Praying the News—the Ultimate in Mature Spirituality?

To be a spiritual adult is to be both mystic (lover) and prophet (one who speaks out about injustice). 

U.S. Attorney General William Barr (Office of Public Affairs, Washington DC)

For several DMs we have been speaking out about the events of the past weeks, including the presidential impeachment hearings; Attorney General William Barr’s appalling diatribe against diversity and separation of church and state; and the election of an Opus Dei bishop to head the American Catholic Bishops Conference. 

All very troubling, not least this Opus Dei prelate’s accession to national power. For the sake of the church, the people, and the nation, questions need to be asked.

My questions to Bishop Gomez continue below.

–Bishop Gomez: When I read about Opus Dei one word that comes to my mind is dour.  I do not sense a lot of joy and playfulness in your sect.  Does Opus Dei teach the virtue that St. Thomas Aquinas calls eutrapelia or play? 

If not, as a fellow priest and your elder, I must warn you that sentimentalism is not a healthy spirituality.  In fact, it is a cover-up for an authentic spirituality of justice and compassion.

The U.S. Capitol Building. Photo by Andy Feliciotti on Unsplash

–Do you and your fellow bishops know the difference between good law and good morality?  Thus a law like Roe vs Wade may be a good law without being perfect morality.  Has that occurred to you and your fellow bishops?  The law does not require any woman at any time or anywhere to have an abortion. 

Rather, it makes it possible that if a woman decides (and it is her decision to make, not that of male politicians) to have an abortion it should happen in as safe a way as possible.  To preserve life! 

The church can inform its members that it does not recommend abortion as a moral choice—but why interfere 1) with non Catholics who make their choices; and 2) Catholics also who may seriously feel they need an abortion but can’t afford to so they would do it secretly and dangerously. 

If the Catholic church is truly “pro-life” shouldn’t it therefore allow for safe abortions (without having to pronounce that an abortion is a good thing)? 

Isn’t that what the distinction between good law and good morality is all about? 

–Do you think male politicians should tell women what to do with their bodies?  If so, why? 

Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador. From the Office for the Canonization Cause of Romero of the San Salvador Archdiocese. Wikimedia Commons.

–Did you celebrate when Archbishop Romero was declared a saint?  As you know, he supported a movement called “preferential option for the poor.”  Neither I nor any other observer of Opus Dei I know has ever seen such a practice among Opus Dei members or teachings but rather a “preferential option for the rich and powerful.” Which option do you prefer? 

Did you rejoice when Romero was canonized?  Did you support him when he was alive?  How many other Opus Dei members so rejoiced?

See Matthew Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, 437f.

Banner image: “Priests.” Image by Javier Ocampo Zuluaga from Pixabay

Queries for Contemplation

Do you practice eutrapelia and play?  Do you do so enough?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way.  The result is exciting!

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8 thoughts on “Praying the News—the Ultimate in Mature Spirituality?”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you for these superb comments about abortion. Another moral issue occurs to me, namely balancing the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion with its silence on planetary overpopulation, much of which it is at least indirectly responsible for.

    Another observation~as a young Franciscan nun in the 60s teaching in a coed Catholic school I witnessed the gruesome aftermath of multiple back-alley and coat-hanger abortions. Such girls often fled to us for fear of going to family. In the seventies I saw the equally devastating effects of the Church’s refusal to allow any method of birth control. In both situations the woman was punished. The sardonic slogan became somewhat common: “If men had the babies, abortion would be a sacrament.”

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Mary,
      Thank you for writing and reminding us of the grim effects of anti-abortion laws and religious badgering. We hear the word abortion so often that these aspects can be forgotten, without reminders such as yours. The consequences you describe rarely get into the conversation, and these are the true effects of such decisions. For women in poverty, the hardships on body, spirit, and family increase exponentially. The fierce misogyny and brutal tactics of the anti-abortionists belie their claim to be upholding family values and the sanctity of life. And therein lies our work.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Dily Meditation Team for family and quality of life. were otherwise respectful ofcherishing of women, and children, I could find a way to try to understand. But mysogeny is .

  2. Avatar

    Excellent post! I hope you hear from Bishop Gomez and that you would post his responses to your questions! Thank you!

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Thank you, John. What a boon it would be if these meditations led to an earnest conversation between Bishop Gomez and Matthew. I, and now others, will carry that hope with you.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for your daily inspiration and for making me feel like I’m not alone- your clear thinking on abortion is so helpful as I struggle with the idea that abortion is wrong, but sometimes a necessary option. I am 70 ( from a family of 6) and never felt any guilt at using birth control because it just made sense. What doesn’t make sense is a bunch of men telling me what I can and can’t do with my body.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Candace,
      Thank you for writing and reminding us that the abortions issue has many aspects. It is not only about the right to choose whether to end a pregnancy, but also about a woman’s right to also choose her own path in life. to decide how many children she can afford to raise well, and to step out from under the bonds of misogynistic victimization. A healthy woman makes healthy choices – for herself, for her family, and for her community.and others.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  4. Avatar

    Yes, abortion may be necessary in some cases and/ but in most cases it’s a consequence of lack of love in the society, in ourselves, in our men. Teaching love is the answer, and to be able to teach it one must embody it. Truth and love are the real answers. I am sad when I hear abortion as a viable option… Abortion is a terrible thing, the body cries, the heart cries … for years. I know.
    So: I am learning to unclutter my psyche, to liberate my heart, to clean my body so that by prayer and longing Love can live at my centre and one day by grace act through me, as me and spread out to where the need is greatest.
    All the best and thank you for your daily meditations.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Annalisa,
      Yes, surely love is the solution to the question of abortion. If we all loved each other. If all men lived with integrity. If there was no misogyny, no rape, no poverty, and no abuse, then the answer might be easy. But these conditions do exist and women are expected to relinquish their own lives, their own souls, their own potential and be give in to the dictates of their societies and religious bodies. This is not someday; this is now. How can love be applied to this situation, at this moment, during the present debate?
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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