It’s Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement this weekend. A splendid Mass last evening at Prince of Peace parish and this morning we have as our commencement speaker Sr. Sheila Galligan–a well known theologian from Immaculata University near Philadelphia. Also a chance to wear the ferriaola and biretta…if the graduates get to wear a silly hat I want to wear one too. After lunch sister and I visited Bob Jones University Art Gallery–I did not however, wear my biretta and ferriaola…didn’t want to frighten the horses.
Anyhow, sister and I were chatting yesterday about how the ‘Peace and Justice’ brigade have taken over the Catholic Church. I’m not one to attack those who work for peace and justice, and I think very often we conservatives do not do enough to foster peace and justice and work with the poor. I’m not opposed to peace and justice, but I am am opposed to those who reduce the entire Catholic Church to ‘working for peace and justice’.
The main problem with this approach is that it turns our religion into a religion of good works. The cross of Christ is forgotten (except as an image of injustice) the idea of redemption from sins is done away with as an ancient irrelevance, and any concept of the supernatural is dismissed as ‘medieval’. So they cling to peace and justice and making the world a better place as the driving idea of Catholicism.
The subsequent problem (which any monkey could figure out) is that you don’t need religion to try to make the world a better place. In fact, a religion can sometimes impede the progress. What you really need is a practical and enforceable ideology–like Marxism. Consequently, the peace and justice campaigners–if they stay in the church at all–stay with it because they see the church as the best multinational organization through which they can foment the revolution. Yucch.
Finally, have you noticed that those who are involved solely in peace and justice are never satisfied? Like feminists, they are constantly protesting and moaning and pointing fingers. Catholics may be working flat out for the poor, sticking up for the vulnerable, helping the hungry, educating the masses, but the peace and justice brigade rarely see the real work that is being done by self sacrificial Catholics who are rolling up their sleeves and getting busy. Instead all they see is the institution of ‘the Catholic Church’ which is irredeemably patriarchal, and is always about oppression and legalism and hypocrisy. The immature rage and hypocritical self righteousness of such folks (and their total blindness to it) is always a wonder to me.
Being truly Catholic simply means that we strive to love God and love our neighbor. Locked within that truth we will discover and work out all the peace and justice that we and our whole world so desperately needs.