Welcome to Empathy Media Lab’s Belief Street where we’ll be exploring religious concepts through text and scripture, interviews and profiles, and documentaries and films.
So why do I want to explore religious concepts even though I haven’t been a practicing Catholic for over two decades?
Well, first, I’m appalled at the hypocrites who have hijacked Jesus’ teachings to love our neighbor and treat people the way we want to be treated.
And as an outsider looking into the internal politics of the Catholic Church, it appears to me that there is civil war raging between a progressive Pope Francis and a very dangerous reactionary faction that sides with the hypocrites previously mentioned.
Ultimately, the outcome of this battle will determine whether it is fear or love that organizes the Holy See.
For this series of Belief Street, I’ll be reading Fratelli Tutti, which is Pope Francis’ Encyclical subtitled "on fraternity and social friendship.”
The encyclical calls for more human fraternity and solidarity, and is a plea to reject wars.
The document was signed on October 3rd 2020, on the occasion of Pope Francis's visit to the tomb of his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, and was published the following day, on the saint's feast day.
The Catholic Church I went to growing up in Muskegon, Michigan was called St. Francis De Sales and it is one of the strangest concrete structures I’ve ever seen.
The Sunday experience in that brutalist architectural design made a lasting impression on me that I plan to discuss in coming episodes.
Almost twenty years ago, I also had the pleasure of visiting the town of Assisi in Italy during a solo backpacking trip across Europe at the beginning of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
After a day of exploration, I found a modest campsite at Fontemaggio Assisi not far from the town center, ate a delicious pasta meal with some local red wine, and I still remember that night sleeping on the side a mountain on a clear evening, looking up at the sky and thinking about the deeper questions of our life.
So with an interest in getting back to my roots, I’ll be reading Fratelli Tutti, introduction and chapter 1.