Friday, October 1, 2010

Many faces of Catholicism

Here is an old article from Nicholas Kristof. He starts by criticizing the Catholic Church's misdeeds and cover-ups in the recent past, and contrasts it with the earnest work of religious and laypeople on the ground. I find his quoting of heterodox Gospels and the setting-apart of the Vatican and the rest of the Church to be a bit tiresome. But Kristof's point is well-taken. The Catholic Church has an old-boys' club aspect, but also a progressive, grassroots side. This diversity within Catholicism is very clear in Colombia, where there exist paramilitary warlords that are devoutly Catholic, while one of the major guerrilla groups (the ELN) was founded in large part by liberation theology priests and nuns. Likewise, the State often espouses religious speech in its anti-insurgent war, but the Church is also the go-to peacemaker and advocate of human rights.

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