Here is a taste of his piece at Commonweal:
But compare the lukewarm, scripted answers some bishops gave to reporters asking about Trump with how the bishops reacted to a just elected President Obama in the fall of 2008. The contrast is stark. Eight years ago, bishops stepped up to the microphone during that year’s bishops’ conference public sessions with dire warnings. “This body is totally opposed to any compromise,” one bishop said. “We are dealing with an absolute,” said another, “there is no room for compromise.” Others called for a “war” against abortion, and urged the church to adopt a “prophetic” voice. (See Commonweal’s November 2008 editorial in response to these outbursts, “The Bishops & Obama,” for more.)
It was hard to find this moral outrage and sense of determination last week. Church leaders need to wake up and recognize the need for a prophetic Christian witness. If not now, when? The “alt-right” leader Steve Bannon, alluded to previously, is now the president-elect’s chief adviser, thrilling white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Bannon was raised in an Irish Catholic family. He addressed a Vatican conference in 2014. Earlier this year, he argued the Catholic Church welcomes immigrants only to pad its numbers because “the church is dying in this country.” Bannon should be feeling pressure from Catholics leaders. If he doesn’t, the normalization of extremism that we saw in the presidential campaign will only continue in the White House. Let’s be clear: “alt-right” and even “white nationalism” are euphemistic ways of describing racist movements that must be stopped.
A few days after the bishops met in Baltimore, the innocuous sounding National Policy Institute convened hundreds of people with supremacist views inside the decidedly establishment confines of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Young men wearing business suits sported “fashy” (as in fascist) haircuts. Agenda items included “Trump and the New White Voter,” and “America and the Jewish Consciousness.” Richard Spencer, who takes credit for coining the term “alt-right” and has argued for a whites-only “ethno-state,” organized the meeting. Attendance this year more than doubled from previous years, according to news accounts. Spencer, who leads the National Policy Institute, sees an opening with the Trump administration. “An awakening among everyone has occurred with this Trump election,” Spencer said during his opening remarks. “We’re not quite the establishment now, but I think we should start acting like it.” The Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups have tracked a disturbing rise in hate crimes, a flurry of them coming in the days after Trump’s election.
Facing these challenges, the bishops and other Catholic leaders will need to respond with creativity and courage. They have prioritized religious liberty issues over the past several years, and that commitment is about to be tested. The bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” campaigns, for example, largely directed at the Obama administration, were high-profile efforts that entail significant financial and institutional commitments. Now that a Trump administration poses grave threats to Muslims, bishops must speak out clearly on religious liberty grounds. The old script just won’t do. When is the “Fortnight” for Muslims?
Read the entire piece here.