light of growing imbalances in global trade and finance. “Development is the new name for peace,” Pope Paul VI said. “It is the person who is motivated by genuine love, more than anyone else, who pits his intelligence against the problems of poverty, trying to uncover the causes and looking for effective ways of combating them.”

The June 28 session focuses on Pope Francis’ two encyclicals “Laudato Si’” (On Care For Our Common Home, 2015) and “Fratelli Tutti” (On Fraternity and Social Friendship, 2020). “Laudato Si’ “ is the first Catholic social document to address, in-depth, issues of human ecology, social ecology, and environmental ecology. Pope Francis calls for new charity in politics, and says politics can in fact be the highest form of charity. In “Fratelli Tutti,” he builds on those themes and the proposals for development and peace in “Populorum Progressio.” He decries today’s tendency of nations to turn inward in forms of “populism” and “nationalism” that harm the poorest nations and discourage international cooperation.

Father Edlefsen noted that the social teachings of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI are extensive and may be covered in a future series of talks.

Find out more:
The “Peace on Earth” series will be June 7, 14, 21 and 28 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 830 23rd St. S, Arlington, 7-8:30 p.m. More info at ololcc.net/get-involved/events .

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