Pope Francis appeals to nation’s charity, while advancing authority of Gospels

Father Serra is now Saint Serra

By Merdies Hayes 9/25/15

Pope Francis recently addressed the United Nations General Assembly to help the organization celebrate its 70th anniversary. After hosting a non-denominational service at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, he visited Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, led a procession through Central Park and then conducted Mass at Madison Square Garden.

Pope Francis is the first “interactive” pontiff who is said to regularly tweet, has a Facebook page and has made great use of social media to spread the Gospels around the world. It is always a moving experience for Catholics—and people of faith in general—to welcome the pope to their respective homelands, but this visit to the Western Hemisphere may have marked a turning point in the Vatican’s influence on nationstates, and its opinion of world affairs.

This pope is making a point of spending time with people on the bottom rungs of American society such as day laborers, refugees, the homeless, prisoners and under-served children. He is using the grand stage of his trip to demonstrate that the church exists to serve the poor and marginalized, and that this is the responsibility of all persons of faith—not just Catholics—whether they be a pontiff or a parishioner.

A recent poll also demonstrated that Pope Francis has convinced many American Catholics that the church is more “in touch” with their modern needs. A majority, 53 percent, said the church was in touch with Catholics’ needs, up from 39 percent in 2013. This finding represented the biggest shift in opinion since pollsters began asking the question in 1987.

Black Lives Matter movement takes presidential contenders ‘off point’

Activists force way into political season

Merdies Hayes | 8/28/2015

Is it a groundswell among young, disenfranchised African Americans? Or is it the latest en vogue fad resulting from the “instant information” age? Whatever the rationale for the mass movement, the Black Lives Matter pilgrimage is quickly reaching a level of social activism almost forgotten by baby boomers, while attracting the attention of the mass media in ways not seen since the “Free Speech,” “Anti-War” or “Black Power” movements almost 50 years ago.

Black Lives Matter, or “BLM” for short, has forced its way into the political season in unexpected ways. It began last year after the Michael Brown killing by a White police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Some followers trace its origins even earlier to the Trayvon Martin killing at the hands of a White neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. How and when it began may be irrelevant to the tens of thousands of followers (of all colors) nationwide who are taking on those in positions of authority extending from local law enforcement and city hall, to Capitol Hill and even presidential candidates.

BLM this month released “Campaign Zero” which is comprehensive set of policy demands which was informed partly by President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. Many of Campaign Zero’s proposals—including body cameras, better training and community oversight—reportedly enjoy broad support from the American public and many law enforcement agencies. The policy sheet calls for an end to the “broken windows” policing philosophy (including petty street crimes, littering, loitering, curfew violations, etc.) wants to limit the use force employed by peace officers, seeks independent investigations and prosecutions of police brutality incidents, calls for more community representation on various police boards of inquiry, an end to “for profit” policing and private prisons, and a full “demilitarization” of police departments nationwide.