with Noam Chomsky
Robert Malin – Dec 5, 2013
Note from Abel Collins: “I sat down to discuss a wide range of topics with the idol of my high school days, Noam Chomsky, in early October. This was before the release of Evangelii Gaudium, but after a lot of encouraging words about economic justice from Pope Francis. Chomsky’s eyes lit up when I asked him about his thoughts on the new Pope’s new direction for the Catholic Church.
Essentially, he admired the rhetoric of the Pope but was concerned that “nothing much is happening.”
“We have to see if it crosses to the point where it leads to say organizing people to insist on their rights and to pursue the path of preferential option for the poor, take the gospels seriously.”
Thus, while I enjoy reading the Pope reiterating his opposition to the current economic model I, like Chomsky, was looking for more. Happily that is what I found in Evangelii Gaudium. In fact, Francis devotes more of his writing to how the Church should change its methods of evangelizing than he does on which topics to evangelize upon.
“Pastoral ministry in a missionary key seeks to abandon the complacent attitude that says: “We have always done it this way”. I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities…The important thing is to not walk alone.”
He stresses the need to get outside the confines of the churches and into the community, meeting people where they are and organizing around issues that the people care about, like economic equality. The way I read it, Pope Francis is giving license to the clergy and the lay membership of the Church to engage fully in liberation theology, and I suspect they will. Wouldn’t you?
And that is the question really, because Catholic or not (I’m a Quaker myself) this radical honesty can light a spark in anyone’s eyes. We can each take that license ourselves to evangelize about economic justice in our communities, and the light we shine will spark others to join us. “The important thing is to not walk alone.”