We are considering the role of the prophet—and we are all called to be prophetic from time to time. It is integral to the spiritual life of adults. We have remarked how, as Audre Lorde showed us this week, we cannot be silent. Thomas Aquinas says the same thing, that the prophets spoke out even when it was inconvenient or disturbing.
Which brings me to some ecclesial news of this past week. Something we ought not be silent about—and by “we” I mean everyone with a conscience–Roman Catholics for sure but everyone else as well.
Last week we were told that the National Conference of Bishops in the United States declared their number one issue is…abortion! Really? Are they aware how many entire species are being exterminated and extinguished by Climate Change alone? That’s a lot of abortions. And human extermination and vast migrations will follow in their wake. That is a lot of homicides as well.
And the droughts and floods and loss of farm land suggests many will die and hunger will explode. Wouldn’t it seem that Climate Change ought to be the number one moral issue of our time? Isn’t this what Pope Francis taught in his encyclical hailed by scientists and activists alike, Laudato Si – not to mention his plans to include a definition of ecological sins in the church’s official teaching?
In related news, the same group of religious leaders elected Los Angeles archbishop Jose H. Gomez as head of their organization. I do not know Bishop Gomez personally but I DO know something of the institute to which he has belonged for years, namely the Opus Dei. I have studied it and written about it at some length in my book The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved. It should give one pause that an Opus Dei member now watches over the entire episcopal conference.
Following are a few choice items about Opus Dei with some questions for Bishop Gomez.
- The founder of Opus Dei, Jose Escriva was a card-carrying fascist priest and members of his institute happily ruled Spain with dictator Generalissimo Franco serving for many years on his cabinet. Question for Bishop Gomez: Do you believe fascism is compatible with the teachings of Jesus?
- Escriva was a rabid sexist who treated women with contempt and tirades of abuse. His female secretary of seven years who wrote a book about him was forbidden to speak at his canonization process and tell the stories she experienced and observed. Bishop Gomez: Have you distanced yourself from the sexism of your founder? If so, what proof do American Catholics have of that distancing?
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, p. 106-124.
Banner image: “Bishops at a Papal Funeral” Photo by zeekslider on Wikimedia Commons
For Deeper Contemplation
It is not always easy to “pray the news” or to meditate on it. But it is a serious responsibility from time to time. Clearly Jesus took on religious leaders in his day with very strong language. We sometimes have to do the same even while toning down the language some. Be with the silence of not knowing. Let this silence feed your caring.
The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic christianity. Matthew Fox presents insights from his 12-year, up-close-and-personal battle with Ratzinger, tracing the historical roots of degradation in the Church and offering a new way to understand why Benedict XVI is now mired in crisis as Pope. Fox then outlines his vision for a new Catholicism-one that is not Vatican-based but truly universal, celebrating critical thinking, diversity, and justice.