Beware of the “alarm clock”! Catholic National Register
Recently, Archbishop JosÃ© Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, presented an important set of observations on the rise of new ideologies and secular movements for social change in the United States and their implications for the Church.
This is a critical topic to tackle, given the political power accumulated by the supporters of these ideologies and the âawakenedâ social justice movements. So it’s no surprise that these same people took issue with what he had to say.
Archbishop Gomez explored this “serious, sensitive and complicated subject” in a video address to the Spanish Congress of Catholics and Public Life.
He described how these latter ideologies fit into the context of âbroad patterns of aggressive secularization,â which have given rise to an âelite rulers classâ¦ traditions or cultures.
We have seen the dominant hold of this elitist group over government, academia, media, and state-owned enterprises.
As the Archbishop points out, they seek to shift “old-fashioned belief systems and religions” – especially Christianity – in search of a new “world civilization” dedicated to consumerism and guided “by science. , technology, humanitarian values ââand technocratic ideas “. And “political correctness” and “cancel culture” are the weapons these elites use to silence faithful Christians and carry out their secular agendas.
Archbishop Gomez dates the hold of these ideologies for many years, but acknowledges that recent events – the pandemic, social isolation and the tragic deaths of unarmed black men and women by police officers – have accelerated some negative trends.
He regrets that the global response to racial and economic inequalities and injustices has sought to exclude Judeo-Christian belief from the social framework. It makes it clear that the suffering caused by inequality must be addressed and the serious problems that contribute to injustice corrected.
However, he also insists that Christianity cannot be replaced by new “political religions” that attempt to rewrite the Christian account of the creation, fall and redemption into eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross with a purely secular âstory of salvationâ. which relies too much on Marxist-inspired liberation theologies and echoes the Manichean and Pelagian heresies against which Pope Francis warned us in his 2018 exhortation on the call to holiness, Gaudete and Exsultate.
Ultimately, critical theories and the many movements that have emerged from them have a fundamental flaw in achieving their own goals: because of their militant atheism, they cannot perceive the image of God in all of our neighbors. âBy denying God, these new movements have lost the truth about the human person. This explains their extremism and their harsh, uncompromising and ruthless approach to politics, âsaid Bishop Gomez, identifying this approach asâ causing new forms of social division, discrimination, intolerance and injustice â.
Archbishop Gomez’s timely observations highlight the intrinsic shortcomings of these contemporary âawakenedâ ideologies that have recently become so prominent in our national discourse.
As I noted earlier in this space, these same secular and anti-religious perspectives formed the core of the Democratic Party’s political vision in the 2020 elections, and they have remained at the core of the party’s governing vision since the victories. narrow Democrats in the presidential and congressional elections over the past year.
This is a vision that seeks to exclude God and replace eternal truths with new imperatives as it transforms to accommodate the ever increasing demands of major progressive groups like abortion. and âLGBTQ +â lobbies. This view is perhaps even more pronounced among proponents of Critical Race Theory, which postulates that all of American history is fundamentally the history of racist oppression and offers “remedies” from the foundations. explicitly Marxist theory. It’s a very controversial view, to put it mildly, and the Democratic Party’s unexpected setbacks in this month’s Virginia election suggest that a strong national pullback against this deeply irreligious narrative may now be taking shape.
While it remains to be seen, Virginia’s political backlash against the “awakened” hype has almost certainly contributed to the harsh criticism Archbishop Gomez’s remarks elicited from some “progressive” Catholic commentators.
In particular, these critics argue, the president of the USCCB turned a blind eye to the social cancer of racism, which has occupied a central place in American political and cultural discourse since the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
Such criticism completely misses the mark. These agenda-driven media accounts bury the fact that Archbishop Gomez framed his entire discussion in an emphatic acknowledgment that Floyd’s death showed that racial inequality remains “deeply entrenched in our society.”
In addition, the message delivered by the Archbishop was much more nuanced than these media cartoons would suggest.
As on previous occasions when he spoke publicly about these issues, he strongly supports a truly Catholic pursuit of social justice, one that places top priority on eradicating the stain of racism from the fabric of American society, as well as individual hearts and minds. .
At the time of George Floyd’s death, he condemned his murder as “a sin that calls for justice in heaven,” and it is no coincidence that the publication of the USCCB’s pastoral statement against racism, “Open Big Our Hearts: The Enduring Appeal to Love, âwas published shortly before Archbishop Gomez was elected President of the USCCB in November 2019.
So, for any impartial observer, it should be obvious that Bishop Gomez was not minimizing the urgency of combating racism in his critique of secular ideologies and social justice movements. Instead, he stressed that effective responses to key social justice issues must be based on faith – a point Pope Francis has strongly insisted on throughout his pontificate.
“Others drink from other sources,” declared the Holy Father in Fratelli Tutti. âFor us, the source of human dignity and brotherhood is in the gospel of Jesus Christ. “
This supernatural perspective, grounded in our love of God, is what the secular progressive view lacks.
And as 2000 years of Christian history categorically confirms, this love of God is what inspires the deep love of neighbor that we must engage and seek to overcome social inequalities.
In this regard, Archbishop Gomez rightly cited Father Augustus Tolton and Dorothy Day as two vivid examples of faithful American Catholics who modeled this undivided love for God and their earthly neighbors.
Archbishop Gomez’s address to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life is something that American Catholics should reflect on and take to heart, as we seek God’s grace to reform ourselves and our society in the face of challenges. lay challenges we face every day.
God bless you.