Here are CatholicVote’s Top 10 Reasons for Hope in 2015. Please share your reasons in the comments!
10. Pro-Life Victories in the House and Senate
For the first time ever, the House of Representatives voted to pass a federal law banning abortions after 20-weeks, as did a majority of Senators. The bill fell short, sadly, of the 60 yes votes needed to advance the bill to the President’s desk. Many good candidates chose to run this year so there is an opportunity in 2016 to elect a pro-life President and Congress.
9. Dominican Friars Prepare to Celebrate 800 Years
The Dominican Friars (Order of Preachers) were founded in 1216 by Saint Dominic. Today the order has 3,000 nuns in 209 monasteries; 6,000 brothers in 602 friaries; more than 40,000 apostolic sisters in more than 119 congregations and 150,000 lay-members. Their Eastern Province here in the United States continues to experience an outpouring of young vocations.
8. Local Catholics Support Archbishop Cordileone
Already despised in some quarters for his efforts to uphold marriage, Archbishop of San Francisco Salvatore Cordileone was hounded for months by secular and liberal activists like Sam Singer when he required Catholic High School teachers to abide by church teaching. But despite constant vilification by the media and even local elected officials, the Catholics of the area stood by him, organizing prayer rallies and a picnic for him in May!
7. Little Sisters of the Poor Fight the HHS Mandate
The Little Sisters of the Poor have served the elderly and dying poor in America since 1868, and now run 30 homes across the United States. For three years the Little Sisters have bravely stood up for their First Amendment rights in court by seeking relief from the HHS Mandate of Obamacare, which would force crippling fines on them for following their conscience. On November 6th of this year, the Supreme Court announced they will hear their case in 2016.
6. Christians Come to the Aid of Their Brothers and Sisters in the Middle East
Moved by the horrible persecution and displacement of Christians in the Middle East, Christians around the world have offered up prayers and aid to help their brothers and sisters in faith. The Knights of Columbus Christian Refugee Relief Fund has given more than $4.5 million in aid this year, while other groups are fighting for Christians in the Middle East to be granted genocide status by the United States. Some Americans have even volunteered to fight ISIS overseas.
5. Millions are Exposed to the Truth About Planned Parenthood
Undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials bartering over the price of fetal remains shocked the consciences of many Americans, hastening the day when America chooses life. Though the mainstream media tried to bury the story, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina raised the visibility of the videos and Congress has opened an investigation. This year, more than one abortion clinic closed per week. We learned that 81% of surgical abortion centers have closed since 1991 and that abortions are at an all-time low since Roe.
4. Church Teaching Upheld at Synod of Bishops
Notwithstanding a deeply flawed midterm report and constant distortions by the media, the final Synod Report approved by the bishops from around the world is strong and clear on such contentious issues as homosexuality and reaffirms the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, restating that mercy and truth are inseparable in the law and practice of the Church. While marriage and family continue to face huge challenges throughout the world, the Church will continue to uphold the sanctity of these precious gifts.
3. Canonization of Louis and Zelie Martin
On October 18th, Pope Francis canonized the first married couple in modern times. Though four of their children died as infants, the surviving five daughters all became nuns, including their youngest, St. Therese of Lisieux. Both miracles associated with Louis and Zelie’s canonization involved the miraculous recovery of newborns with life-ending maladies. Pope Francis said the Martins “practiced Christian service in the family, creating day by day an environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their daughters.”
2. Pope Francis Launches Jubilee Year of Mercy
On December 8th, the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis opened the Holy Doors in Rome and inaugurated an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy centered on the theme “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” During this year, Catholics are called to focus on spiritual and corporal works of mercy, make a pilgrimage to Rome or another holy place, and frequent the Sacrament of Confession. Lent in particular should be embraced as an opportunity to seek and rejoice in God’s mercy.
1. Pope Francis Touches Hearts and Minds During Papal Visit
Pope Francis’ September visit to the United States was greeted with anticipation and enthusiasm, and did not disappoint. He became the first Pope to address Congress and canonized St. Junipero Serra, calling us all to be missionaries. While the Mass at the World Meeting of Families was his largest event and his address to the United Nations the most anticipated, it was emotional moments during the Festival of Families and his personal encounters with the homeless and less fortunate that most strongly resonated with millions of Catholics and other Americans.
Share your reasons for hope in the comments!