Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Footnote to Previous Posting: Trump's Appeal to White Catholic Voters Demonstrates Colossal Pastoral and Intellectual Failure of U.S. Catholic "Leaders"

To put the point of my previous posting very succinctly: the people who profess to "lead" the U.S. Catholic church — its bishops and its lay leaders in the media and academy — have, to a great extent, not been leaders at all in the past several decades. If they had exercised any pastoral and intellectual leadership in the U.S. church, we wouldn't be confronting what's so unimaginable to these leaders, namely, wide white Catholic support for an out and out racist and xenophobe.

The "leaders" of the U.S. Catholic church have not only been conspicuously silent in the past several decades about the sin of racism that eats away like a canker at the soul of American culture. They've also been deaf to appeals to open discussions of that sin, which bring into the American Catholic square voices they do not want to hear and want to keep marginal — including the voices of people of color, queer people, and poor women dealing with issues of contraception and abortion.

By contrast, the leaders of movements like the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina, many of them with ties to the black church, have deliberately developed strategies to hear these voices and give them a central role in the moral witness of these movements. The leaders of these movements have shown an exemplary pastoral witness totally lacking in the response of the "leaders" of the U.S. Catholic church . . . 

Who could, if they would, learn much about the Catholic church's own communitarian traditions, about its own traditions of applying communitarian norms as it faces issues of marginalization, racism, homophobia, and sexism, from non-Catholic but church-informed movements of moral witness like Moral Monday.

But they do not want to learn, it appears, since they imagine they and they alone already have the answers — though they appear to have been totally clueless about the possibility of a Donald Trump and his strong appeal to white Catholic voters.

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