César J. Baldelomar, a grad student at Harvard Divinity School, is a regular blogger over at God’s Politics. He’s also the executive director of Pax Romana Center for International Study of Catholic Social Teaching.
I appreciated his recent post Vatican II 101: Social Justice is Part of Catholic Identity. It’s part review of James Carroll’s new book Practicing Catholic and part personal reflection on how Catholic Social Teaching brought César back into the church.
With the creeping “reform the reform” movement that is blossoming under Pope Benedict, it is very important for Vatican II Catholics to give witness to why it is vital to the church (see also Hermeneutic of Dysfunction for more on this). Here’s an excerpt from his post:
Not too long ago, I considered myself a former Catholic. I asked, “How could I, in clear conscience, choose to remain in a church that often seems to forget its call to social justice and that covers up the terrible abuses of children at the hands of priests and bishops?” The answer to my angst now seems somewhat clear: If I leave the church, I would be dishonoring the legacy of the council fathers, who, in a span of some four years, rocked the foundations of an ancient edifice. Moreover, I would be “selling-out” the prophetic figures who followed in the Vatican II spirit – figures like Oscar Romero, Gustavo Gutierrez, Dorothy Stang, Jon Sobrino, Leonardo Boff, and several other less known men and women.
Though born twenty-one years after Vatican II, I consider myself a Vatican II Catholic. When I struggle whether to remain a Catholic, I simply recall the council fathers’ heroic and prophetic stances in favor of religious liberty, peace, social justice, the vernacular liturgy, and recognition of Jews as older brothers in faith. The council fathers and those following in their spirit remind me that being Catholic means emulating Jesus by practicing love and compassion for all, but especially the marginalized and oppressed. I can only hope to not disappoint these heroic figures!
Read the whole post here.