I suppose everyone has an agenda for the Holy Father’s visit. Mine has to do with an America I’ve been able to witness, and which I hope Pope Francis has an opportunity to see.
- Arts and beauty. Unlike Europe, the US seems to have regained some real ground from brutalism in all its forms. The music at the canonization, though undoubtedly a mix of good and bad, will feature at least some music that is excellently composed and well-performed. This is an area in which the US Church can, and does, provide leadership.
- Young families. Everywhere you look in the Church in the US, you see large young families living their sacramental lives full of joy. The future is obvious: Serious Catholicism is fruitful and joyful and exceedingly promising. It is also challenging, and needs the support of the Church in not only concrete matters, but in its teaching and practice.
- Poverty. The United States, while a perennial breadbasket for the world and a place where entrepreneurial dreams can still become reality, is also the home of large seedy areas of frustrated hopes, where children learn early and often that they are destined for nothing in particular, and that no one will help. Homes for the aged are ridiculously expensive. Catholicism has a traditional solution to poverty: men and women Religious.
- Young Religious. Most religious communities in the US are fading out. A few are thriving.