Thursday, March 16, 2017

Liberal "Practicing Catholics" Express Shock That Trump Was Elected; I Don't Buy Their Shock

When I read a liberal Catholic commentator (who happens to be white, heterosexual, and married) touting himself/herself as a "practicing Catholic," and lamenting the way in which Trump's election has taken liberal or progressive Catholics by surprise, I feel like tearing my hair out. Where have all these "liberal" Catholics been for years now as some of us tried to tell them what has been brewing in the American heartland and in the heart of the white American churches?

Why weren't they listening? 

Why weren't they listening to us, in particular — when we clearly have had much to tell these "liberal" brothers and sisters about a bigger, and real, world than the "liberal" bubble that "practicing Catholics" inhabit?

For that matter, what does it mean to be a "practicing Catholic" when one is capable of simply writing off a portion of the human community — and of the church — that happens to convey inconvenient truth one does not want to hear?

Who has convinced many "liberal" American Catholics that they can be "practicing" while they write off, say, the LGBTQ community and treat the voices of LGBTQ Catholics and disaffected former Catholics who have been shoved out of the church because they are LGBTQ as negligible, not worth hearing? 

When they treat these fellow Catholics and disaffected former Catholics as nuisances, as too angry to be heard, too critical to count in Catholic discussions . . . ?

When they make verbal noise about being in solidarity with LGBTQ human beings, but never pay any kind of real price for this solidarity, never make any kind of real room within their church for LGBTQ human beings, never push and prod their church to create safe listening spaces in which the voices of LGBTQ human beings can be heard?

Liberal American Catholics seem to have a very peculiar notion of what it means to be "practicing" — and perhaps that peculiar, highly discrete, carefully manicured notion of what it means to "practice" their Catholicism is at the very root of their inability to predict that someone like Donald Trump was coming down the pike, when many of us saw him coming and tried to provide our testimony . . . 

But were not heard.

Because we do not count.

Because we are not in the room.

Because many "liberal" white Catholics assume they can go right on "practicing" their Catholicism while never coming to terms with their collusion in very cruel structures of oppression and exclusion within their church that are responsible for the inability of many of the rest of us to "practice."

Some "practicing" Catholicism this is!

The graphic: a depiction of astonishment from Charles Bell, Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting (London: Longman, 1806), p. 142, which is available for sharing at Wikimedia Commons, where it has been uploaded from the Wellcome Trust website.

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