Monday, September 24, 2012

Will Dr. Jonathan Reyes Heal the Catholic Social Justice Civil War ?

Amy Sullivan at the New Republic has a pretty horrid article with a very horrid title at The Catholic Bishops Move Even Further Away From Social Justice .

I suspect a good bit of the negative reaction to Dr Reyes hiring is people are upset their friends they know did not get hired and unlike most folks that do not have access to national press want to have a tantrum. Also one could after looking at this list of names of former workers at the USCCB wonder if some fear a coming diversity at their workplace.

I stand with some progressive Catholics in saying casting a bad light on Carr and his Faith who headed that office is wrong. However I have to say what we are seeing as to Reyes appears wrong too.

On that note let me point out a very different viewpoint that conflicts with the title of the Amy Sullivan piece. It is is written by Micah Murphy who lives in the Diocese of Shreveport and is the webmaster of the blog Truth and Charity. See The USCCB’s New Rallying Cry where he is quite exited by the Reyes appointment.

.. It has long been the case – regardless of your own feelings on it – that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has not been held in great esteem by orthodox Catholics, most especially those of the younger generation who have placed a primacy on orthodoxy in their Catholic identities. Following the example of the late Cardinal Bernardin, the USCCB for many years emphasized social justice to such a strong degree that many of my colleagues in orthodox catechetics suffer from Post-Exposure Seamless Garment Syndrome, a psychological condition whereby orthodox young people undergo knee-jerks and make overgeneralized disparaging comments about the term social justice, due to the fallout of Bernardin’s ethic, which – though we must assume he didn’t intend it – led largely to the standard hypocrisy in politics today of being pro-abortion, but anti-capital punishment.

The stigma surrounding most social justice programs in the United States – and the undesirability of associating with volunteer social workers so heterodox as to make the blood boil – tends to keep orthodox Catholics out of many social justice circles (with the exception of pro-life circles, where they are at home). As a result, many social justice programs deliver material or psychological goods to the poor, but not always spiritual goods through sound doctrine and solid evangelization....

I think that observation is correct

....This latest announcement may finally put to bed the animosity so many orthodox Catholics have for our national “social justice” programs. What is that announcement? Dr. Jonathon Reyes, famous for his connection with FOCUS, the Augustine Institute, and related programs, has just been hired as the new Executive Director of the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

Given his orthodoxy, Dr. Reyes’ appointment as more than just another turning point in the history of the USCCB. With God’s grace, an orthodox, personalistic, Christ-centered, and Spirit-filled approach to social justice will trickle down from the national level as new normative documents are written. This moment in American Catholicism is a time for new faithful to be brought forward. The stigma of social justice may soon be erased and it could not have come at a better time.....

Read it all because I think he is right on.

Michael Winters a critic it appears said at his post :

Third, at a time when there are obvious divisions within the hierarchy regarding which public policy issues should be emphasized, and how those issues should be framed, it seems to me imperative to have selected someone who was not so obviously aligned with one wing of the current ideological divisions within the Church. I am not one of those who sneers at Christendom College. Nor at FOCUS. But, to deny that there is an agenda there, one which does not necessarily invite greater unity within the Church is, I think, mistaken .

I have no idea what is Mr Winters problem with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students which I view as one of the more exciting Catholic movements in the United States we have seen in some time. The Bishop of Rome, in whom all Catholic are linked to in their unity , appears to have a different view than Winters . In that Pope Benedict appointed the head and founder of FOCUS as one of just two American consultants for the Vatican advisory group on the Catholic Church's "New Evangelization.".

This group is needless to say a big deal to the Pope.

I mention that because of a video of a speech I posted earlier that Dr Reyes gave. Around the  to 1:23 mark Reyes comments that in this generation of young Faithful  Catholics he sees an

attitude that does see a need for a war between pro-life Catholic on side and social justice Catholic on the other. That seems a good thing and echos what Mr Murphy is saying. No doubt these observations  are partly based on his work with FOCUS and of course Catholic Charities of Denver where he worked.

To see where the rubber meets the road as to Dr Reyes we should all take a look at a program he started in the Archdiocese of Denver called  Christ in the City . A impressive program to say the least as you can see. From their Mission Statement this seems to be what Catholic Social Justice is all about. In fact such programs seem a critical part in ending the divide in Catholic circles as to such issues.

So Amy Sullivan is quite incorrect . He is not leading the Church away from Social Justice but doing quite the opposite.


Micah Murphy said...

Thanks for your candor and thanks for linking to us. Incidentally, I've been trying to get a hold of you for a couple years now. Can you contact me?

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely inspired together with your writing skills as well as with the layout for your weblog. Is this a paid subject matter or did you customize it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it's rare to see a great blog like this one today.

Look at my blog: ombudsmen

Anonymous said...

It's a pity you don't have a donate button!

I'd without a doubt donate to this excellent blog! I suppose for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.
Talk soon!

Also visit my blog; lodhagroup

Anonymous said...

I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You're amazing!

Also visit my webpage :: lavantes