Pope Francis, Anxiety and College Theology

Essay by James Ball, Ph.D., J.D.

It’s a matter of record that many of our students experience mental health crises and come to our classrooms fragile. Completely unrelated to that reality is the fact that Spring 2023 marks the 10-year anniversary of Pope Francis’s papacy, which has teemed with his tackling issues that matter deeply to people, and with as many reactions to his assertions as there are listeners. Theologian and Collegium alum James Ball (St. Mary’s University, Texas) brings the two unrelated facts together in this brief essay in which he reports what happened when he and his undergraduate students explored the question “can someone experiencing debilitating mental anxiety profit from reading a papal exhortation called Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad)?