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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/14/22

Is America Falling Apart at the Seams? (REVIEW ESSAY)

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Pope Francis Visits the United States Capitol
Pope Francis Visits the United States Capitol
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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) January 14, 2022: The self-described conservative columnist David Brooks has published an alarming column titled "America Is Falling Apart at the Seams" in the New York Times (dated January 13, 2022):

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Brooks has collected together a good number of disturbing reports. He also says, "But something darker and deeper seems to be happening as well - a long-term loss of solidarity, a long-term rise in estrangement and hostility. This is what it feels like to live in a society that is dissolving from the bottom up as much as from the top down."

In addition, Brooks says, "When President Donald Trump signaled it was OK to hate marginalized groups, a lot of people were bound to see that as permission [to hate marginalized groups]."

Finally, Brooks says, "But there must also be some spiritual or moral problem at the core of this. Over the past several years, and over a wide range of different behaviors, Americans have been acting in fewer pro-social and relational ways and in more anti-social and self-destructive ways. But why? As a columnist, I'm supposed to have some answers. But I just don't right now. I just know the situation is dire."

Now, as to why these various concerning things are happening, I think that it suffices to say, as Brooks says, "there must be some spiritual or moral problem at the core of this" trend of Americans "acting in fewer pro-social and relational ways and in more anti-social and self-destructive ways."

However, if "some spiritual or moral problem is at the core of this [trend]," then a spiritual or moral solution would seem to be called for, eh?

Now, to the best of his ability, the doctrinally conservative Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, has been urging his co-religionists to a spiritual and moral development of their religious faith. However, his spiritual and moral urgings have been met with vociferous opposition by many conservative American Catholics.

The Italian philosophy professor Massimo Borghesi has written a new book about their opposition to Pope Francis titled Catholic Discordance: Neoconservatism vs. the Field Hospital Church of Pope Francis, translated by Barry Hudock (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press Academic, 2021).

I have discussed Borghesi's new 2021 book in my 3,500-word OEN article "Massimo Borghesi's New Book Catholic Discordance" (dated January 5, 2022):

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I have profiled the doctrinally conservative Pope Francis in my OEN article "Pope Francis on Evil and Satan" (dated March 24, 2019):

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Now, for an explanation of what Pope Francis means by the Field Hospital Church that Borghesi refers to in the subtitle of his new 2021 book, I will turn to Cardinal Blase' Cupich's cogent entry on the "Field Hospital" in the book A Pope Francis Lexicon, edited by Joshua McElwee and Cindy Wooden (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2018, pages 72-74). Cardinal Cupich is the Archbishop of Chicago.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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