Editor’s Note: In a speech given to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life in Madrid, Spain on November 4, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, who is also the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, characterized social justice movements, like Black Lives Matter, as anti-Christian, Marxist-inspired pseudo-religions. He went on to suggest that such movements are replacing the Church and levies other criticisms of current campaigns for social justice. His comments follow recent comments by Pope Francis to the Fourth World Meeting of Popular Movements in mid-October, which included the pope saying, “Do you know what comes to mind now when… I think of the Good Samaritan? …The protests over George Floyd … This movement did not pass by on the other side of the road when it saw the injury to human dignity caused by an abuse of power.”

by Brian Fraga
National Catholic Reporter

Fr. Bryan Massingale, a leading Catholic theologian in the U.S., says he read Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez’s Nov. 4 speech to a Catholic group in Spain with “dismay and disbelief.”

Gomez, who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, claimed that some modern social justice movements were Marxist-inspired, anti-Christian “pseudo-religions.”

“He has a serious misunderstanding, and perhaps even a willed ignorance, about the goals and motivations of contemporary social justice movements,” said Massingale, a Fordham University theologian and author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church.

Massingale and other Black Catholics told NCR that they were appalled at how Gomez framed today’s social justice activism, including the anti-racist movement in the United States, as an angry expression of a corrosive secularism being pushed by an “elite leadership class.”

“For example, he blanketly characterizes social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter as pseudo-religions based on profoundly atheistic ideologies that are hostile to Catholic belief,” Massingale said…

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4 thoughts on “Black Catholics respond with dismay as Gomez calls protests “pseudo-religions”

  1. It’s hard to respond to such Abp. Gomez’s outlandish characterization of liberation theology and the social justice movements. The most charitable reading of his remarks would say that he lives in a very dualistic understanding of God’s world. Whatever his motivation, he has fed the powers of oppression with more reasons to continue and increase their repression If Abp. Gomez were only a local bishop it would be one thing but as the president of the USCCB, his remarks are reprehensible. I pray that other bishops will speak out quickly and forcibly to condemn his remarks. Silence will be complicity. Moreover, it would be appropriate to “impeach” him or demand that he step down from his position. I personally have been involved in such movements for years and find God in this struggle for liberation. Perhaps Abp. Gomez would do well to engage in conversation with some of the leaders of these movements.

  2. Rev. Bryan Massingale called ‘white supremacy’ “the greatest threat to world peace”. Without meaning to be redundant I respectfully reply with “white supremacy is the greatest threat to Christianity”! Our faith is about love and respect both qualities not only rejected by the white supremacy ideology but in their place is put ‘hate and arrogance’. God help the world!

    John Taylor
    World Movement of Christian Workers
    Chicago, Illinois

  3. I believe that God is present in all of Creation–natural, physical Creation but specially in each human being. Looking into the eyes and heart of any person we should be able to realize God’s presence. All of us should be evolving toward a respect for one another. Institutions and individuals are at various places in this evolution. We should honor and support groups and individuals who uphold the dignity of others but should also be ready to challenge and peacefully confront those who work against another’s dignity. Movements which were by-and-large peaceful in their demonstrations should be supported as they were upholding the value of human life(George Floyd et al.). These and other demonstrations(climate, nuclear disarmament, death penalty, etc.) uphold the dignity of each person, even though they may not always have Catholic/Christian personnel/leadership recognizably present. By and large, these are spiritually based movements which are being affirmed by people who appear to be behaving in a secular manner(though maybe not so). Perhaps it would be advisable to recognize and give support to those who honor other persons rather than categorizing them as “secular”. Many people in our society need to have their spirituality recognized and reinforced. Archbishop Gomez seems to know that this is needed but prefers, for some reason, to be politically correct. The USCCB, despite too many conservative and political statements, has often chastised the policies and powerful in this country, to its credit. Archbishop Gomez should not get get caught up in categories but see the shared goodness in those fighting for human dignity and justice. I believe that God and Jesus could be found there.

  4. Excellent rebuttal, the majority of the US Bishops have fallen into the clasp of the former President and have lost sight of what it means to shepherd , they are dividing the Catholic Church in America , very few of them have the courage to speak the Truth in Love .

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