Thinking outside the Eurocentric box?
Jean Raber December 5, 2006 - 10:13am
Naomi Schaefer Riley of the Wall Street Journal took Fr. Andrew Greeley to task Dec. 1 for making "patronizing" comments about Catholicism in emerging nations.
Greeley, interviewed at a religious conference, was asked about how declining numbers of Catholics in Europe and increasing numbers in South America and Africa would change the face of Catholicism.
Greeley said, "We will depend on them for vitality, but they will continue to depend on us for the ideas." According to Riley, Greeley then dug himself deeper into a Eurocentric hole:
"[Greeley] claimed that Mexicans 'have patron saints for pick-pockets and prostitutes.' Catholicism in Mexico is 'a religion of joy and celebration. We have much to learn from them.' Yes, it sounds like a compliment, but the condescension--those people and their quaint ways--is unmistakable."
(By the way, the Church has three patron saints of prostitutes, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Egypt and Margaret of Cortona; and St. Nicolas of Myra is patron saint of thieves. There is also the Black Christ of Protobelo, Panama, patron saint of pick-pockets, thought I couldn't find any specific Mexican saint for that particular profession.)
Magnificat, which does a good job selecting daily devotional essays from a variety of Catholic perspectives, does seem to favor those by Europeans. There are a few by Latin Americans (Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, Venerable Conchita, is a favorite). But I didn't notice any by Asians or Africans.
So, as we enter the Advent season, any recommendations for inspirational reads from non-Western sources?