Author: Emily Reimer-Barry

“Why have you abandoned me?” Reading the Passion through the Lens of the Border Crisis

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?They divide my garments among them,and for my vesture they cast lots.But you, O LORD, be not far from me;O my help, hasten to aid me. Catholics who attend the Palm Sunday Mass this weekend will have the opportunity to accompany Jesus during his passion. After we pray Psalm 22, we see the motifs anew in the gospel reading. One way of reading scripture invites one to place oneself in the narrative, as a character in the story, and imagine how the gospel scene plays out as you imagine yourself witnessing the events. I invite us all to imagine the gospel narrative this week through the eyes of a detained child in custody on the border of the United States, or a family stuck in Tijuana seeking asylum in the United States. “Why have you abandoned me?” Where is God in this space? Where is God in the midst of dehumanizing rhetoric from the US Commander in Chief? Where is God in the immigration system that is reaching a breaking point? Jesus was put to death by the state. Who is to blame? Luke’s storytelling does not give a tidy answer. Pilate, Herod, religious leaders, Roman soldiers, Judas, the crowd—there are plenty of people who are complicit and many more who remain silent, choosing apathy over advocacy for a man unjustly...

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“Would you sign this?”: CMT Contributors in Dialogue (First Post in Series)

I reached out last week to my colleagues at this blog, and in the email thread that followed, it was suggested that we make our conversation more public by developing a series of posts. I agreed to start us off. The views expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the positions of anyone else. **** I had been asked in January to serve as a panelist at an event for Catholics in my local area, and accepted the invitation with enthusiasm. My contact at the organization, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit national organization with local chapters, told me that I would be asked to speak about a virtue and how that virtue applied to my life of Christian discipleship. Other panelists would speak from their experience about this same virtue, and there would also be time for networking and prayer. It sounded great. I was asked to send my bio and a picture for the marketing materials; I did. I made arrangements to have child care coverage for that evening and set aside time to prepare my remarks. Some time went by, and then I received an email asking me to sign the statement below, to make sure “that those who speak at our events are committed to Church teaching.” Unsure exactly what that meant, I opened the attachment. FAITHFULNESS TO CHURCH TEACHING In order...

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We Don’t Need a Requiem Mass for Moral Theology: A Response to Camosy’s Claim That Our Discipline is in Crisis

In November, CMT contributor Charles Camosy wrote a piece for Church Life Journal entitled “The Crisis of Catholic Moral Theology.”  His arguments have been given new life this week in an America piece in which Camosy is interviewed by Tom Elitz, S.J., “Has Moral Theology Left Catholic Tradition Behind?” In both places, Camosy argues that the field of moral theology is in crisis. But I think it is too early to plan the Requiem Mass for our field. It is true that huge demographic and institutional shifts are underway. But this is not a field in crisis. This is a field responding to urgent and complex questions all over the world, drawing on the wisdom of the past and the data of the present, including data from a variety of fields in the social sciences and hard sciences. In these pieces, Camosy argues that scholars of Catholic moral theology are not doing theology the way he thinks it should be done. And sometimes they even have the nerve to call themselves social ethicists instead of moral theologians. But I think we need to step back and think about some very basic questions that his critique of the field raises. What do I need to have to demonstrate to someone that I “belong” in the guild of Catholic moral theology? What exactly has been lost by expanding our field’s methodological...

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To Uncle Ted’s Nephews

A year after Theodore McCarrick was named a cardinal, the Washington Post ran a story (“Uniform Policy on Priests’ Abuse Urged; More Comprehensive Way Is Needed, D.C.’s Cardinal McCarrick Says,” 4/17/2002, A01) in which the following is revealed: [McCarrick] also revealed that he personally had once faced an unfounded accusation. More than 10 years ago, while he was bishop of Newark, McCarrick said, he was accused of pedophilia “with my own family” in a letter sent to some of his peers in the church hierarchy. “I immediately did two things,” he said. “I wrote a response and sent it...

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The Vocation of the Theologian in 2018: Reflections on CTEWC

“Speak fearlessly.” -Petr Stica (Germany) “We need bold action.” -Emmanuel Katongole (Uganda/US) “We must get away from wooden, dense, constipating discourse.” -Dennis T. Gonzalez (Philippines) “Not without my sisters!” -Tina Beattie (UK)   The Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church conference took place two weeks ago in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Much has already been written on the conference, and many of the talks will be published in the edited volume that comes out next year. But those publications will have a hard time capturing the spirited discourse that emerged in the conference sessions and around meals. CTEWC,...

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