José Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles, born in Mexico and former student at the University of Navarra, gave a powerful video message at the Catholic and Public Life conference, to be held in November at the University San Pablo CEU of Madrid. More than 700 have registered already, although only about 150 are allowed to attend in person due to sanitary prudence.

Gómez himself has sent his presentation on video, since his commitments as current president of the U.S. bishops  prevented him from going to Spain. The presentation was released this Thursday, November 4. The theme of the congress is political correctness and woke, a stream of increasingly totalitarian tones that has jumped around the world from the United States.

In the preparatory video for the Congress, the president of the U.S. bishops wanted to explain this phenomenon, its context, and how to respond. We summarize it below:

1. Powerful leaders who despise Christianity

“In our countries certain types of elitist leaders have emerged who are not so  interested in religion and have no real ties with the nations in which they live or with local traditions or cultures. This group, which is in charge of corporations, governments, universities and the media  and which is found in cultural and professional establishments, wants to establish what we could call a global civilization, based on a consumer economy and governed by science, technology, humanitarian values ​​and technocratic ideas  about the organization of society.”

“Within this elitist worldview, there is no need for antiquated belief systems and religions. In fact, from their point of view, religion, and especially Christianity, is something that is only a hindrance to the kind of society that they hope to build. And, I think it is important to keep this in mind. As the popes have pointed out, in practice, secularization means “de-Christianization.”

2. What they want to cancel is Christian beliefs.

“In the program that you established for this Congress, you allude to the “culture of cancellation ” and  “politically correct.” And we realize that often what is canceled and corrected are the perspectives that are ingrained in the Christian beliefs about human life and person, about marriage, family and much more.”

“In your society and mine, the ‘space’ that the Church and believing Christians can occupy is shrinking. Church institutions and Christian-owned businesses are increasingly challenged and harassed. The same is happening. with Christians who work in education, healthcare, government and other sectors. Having certain Christian beliefs is said to be a threat to the freedoms and even the safety of other groups in our societies. ”

3. In the US there is racial and economic inequality.

The case of George Floyd, an African American who was killed by the violence of an Anglo-Saxon policeman, “became a clear reminder that racial and economic inequality is still deeply ingrained within our society. And I think we must bear in mind this reality of the existence of this inequality. Because these new movements are part of a broader discourse, of a debate that is absolutely essential about how to build an American society that expands opportunities for all, regardless of the color of their skin or their origin or origin. economic situation”.

4. They are rival pseudo-religions of Christianity.

“My argument is this: I think the best way for the Church to understand what the new social justice movements are is to see them as pseudo religions, and even as replacements and rivals of traditional Christian beliefs. With the collapse of the Judeo-Christian worldview and the rise of secularism, political belief systems based on social justice and personal identity have come to fill the space once occupied by Christian beliefs and practices.

“Whatever we call these movements  – ‘social justice,’ ‘woke culture,’ ‘identity politics,’ ‘intersectionality,’ ‘successor ideology’ – they claim to offer what religion provides. They give people an explanation of events and world conditions. They offer you a sense of meaning, a life purpose and a sense of belonging to a community. Also, like Christianity, these new movements tell their own ‘salvation story.’ ”

5. We must proclaim the Christian message … because the woke message competes with it.

“Jesus reconciles us with God and with our neighbor; he gives us the grace to be transformed into his image and calls us to follow him in faith, loving God and our neighbor and working to build his Kingdom on earth. All this, with the confident hope that we will obtain eternal life with Him, in the world to come. That is the Christian story. And now more than ever, the Church and every Catholic needs to know this story and proclaim it in all its beauty and in all its truth.”

“We need to do it, because currently, there is another story hanging around there. An antagonistic narrative of ‘salvation’ that we hear in the media and in our institutions, coming from the new social justice movements.

“The woke movement proclaims: ‘Our group is suffering and is being alienated, and this happens, through no fault of our own. The cause of our unhappiness is that we are victims of the oppression of other groups in society. And we achieve liberation and redemption through through our constant struggle against our oppressors, waging a battle for political and cultural power, in the name of creating an equitable society. ”

6. The woke movement attracts because it divides into good and bad.

“This is certainly a powerful and engaging discourse for millions of people, both in American society and in societies throughout the West. In fact, many of America’s leading organizations, universities, and even public schools are promoting and actively teaching this perspective. This story draws its strength from the simplicity of its explanations: the world is divided into innocents and victims, allies and enemies . But this narrative is also attractive because, as I said before, it responds to real human needs and suffering. . People are suffering, feel discriminated against and excluded from the opportunities that exist in society. We must never forget this reality. Many of those who adhere to these new movements and belief systems are motivated by noble intentions.”

7. It is a mixture of atheism, Pelagianism, Manichaeism and other heresies

“Today’s critical theories and ideologies are deeply atheistic. They deny the soul, as well as the spiritual and transcendent dimension of human nature; or they think that this is irrelevant to human happiness. They reduce what it means to be human to essentially physical qualities. like the color of our skin, our sex, our notions of gender, ethnic origin and position in society. We can certainly see that these are some elements of liberation theology , rooted in a Marxist cultural vision.

“They are also very similar to heresies and false gospels that we find throughout the history of the Church. Like the Manicheans, these movements see the world as a struggle between good and evil, the just versus the unjust. And as Gnostics reject creation and the body, believing that human beings can make themselves whatever they want. These movements are also Pelagian, since they believe that redemption can be achieved through our own human efforts, without having In the end, these movements are utopian, because they seem to believe that we can create a kind of ‘heaven on earth,’ a perfect society, through political power.

“I think it is important for the Church to understand and approach these new movements, not in social or political terms, but as dangerous substitutes for true religion. By denying God, these new movements have lost the truth about the human person. This it explains their extremism and their tough, uncompromising and relentless approach to politics. And from a Gospel point of view, because these movements deny the human person, however well-intentioned they may be, they cannot promote authentic human flourishing.”

8. What to do? Proclaim Christ boldly.

“What should be done? How should the Church respond to these new secular movements seeking social change? My answer is simple. We need to proclaim Jesus Christ. Proclaim him boldly, creatively. We need to tell our salvation story in a new way.  With charity and trust, without fear. This is the mission of the Church for all times and for all cultural moments.

“We should not be intimidated by these new religions of social justice and political identity. The Gospel remains the most powerful force for social change that has ever existed in the world. And the Church has been ‘anti-racist’ from the beginning. They are all there. included within his message of salvation.”

“The world does not need a new secular religion to replace Christianity. Rather, it needs you and I to be better witnesses, better Christians. Let’s start by forgiving, by loving, by sacrificing ourselves for others, discarding spiritual poisons such as resentment. and envy. Personally, I find inspiration in the saints and characters who lived a life of holiness in the history of my country. I think especially of the Servant of God, Dorothy Day. For me, she offers an important testimony of the way in which Catholics can work to change the social order through radical detachment and love for the poor based on the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, and the works of mercy.

“I am also inspired by the testimony of Venerable Father Augustus Tolton . His is an impressive and truly American story. He was born into slavery, escaped to freedom with his mother, and became the first African-American ordained priest in my country. Father Tolton once said, “The Catholic Church deplores a double slavery: that of the mind and that of the body. She strives to free us from both.

“The truth is that we are all sinners, we are all people who want to do the right thing, but often do not. That does not mean that we must remain passive in the face of social injustice. That never! But we have to insist that it Brotherhood cannot be built through animosity or division. True religion does not seek to harm or humiliate, nor to ruin people’s livelihoods or fame. True religion offers a way for even the worst of sinners to find redemption.”

9. This decade we will see a spiritual awakening

“In the United States, as in Mexico, the Church is preparing to celebrate the 490th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which commemorates the true spiritual foundation of the American continent. And we are already seeing signs of a religious awakening in our country, below the political controversies, the clouds of the pandemic and the uncertainty of the future. I am convinced that in the next decade we will see a spiritual awakening and a growth in faith, as we prepare for the 500th anniversary of the appearance And the words of María de Guadalupe in Tepeyac fill me with inspiration and strength: ‘I am not here, I am your mother. Are you not under my shadow, and shelter?’ ”

The above comes from a translated Nov. 4 story on the site of ReligionenLibertad.