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Br. Steve Herro's Blog


Br. Steve HerroBr. Steve Herro, O. Praem., professed solemn vows to the Community of St. Norbert Abbey in 1991. For several years, he headed the justice and peace ministry of St. Norbert Abbey and presently serves as Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, VA. His current ministry connects him to national Catholic issues and Church ministers throughout the country.

DISCLAIMER: This blog represents Br. Herro's own opinions and experiences. It does not represent an official position or opinion of neither of the organizations, St. Norbert Abbey nor Catholic Charities USA, nor of any of the organizations' members.

September 1, 2014
Entry #31: "What do the Donald Sterling, ISIS overruns, and unaccompanied youth crises have in common?"

by Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

Curtis and I visit several times a week. He is not a social worker from our Catholic Charities office, a Jesuit priest from my parish, nor a theologian with whom I live at The Catholic University of America. He does not have his own blog and he is not part of the Washington K Street power scene, but I find his wisdom quite remarkable. A middle-aged African-American male, he has had his share of hard knocks and adventures in his life while growing up in Philadelphia, in the U.S. military, one failed marriage, and now as a food service worker in Washington, D.C.

A recent conversation between the two of us resonated with Pope Francis’ ten commandments for a happy life. Curtis is a great one for #8, "Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down.’ Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy." I think that he was the only person who I heard speak of the controversy surrounding former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling without throwing him under the bus. As Curtis said, "Who am I to judge?"

I was reminded of Principle #9 one Saturday in early August. Our Pax Christi and Washington Catholic Worker House were marking the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We shared sidewalk space in front of the White House with internationals who were demonstrating for the rights and protection of Iraqi religious minorities, the Yazidis and Christians. "Obama, Obama, we need more. Save our children..."

In the words of Pope Francis’ ninth principle to happiness, "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes, ‘I am talking to you in order to persuade you.’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing."

And while we are at it, do you think that drug cartels would have taken hold in Latin America and have had such a tremendous impact on the unaccompanied youth crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border if Pope Francis’ Sixth Principle, "We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities, they will get into drugs," would have received more consideration?



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