A recent article in the National Catholic Reporter (a mildly progressive lay-run Catholic newspaper) reported that Pope Francis clearly worries about America. The U.S. church has ‘a very strong reactionary attitude,’ he told a group of Jesuits last year. ‘Being backward-looking is useless.’*

“Pope Francis speaks to Norah O’Donnell about Ukraine, church scandals, migrant crisis.” CBS Mornings

Pope Francis is being interviewed by an American woman journalist on 60 Minutes this Sunday. It will be interesting to see how he addresses the American church’s “very strong reactionary attitude.” Some ecclesial fur might be flying. 

It is no secret why the Pope himself can complain that the American church appears “backward-looking” and “useless.” The two popes before him, reigning for 34 years, went out of their way to elevate the influence of Opus Dei and its fascist founder Escriva for whom they changed the rules to rush through the quickest canonization in history. 

They also picked young bishops who were from the fascist wing of the church—one of whom, an Opus Dei member, was elected head of the American Catholic Bishops organization. Such prelates are out of tune with Pope Francis.

“40th anniversary of the assassination of St Oscar Romero.” Vatican News – English

The previous Vatican’s opposition to Archbishop (now Saint) Oscar Romero is well documented, and of course they made it a priority to dismantle liberation theology and base communities throughout South America. They “killed theology” in Europe, a European theologian told me, and silenced over 108 theologians worldwide (myself included) whom I name in my book, The Pope’s War. They replaced it with a sentimental theology of which the converse side is, as Carl Jung observes, always violence.

Super-right Catholics with their super-right rich capitalist financial supporters, such as the founder of Domino’s Pizza, are out of synch with the current pope also. Busy sponsoring events like a $1000-a-plate-dinner at Mar-a-Lago called “Catholic Prayer for Trump,” they are eager as beavers to embrace Donald Trump, along with conspiracy theories. As with politics, religion too is often primed to “Follow the money.” 

“Leonard Leo gets $1.6 billion in political dark money | On Balance.” NewsNation

Speaking of “following the money,” Opus Dei activist Leonardo Leo, who handpicked our six far-right supreme court judges who dismantled Roe v Wade, is now a billionaire himself. Leo is seen smoking cigars with Clarence Thomas and his billionaire Texan sugar daddy in a painting at the latter’s mansion. 

Leo and his chosen six appear completely unbothered by the dire results of 12-year-old rape victims being forbidden relief; women with troublesome pregnancies being denied medical attention; and politicians instead of doctors making decisions about women’s bodies.  

To be continued

* Sullivan, Tim, “‘A step back in time’: America’s Catholic Church sees an immense shift toward the old ways.” AP News, May 1, 2024

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

And Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

And Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. xiii, 9f., 20, 155, 195, 258, 300.

Banner image: Pope Francis. Drawing by Bogdan Solomenco. Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you recognize elements of fascism from yesterday’s DM creeping in to institutionalized religion?  Which elements are most pronounced?  How do you see healthy spirituality resisting such trends?

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

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

Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society

Visionary theologian and best-selling author Matthew Fox offers a new theology of evil that fundamentally changes the traditional perception of good and evil and points the way to a more enlightened treatment of ourselves, one another, and all of nature. In comparing the Eastern tradition of the 7 chakras to the Western tradition of the 7 capital sins, Fox allows us to think creatively about our capacity for personal and institutional evil and what we can do about them. 
“A scholarly masterpiece embodying a better vision and depth of perception far beyond the grasp of any one single science.  A breath-taking analysis.” — Diarmuid O’Murchu, author of Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics

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8 thoughts on “Pope Francis on 60 Minutes this Sunday”

  1. Avatar

    Not unlike the lowly shepherd David, the Holy Spirit will anoint Christ led leadership from the laity. Organized religion in America as it currently functions is ‘constipated’ and has not produced the leadership required to oppose evil forces at the ‘doorstep’. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    Yes , so very well said. Case in point the recent commencement speech
    given by the NFL player Harrison Butker at Benedictine College in Kansas. Deeply reflecting the pathway of extreme Opus Dei influence on the U.S. Catholic Church. All the elements were offered to the graduating class.
    Resisting starts with awareness and then moving to a higher form of
    Christian spirituality. Matthew, thanks for continuing to point us in a forward

  3. Avatar

    Let’s help spread this important message from Matthew Fox. I just forwarded it to five people and invite others to do the same. Share with your faiths communities families and friends.
    Original Blessings,

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    I’ve tried to do the survey, but it always gives me a warning, which when I ignore it and go ahead leads me to “site not found”. I’m using a Samsung tablet with Firefox or dolphin browsers.

    1. Phila Hoopes

      We’re so sorry to hear this…where is the link you’re using? You might try going back to a previous DM and trying the link there…please let us know!
      Phila Hoopes
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  5. Avatar

    Yes! Like I commented yesterday, extreme elements of conservative Christianity in the US includes the patriarchal conservative institution of the Catholic Church. The destructive and unjust beliefs and societal influences of patriarchy exist in most world institutions around the world historically and up to the present day, including religious ones, and have contributed to social injustices such as social disparities, poverty, racism, wars, ecocide, and institutional violence around the world. Most religions have historically abandoned the true spiritual messages/teachings/values of the mystical traditions of their founders such as the Living Faith of balancing and integrating the Energies of the Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine in our hearts/Souls with DIVINE LOVE, in our compassionate lives with one another, with Beautiful Sacred Mother Earth/Nature, with the spiritual realms, and with-in All of ongoing Co-Creation in the COSMOS in LOVING DIVERSE ONENESS in the Sacred Process of the ETERNAL PRESENT MOMENT… The spiritual evolution and responsibilities of All persons and spiritual communities continue to be more important than ever with-in Our SOURCE~CREATOR’S SPIRIT…

  6. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson

    Thanks for the courage– you keep showing us how to SEE and what to say about what we are seeing. Today there is a post about Alito SCOTUS, hanging a flag upside down to show his displeasure at the results of the election of President Biden, and aligning himself with the fascist Trump-insurrectionists. He of course blamed it on his wife! I am also not sure if you saw that there was a moment about a week ago, when the Republican national committee wanted to gift Trump’s young son, now age 18, with being a delegate to the convention. He politely refused, in beautiful prose, saying he was already signed up to do something else. It reminded me of when Schwartznegger’s son said he would like to take his mother’s last name, to distance himself from his father, after the scandal of the housekeeper having a child who looks like the ex-governor and which turns out to be his son, came out. Over time, we can begin to see what a moral concern is, when these things occur. All the kinds of things, which, as you point out, cause suffering and grief for others. And we can see that the people who cause the suffering often are completely without remorse or any sense of wrong-doing, which confirms the problem. Gaslighting, narcissism, denial, and reversal of the victim and perpetrator roles, are so common in these people.

  7. Avatar

    I think the creeping in was done decades ago, and the fascist elements are now, sadly, well established in all denominations of “Christianity”, to some degree. The Roman Catholic Church and others with hierarchical structures are most vulnerable, I think, because they are already set up to control the people. The most pronounced fascist elements seem to be the absolutism and the fear-mongering—many people are feeling insecure and are attracted to “strongmen” and a religious establishment that gives them all the answers. The marriage of empire with religion is diabolical. I think a healthy spirituality meets this reality with loving action, including prayers for those who are causing so much damage, and peaceful ways of speaking the truth to power. We can at least plant seeds by “bugging” our government reps, protesting, letters to the editor, etc., etc. There is always something we can do in hope, even though we cannot control the outcome of our efforts.

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