Bullies and their Packs, whether Policemen, Churchmen or Politicians

We are considering the toxic masculinity that so often drives bullying. On our television screens police brutality is on display from the police department of Minneapolis–which is overwhelmingly white and male and of whom ninety-two percent live in the suburbs.  Police brutality is showing its face from around the country, while tweets from the White House encourage shooting at looters and “domination” of the streets.

Police officers on the roof of the 3rd Precinct had projectile launchers during a protest over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Wednesday. Photo by Chad Davis on Flickr

I learned firsthand about bullying from many years of being attacked by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger and his henchmen in the upper echelons of the Vatican.  I watched as they bullied others as well as myself.  I had a front row seat one might say in observing how they operated.  As I indicate in my book, The Pope’s War, behind every bully there is a pack.  A pack of cowards.

The police department in Minneapolis, like the curia under Ratzinger and JP II,  has proven itself to house its share of bullies.  

John Paul II and then-cardinal Josef Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Under the JPII papacy, 107 theologians were silenced, expelled from their orders, or banished from the Church.

For good reason did Susan Sontag define fascism as “institutionalized violence.”  Whether it is on display in policing, politics or religion, fascism is a sick masculinity raised to political power.  It is power for power’s sake.  Everything else, truth included, is subservient to it.

Adrienne Rich recognizes an inevitable  ‘fatalistic self-hatred’ embedded in a sick patriarchy.  This too is on full display in high places today.  Why else would millions of Americans (and an entire political party) wallow in denial about climate change?  (Climate change will kill millions.)  Or about the dangers of coronavirus?  (Corona 19 kills.)  Or the dangers of racism?  (Racism kills and murders.) 

Why else would patriarchy preach the gospel of Wall Street whose economic engines are literally killing the earth as we know it (and therefore their grandchildren’s futures) and also main street?  Or wrap itself in language about “pro-life” when it fact its gods are necrophilia and not biophilia? 

Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Donald Trump, authoritarians united in denying climate change, the human rights of their citizens, and the risks of the coronavirus. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour, on Flickr)

Why exalt “Men on top,” and refuse equality between genders?  Why condone white supremacy instead of stand up for “all people are created equal”?  Why does the so-called Supreme Court preach that corporations are people instead of a government of, by and for the people?  Why kill thinking by bringing the inquisition back? 

Surely a “fatalistic self-hatred” lurks behind all these decisions.  Clearly a death wish is at work.  Necrophilia trumps biophilia.

On his deathbed the late psychiatrist Erich Fromm turned to his friend Bob Fox and asked: “Bob, why do humans choose necrophilia over biophilia?”   Why indeed.

Tell us, wise men of the Minneapolis police force who support murderers in your midst.  Tell us, wise men of the CDF who silence theologians but cover up for pedophile clergy.

The rule among sick men seems to be this: Run from truth, flee responsibility, pad one’s pocket, love death, murder others.  Necrophilia on the loose, on the rampage.

No wonder fires rage.

See Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War.

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. xxx-xxxi, 202-209, 243, 273, 343.

Banner Image: Armed and shielded police confront a line of unarmed peaceful protestors at the George Floyd Protest against police brutality in Washington, DC – May 30. Photo by Geoff Livingston on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

How do you understand the choices playing out between biophilia (love of life) over necrophilia (love of death)?  You might make parallel lists of the two options and meditate on them, let them speak to you.

Recommended Reading

The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved

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.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.”   — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II

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7 thoughts on “Bullies and their Packs, whether Policemen, Churchmen or Politicians”

  1. Avatar
    Carmen Rumbaut

    Rev. Fox, thank you for reminding me that I am not the crazy one here. Living in Texas, I am surrounded by a culture of extreme racist, sexist, gun-loving, climate deniers who refuse to wear masks and drive large gas-guzzling pick-up trucks. Your Daily Mediations help me cope. Thank you for all you have done, are doing and are yet to do!!

    1. Avatar

      I am also in North Florida amidst a similar group, although we do have some enlightened folk as well. It is a good idea to reflect on the differences between love of life and love of death, how they manifest, and what we can do to strengthen our choices. Matthew Fox is a man of great courage and wisdom. One thing I think bullies hate is to be laughed at, and sometimes we must do it. Thank God for our comedians and late night show hosts like Stephen Colbert and others who also are not afraid to speak the truth to power.

      1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
        Richard Reich-Kuykendall

        You’re right Sue, humor is healing and it is of the earth “humus”–and as Norman Cousin showed us years ago in his book, ANATOMY OF AN ILLNESS–humor truly heals !!!

    2. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Carmen, we are thankful that we can be there for you, to remind you that “you are not the crazy one here.” No, if your not a racist, sexist, gun-lover, or a climate denier” you stand with us!

  2. Avatar

    The pope’s war
    This was the third book of rev M.Fox I bought I knew there was a lot of skullduggery going on I will use a nice word “skullduggery “
    The pope’s armada unlocking the secrets of mysterious & powerful new sects in the church.
    Opus Dei , legions of Christ , communion and liberation. I was enraged, again I will use nice words don’t want to upset anyone
    I have a love/hate with my church,I have left the Catholic Church about 6 times
    And always found my way back ,,,, not this time
    We have a young parish priest 38 he became a parish priest aged 32 my god I’ve got whiskey oldest than that
    This young man is like someone from the last century Pius 1X out went the spirit of Vatican 11 ,in came pre Vatican 11 Latin mass , hymns in Latin A mysoginist a control freak
    I recommend this book
    Stay safe, I’ll use a nice word
    Love to all

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Billy, thanks for your recommendation of Matthew’s book, The Pope’s War, it does uncover a lot of “skullduggery” in the Church because it is a matter of truth, and the truth is important, and must be said.

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