Article by: Alessandra Harris
Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, released his address to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life being held in Madrid, Spain. In the address he stated that an elite leadership class has risen around the globe, one that has little interest in religion and no real attachments to the nations in which they live or to local traditions. Archbishop Gomez described the social justice movements as “pseudo-religions, and replacements and rivals to traditional Christian beliefs.”
As a Black Catholic engaged in social and racial justice movements, I can’t help but see some irony in Archbishop Gomez’s statement. It is, in fact, my traditional Christian belief that spurs me to make connections between my faith and the Gospel call for justice. This conviction on the part of Black Catholics and other groups at the margin of the church has kept us in the Christian faith in spite of the church’s history of colonization, enslavement, abuse and racism. Catholic elites, including church leaders, wealthy donors and media conglomerates, may see no connection between social justice movements and the core convictions of our church; but are these movements straying from tradition, or are our leaders out of touch?