This writer has lived in South America for nine years now, and began spending “non-tourism” time on the continent more than twenty years ago. Persons unfamiliar with South America—regardless of how many films they have seen that are set in it—cannot easily grasp the social conditions in even the more prosperous nations, let alone in those marked by a very high degree of social inequality. The Church—Her hierarchy in particular—has long been perceived by the poor as allied with the wealthy and powerful families that have dominated the region for centuries but have now lost political power to the “resuscitated” revolutionaries of the Sixties and Seventies who to a certain extent have put the promises of Liberation Theology into practice. Traditional Catholicism in particular is often viewed as “elitist” and out of touch with the masses if not with the Mass. The SSPX, largest of the Traditional Catholic priestly fraternities, has no presence in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, the three South American nations with the most left-leaning governments, and precious little presence outside of the major cities of the others. In my own rural village, to go no further, outside of one family, there is no interest in the old Mass and nearly no one has heard of the SSPX or has any interest in it, dismissing it as either “the rich people’s Church,” or worse, “the oppressors’ Church”. A goodly number of the villagers reject the Church entirely for this same reason, although they claim nearly to a man to be Catholics.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The Failure of Bishops
From A New World Pope (Some National and Social Context) by Timothy J. Cullen: