Is ‘Social Justice' a Heresy? | Sojourners

Is ‘Social Justice' a Heresy?

Attacks on activism by church hierarchs give organized religion a bad name.
Illustration of a groovy fist emerging from a megaphone to bump another fist
Illustration by Tiarra Lucas

FOR ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ Gomez of Los Angeles, social justice movements are “pseudo-religions.” In a November speech, Gomez said that “today’s critical theories” are “profoundly atheistic,” that they spring from a “Marxist cultural vision,” and that they “resemble” heresies in church history. He even blamed social justice movements for “causing new forms of social division, discrimination, intolerance, and injustice.”

Black Catholic theologians and others responded to Gomez’s remarks with a petition that read, in part, “Your speech was particularly painful and offensive to Black Catholic advocates in the United States who have organized for racial justice in the face of indifference and even hostility from many white Christians.” The National Black Sisters’ Conference pointed out that “BLM is not a pseudo-religion; nor is it a ‘dangerous substitute for true religion.’ It is a movement very much in the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.” And someone ought to introduce Archbishop Gomez to Pope Francis who, in his message for World Youth Day this fall, encouraged young people to “Arise! Uphold social justice, truth, and integrity, human rights. Protect the persecuted, the poor and the vulnerable, those who have no voice in society, immigrants.”

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