So much depends on true democracy being allowed to broaden, deepen, and flourish in the economic sphere. That is one of the things that concerns me about Pope Francis, whom I admire in many ways. He shows great concern for the poor but does not link this with how laws currently pass or don’t pass, the role of the unelected judiciary that keeps constitutional interpretation in the U.S. locked in the past and doing the bidding of capital, and the lack of a democratic global institution accessible directly by the people in search of rights. I published this post earlier this week at my Galtisalie blog at Daily Kos because of these concerns, as well as emerging events in Spain threatening women’s right to control their own bodies. I hope that it is taken for the constructive criticism in the spirit of George Orwell in which it is intended. It was written not to insult Pope Francis but to hold him to the highest standard, which he should demand from himself on behalf of the one he follows. This standard is more exacting than promotion of the interests of any institution, including the so-called “Church.” If the Church is “the body of Christ” comprised of “Christians,” that body should be willing to sacrifice itself to create “earth as it is in heaven” and trust that it will be resurrected to the greater glory.
From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. (Luke 12:48, NRSVCE)
I’m glad a global wealth tax has Jesus’s endorsement. But that is just for starters. Jesus reportedly was so socio-economically demanding that his most renowned sermon, on the mount, is some debatable combination of hyperbolic and literal impossible challenges but most certainly liberating and a rejection of any unjust status quo. If it is intended to put pressure on the low and unholy, take me for instance, how much more is expected from someone whose followers claim him to be Vicarius Christi. I am both a struggling Christian contemplative by intuitive spiritual necessity fitfully pursuing a quiet interior life and a leftist who, to use Thomas Merton’s words (Seeds of Destruction, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1964) feels obliged to make himself part of the sacrificing “we”–“We must dare to pay the dolorous price of change, to grow into a new society. Nothing else will suffice!”–but scratches his head how to do this but has to try the best he can anyway. As much as I want inner peace my confused interior life is no more important than my confused exterior life. I am responsible for my action and inaction each day within a given capitalist context I seek to change for the betterment of all, if I can figure out how, and meanwhile I am trying to at least take a spoonful of this or that to the poor and their allies in the global pit of human despair, aka, hell on earth, aka, the OPPOSITE of “earth as it is in heaven.” Would that I could move mountains, or at least a Congressional vote or two, that would be love that counts, the greatest of all of these Christian notions. (Meanwhile, why did I grow up in Christian fundamentalism where not cussing, not lusting, and especially not lusting after someone of the same gender, and “patriotism” seemed to be the paramount goals? What “Christian” leaders allowed that to happen? What are the roots of this navel gazing, private part fixation, and Constantinianism?) Continue reading