The Catholic Church must proclaim Jesus Christ âboldlyâ and âcreativelyâ in the face of new secular movements that promote âsocial justiceâ, âawakeningâ and âintersectionalityâ, among other beliefs, as the answer to all the evils of society, Los Angeles Archbishop JosÃ© H. Gomez said Nov. 4.
âWe must tell our story of salvation in a new way, with charity and confidence, without fear,â he said. “This is the mission of the church in every age and in every cultural moment.”
Archbishop Gomez made the comments in a videotaped speech for the upcoming 23rd Congress of Catholic and Public Life in Madrid, which organizers say will focus on political correctness and “the dangers of this mega-ideology” , such as preventing debate and limiting freedoms.
He spoke of “the rise of new ideologies and secular movements for social change in the United States and the implications for the Catholic Church”.
The church must understand these movements “as pseudo-religions, and even replacements and rivals for traditional Christian beliefs,” he said, because “they claim to offer what religion offers.”
“With the collapse of the Judeo-Christian worldview and the rise of secularism, political belief systems based on social justice or personal identity have come to occupy the space that Christian belief and practice once occupied. “, did he declare.
âWe all know that while there are conditions unique to the United States, similar patterns of aggressive secularization have long been at work in Spain and elsewhere in Europe,â he said.
“An elite class of rulers has formed in our countries, which has little interest in religion and has no real attachment to the nations in which they live or to local traditions or cultures,” said the archbishop. Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
âThis group, which is in charge in business, government, academia, media, and cultural and professional institutions,â he said, âwants to establish what you might call a global civilization, built on a consumer economy and guided by science, technology, humanitarian values ââand technocratic ideas about the organization of society. “
âThere is no need for old-fashioned belief and religious systems,â he added. “In fact, according to them, religion, especially Christianity, only hinders the society they hope to build.”
Secularization means âdechristianization,â as many popes have pointed out, he said. “For years now, there has been a deliberate effort in Europe and America to erase the Christian roots of society and remove any remaining Christian influences.”
Archbishop Gomez noted that the congress program hinted at âcanceling cultureâ with political correctness.
“We recognize that often what is canceled and corrected are perspectives rooted in Christian beliefs – on human life and the human person, on marriage, on the family and more. … The ‘space’ that the church and believing Christians are allowed to occupy decreases, âhe said.
Amid the pandemic and the government’s response, everyone noticed “dramatic social changes,” he said, but those changes were already underway and were only “accelerated” by the pandemic.
“The new social movements and ideologies that we are talking about today were being sown and prepared for many years in our universities and cultural institutions,” he explained.
In the United States, amid the tension and fear created by the pandemic and social isolation, “these movements have fully unleashed in our society” with the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white policeman and the protests that followed in many cities, said Bishop Gomez.
“For many in my country, including myself, (Floyd’s) tragedy has become a stark reminder that racial and economic inequalities are still deeply entrenched in our society,” he said.
These new movements are part of a larger “absolutely essential” “discussion of how to build an American society that expands opportunities for everyone, regardless of their skin color or where they are from, or what they are. economic status, âArchbishop Gomez added.
But people are increasingly looking to these “awakened” movements, rather than religion, for “an explanation of events and conditions in the world,” he said. “They offer meaning, a purpose for living and a sense of belonging to a community.â¦ Like Christianity, these new movements tell their own ‘story of salvation’.”
“Now more than ever,” he said, “the church and every Catholic needs to know” Christian history, “and to proclaim it in all its beauty and truth.”
Because, he said, there is another story out there – “a rival ‘salvation’ story that we hear told in the media and in our institutions by new social justice movements.”
Catholics and other Christians, he said, believe that “we are created in the image of God … and we are saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ … (who) we calls to follow him in faith, loving God and our neighbor, working to build up his kingdom on earth, all in the confident hope that we will have eternal life with him in the world to come.
The “awakened” story, he explained, says that “we may not know where we came from, but we are aware that we have common interests with those who share our skin color or our position in the world. society. … We are liberated and find redemption through our constant struggle against our oppressors, by waging a battle for political and cultural power in the name of creating a society of fairness. “
âWe all want to build a society that offers equality, freedom and dignity for every person,â Archbishop Gomez said. “But we can only build a just society on the foundation of the truth about God and human nature … Unless we believe that God is our Father, there is no reason for us to treat others. like our brothers and sisters. “
“Today’s critical theories and ideologies are deeply atheistic,” he continued. “They deny the soul, the spiritual and transcendent dimension of human nature, or they think it has nothing to do with human happiness. They reduce what it means to be human to essentially physical qualities – color. of our skin, our sex, our notions of gender, our ethnicity or our position in society. “
âWithout a doubt,â he added, âwe can recognize in these movements certain elements of liberation theology. They seem to come from the same Marxist cultural vision. In addition, these movements resemble some of the heresies found in Church history.
The Catholic Church must âunderstand and engageâ these movements as âdangerous substitutes for true religionâ.
“These new movements have lost the truth about the human person” because they deny God, he said. “No matter how well intentioned they are, they cannot promote true human fulfillment.”
In the United States, “these strictly secular movements are at the origin of new forms of social division, discrimination, intolerance and injustice,” he added.