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For religious believers, these are anxious times, with a toxic political environment for the nation and confusion within our own communities of faith. That’s not a new thing, nor should it worry us unduly. Every age has its conflicts and failures of leadership; what matters is how we deal with them. Today’s difficulties challenge each of us to respond with prudence, intelligence, and a spirit of goodwill grounded in first principles.  

We have the privilege of building and rebuilding a public square shaped by justice and mercy in their proper balance. Holy (and holier) clergy will make a difference in that work, but it’s laypeople who are decisive; they plant and cultivate the faith in their children, they encourage family and friends, and they do it through the strength of their own faith and engagement with the world. We—all of us, clergy and lay—need all the help we can get. First Things magazine is a tremendous resource in that task.  

The coming year, 2020, marks the 30th anniversary of the First Things founding. And across all three decades, I’ve been an avid First Things reader for a simple reason: No religious journal of public affairs matches its breadth of issues and contributors, depth of intelligence, and elegant readability. It’s the best such journal anywhere.

First Things is a nonprofit effort of mind and heart. It’s uniquely rich in substance, but it needs and deserves our generous financial support to continue and grow its vital work. Please remember it in your year-end giving, and in your generosity throughout 2020.

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop of Philadelphia.

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