The Clergy Follows the Mob | The American Spectator

The Clergy Follows the Mob
George Neumayr
by
Protesters in Washington, DC (YouTube screenshot)

The riots have exposed the depth of America’s civilizational crisis. Yet where are the supposed religious leaders of that civilization to decry it? They are difficult to find. To the extent that clergy have been visible at all in the crisis, they emerged not to stop the mob but to join it.

Their statements rest entirely upon the mob’s propaganda. America magazine, run by the Jesuits, provides a dismaying example of this in its editorial last week: “To fight racism, Catholics must hunger for justice like we do for the Eucharist.”

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso joined the protests this last week, holding up a “Black Lives Matter” sign. Seitz told the press that after his participation he received a phone call from the pope. “He said he wanted to congratulate me,” Seitz said. 

It is an odd title for the editorial, given that the Jesuits preside over increasingly empty pews. In falling Mass attendance at Jesuit parishes, one doesn’t see much hunger “for the Eucharist.”

Undeniable data indicates that racist police brutality is decreasing, not increasing. Yet America’s editorial begins by saying, “The murder of yet another black American at the hands of a police officer haunts the hearts and minds of the country. The protests across the nation make clear the injustice of George Floyd’s killing and its roots in a long national history of racism, including contemporary patterns of police brutality.”

The editorial endorses the reverse racist view that all white people, by virtue of their skin color, bear responsibility for this state of affairs and must undergo “conversion”: “At this moment, when the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the depth of our need for the sacraments and for community, this national outcry should lead Catholics, white Catholics especially, to conversion, repentance and reconciliation.”

What are “white Catholics especially” supposed to do to repent? They must become more political, according to the editorial, which is to say, they must enthusiastically adhere to the political program of groups like Black Lives Matter:

Catholics do not need to invent new ways to fight racism. There is plenty of work already being done for racial justice. Yet many Catholics seem too timid to listen and collaborate with new movements, such as Black Lives Matter, that are leading today’s charge for justice. Bishops, pastors and lay leaders ought to make overtures to anti-racist activist groups present in their communities. In addition to showing solidarity in the work of organizing, Catholics can also show economic solidarity by supporting black-owned businesses in their own communities and through giving alms to organizations working for racial justice and ministries directly serving black Catholics.

Got that? Catholics have an obligation to bring Black Lives Matter, an organization that calls for “defunding the police” among other outrageous proposals, into their parishes.

The editorial also demands that Catholic education be a conduit for the propaganda of Black Lives Matter and other such groups:

To ensure deep, lasting change, Catholics will need to examine the ways we form consciences, especially in the work of education. Those in charge of institutions of formation, from seminaries to grammar schools, should examine curricula to see how the history and present reality of racism are addressed. Students formed by Catholic education should recognize racism both as an intrinsic evil and as a primary manifestation of social sin. The ability both to assess curricula and to educate students regarding these issues necessarily involves the presence of people of color in positions of responsibility and authority.

The editorial doesn’t say a word about the riots. It just wishes that more clergy participated in the “protests”:

A previous generation of clergy and religious left us with iconic images of Catholics marching hand in hand with prominent civil rights leaders. Today, when images and videos of protests are shared more quickly and widely than ever, collars and habits have been sparse. Catholics, especially those whose presence and dress visibly symbolizes the church, ought to attend protests in order to demonstrate the church’s commitment.

I don’t recall America ever calling for Catholics to join Operation Rescue. But it doesn’t have any problem urging priests to lock arms with Black Lives Matter.

Bishop Mark Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, joined the protests this last week, holding up a “Black Lives Matter” sign. Seitz told the press that after his participation in the protests he received a phone call from the pope. “He said he wanted to congratulate me,” Seitz said.

Once again, the modern Church, hopelessly besotted with fashionable causes, leaves its middle-class members out in the cold. Their legitimate concerns about law and order go unrepresented. Worse, they are called “racist” and told to repent. But where is the modern Church’s contrition for its role in hollowing out America’s inner cities? Where is its contrition for failing to pass faith and virtue to a younger generation of Americans? On those fundamental matters, it falls silent. The modern Church is content to follow, not lead, and it is following the mob toward an America that is rapidly disintegrating.

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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