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With the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council formulated the “Magna Carta” for integral human development. The Church sees herself as a part of humanity, intimately connected to the “joys and the hopes, the sadness and the anguish of the human person today.”
Over the next decade, count on the press, academics, and pop culture icons to take a more negative view of religion in American life. This opposition has been driven by a variety of factors, such as the rise of the “new atheism” and conservative Christian alliances with the Republican Party and with President Donald Trump.
As a college music professor, I am asked from time to time by students what I think of this or that popular song or songwriter. Lyrics aside, I like to think that I can speak with some authority on the music itself, having a masters and doctorate in music composition.
Worrying about words may well seem like a frivolous luxury at this stage in the history of the Republic. We have, after all, recently witnessed the end of the most divisive election season in recent memory, waged between two of the most polarizing candidates in the history of the presidency.
Though purveyors of modern technology boast of connecting the world like never before, human beings, paradoxically, are finding themselves in a state of near-pathological disconnection from one another. Why are our young people struggling to converse, concentrate, and create when they have been equipped with state-of-the-art tools designed to stimulate them socially as well as intellectually?
This year’s sharply differing Democratic and Republican platform statements on abortion reflect a partisan polarization on the issue that surprises no one. Ideological bifurcation between pro-choice liberals and pro-life conservatives has continued for so long that the pro-life movement’s origin as a liberal cause has been almost entirely forgotten.