Community: Further Questions for Supreme Court Nominee

In yesterday’s post, we continued exploring Community and the common good, asking seven searching questions about the new supreme court nominee’s religious beliefs.* We continue where we left off:

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, 2018. Photo by Rachel Malehorn on Wikimedia Commons

8) In 2016 you argued against filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election time because “when the court is seen as a political tool, it loses its legitimacy to announce the laws of the land.”  Do you still believe this? 

Numerous Republican senators said something similar in 2016 and have reversed themselves in 2020.  Does that hypocrisy bother you? 

Instead of voting on your nomination now, wouldn’t it be better for the court and its legitimacy to await the judgement of the next president?  Will doing otherwise render you a hypocrite also? 

9) Saint Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the Church, says that “a mistake about creation results in a mistake about God.”  He spent his whole life bringing the best scientist of his day (Aristotle) into the Christian faith.  The church made huge mistakes condemning science in the time of Copernicus and Galileo and we were promised, 500 years later by Pope John Paul II, that it wouldn’t happen again.  Yet it has happened in the discussion of gay and lesbian rights. 

GAY COUNTER DEMONSTRATION to March for Marriage Rally in front of the US Supreme Court, 6/19/2014. Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.

Fifty years ago, scientists informed us that any given human population will have an 8-11% gay population.  Being gay is perfectly natural for gay people and 494 other species have gay populations.  Why, then, would any thoughtful Catholic deny gay, lesbian and transgender people their rights as human beings, including the right to marry, at least civilly?

2014 pie chart of religious populations in the U.S. Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Delphi234

10)  Our constitution promises a separation of church and state.  Since 80% of the American population is not Catholic, you will respect religious diversity, won’t you? 

11)  You belong to a mélange of Protestant and Catholics in a small charismatic community.  It is my experience that charismatics rarely ever count the struggle for justice for the poor and oppressed as part of their religious consciousness.  Charismatic groups in South America very often embraced right wing political demagogues.

“No Man Should Comply With an Immoral Law.” Painting of Oscar Romero, S.J. at the 24th Street Mission, San Francisco, CA. Photo by Eric E Castro on Flickr.

What does the canonization of Saint Oscar Romero mean to you and your community?  How does his struggle on behalf of the poor resonate with your version of Christianity? 

12)  Does the ecumenism which you practice in your small charismatic sect extend to other religions–rights of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Native Americans, Atheists, and others?

Does your ecumenism also extend to members of the Roman Catholic Church such as Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and others?  Will you come to their defense when noisy media pundits accuse Democrats of being “anti-Catholic”?

On the last leg of his Latin American tour in 2015, Pope Francis referred to unfettered capitalism as “dung of the devil.” Uploaded to YouTube by CNN.

13) Do the recent revelations of how we modest citizens pay far more taxes than millionaire presidents and also how vast international corporations pay no taxes and how the 2017 tax “reform” let many billionaires reduce their taxes affect your religious sensibilities about justice and the poor? 

Does a promise that ours is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people?” correspond to the kind of economic system that is currently running our country?  How do you put into practice Pope Francis’ warnings about Wall Street and the idolatry of money? 

*In E. J. Dionne has written a thoughtful article about the nominee’s religious background in response to right wing yelling about “anti-catholicism.”  Amy Coney Barrett and the GOP’s hypocrisy about religion

See Matthew Fox, Letters to Pope Francis;

Also see Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion.

A fuller version of this Public Letter can be found in}

Banner Image: “Protest in front of the US Supreme Court, 1/30/2017” Photo by Geoff Livingston on Flickr..

Meditate on the questions above.  What do they say to you?  What other questions would you pose to this supreme court nominee?

Letters to Pope Francis

Matthew Fox challenges the new Pope to live up to the promise of his namesake St. Francis and reshape a church that has been mired in corruption and bereft of authentic spirituality and rigorous theological debate. Former Dominican priest Matthew Fox presents a series of heartfelt letters to his brother in Christ about the great challenges facing the church today, drawing from the deep spiritual and theological sources that have been suppressed since Vatican II, and implores him to restore the sensus fidelium (the sense of the faithful) and reshape a church with justice and compassion.

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

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5 thoughts on “Community: Further Questions for Supreme Court Nominee”

  1. Avatar

    I am so grateful for these clear questions, Matthew, and I hope you will send them directly to the Judiciary Committee and Amy Coney Barrett herself. I am sending them to many people who do not get your Daily Meditations. I worked with you very briefly in Omaha at at time when the bishops thought they could be the generator of Catholic television programming (instead of Mother Angelica) and before you were ex-communicated. You have become a very important and necessary resource and touchstone for me. Thank you!

  2. Avatar
    Anne Marie Raftery

    Rev. Dr. Matthew: Thank you for highlighting St. Oscar Romero who
    allowed the poor with their lives to teach/remind him of Jesus’ core
    Gospel teachings. I can only hope that a brilliant woman, Amy Barrett ,
    will likewise be open to a change of heart and conscience for the sake
    of the poor and all people in America. Your message well done!

    1. Richard E Reich

      Anne, and you can bet your life that we too “can only hope that Amy Barrett, will likewise be open to a change of heart and conscience for the sake of the poor and all people in America.” Thank you also for your support!

  3. Avatar

    Here in Scotland in the 1970s I was involved with the Catholic charismatic renewal,it exploded onto the scene within 10 years nearly every parish community has its own group , it was dynamite full of enthusiasm, joy,love,yes perhaps our hearts ruled our heads there was no political ajender right or left ,we believe the Holy Spirit was truly at work and the spirit of Vatican 11 was at work in our communities
    we had justice & peace group’s,liturgy groups , house masses , soup kitchens ,etc I could go on our community was thriving you may ask so what happened “ billy”
    I’ll tell you
    our bishops didn’t like this charasmatic thing , so they brought over front America “ renew “ professional educational priest to educate us on strict orthodox teaching within several years here in Scotland was 10 million pounds in debt it’s took years to pay of , there was a third collection at all masses the goodwill of the people of Scotland dug deep and bailed out the church. Now 2020 every thing is gone
    a bit like liberation theology in Latin America
    total apathy in our communities, my church full of old people ( god bless them ) doing there thing ( piety)
    for me community is dead the parishes are dead
    bishops saw to that
    I blame them ,
    lay people have no say in our community, I’m sorry if this sound like sour grapes, perhaps new community groups will rise up from the ashes ?
    Take care
    stay safe
    love billy

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