How The Catholic Church Tackles Social Issues

September 06, 2013

This weekend’s pro-reform homilies will not be the Catholic Church’s only move to influence policy. Pope Francis plans to lead several hours of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria tomorrow. That got KJZZ's Nick Blumberg thinking about how and how much religious leaders can affect the way people think about big social issues of the day.

I’m smart enough to know the limits of my knowledge, but yeah I was really curious to learn more about this. Obviously, religions have long taught about and been involved in social issues, abortion, capital punishment and war. The Catholic Church’s involvement in immigration reform is somewhat more recent.

I talked with Linell Cady, who directs the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University, and she said that even though in this instance immigration is a new topic for the Church to tackle on a large scale, religions have long influenced how people view social issues. Cady also pointed out that people hear a lot of different voices, even if they do belong to a particular religious flock.

Now, respecting your priest does not mean you always follow his guidance. Cady pointed out the many, many Catholic women do not follow the church’s teachings against abortion and artificial contraception, but she said faith leaders bring certain things to the table.

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