18 July 2009

Justice & Peace is NOT only for the Left

The promoters of Justice & Peace for the Order have asked members of the "Dominican Family" to write to The Powers That Be and protest/demand/agitate that something or another Be Done about the military coup that ousted Chavez crony, Zelaya from the Presidency of Honduras.

I've followed the story headlines and watched a few soundbites on FOX and CNN, but the details of the whole mess flew by in a blur. Honestly, I didn't really pay much attention until the predictably left-sympathetic J & P crowd of the Order asked me to pay attention.

And when I did, I found this: Honduras' Non-coup. It is unclear to me how a country's democratically elected Congress, civilian-controlled military, and Supreme Court can illegally remove that country's President. . .

Imagine for a moment that in July of 2008, George W. Bush had ordered the U.S. Marines to conduct a referendum on changing the 22st amendment of the Constitution so that he could run for a third term.

Imagine too that Bush's own Attorney General at the time, Michael Mukasey, declared his boss' move illegal and went to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief. The Court, in a unanimous vote, declared the referendum unconstitutional and ordered it stopped.

Imagine that Bush then ignores the order and proceeds with the illegal referendum.

Imagine that Congress then impeaches Bush for treason with only six extreme right-wing members voting against the impeachment. Bush again ignores both the Congress and the Supreme Court, refuses to relinquish power, and continues with the referendum.

Imagine that the Supreme Court, again unanimously, orders the Marines to arrest Bush and declares another Republican to be the President until the American people choose a new President in the November elections.

Imagine that only about 28% of Americans support Bush's move to amend the Constitution illegally, but 100% of the region's right-wing military dictatorships think a third Bush term is a fantastic idea and promise to intervene in the process with military and financial assistance.

Imagine that Cardinal Francis George meets with Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court and publicly acknowledges that the impeachment and arrest orders are legit.

Could you imagine--with these facts--that the liberal-left media and progressive religious leaders would be calling Bush's impeachment "a coup"? That they would be lauding Bush as a victim and calling for his immediate return to the Oval Office?

If you can, then your imagination is far, far livelier than mine.

Of course, there are lots of folks out there challenging the veracity of the details in Estrada's article. One writer described the narrative put forward by Estrada as the party-line of the Honduran "Oligarchic Diaspora." Nice phrase, but the possibility that Estrada is an oligarch in exile doesn't change the facts. Even land-owning meanies can believe the truth once in a while.

So, what's my point? The credibility of the justice and peace efforts of the Dominican Order are seriously damaged when those charged with directing our efforts in this area jump on every fashionable left-liberal cause and uncritically accept as unimpeachable evidence any narrative that tells a terrible tale about those that they imagine are oppressing the poor. Not every general, not every landowner or banker or conservative politician is out there stomping on human rights. Sometimes the left is the oppressor, the usurper of democracy.

Just once I would love to read an appeal from the OP's J & P office that asks friars to write Congress and demand that the human rights of the nearly two million citizens murdered every year by their own mothers be defended.

Given the consistency with which our brothers and sisters in that office line up behind left-liberal causes, I'm not holding my breath.


  1. Minor correction: the 21st repeals Prohibition. The 22nd is the term limits. I always remember them by 18th and 21st being Prohibition, and 22 being two twice (terms).

  2. Anonymous10:38 AM

    It seems as if the leaders of many of today's "liberal" religious Orders, your Dominican leaders included, understand their jobs primarily to be the safeguarding of a liberal ideology among their members. Perhaps people at your motherhouse (or whatever you call it nowadays) should be challenged on this since Rome's agenda is substantially different. Probably the only way to challenge them effectively is to organize some sort of mail-in communication with many signatures from like-minded "members." I put the word "members" in quotations because when I see your references to the Sisters and to the so-called "Dominician family," I am imagining that the egalitarian active Sisters in your Order have pressured the men to identify everyone who is in any way associated with the Order (or who have ever even heard of the Order) to be identified as members of your so-called Family. I think a signature campaign would only be effective if it were limited to "real" Dominicans. By the way, I'm surprised that Dominican references on the scene of religious life (your own and others) are typically so liberal since your best known Sisters are the Nashville and Ann Arbor ones, who don't match that profile at all. What gives?

  3. Anon,

    I'm sorry...but I'm not quite understanding your last question.

  4. Here is a copy of the Honduran bishop's statement. Go head to head with the P&J crowd on this one.

  5. I have been following this situation through the eyes (or blogs) of those that live there and have lived in SA for many many years.

    Here's a link that will give you an insider's view of the situation...as well as lead you to other places where you can learn what the MSM isn't showing....


  6. "If you can, then your imagination is far, far livelier than mine."

    That ain't imagination padre, thats cheap drugs and LOTS of 'em!

  7. Anonymous9:59 PM

    From Anon 10:38
    My comment/question was along these lines: usually when a "co-ed" Order today gets carried away with the liberal/political agenda as opposed to Church related initiatives, it pretty much turns out that the Sisters of the outfit are exercising the greatest amount of influence. (Seems like unless the men dig in their heels for orthodoxy, the feminist women run the version of the show connected to public stands, causes and ideology...) However, in your case, the most prominent ladies in your Order are the very orthodox Nashville and Ann Arbor nuns, so why do the Dominicans in general still sound like a branch office of the LCWR whenever we hear anything about their public stances? I'm confused. Surely those who are still with you from the Age of Aquarius are quieting down by now and enjoying their infirmary facilities, aren't they? When you refer to the Dominic P&J crowd, who's calling the shots?

  8. Anonymous10:42 PM

    You should read the newest newsletter of the "Dominican Ashram" which the Central Province operates. There is an interestingly connected piece posted there titled "A Bridge of Hope": http://www.op.org/ashram/newsletter.htm.

  9. Anon,

    That "piece" is exactly the kind of uncritical adulation of the left in religious life that discredits the Church's authentic J&P ministry.


  10. Anon 9.59:

    Ah OK...

    I think your first assumption is incorrect. When women religious started getting advanced theology degrees in large numbers in the 60-70's they usually enrolled in non-traditional or newly created programs that skirted around basic philosophy requirements. For centuries, philosophy was considered the first discipline to learn. Sisters were encouraged to substitute sociology, psychology, social work, etc. for philosophy. These disciplines, controlled more or less by leftist ideologues, ruined any chance they had of standing up to radical feminism and the eco-feminism that followed.

    My point: the sisters didn't radicalize themselves...they were aided and abetted by the brothers who rejected Catholic philosophy in favor of any and every B.S. "-ology" that turned up at the front door. Some of these brothers are still around and quite a few of them nest in the Order's J&P ministries.

    Only time will fix this.

  11. Marion (Mael Muire)12:42 PM

    Only time will fix this.

    I think only Our Lady will fix this.

    (Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, extirpatrix of heresies, pray for us.)

    Don't forget that it was the male priests, bishops, and theologians throughout the 1950s and early 1960s who dissented on artificial contraception, and by their counsel and example led many souls astray. By the time Humanae Vitae was promulgated much of the good soil among the laity had been poisoned and eroded. It was only in these conditions that the new "Betty Friedan - Bella Abzug" school of women religious could take hold and thrive.

  12. Fr. Powell,

    I agree with the sentiment of this article. As a Theology student, I am extremely frustrated with Catholic Social Teaching because of the path it has long taken away from that the first documents by Pope Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum and his previous encyclical usually not associated with CST, Quod Apostolici Muneris, both of which had condemned Socialism, in any form, as being incompatible with Catholic moral teaching. Yet, there is very little in the Academy that recognizes this. Until we bring CST back in line with the idea that the seat of Catholic moral decision making is the individual's conscience, I think the CST will be on the wrong track.