Tuesday, September 19, 2017

On the (Hateful Homophobic) Vitriol Eating Away at the Communion of the Church: "If Good Religion Slumbers and Stagnates, Bad Religion Is the Alternative"

I see connections galore between these good articles I've read in the past few days. Do you, too, I wonder?

Laura Donlon, "Fr James Martin says Cafod 'not entirely accurate' in its account of why his London lecture was 'cancelled'":

The leading Jesuit, Fr James Martin SJ has said Cafod cancelled a planned October lecture in London because of controversy over his new book, 'Building a Bridge,' which calls for further dialogue between the Catholic Church and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics who feel alienated from the Church. 
Speaking to The Tablet on Tuesday (19 September), Fr Martin said Cafod's most recent statement about the keynote talk "is not entirely accurate, and I'm sorry to have to correct the record."

Massimo Faggioli, "Catholic Cyber-Militias and the New Censorship": 

This sort of vitriol is profoundly changing the communion of the Catholic Church. And not just in its ethos, but also in the way it functions.

John Gehring, "The Real Scandal: What Attacks on James Martin Say about the U.S. Church": 

I'm struck by the curious optics at Catholic University right now. In a few days the business school at the university will host a conference that will include a speaking role for the billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, whose foundation is a major funder of the business school. The Koch brothers (Charles and David) make their fortune, in part, by leading companies that have an abysmal record of covering up toxic spills and violating workers’ rights. Koch-funded political networks have fought efforts to address climate change, expand health care coverage to low- income citizens, empower workers through unions and raise the minimum wage—all causes that fit within a traditional Catholic social teaching framework. 
A seminary at the only Vatican-chartered university in the country tells a priest who espouses orthodox views that he can’t speak, but the business school at the same university rolls out the red carpet for a wealthy patron of a political network that fights against a Catholic vision for the common good? It makes you wonder what the real scandal is.

America Magazine, "How to respond to Catholic internet trolls": 

The communion of the church needs to be defended—not from the peril of theological discussion but rather from that of being monitored and policed by the loudest and least loving voices among us.

And then there's this report by Heidi Schlumpf about what has happened to Rebecca Bratten Weiss of Steubenville University: it's entitled "'New Pro-Life Movement' co-founder loses job, attacked online." Weiss dared to suggest that the man in the White House, who was put there by "pro-life" white Christians, might not be the best exemplar of pro-life values around.

You know, that man who threatened to obliterate an entire nation of 25 million folks just this morning.

And then the "pro-life" Catholic orthodoxy brigade went after her and got her fired.

Talk about scandal. Talk about inflicting serious wounds on the body of their church and totally trashing its message about the sanctity of life.

Brian D. McLaren, "The 'Alt-Right' Has Created Alt-Christianity": 

Aristotle was right. Nature indeed abhors a vacuum. If we don't provide emerging generations with genuine identity, community and purpose through robust and vibrant spiritual communities, somebody else will do so. If good religion slumbers and stagnates, bad religion is the alternative.

Adam Gopnik by way of Sean Illing, "9 questions with Adam Gopnik": 

Whenever anyone tries to get too granular about political causes — oh, it's the economic distress of the Midwest, or, for that matter, Oh, it was the inflation in Germany — I want to remind them of this inexorable truth of human existence. Open societies are beacons leading us onward, but closed societies are magnets, drawing us back. We live on the brink of backwardness at every moment. Or to put it another way, when asked to choose between Athens and Jerusalem, always choose Alexandria. They have libraries there.

(Thanks to Chris Morley for telling me about the Cafod story, and to Terri Hemker for sharing Brian McLaren's article.)

The photo is one Steve and I took in Assisi shortly before Christmas in 2013 — Francis' basilica enshrouded in deep fog.

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