“TWO ISSUES OF SPECIAL URGENCY CONFRONT US…THE FIRST DEALT WITH PEACE AMONG PEOPLES.”
“THE SUPREME PONTIFF ALSO PLEADS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE. …MATER ET MAGISTRA CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE CHURCH IS SUPREMELY NECESSARY FOR THE MODERN WORLD IF INJUSTICES AND UNWORTHY INEQUALITIES ARE TO BE DENOUNCED, AND IF THE TRUE ORDER OF AFFAIRS AND VALUES IS TO BE RESTORED, SO THAT MAN’S LIFE CAN BECOME MORE HUMAN ACCORDING TO THE STANDARDS OF THE GOSPEL.” (MESSAGE TO HUMANITY, Vat. II, 1962)
This thrust of Vatican II, to work with others for peace and justice, is a forgotten way of being.
The lack of support for the striking Palermo Pizza workers by the “official” Roman Catholic Church in Milwaukee is troubling but not unexpected. Social Justice is not a priority – defending cultic doctrine is. Support from the “People of God” is there, but Roman Catholic priests and bishops have been silent.
Vatican II presents a problem of a double truth. This is apparent in the opening document – LUMEN GENTIUM. This important document presents a working definition for what is Church. The Council fathers faced a seemingly insurmountable problem in that there were many views, yet they wanted a document that was coherent and that reflected the understanding of the Council and the Pope. They trusted in the Spirit. And so the document prepares for the future, which now in 2012 is where the Church is; the hierarchy and the sheep follow in line. But that’s not the end of the story…there still is a future.
Unlike Vatican I, the opening section of LUMEN GENTIUM focuses on the laity. “THE SPIRIT DWELLS IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE.” (L.G. Chapter 1, section 4.) It could be asked, are the Church and the people different entities or are they representative of different and completely distinct charisma? Did at least some of the Council fathers expect a future definition of Church that would say neither conclusion is correct?
Chapter 2 is about the “People of God” as the Church, an inclusive term. (The term used by Julian of Norwich,14th Century mystic is 'even-Christians' This is "Julian's term for the community of Chrisians without distinction of clergy, religious, and laity.")“THE CHURCH RECOGNIZES THAT IN MANY WAYS SHE IS LINKED WITH THOSE, BEING BAPTIZED, ARE HONORED WITH THE NAME OF CHRISTIAN, THOUGH THEY DO NOT PROFESS THE FAITH IN ITS ENTIRETY। (C।1, section 15) , ' "And - “…THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET RECEIVED THE GOSPEL ARE RELATED IN VARIOUS WAYS TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD.” (“C.!, section 16)
But Chapter 3 of LUMEN GENTIUM shifts to the hierarchy. “THE ROMAN PONTIFF HAS SUPREME, AND UNIVERSAL POWER OVER THE CHURCH. AND HE CAN ALWAYS EXERCISE THIS POWER FREELY.” (C. III, para. 22) WITH THEIR HELPERS, THE PRIESTS AND DEACONS, BISHOPS HAVE TAKEN UP THE SERVICE OF THE COMMUNITY, PRESIDING IN PLACE OF THE FLOCK WHOSE SHEPARDS THEY ARE, AS TEACHERS OF DOCTRINE, PRIESTS OF SACRED WORSHIP, AND OFFICERS OF GOOD ORDER. …HE WHO HEARS THEM, HEARS CHRIST, WHILE HE WHO REJECTS THEM, REJECTS CHRIST AND HIM WHO SENT CHRIST.”(C.3, section 21)
The Church is the people of God; the Church is the hierarchy that defines the “People of God” – a double truth. It is a matter of the structured - secure doctrine - the tyranical vs. freedom - relativism – ambiguity - the democratic.
Labor priests, in supporting labor, appear to support those who challenge the cultic dogma of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. In standing up for labor, would the labor priests be considered as rejecting the hierarchy and therefore Christ himself? Labor priests must recognize the reality of class warfare and choose to be on the side of the workers including those of Roman Catholic institutions. Again, it’s a matter of “WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON.” (See National Catholic Reporter 8/ 31 to 9/13, 20 12। “A new generation of labor priests”)
My younger brother John died suddenly on August 18th of a brain hemorrhage. He would have been 74 if he lived until August 30th. John worked for management and chose the structured version of Church, but he went beyond that. His family was first in his priorities. In my relatively long life I must have experienced a more loving – courageous man, but it is beyond me to recall who that might be.