Author: Emily Reimer-Barry

Labor Justice and the Catholic University: Labor Day Reflections on Contingent Faculty, Catholic Teachings, and Catholic Praxis

In chapter four of his book, University Ethics, Jesuit theologian James F. Keenan remarks that “there is within the university structure a cultural myopia that allows us not to think about the adjuncts.” He acknowledges his own previous blindness in this regard, and invites tenure-line faculty to consider how little they know about the real struggles of contingent faculty on their campuses. Perhaps Labor Day is a time to reflect on these faculty members’ realities in light of problematic contradictions between Catholic teachings on labor justice and the everyday practices of most Catholic institutions of higher learning, and then...

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Remembering Our Past, Securing a Just Future: On Confederate Graveyards and the Wisdom of Christian Ethicists

In June I had the opportunity to visit a confederate cemetery in Point Clear, Alabama. I was there to honor Lillie A. Smith (1875-1947), a woman who meant a great deal to my extended family. But since her grave is very close to the confederate cemetery, we also toured that portion of the property. I had mixed feelings on our visit. On the one hand, it is a beautiful property with old oak trees, magnolia trees with Spanish moss, and exudes a peaceful atmosphere for remembering the dead and considering one’s own eventual death. On the other hand, I...

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White Christians in a Racist Country: Rupert Mayer, Pray for Us

Last summer I had the opportunity to visit the tomb of Rupert Mayer, a Jesuit priest who was a leader in the Catholic resistance movement against Nazism in Munich, Germany. Fr. Mayer’s early ministries were among the poor, especially immigrants. He also served as a military chaplain during the first world war, sustaining a serious injury to his leg. Fr. Mayer was an outspoken critic of Nazism, regularly condemning Nazism from the pulpit. In 1923 he was invited to address a Nazi gathering on the theme “Can a Catholic be a National Socialist?”” As he rose to address them, the...

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The Keepers, Ecclesiology, and Ethics

The Netflix miniseries The Keepers, directed by Ryan White, should come with trigger warnings. “May trigger painful memories for survivors of child abuse.” “May make you reconsider your belonging to the Catholic faith community.” The series begins by investigating the cold case murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, SSND, in Baltimore in 1969. The investigation of her murder by Abbie Schaub and Gemma Hoskins leads to speculation that perhaps Sister Cathy was murdered because she knew of clerical sexual abuse at Archbishop Keough High School. Sister Cathy’s murder remains unsolved. Survivors of sexual abuse by clergy tell their stories on...

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A Summer Social Justice Playlist

I wanna run I want to hide I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside I want to reach out and touch the flame Where the streets have no name. These are tough times for social justice folks. No matter the social justice issue you care most deeply about– food security for the poor, migrant justice, the Syrian refugee crisis, climate change, health care access, LGBTQ equality, transparency in campaign finance, and on and on– there seem to be daily news stories about how we are taking steps backwards on these issues. You may want to...

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