FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Progressive American Catholic Worker Response to the Rise of Ratsinger

by BILL QUIGLEY

Within minutes of the media announcement that Cardinal Ratizinger was selected Pope Benedict – I refuse to call a process whereby less than 1% of 1% can vote an election – I received an email asking if I was going to switch churches or wait to be excommunicated! My friends laughed and said “A progressive American Catholic is now a double oxymoron!”

The first Pope joke is already racing around Rome. When gregarious and generous Pope John XXIII was made pope, his first words were “Be not afraid!” Now when Pope Benedict is sworn in his first words will be “Be afraid! Be very afraid!”

For those of you who are not Catholic, selecting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope is a lot like selecting Attorney General John Ashcroft as President. Ratzinger has been the enforcer of orthodoxy for years. No women priests. No gay unions. No questioning authority. Fall in line.

As a progressive American Catholic I feel uncomfortably out of place – both in country and in church. While the last Pope spoke passionately about poverty and peace and solidarity – these principles were undercut by the practices of protection of the all-male clerical hierarchy.

Likewise, we have a president who speaks boldly about freedom and democracy and opportunity – yet these same principles are undercut by practices of global military and economic domination and widespread denial of social and human rights at home and abroad.

Yet I, and millions of others, are not leaving – country or church. Millions refused to give up and go to Canada when our current fundamentalist president was elected.

And we millions are not leaving the catholic church just because the fundamentalists have assumed power there as well.

Our church and our country have wandered far away from the principles of respect and justice and equality that are supposed to be the foundations of each. Yet, we will not leave.

It is time to stand and struggle for the soul of church and country – and, I am afraid, more frequently than I would like, to struggle with both our church and country to force them to stand consistently for their principles.

If our country will not stand up for justice for civilians in Iraq, prisoners here and abroad, a living wage, racial justice, quality public schools, fair healthcare, and reigning in national and international corporate power – then it is up to us to do it. Our country is the one of Harriet Tubman, Patrick Henry, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, and Martin Luther King. They inspire us and they give us hope to push forward in these times.

If our church will not stand up for women leaders, accountability for abuses, democracy in our institutions, healthy sexuality, equality for people of all orientations, and real respect for all life – including the born – then it is up to us to do it. Our church is the one of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Joan of Arc, Philip Berrigan, Dorothy Day and Francis of Assisi. They inspire us and give us hope to push forward in these times.

Benedict and George – we are not leaving. It is our church and our country. We are going to stay and struggle for the soul of both, with love and justice for all.

BILL QUIGLEY is a lifelong Irish Catholic U.S.citizen who teaches at Loyola University New OrleansSchool of Law. His email is quigley@loyno.edu

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba after Fidel: Interview with Professor John Kirk
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewable of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail