Throughout my publications, I regularly speak of my political and theological shifts to the left starting the day that Trump mocked the disabled reporter in 2016. As a disability practitioner, a mother of an Autistic son, and a person with Parkinson’s Disease, Trump mocking the disabled reporter was a life-altering turning point for me. Since 2016, the last six years prepared me for what I am doing today which is advocating for and ministering to disabled, neurodiverse, and LGBTQIA+ youth and young adult lives in the Catholic Church and in broader society. I do this by following core tenets of Catholic Social Teaching, both in my profession in educational therapy and inclusion ministry. With the threat of fascism growing, I believe these specialized populations are in great danger, especially in certain traditionalist environments inside the Catholic Church and other fundamentalist religious environments. As I have stated in other publications, if you have a child who is disabled, neurodiverse, and/or identifies as LGBTQIA+, as a practitioner, I believe it’s a matter of life and death to leave faith communities who are not in alignment with science and find more welcoming and affirming faith communities. The truth couldn’t be more evident in my part-time service to religious trauma recovery where I witness regular suicides, families being ripped apart, and other sorts of trauma. Believe it or not, more than half of the Catholic Church worldwide is safe and welcoming for the populations I mentioned. Since the Catholic Church is the largest religious institution on earth, it plays a very large role in the world for either peace and prosperity or dangerous violence and oppression.
Sadly, I believe that growing fascism is is not just making some traditionalist and fundamentalist faith communities increasingly dangerous throughout the world, I believe that these are breading grounds for political fascism with doors into broader society. I also believe this is why Pope Francis had to restrict the Latin Mass.
Many who align with right-winged ideology are willfully denying reality and truth. Ministers who do this are endangering vulnerable populations. They don’t have training in mental healthcare, nor do many of them care enough to learn or follow science. Personally, I think it should be a requirement for all ministers to receive basic training in mental health and agree to follow the medical consensus of professionals instead of pseudoscience of their liking. Many ministers/priests use their positions of ministry as a source of power, control, and harm rather than positions of servanthood, healing, and life. Thankfully, I “hang around” the “good guys” in the Catholic Church, those who bring life.
When I look at one of my favorite crosses, the San Damiano Cross, I have to ask myself, is Jesus a God of love, mercy, justice and unconditional love, or is he an angry God who wants to exterminate those who do not measure up. Traditionalist Catholics who want to “purify the Church” are endangering lives. You call yourself “pro-life,” but you are willing to endanger those who cannot live up to all of the Church’s teachings. This includes children, both inside the Church and in broader society, mainly in the area of sexual ethics. You need to read the Gospel, carefully examine the ministry of Jesus, and study the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. We will not have a prosperous and peaceful world until the inside of the Catholic Church is safe throughout, especially for who Jesus calls, “The Least of These.”