Fr Brian Darcy It is shameful that the Church is backing "rogue" Trump
There is a Presidential election in America in a few weeks. Covid makes a proper election almost impossible. But we cannot blame Covid for the pathetic standard of debate or for the quality of the candidates.
I used to love going to the United States; I looked forward to visiting it and did many times. I went to college there twice. At that time, the American Catholic Church was enthusiastic, vibrant and compassionate.
The bishops then really did try to bring about the kind of Christian community which Vatican II proposed. It was a Church built on genuine scholarship. It was Gospel based.
Now it is reduced to being one of the most reactionary, conservative out of touch, Trump-like hierarchies in the world.
The political right wing, allied to the well-healed, Catholic capitalists, have established a highly financed form of clericalism. They are supported by other high-ranking clerical careerists throughout the world, including Rome itself. Pope Francis hasn't a chance with that lot.
During the unbridled evil of the Trump era, my faith in America has evaporated. There are good people in America; but they too seem to have capitulated.
Yet there is a growing army of disillusioned Americans who are becoming more vocal of late. Writer and spiritual guru, Joan Chittister, recently admitted that she weeps for what has happened to her once great country.
"This is the good-time generation, the land of beach parties and early retirement, the world of aspirin and analgesics, of marijuana, alcohol and cocaine. On this planet, psychic numbing has been raised to high art," she writes. "[The Book of] Ecclesiastes says, 'there is a time for everything under heaven: a time to weep and a time to laugh.'"
There is plenty to weep over in modern-day America.
"Weeping and wailing are heard everywhere in the land of milk and honey - the unemployed who want basics they can't have now that Covid-19 has locked them out of work; the sick and the lonely, who are powerless to save themselves from a virus of invisible particles, and fear they will surely die alone; the evicted and the powerless, whose lives are faceless and unrecognised; the privileged and the well-to-do, who have it all and still have nothing that really satisfies; and maybe most of all, our young people, who are looking at their future and seeing only ruination. No work available. Everything they took for granted, gone."
She says that if we do not allow ourselves to face and feel pain, we run the risk of entombing ourselves in a plastic bubble where our lies about life shrink our hearts and limit our vision.
"It is not healthy, for instance, to say that massive poverty is sad but 'normal'. It is not right to say that sexism is unfortunate but 'necessary'. It is not human to say that war is miserable but 'inevitable'. It is not healthy to insist that our deep hurts and cutting disappointments and appalling losses and great personal mistakes do not exist; on the contrary. To weep tears of frustration about them may be to take our first real steps toward honesty, toward mental health, toward a life that is worth living.
"America has gone from leader of the free world to pathetic shadow of our former global self. Weak, chaotic, out of control and at the mercy of a playschool monarch, we have become a tattered remnant of a once great forward-looking nation.
"There is a deep sadness in the United States these days as people watch its international stature melt to the miniscule. There is a barely muffled anger at the train wrecks that have become our most sacred political institutions. There is growing shock and mistrust that comes with realising that when a president goes rogue, there is actually no obvious process of how to end it unless Congress itself has the integrity, the awareness, to deal with the gravity of the situation."
The pity is that this elderly nun, Joan Chittister, is not a candidate in the election. What has become of America that the cream sinks to the bottom? How come the churches including the Catholic Church, are getting behind what Joan Chittister calls 'a rogue president'? No wonder she weeps.
And Jesus wept!