Sunday, August 25, 2013

Liars, Damned Liars, and The American Life League

There is no Gospel that is not a Social Gospel
I am sorry for the most recent hiatus.  I was giving a retreat this past week and found myself without internet connections at the center.  I hope to have a strong week with several postings but then the whole month of September could be up in the air as I will be overseas at a series of meetings and don’t know what to expect.
I want to make some progress on the Church of England postings as we are just at the most interesting part of the of the story and how the separation came about between the Church of England and the Catholic Church in communion with the See of Rome.  But there are so many other things to comment on as well.
I see that in the blogs the complaints about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Relief services is heating up.  Voices of the pseudo-magisterium—Michal Voris, Judie Brown and Michael Hitcborn and their American Life League, LifeSiteNews, and dozens and dozens of minor blogs are banging the drum against the those programs by which the official magisterium of the Catholic Church in the United States conducts its outreach to the poor, the sick, and the emarginated both here at  home and around the world.  The real issue is a battle for the “soul of the Church” and the battle ground is the Church’s commitment to striving for greater justice in our society and in other societies and cultures. 
Several years ago ex-Catholic and self-appointed theological expert Glen Beck declared that “Social Justice is a perversion of the Gospel.”  It is—for many both in the Catholic Church and beyond who espouse a new Gnosticism that wants to spiritualize the teachings of Jesus so that they have no bearing on the social order.  Ignoring the entire tradition of the prophets—most notably Amos, Isaiah, and Ezekiel—they claim that God has no interest in seeing a world in which each of his children has a sufficient share in the world’s goods to live in a dignity befitting the children of God.  They speak of a religion that is about “souls” with no regard to the bodily hunger, thirst, nakedness, illness, imprisonment and homelessness of which Jesus spoke in admonishing us as to the criteria by which we would be admitted to eternal life. 
This false Christianity promoted by Voris, Brown, et al beneath the guise of an empty piety and an alleged concern for human life is closely tied to—and indeed is no more than a front for—the most abject right-wing politics that seeks to turn our society into a revival of the ancien regime in which a small wealthy minority held absolute sway over the liberty-deprived and economically enslaved masses.  I wish I could believe that they were sincere in their devotion to human life as an absolute value but the selectivity about which they defend human life and freedom fails to cloak their real agenda of advancing an American theocracy, and an American theocracy that enshrines a religion of the most narrow prejudices and the self-interest of those who wish to protect their own ascendency over those whom they deem to be less worthy in both this world and the next than themselves.  They have drunk the dregs and now pass around to others the Kool-Aid Karl Rove so successfully used in the Bush campaigns to blind Christians to their political responsibilities to work for a more just world.    And this, in a democracy such as ours, is their right to do but  their sin is attempting to market this poison as some sort of authentically Catholic drink when its very recipe is so devoid of basic Catholic moral principles about the role of the Christian in the modern world.    Their campaign of misinformation and deceit has taken on an urgency with the election of Pope Francis and  his prioritizing the Church’s mission to the poor has made them beat their drums all the louder in an attempt to drown out the Church’s authentic voice calling for greater economic and social justice.  CRS, CCHD and Catholic Charities represent the Church’s concern for justice and unable to take the Pope on directly they are determined to undermine his efforts by attacking with lies and disinformation, Karl Rove style, the agencies by which the Church reaches out to remedy the injustices in the world in which we live.    
When the Internet first became a forum for public information, there was a Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to devise a branding system by which sites could be guaranteed for their Catholic content.  Now personally, I don’t claim to be a Catholic Site or to speak for any sort of authentic Catholicism.  I speak only for myself and this site is about the history of the Church—past and present—and not about its doctrines.  Unfortunately the short-sightedness of our bishops failed to appreciate the importance of establishing some sort of Catholic “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for Catholic websites.   We need that because Michael Voris and Judie Brown and the American Life League speak for no one other than themselves and their followers.  They do not represent the voice of the Church and they are not reliable sources of Catholic teaching.  And the same goes for the swarms of blogs and web-pages by self-appointed Catholic spokespersons.  

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