Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a lion in American Catholicism. He is unafraid to speak the truth to power and to stand up to the radical atheistic elites intent on destroying Western Civilization. In his speech delivered remotely on November 4, 2021 to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life held in Madrid, Archbishop Gomez once again demonstrates his courage and his keen insights into “social justice” movements that are destroying our societies.
Archbishop Gomez opens up his speech by acknowledging that a class of global elites has arisen that is dedicated to destroying Christianity and Western Civilization. He states: “An elite leadership class has risen in our countries that has little interest in religion and no real attachments to the nations they live in or to local traditions or cultures. This group, which is in charge of corporations, governments, universities, the media, and in the cultural and professional establishments, wants to establish what we might call a ‘global civilization’; built on a consumer economy and guided by science, technology, humanitarian values, and technocratic ideas about organizing society.
In this elite worldview, there is no need for old-fashioned belief systems and religions. In fact, as they see it, religion, especially Christianity, only gets in the way of the society they hope to build.”
Significantly, this class is doing all it can to advance secularization and limit the public space available to Christians. Gomez declares:
“[S]ecularization means ‘de-Christianization.’ For years now, there has been a deliberate effort in Europe and America to erase the Christian roots of society and to suppress any remaining Christian influences.
In your program for this Congress, you allude to “cancel culture” and “political correctness.” And we recognize that often what is being canceled and corrected are perspectives rooted in Christian beliefs — about human life and the human person, about marriage, the family, and more.
In your society and mine, the “space” that the Church and believing Christians are permitted to occupy is shrinking. Church institutions and Christian-owned businesses are increasingly challenged and harassed. The same is true for Christians working in education, health care, government, and other sectors. Holding certain Christian beliefs is said to be a threat to the freedoms, and even to the safety, of other groups in our societies.”
To better understand these elites and their strong attachment to secular “social justice” movements, Archbishop Gomez says that we need to realize that these movements are really elite “pseudo-religions, and even replacements and rivals to traditional Christian beliefs.” He insightfully notes:
“With the breakdown of the Judeo-Christian worldview and the rise of secularism, political belief systems based on social justice or personal identity have come to fill the space that Christian belief and practice once occupied.
Whatever we call these movements—“social justice,” “wokeness,” “identity politics,” “intersectionality,” “successor ideology”—they claim to offer what religion provides.
They provide people with an explanation for events and conditions in the world. They offer a sense of meaning, a purpose for living, and the feeling of belonging to a community. Even more than that, like Christianity, these new movements tell their own ‘story of salvation.’”
Gomez adds that the Christian worldview, which has successfully guided Western Civilization for two thousand years, is pretty straightforward:
“We are created in the image of God and called to a blessed life in union with him and with our neighbors. Human life has a God-given ‘telos,’ an intention and direction. Through our sin, we are alienated from God and from one another, and we live in the shadow of our own death.
By the mercy of God and his love for each of us, we are saved through the dying and rising of Jesus Christ. Jesus reconciles us to God and our neighbors, gives us the grace to be transformed in his image, and calls us to follow him in faith, loving God and our neighbor, working to build his Kingdom on earth, all in confident hope that we will have eternal life with him in the world to come.”
The new “social justice” worldview of leftist elites, however, tells a different story. According to this worldview:
“We cannot know where we came from, but we are aware that we have interests in common with those who share our skin color or our position in society. We are also painfully aware that our group is suffering and alienated, through no fault of our own. The cause of our unhappiness is that we are victims of oppression by other groups in society. We are liberated and find redemption through our constant struggle against our oppressors, by waging a battle for political and cultural power in the name of creating a society of equity.”
This alternative worldview is popular mainly due to “the simplicity of its explanations: the world is divided into innocents and victims, allies and adversaries.”
Gomez then notes the root of the social justice worldview: Marxism. He says: “No doubt that we can recognize in these movements certain elements of liberation theology, they seem to be coming from the same Marxist cultural vision.”
This social justice worldview is extremely dangerous because it is based on falsehoods and creates sharp divisions within society. Gomez declares:
“In denying God, these new movements have lost the truth about the human person. This explains their extremism, and their harsh, uncompromising, and unforgiving approach to politics.
And from the standpoint of the Gospel, because these movements deny the human person, no matter how well-intentioned they are, they cannot promote authentic human flourishing. In fact, as we are witnessing in my country, these strictly secular movements are causing new forms of social division, discrimination, intolerance, and injustice.”
So what can be done to counter the elites and their social justice worldview? Christians need to be better witnesses to Jesus and the Gospel. Gomez states:
“My answer is simple. We need to proclaim Jesus Christ. Boldly, creatively. We need to tell our story of salvation in a new way. With charity and confidence, without fear. This is the Church’s mission in every age and every cultural moment…[T]he world does not need a new secular religion to replace Christianity. It needs you and me to be better witnesses. Better Christians. Let us begin by forgiving, loving, sacrificing for others, putting away spiritual poisons like resentment and envy.”
Importantly, Archbishop Gomez tell us to not back down in the face of social justice movements: “We should not be intimidated by these new religions of social justice and political identity. The Gospel remains the most powerful force for social change that the world has ever seen. And the Church has been “antiracist” from the beginning. All are included in her message of salvation.”
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, in his address to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life in Madrid, calls out leftist global elites, explains the appeal of their powerful—yet false—social justice worldview, and urges all Christians to boldly proclaim the Gospel to defeat that worldview. Rather than succumb to the social justice movement and its mendacious foundations, Archbishop Gomez urges us–as the Apostles did– to “live and proclaim the Gospel as the true path to liberation from every slavery and injustice, spiritual and material.” Only by doing this can we heal the sharp and often violent divisions caused by the atheistic social justice movement and once again enshrine truth in our societies.