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A Forceful Essay Hits a Nerve

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  • The U.S. church is being asked to choose between the values of Francis and those of Trump.
  • Spadaro & Figueroa Are Onto Something

Anthony Annett, Commonweal

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July 28, 2017 | Over a decade ago, I was one of the co-founders of a small Catholic blog called Vox Nova. The goal of the blog was precisely that—to be a “new voice” for authentic and consistent Catholic social teaching. Most of us on that blog hewed to traditional teaching on social justice and were identified with the Catholic left. But we also tried hard to be consistent—we didn’t disdain Humanae Vitae, ignore abortion, call for women priests, or denigrate Church teachings on sexuality. In doing so, we sought to challenge the presumptions of those http://lacatholicworker.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/faith-and-politics-sign.jpg   who monopolized the mantel of “faithful, orthodox Catholicism.” We were attacked relentlessly for exposing their inconsistency. But in an ocean of right-wing Catholic opinion, Vox Nova was easily drowned out, in the end making only the tiniest of ripples. 

The same cannot be said of the forceful essay in La Civiltà Cattolica by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, and Marcelo Figueroa, which shone a light on the pathologies of a certain brand of American Catholicism. And the extent and vitriol of the pushback from the highest echelons of American right-wing Catholicism only shows that Spadaro and Figueroa have hit a nerve. 

Anthony Annett is a climate change and sustainable development advisor at the Center for Sustainable Development - Earth Institute at Columbia University and in this position is affiliated with Religions for Peace.

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