Topic: Mercy Trumps Polarization

Our world is often confused by what true mercy looks like. Pope Francis calls us to a culture of encounter, to recognize the dignity in the person in front of us. This encounter leads us to act on their behalf by serving others through works of mercy. Christ has called us to go and make disciples of all nations and, in a special way, to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and bury the dead. In so doing, our hearts change and we learn to be merciful as the Heavenly Father is merciful.

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One Life, One Love: Catholic Social Teaching and the Mystery of the Human Person Archbishop Gomez looks to humanity to overcome polarization.

Our Commitments as Catholics Archbishop Gomez reminds us that Catholics have an important and unique part to play in justice.

Whether the Issue is Abortion or Immigration, There Must be a Better Way looks at the problem of partisan polarization and asks if Catholics can do better.

An Agenda for Moderates: The Policy Implications of “Love your Neighbor”

Our Culture of Contempt looks at the roots of the great divisions in society

We No Longer Want to Just Win—We Want to Destroy explores our fractured politics and relationships

The Great Scattering: How Identity Panic Took Root in the Void Once Occupied by Family Life analyzes the roots of identity politics and the role of the family in America.

What it means to be an American Catholic offers a Catholic perspective on engagement in civic life

United by Our Differences As divisive as politics is, does it have the power to unite the United States?

3 Minute Retreat: The Good Shepherd:  Take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.

Participate in Divine Mercy: Father Mark-Mary challenges us to be moved by God’s divine mercy to forgive others.

Mercy with Misery: Read Pope Francis’ poignant invitation to set our eyes on Jesus, who has set us free.

10 Ideas that Will Help You Make Feeding the Hungry an Act of Mercy: The call to feed the hungry is a call for mercy. Learn how doing good makes saints.

Remembering God’s Mercy Podcast is great for the morning commute. 

What Does Mercy Mean? Learn more about relieving the misery of others and the meaning of suffering with this video from Dr. Allen Hunt.

C.S. Lewis and Aristotle on Civic Friendship. Aristotle described three types of friendship. Perhaps we need a fourth. 

Topic: A World Without Abortion

It takes far more to build a culture that welcomes and respects every human life than just talking about it or creating laws. To truly create a world where every person is loved, each individual has to do his or her share to spread kindness, mercy and an authentic understanding of being part of the human family. Only then will abortion and other attacks on human life end.

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Human Life Action outstanding educational resources on a variety of life issues plus sign up for action alerts

Survey Asks Women What they Need Instead of Abortion looks at the practical needs of women and children

Pro-Life Forces Must Fight for Child Care Subsidies, Pre-K, Adoption Reforms looks at all practical needs to change hearts on abortion.

How Can Today’s Pro-Life Christians Build Trust in the Movement? Demonstrates what being pro-life really looks like.

How My Public Health Degree Shaped the Way I See Abortion suggestions for supporting women through pregnancy

I am a Christian Mom of Four, and I Considered Abortion shares the story of one woman’s difficult choice

When Abortion Suddenly Stopped Making Sense a feminist take on the ravages of abortion

US Bishops’ Conscience Formation​ for all areas of life, including political activity.

The Art of Forming the Conscience of a Child  the role teachers and parents in helping children form their consciences.

Pro-life Pregnancy Resources​ Connect with 90+ pro-life pregnancy centers and clinics through So Cal for healthcare and resource referrals

Pro-life Feminists empower women with education and resources to recognize the humanity in each person.

Why are Hispanic Catholics Pro-Life? What Politics Can’t Explain looks at the importance of family for Latinos. 

Divided Over Abortion but Joining Forces for Women’s Workplace Rights shares what it will take to put family first.

Adoption and a Pro-Life Anthology discusses why adoption is at the very heart of what it means to be pro-life.

Explanation on Fetal Development shares great detail of life in the womb.

Kids on a Shoestring  practical, frugal, creative solutions to parenting when money is tight

How  to raise pro-life kids: Great tips and resources on how to raise a pro-life family.

Pregnant on Campus resources for pregnant and parenting students on college campuses nationwide​

By Your Side LA– Hope and healing after abortion

How to Talk to a Friend Who’s Had an Abortion​

Topic: Solutions to Crime and Conflict

The prison system in America is characterized by its emphasis on punishment and retribution. But the Church rightly recognizes that mere punishment is not justice. In particular, long unfair sentences, solitary confinement, and the death penalty can be used in vengeful ways rather than helping the offender to correct the wrong done. Restorative justice emphasizes repentance, repairing the harm done. It allows for victims and families to forgive the offender and allows the offender to seek that forgiveness.

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Catholic Mobilizing Network Offers excellent, timely resources on death penalty and restorative justice

The Death Penalty is Always Inadmissible Archbishop Gomez reminds us that no one ever loses human dignity

It is Time to End the Death Penalty We need to bring mercy rather than retribution 

Our Sad, Muted Response to the Virginia Beach Shooting tells of a nation inundated with violence

When We Kill—Everything you think you know about the death penalty is wrong

After Decades, a Death Sentence Depends a (Little) Less on Where you Live explores the factors compounding death sentences in America.

Speak a blessing offers quick and easy messages to raise kids who put mercy first

Catholic Social Teaching and the Death Penalty: Overview of the teaching on human dignity

Catholic Teaching and Restorative Justice: A guide for living as a people of justice and mercy

Forgive that you might be forgiven: Practical tips for letting go. 

Pope Francis Keeps Making it Easier for Catholic Parents to Raise Catholic Kids Pope Francis took the extraordinary step of labeling capital punishment an attack on human dignity.

Harm, healing, and human dignity: a catholic encounter with restorative justice helps parishes, small groups, and individual believers reflect on the Catholic call to restorative justice.

Mercy for Dylann Roof: The difficult story of the troubled life of the Charleston shooter

Topic: Salvaging a Throw-Away Culture

Poverty is a fraught concept, made even more difficult living in California with skyrocketing housing prices and a monumental homeless crisis. Catholic moral doctrine calls us to have a preferential option for the poor, which includes the need to improve a person’s entire well-being, including socio-economic, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Pope Francis has called us to go out with the joy of the Gospel, to encounter people where they are. Like Mother Teresa, we are called to serve the poor by looking people in the eye, respecting their dignity, and getting our hands dirty by engaging in works of mercy.

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Poverty USA Excellent teaching tools for every grade level and suggested activities to further study and understand poverty in the USA

Facing Child Poverty in LA focuses on Telfair Elementary in Pacoima, who has more homeless students than any other, telling the stories of children and their families

After 18 Months Reporting on the Homeless Crisis, This is What I Learned provides an in-depth look at the face of extreme poverty in LA

Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast offers thoughtful discussion of housing in CA for your morning commute

They Were Homeless. I took Them In. Would you? Looks at a create program for housing homeless young adults

Homelessness Jumps 12% in LA County and 16% in the City; Officials Stunned tells of our increasing crisis

City Streets in August article provides a context for acting with mercy toward those in need.

A Ministry of Love in the Heart of the City young adult missionaries, Christ in the City, and their work with the homeless.

Hummus, Iced Coffee and Christian Charity: How are we to respond to those in need right on our own doorsteps?

The Dangerous Rise of the IUD as Poverty Cure asks is it right to eradicate poverty by eradicating the poor?

Americans Want to Believe Jobs are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not looks at what it takes for families to move out of poverty.

New Study Highlights the Role of Local Faith-Based Actors in Peacebuilding Efforts shares international anti-poverty efforts through Catholic Relief Services

Catholic Social Teaching 101: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable  great introduction to the Christian’s care for and service of the poor.

Union Rescue Mission  – One of the largest rescue missions of our kind in the United States, and the oldest in Los Angeles. They provide services for the homeless and offer many volunteer opportunities.

St Vincent de Paul Society of Los Angeles – St. Vincent de Paul Society, with 143 parish Conferences in ADLA, serves the needy of any religious background free of charge

Topic: Made in God’s Likeness

God makes each person special—a unique creation whom He planned from the beginning of time. God does not make mistakes. He made everyone perfect! In our world, it is so important that we learn to respect the dignity of the human person, no matter our differences. Unfortunately, people with disabilities experience a great amount of discrimination, including bullying, persecution, and are often targeted for abortion or assisted suicide. If we cannot recognize their dignity, then we need to change our perspective and recognize the incredible lives of those around us. God has a special plan for every single person, no matter what our abilities.

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National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities Provides education and resources for families and schools

The Dignity of Disabled Lives The burden of being perceived as different persists. The solution to this problem is community.

Disability Awareness: 10 Things Parents Should Teach Their Kids About Disabilities shares tips for parents on raising empathetic kids.

There is a Better Way to Teach Children with Learning Disabilities looks at creative new techniques

Excluding People with Disabilities Makes Church Incomplete invites communities to welcome everyone to worship together

Iceland is “Eradicating” Down Syndrome by Eradicating Everyone Who Has It looks at the problem of aborting people with special needs

Overcoming our Fear of Otherness explores how we invite those with special needs into our families

Guidelines for Referring to People with Disabilities helps us use language that affirms human dignity

In a Tight Labor Market, a Disability May Not Be a Barrier speaks to innovative opportunities for those traditionally excluded from office jobs

How Hollywood is Working to Improve Representation of People with Disabilities The way we see people in the arts should express our value for every human life

Disability: A Thread for Weaving Joy  Seeing in the disabled an invitation to learn how to love deeply without counting the cost. 

Hiring People with Disabilities Is Good Business   A few big companies profit from their proactive employment practices

Hope Story Provides resources and personal connection with parents expecting children with Down syndrome

Reece’s Rainbow matches special needs children with families for adoption

Le Arche International communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live and work together as peers. 

Topic: Combatting Racism

Whatever the cause, Christians in a particular way are called upon to combat racism in every form and work toward harmony among peoples. Why Christians? Because we have the opportunity to not only join in the temporal (earthly) work of overcoming racism, but we also know that economic and social policy can only go so far. What is truly needed is a conversion of hearts and minds to the truth that all people are created in equal dignity by a loving Father, and that we are all brothers and sisters in Him. 

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National Black Catholic Congress Pastoral plan and events to bring everyone into parish participation

Catholic Association of Latino Leaders Teaching resources on issues involving faith and public life

Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love A Pastoral Letter Against Racism issued in 2018 by the US Bishops

A New Spirit of Compassion and Cooperation Archbishop Gomez shares his thoughts on overcoming division through compassion

The Impact of Racism on Children’s Health new study looks at the impact of racism on children, beginning in the womb

​​​Racism and the Native American Experience Native Americans experienced deep wounds that largely remain unhealed and strongly impact generations today

Top 5 lessons from pastoral letter against racism provides quick take-aways from the US Bishops’ new pastoral letter 

How Should I Face Racism Among my Childhood Friends? looks at how we relate to people we love whose ideas are different from ours

Racism, Inequality and the Right to Vote looks at the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act. 

Racism Is a Persistent Evil  Racism of the past continues to rear its ugly head in the present conditions, plaguing our Church and society

Having “the talk” with Kids About Racism shares ideas and tips for raising compassionate and loving kids

Responding to the Sin of Racism encourages analysis of past and present divisive actions

Preservation of Human Dignity Essential to a Just and Effective Immigration Policy  Understanding the inherent dignity of every person teaches us our response to immigration

What is Systemic Racism explores the structures that keep us from connecting effectively

Racism and Voting invites us to understand the importance of access to voting for every community

Start a Jeffersonian Dinner– Start the conversation about racism and polarization over dinner. 

St Peter Claver Prayer Service to pray for an end to racism

Reflections for the Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities invites us to pray for healing in communities

DISCLAIMER: The resources on this page are intended for use by teachers and parents as supplemental materials for each of the topics presented in Respect Life Week. Please keep in mind that not all resources originate from Catholic sources and not all convey the fullness of Catholic Social Teaching on the topic. Resources from secular sources provide context for the way each topic is approached in our modern cultural reality and are meant to be understood in that context.

2018 Topic Archive