On November 4, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) delivered a speech during the Congress of Catholics and Public Life in Madrid, Spain where he characterized “new social justice movements” throughout the Church as both anti-Christian and pseudo-religions. He further stated that the Church needs to understand these movements as “replacements and rivals to traditional Christian beliefs.”
The Society of the Sacred Heart, United States – Canada Province, takes seriously our mission to discover and reveal God’s love in the midst of our blessed and broken world. This requires focused attention on the Gospel imperatives expressed in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) and our role as educators of Catholic Social Teaching.
We strongly oppose this characterization of the work of social justice action within the Church and throughout society particularly those led by or impacting our young adults and youth. We stand with our young adults of conscience, courage and intellect in seeking to build the Kingdom of God through actions of awakened truth, action and justice. As Religious of the Sacred Heart we believe social justice movements are the very expression of Christian values as modeled by the life of Jesus.
These are days that call the Church and religious congregations to take seriously their responsibility for acceptance of and reconciliation with past and present complicity with injustice in any form. Social justice movements bear witness to Christian values and beliefs, they are neither replacements nor rivals.
We strongly urge the USCCB and the communities we serve to be led by the wisdom of Pope Francis in his message of October 16, 2021, on the occasion of the Fourth World Meeting of Popular Movements. We stand on a critical precipice and the future we create for the next generation depends on the leadership we cultivate in the present. We have the opportunity to be agents of the Kingdom in our midst by the ways that we are directed by the Spirit to educate, to act and to lead, both individually and collectively.
We call upon our brother Bishops to stand firm in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and against any attempt to erode our attempts to work for human dignity, solidarity and the call to participate in society to seek the common good and well-being of all. We also invite each person to reflect on the personal attitudes, words or behaviors that do not adequately reflect our Christian values and beliefs.
Together, we can create a world rooted in the attitudes of the heart of Jesus and the covenant of contemplation and action in defense of human dignity and right and responsibility of all to act to promote social justice because we believe another world is possible.
The Provincial Team
Society of the Sacred Heart
United States – Canada Province