Vatican Setting Its Sights on Asia - China

Betty Clermont on Vatican Setting Its Sights on Asia, Questions from a Ewe on European and Male Hegemony in the Church (and Synod on Family)

Here are the opening two paragraphs from two sharp, thought-provoking essays I've read online this morning. To my way of thinking, the two essays intersect, though they were written independently of each other and don't in any way advert to each other. What do you think? I'm hoping that by providing the opening paragraphs of each essay, I'll spur you to read both in their entirety:

First, Betty Clermont's "The Vatican Sets Their Sights on Asia" at Open Tabernacle:

Pontificates have common and particular geopolitical aspirations for increasing the power of the Catholic Church. The current pope and his two predecessors formed and maintain the U.S. episcopate as a politically motivated body who, in support of the Republican Party, remained silent on immoral military invasion, torture and domestic slaughter by firearms but went into paroxysms of outrage over birth control. 
John Paul II allied with the Reagan administration against the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and in support of military dictatorships in Latin America.* The Eurocentric Benedict XVI tried to restore some deference previously enjoyed by the Church on that continent and concentrated on Africa, which he called the “lung of the Church,” mindful of the West African oil boom. Now, with one of their mostinfluential and powerful pontiffs in history, the Vatican has undertaken a most ambitious project: incursion into Asia, the economic powerhouse and home to half the world’s population.

As Betty notes, the first indication of Francis's post-Eurocenetric vision for the church was his decision to appoint George Yeo, the first layman from Asia ever to have such an appointment, to a commission to study Vatican finances and then to the Vatican Council on the Economy. As she also reminds us, Yeo is on the advisory board of Harvard Business School and Opus Dei's IESE Business School

And then came the appointment of Pacific-Rim Cardinal George Pell as "tsar of all Vatican finance and administration." A cardinal who also has exceptionally close ties to the secretive, powerful, exceptionally wealthy and well-connected Opus Dei group . . . . 

And now Questions from a Ewe on "European and Male Hegemony in the Church":

I recently read, "Pope Francis: Untying the Knots," a book by Paul Vallely.  The book indicates Pope Francis is not a fan of people from Europe and North America having over-riding influence on the Catholic Church.  He thinks most Europeans and North Americans don't have a clue about life in Africa and Latin America.  Therefore they aren't credible guides. 
Furthermore, he sees the church thriving to the point of busting at the seams in these same developing areas while it atrophies amongst the European and North American/European-descent crowds.  Therefore he further questions the European folks as credible guides. It's sort of a "walk a mile in another person's shoes" kind of commentary in that Francis thinks the European and North American folks lack street creds to tell Africans and Latin Americans what to do. 

As Questions from a Ewe observes, would that Pope Francis could make the connection between his critique of the longstanding European and American hegemony in the structures of the Catholic church, and the even more longstanding hegemony of men. "Welcome to the world of women in the church, my friend!" she responds to the pope's critique of Euro-American hegemony: a world in which the perspective of powerful others is taken for granted asmy perspective, even though I'm not one of those powerful others.

A world in which no one has a perspective — at least, one that counts — except the powerful, except those in control, who project their view of things onto whole institutions and entire cultures as the view of things. A world that will be on display for all the world to see at the upcoming synod on the family, Questions from a Ewe reminds us, given that "71% of the 250 synod participants are unmarried, male clergy." And that "all 26 voting members are unmarried, childless, ordained men."

Who will be making decisions and declarations about women. And family. And child-bearing and child-rearing. 

Tolle, lege: I recommend both articles to you. I hope this taste of each will whet your appetite to read each in its entirety.

* Citing Betty Clermont, The NeoCatholics: Implementing Christian Nationalism in America (Clarity Press, 2009), chap. 6.

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