Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Occupy the Vatican

There have been a number of posts by Fordham theology professor Tom Beaudoin at America magazine's blog about the Occupy movement, and while I've seen stuff about the Occupy movement and St. Paul's Cathedral in London, and articles about the Occupy movement and the Trinity Wall Street church in New York, I wondered what would happen if there was ever an Occupy situation at a Catholic church. Today I saw that an attempt to set up a protest camp at the Vatican was stopped by riot police ....

Vatican protesters evicted by police

[...] While the activists outside St Paul's received a mixed reaction from the Church of England, Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said the Holy See had no doubts about removing the demonstrators before they set up home in St Peter's. "Considering the actions undertaken and the language used, these Indignados evidently wanted to use the piazza in an improper way, not in keeping with the spirit of the place and it was therefore considered just and opportune to move them out with the co-operation of the police," he said.


Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Interesting. Somebody climbed the Christmas tree? I'd have to say that it's not exactly public's used regularly for & by the crowds that gather for the public gatherings with the pope, when a lot of people/tourists are arriving on pilgrimage. Those are huge, but they're by invitation only -- you have to be part of a group that has made arrangements to be there, and the invitations are checked. Not that it's hard to be "invited," but it's not just simply for the public.

8:32 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

There was a past post by Tom Beaudoin at America' blog about the Trinity Wall Street church and the Occupy movement that was pretty critical of the church for not donating land for the protestors to stay, for not giving them "sanctuary", about whether church property is really "private" property .... Occupy Wall Street Versus Trinity Wall Street?

I don't know if I agree with him, but people who do agree with him should, I think, hold Catholic churches to the same standard as he seems to be holding Episcopal/Anglican churches.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

I enjoyed the article, and the video clip attached. Very convincing! And some of the arguments they used apply in the Vatican case.

However, the Trinity property was unused -- the Vatican square is used all the time. Trinity was involved with the Occupy what happened to the conversation? From the Vatican article, I don't see any reference to a prior effort to communicate. Lastly, the (unused) Trinity property was going to be used by the Occupy folks as part of their overall campaign -- it was more of a staging area. It appears that the Vatican square occupiers wanted the space in order to protest the Vatican... so, what did they expect, open arms?

It seemed neither Vatican group was interested in a conversation. The Trinity occupiers may well have a winning case, if they can enlist their friends within the Trinity community and continue to press the issue.

Thanks for the extra information.

10:15 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Good points. I'm not really sure what I think about the Occupy movement. In some ways it seems just obnoxious and I'm not sure about all their goals, but on the other hand, what they're doing is pretty similar to what people in Pax Christi do - make people uncomfortable so they'll pay attenton.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

I have a similar ambivalence. I guess I really need to connect with some of those folks personally, and see for myself. Certainly I agree with the movement, and support the effort to hold to account the people and institutions that are rich and powerful. Catholic Social Justice teaching reminds us that there is no absolute right to private property; those who hold excess wealth have a responsibility toward the common good.

1:22 PM  

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