Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 11 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Ignatius of Laconi
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Is the Pope’s “Accent on Mercy” the Solution to the Culture Wars?

© Antoine Mekary / Aleteia

Catherine Ruth Pakaluk - published on 10/16/14

These lines confirm the idea that the working out of the pastoral tension between law and grace via mercy is precisely what the Synod is up to. In this light, one could propose an analogy of the following sort. Just as Vatican II proposed a posture of ecumenism after centuries of religious wars, perhaps this explicit "accent on mercy" is meant to address the real and painful culture wars of the last several decades – the "coming apart" which corresponds to patterns of family life more than to any other political or ideological factor. (See Lesthaeghe and Neidert for evidence on this.)

It could be that the Holy Father is a revolutionary after all, in search of a new kind of ecumenism to heal the division between left and right. We’ve grown so used to it that all we can do now is squint through our tired lenses of division –and we see the Synod itself through the same tired glasses. But this isn’t a wise path. The Church cannot be understood through categories of human chaos. She is rather the only lifeline out of the chaos – the only institution that can credibly promise a path to unity.

Catherine Ruth Pakalukis an Assistant Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University, a Faculty Research Fellow at the Stein Center for Social Research, and a Senior Fellow in Economics at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. Her research is focused in the areas of demography, gender, family studies, and the economics of education and religion.She also works on the interpretation and history of Catholic social thought. Dr. Pakaluk earned her doctorate in economics at Harvard University (2010). She lives in Ave Maria, Florida with her husband Michael and seven children.

  • 1
  • 2
MarriagePope FrancisPracticing Mercy
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima for healing and strength
Philip Kosloski
What are the 4 different parts of the Mass?
Sarah Robsdottir
Dad’s priceless reaction to newborn goes viral
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Saints to help if Mother’s Day is hard
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.