In his book, “Jesus before Christianity,” Father Albert Nolan, currently provincial for the South African Province of the Dominicans, says that “there is no mistaking the two quite different ways in which power and authority are understood and exercised. It is the difference between domination and service.”
Further, he says that Jesus “also realized that most of the Jewish leaders – the chief priests, elders, scribes and Pharisees – were oppressors. They did not have the arbitrary powers of kings and princes; (but) the power which enabled them to dominate and oppress was the law.”
The law is meant to protect, but is being used by our church leaders to “control.” Some of our ecclesiastical leaders have ignored the good President Obama has done and is doing. Yet those leaders are pressuring Catholic universities to deny him due honors (CR, April 30). Some of these leaders have gone so far as to deny Eucharist, the life of the soul, to persons who have supported Obama in other matters.
Other presidents have ignored the sanctity of life in other ways, yet our church leaders have not condemned those actions. These civil leaders have waged preemptive war, accepted torture and capital punishment and legalized abortion, yet we honor them.
Some of our bishops have been very selective in the use of their moral authority.
Some of our bishops are not unlike the religious leaders in ancient Judea who also used the law to dominate and to oppress. May they pay closer attention to the example Jesus set.