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Gomez, portray Catholics as victims, goes after his woke oppressors

(RNS) — In a video speech to a global convention in Spain on Thursday (Nov. 4), Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops, attacked social justice actions, id politics and intersectionality, in addition to “wokeness” and “successor ideology,” as “pseudo-religions.”

“They supply individuals with an evidence for occasions and situations on the earth,” the archbishop advised the Congress of Catholics and Public Life, assembly in Madrid. “They provide a way of that means, a goal for residing, and the sensation of belonging to a group.”

Abandoning the time period “social justice” to these he considers enemies of faith is shocking, contemplating the lengthy historical past of the church’s social educating. It must be equally shocking that Gomez didn’t have something damaging to say about libertarian capitalism or rugged individualism, quintessential American heresies which were critiqued by Catholic social educating.

Gomez, however, believes “the easiest way for the Church to know the brand new social justice actions is to know them as pseudo-religions, and even replacements and rivals to conventional Christian beliefs.”


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These pseudo-religions inform a narrative of humanity, Gomez stated, during which “We can not know the place we got here from, however we’re conscious that we have now pursuits in frequent with those that share our pores and skin coloration or our place in society.”

He criticizes the adherents to those actions for pondering “We’re additionally painfully conscious that our group is struggling and alienated, via no fault of our personal. The reason for our unhappiness is that we’re victims of oppression by different teams in society. We’re liberated and discover redemption via our fixed battle towards our oppressors, by waging a battle for political and cultural energy within the title of making a society of fairness.”

Though he makes a short point out of George Floyd and racial and financial inequality, he shortly strikes on to his critique of those new actions with out saying something constructive about Black Stay Matter. Black Catholic leaders, such because the Rev. Bryan Massingale, a Fordham College theologian, expressed “dismay and disbelief” on the speech.

Likewise, Tobias Winright of St. Louis College thought Gomez’s remarks appeared at odds with the U.S. bishops’ 2018 pastoral letter, “Open Wide Our Hearts,” which inspired openness and dialogue with others working towards racism. That doc stated:

To work at ending racism, we have to interact the world and encounter others — to see, perhaps for the primary time, those that are on the peripheries of our personal restricted view. We should invite into dialogue these we ordinarily wouldn’t search out. We should work to type relationships with these we’d usually attempt to keep away from. This calls for that we transcend ourselves, opening our minds and hearts to worth and respect the experiences of those that have been harmed by the evil of racism. Love additionally requires us to ask a change of coronary heart in those that could also be dismissive of different’s experiences.

What we get from Gomez, nevertheless, is condemnation, not dialogue.

On this picture taken from video, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Convention of Catholic Bishops, addresses the physique’s digital meeting on June 16, 2021. (USCCB through AP)

“Relatively than selecting fights with potential dialogue companions and allies for social justice,” stated Winright, “the actually severe risk posed by violent white nationalism must be addressed with extra emphasis.”

“Bishop Gomez’s remarks,” Winright worries, “raise fairly than decrease the bridge over the moat dividing U.S. Catholics and up to date actions within the U.S. in search of to construct ‘a extra excellent union’ with true liberty and social justice for all.”


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Creighton College Professor Daniel DiLeo, whose research confirmed that American bishops haven’t supported the pope’s educating on local weather change, sees this speech as an indication of the huge hole separating the American bishops from the social educating of Francis and earlier popes.

“This assertion is a direct repudiation of the World Assembly of Fashionable Actions, which Pope Francis based to encourage collaborative work for social justice between Catholic and secular organizations,” stated DiLeo. “These sentiments are inconsistent with so many magisterial paperwork that remember ‘individuals of goodwill’ who work alongside Catholics for social justice.”

Lisa Fullam, professor of ethical theology on the Jesuit College of Theology of Santa Clara College, sees a elementary theological error on the core of the speech.

Whereas the archbishop believes that these social actions “deny the soul, the non secular, transcendent dimension of human nature,” Fullam stated, Gomez appears to neglect that “In Catholic custom, the human particular person is a body-soul composite, an inextricable union of physique and soul.”

“However our bodies are inevitably explicit,” she famous. “We’re gendered, raced, affected by our environments, and so forth., in ways in which inflect our souls and our spirituality in addition to our our bodies. To explain social justice actions that serve us in our explicit incarnate actuality as in some way opposite to the Gospel is just benighted.” 

Gomez started his speech by blaming the secularization and de-Christianization of Europe and America on the elites “in cost in companies, governments, universities, the media, and within the cultural {and professional} institutions.”

Whereas there isn’t a doubt that a few of these leaders are antagonistic towards Christianity, this conspiracy view of historical past leaves no room for the errors or sins of the church, which incessantly had been the reason for antagonism towards the church.

Thus, Gomez is responsible of the very perspective he places within the mouths of others: “We’re additionally painfully conscious that our group is struggling and alienated, via no fault of our personal. The reason for our unhappiness is that we’re victims of oppression by different teams in society.”

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