We have witnessed many shocking events lately. One despicable commonality they all share is that too many people in America, especially those in authority, regard immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ and to some extent, the elderly not as fellow human beings, but as disposable objects to be jettisoned when no longer useful, or plainly just by who they are, somehow less than human deserving of scorn and derision. I’m a grey 56 year-old quickly approaching elderly status, if not already there, so I’d like to take this post to focus on two events regarding the elderly for a moment.
The first was what happened to Martin Gugino, the 75 year old peaceful protester advocating for racial justice in Buffalo who fractured his skull when the police shoved him down. Here’s a link to a story about Mr. Gugino in Commonweal:
This is the man the current occupant of the White House labelled an "ANTIFA provocateur".
The second event that underscored to me the belief that the elderly are disposable was really an interview the Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick gave on TV. He argued that the elderly should take on the risk of catching COVID-19 so the economy could re-open. My mind immediately screamed “You first, Danny Boy,” then immediately swerved into Logan’s Run and Soylent Green territory. Such is the way my mind works. It always finds an analogy in some old sci-fi movie. Or Star Trek. Patterns, always looking for patterns, but I digress.
I converted to Catholicism about 30 years ago. With many of the modern day clerical abuse scandals and the myopic social justice views of too many leaders in the church simply focusing on abortion and same sex marriage, I sometimes wonder why I still consider myself Catholic. I have quite different views in many cases than the church hierarchy about what ails our country. I never bought the idea that legalized abortion or same sex marriage is the root of it all, that if somehow those were to be made illegal again, the world would be a more just place. Poverty, and the unjust consequences resulting from the inequitable distribution of resources has always been more devastating, even before abortion and same sex marriages were legalized.
The thing that keeps me coming back and the the thing that intrigued me about the church 30 years ago is the Catholic social justice tradition. The tradition teaches us, all of us, those in religious orders or in the laity, how to live the Gospel in an often times indecent and suffering world. Mr. Gugino was heavily involved in this tradition. It’s he same tradition that Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez and others helped promulgate, the tradition that produced the Catholic Worker movement. The Nuns on the Bus tours grew out of this tradition, as well. To see a very good summary of what Catholic Social Justice teaches, visit the link below to the lobbying arm that sponsored the Nuns on a Bus tour.
I pray I can live up to it.