Post-Vatican II efforts to significantly rethink Catholic theology have been suppressed over the past few decades, in the same way that the implementation of a Post-Vatican II Rite has been suppressed. WHY?
- Because a post-Vatican II Theology would cut across the political and economic agendas of western civilization, both church and state?
- Because a post-Vatican II Theology created cracks in the wall that kept Judeo-Christian scriptures and tradition within strict political and economic boundaries?
- Because the foundation and daily functioning of top-down church/state structures depend most heavily on the Roman “God-in-charge” model?
- Because the survival of western political/economic agendas depends on the image of an all-knowing, all powerful, judgmental (exclusionary) God-in-Charge? If that image changes, do political/economic agendas change as well?
Modern communication breakthroughs have chipped away at the religious rationale and justification of the Roman Rite western model of authority and power as the gift and will of God. This “chipping away” appears to some as an attack on “God-in-Charge” theology, as if there can only be one and only one theological view of authority .
Post-Vatican II progressive theology emphasizes power-sharing images of God as core scriptural and traditional concepts…concepts heretofore minimized and neglected in favor of the Roman Rite western standard.
Constructionist/activist theologian, Joerg Rieger* explains that the “God in Charge” theological perspective is not the only one, nor even the most beneficial one for society in our time. Rieger explores the popularity and success of right wing theological activism in our time and poses this question:
“Is it possible that Trump’s way of projecting power resonates with the way in which many people of faith perceive God’s power to be at work?”
- (God/Trump) as a doer who can single-handedly fix things if he wants to.
- (God/Trump who) acts without consulting others and without asking for permission
- (God/Trump who) acts without being influenced by anyone else.
- (God/Trump) projects power…strictly from the top down, from a subject to its objects, from the ruler to the ruled.
- (God/Trump) can do anything. According to this logic, might also makes things right.
If “Trump’s way of projecting power resonates with the way in which many people of faith perceive God’s power to be at work,” then the post-Vatican II Rite urgently needs to engage in a Theological Activism that highlights shared power as bona fide scriptural and tradition-based concepts and practices…shared power in no way inferior to the efficient Roman model.
The present underlying theological substructure of politics/economics continues to support the political rise and popularity of dictator-type personalities and trickle-down economics. With no input from progressive activist theologians, is there any hope for substantive change of heart and mind in regard to the stranger? …or any hope, that matter, for change in the ultimately apocalyptic direction in which we are moving at full speed ahead?
Activist progressive theologians, Joerg Rieger* and Kwok Pui Lan*, raise two important questions for us to ponder:
- Is it time for people of faith to think more deeply about the God they are worshiping and the kinds of power they want to support?
- SHOULD we be leaving prayer-based theological activism solely in the hands of politically conservative religious leaders? (And, whether we acknowledge it or not, are we already doing so at our own peril and the peril of our faith, country, and world?)
A post-Vatican II rite in union with Rome has no fear to engage in prayer-based Theological Activism in ecumenical dialogue…exploring how we might see God in new ways…in wisdom ways that are invitational, NOT confrontational or polarizing.
*Activist theologian and author of several books on this subject, Joerg Rieger, co-author of OCCUPY RELIGION: Theology of the Multitude with Kwok Pui Lan are both part of the Occupy Theology Movement.
JOERG RIEGER’s Website: http://joergrieger.com/
URL Link for Huffington Post piece: “Divine Power, Donald Trump, and How the 2016 Presidential Elections Challenge Common Religious Assumption” by Joerg Rieger