The conservative Catholic blogosphere is filling up with strong dissent from this document. Which makes sense — it is a radically utopian piece of work, one that rightly unnerves people of conservative conviction and instinct. Still, the ease with which conservative Catholics dismiss the statement calls into question how intellectually honest they are when it comes to criticizing Catholic liberals who do the same.
I’ve noticed the tendency of many Europeans and Diaspora Europeans (i.e. white folks) to think of such matters in the abstract terms of liberal or conservative. (Perhaps this is a genetic trait whites evolved living in the barren escapes of Northern Europe, as others have argued.) While in the past such abstract thinking has been beneficial (such as the advances made during the Scientific Revolution), today it’s turned into a rather short-sighted view in a globalized world of people who think in more concrete terms, as non-Western people typically think in terms of in-group vs. out-group, not in such fanciful abstractions as liberal and conservative.
As John L. Allen notes about the heart of Catholicism moving from the West to the Global South:
One way of sizing up the note’s significance, therefore, is as an indication that the demographic transition long under way in Catholicism, with the center of gravity shifting from north to south, is being felt in Rome. … [T]o dismiss all this as nothing more than the rogue perceptions of an isolated Vatican department ignores the demographic and cultural realities of the church in the 21st century. This is not the dying echo of warmed-over European socialism. For better or worse, it’s the first ripple of a southern wave.
In short, the overwhelming majority of Catholics will soon be from the Global South / Third World (mostly Africans and the Mestizo / Amerindian populations from Latin America), and the Third World Catholics will support such a measure simply because they see it benefitting them, not because of some higher abstract principle. Flooding the West with the Third World and reallocating resources from the West is in their interest. As Westerners we need to ask, what’s in our interest?
“There is an enormous distance between Europe and the Third World. There is a new civilization emerging in the Third World that thinks that the white, northern hemisphere has always oppressed it and must therefore fall at its feet now. This is very serious.”
“If the northern civilization wants to protect itself, it must be united: America, the European Union, and Russia. If they are not together, they will be defeated one by one.”
In short, the Global South sees its self as adversary to the West, and the Catholic Church (as it becomes non-Western) is clearly positioning itself in the anti-Western camp.