TalkUp Tuesdays

According to Mirriam Webster, "Talk up" means "to speak plainly or directly."  The concept is what Pope Francis described as speaking with "parrhesia." FutureChurch will host daytime conversations regarding current events during our TalkUp Tuesday Series.  We will meet with experts in the know and discuss an important and timely topic together.  We know many Catholics stay informed about happenings in the Catholic Church.  This is place to share your opinions about those matters with one another in the Spirit of faith, frankness, and courage.  

This will be an informal setting where a short presentation will be followed by lively conversation among those present.    



Tuesday, April 3, 2021 at 12 noon ET
Steven Millies, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Theology and Director of The Bernandin Center at Catholic Theological Union discusses Catholic journalism, ethical standards and the publication of The Pillar investigation into the now former general secretary of the USCCB, Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill.  


The Pillar, a Catholic publication, recently released what it called "an investigation" in which data identifying Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill's phone seemed to indicate he had frequently used Grindr, a popular dating app in the gay community, and that he had left geolocation tracks to and from gay clubs.  As a result of their "investigation", the USCCB issued a statement that Msgr. Burrill had resigned from his role as general secretary of the USCCB.  

Steve Millies writes that The Pillar violated both journalistic and ethical standards in its "investigation" with damaging, homophobic innuendo that is part of a broader strategy of the well-monied Catholic conservative forces to assert their anti-Francis agenda.  This tabloid-like journalism strikes a new, foreboding low in these tactics.

As a contributor to Religion News Service, Millies writes:

I feel comfortably sure that before they [The Pillar] embarked on their "investigation," they must not have thought about the Code of Canon Law, which states, "No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy."

They must also not have thought about the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which says, "everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way" because "detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity." I can see plainly they did not heed St. Paul, who pointed the finger at himself as a sinner (1 Timothy 1:15) before pointing to others.

Whatever we may say of their practice of Catholicism, The Pillar's investigators paid little heed also to the canons of ethics for journalists. How did they get their story? The Society for Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics encourages journalists to "avoid using undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information" and admonishes that "Pursuit of the news is not a license for … undue intrusiveness." What story did they get here? That Burrill might have broken his vow of chastity and (consensually) used other people for impersonal sex? The Code of Ethics also tells journalists to "avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do." And perhaps more importantly, it says, "avoid stereotyping." There we also need to pay some attention.

Join us as we discuss the particulars of The Pillar article and the increasingly agressive tactics of conservative Catholic funders to undermine the work of Pope Francis.  

Biography:  Steven Milliies, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Public Theology and Director of The Bernardin Center.  His scholarship explores the Catholic church’s relationship to politics in a perspective that embraces history, theology, law, ethics, sociology, philosophy, and political theory.  As Pope Francis has called for a “politics which is farsighted and capable of a new, integral, and interdisciplinary approach,” Millies’s work resists seeing politics only as a conflict over individual interests. Instead, in Pope Francis’s words, politics expresses our “conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for each other and the world.” 

Millies studied political theory at The Catholic University of America, completing his degree with a study of religion in British statesman Edmund Burke’s political ideas.  Before coming to CTU, he was associate professor of political science at the University of South Carolina Aiken where he held the Strom Thurmond Endowed Chair in Political Science.

Millies is a member of several learned societies, including the Association for Political Theory, the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the Society of Christian Ethics.  As well, he participates in the International Thomas Merton Society, the Eric Voegelin Society, and he is the secretary for the Edmund Burke Society of America.  His book, Joseph Bernardin: Seeking Common Ground (Liturgical Press, 2016), won first place in the biography category for the Catholic Press Association’s 2017 Book Awards, and he has contributed to several periodicals and journals that include America, Commonweal, the National Catholic Reporter, and U.S. Catholic.  During the fall 2020 semester, he was the Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ Visiting Fellow in Catholic Studies at Loyola University Chicago’s Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.


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Past discussions

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 12 Noon ET 
Christopher Lamb of The Tablet talked about Catholic responses to Pope Francis's efforts to restrict the Latin Mass.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at 12 Noon ET
National Catholic Reporter Christopher White spoke about the USCCB's Efforts to Exclude Select Catholic Polititians from the Eucharist

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 12 noon ET
Christian Weisner of We Are Church Germany spoke about on "The Resignation of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Pope Francis's Decision to Keep Him on, and What it Means for the German Synod and Reform in the German Catholic Church.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at Noon ET
Sr. Christine Schenk, CSJ reflected on the New Penal Code and Its Impact on Ordaining Women to the Diaconate

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 12 noon ET
Marie Collins spoke about the new Penal Code and its Potential for Combatting Clergy Sex Abuse and the Cover up

***Additional sessions forthcoming. After registering just once below, we will send you updates about future presentations and links to join.*** 

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