Steven P. Millies: Our World Needs All Hands on Deck

Season 2, Episode 2 of Messy Jesus Business, hosted by Sister Julia Walsh



In Season 2, Episode 2, Sister Julia Walsh talks with Steven P. Millies about the believer’s role in our highly-politicized ecosystem.

Steven P. Millies

“One of the things that I’ve come to understand…is that our life inside the church is political,” Millies says. “And I want to be very clear about what I mean by that. Politics is not the partisanship, it’s not the division, it’s not the polarization. Politics is the human hope for the common good unearthed through discourse and dialogue. It’s the building of community.”

Millies continues, “I think it’s terribly important…for everyone we speak to, to understand clearly that this is a world that needs all hands on deck…and it certainly needs all believers.”

We also dive down into the interplay of sin and polarities, the importance of trusting in Divine timing and our jobs as Catholics working on the assembly line on the project of building God’s reign. We’ll discuss how liturgy and rituals of Church and politics build bonds. And, believe it or not, we talk about sports too!


Sister Julia’s recent Global Sisters Report column is related to the conversation in this episode and suggests that the solution to polarities and social sin are within the people of God. Click here to read her column, “Democracy is collapsing, but let’s imagine how the church could change that.”


Steven P. Millies is Director of The Bernardin Center and associate professor of public theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. During the fall 2020 semester he is the Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ Visiting Fellow in Catholic Studies at Loyola University Chicago’s Joan & Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage. His most recent book was Good Intentions: A History of Catholic Voters’ Road from Roe to Trump.

Our Contemplative Moment in this episode of Messy Jesus Business is taken from a new encyclical letter from Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti.

“For these reasons, the Church, while respecting the autonomy of political life, does not restrict her mission to the private sphere. On the contrary, “she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines” in the building of a better world, or fail to “reawaken the spiritual energy” that can contribute to the betterment of society. It is true that religious ministers must not engage in the party politics that are the proper domain of the laity, but neither can they renounce the political dimension of life itself, which involves a constant attention to the common good and a concern for integral human development. The Church “has a public role over and above her charitable and educational activities”. She works for “the advancement of humanity and of universal fraternity”. She does not claim to compete with earthly powers, but to offer herself as “a family among families, this is the Church, open to bearing witness in today’s world, open to faith hope and love for the Lord and for those whom he loves with a preferential love. A home with open doors. The Church is a home with open doors, because she is a mother”. And in imitation of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, “we want to be a Church that serves, that leaves home and goes forth from its places of worship, goes forth from its sacristies, in order to accompany life, to sustain hope, to be the sign of unity… to build bridges, to break down walls, to sow seeds of reconciliation.” (FT 276)

MESSY JESUS BUSINESS is produced, hosted and edited by Sister Julia Walsh with production assistance from Charish Badzinski.

Email us at messyjesusbusiness@gmail.com


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