Chrst the King it used to be called. As we read the Catholic lectionary last Sunday we find the feast now called the Body and blood of Christ. The old name will do fine, redolent as it is with universal, sacramental meaning.
Jack Cosello the homilist pointed out a dramatic breakthrough in theological reflection.
During the Pinochet years in Chile when the thug suborned the democratically elected Allende government on Sept 11, 1973, disappearances and torture became rampant.At that time, spurred by liberation theology and some strong episcopal leadership, the Chilean bishops began to document the abuses.
As the bishops knew several of the good people being tortured,a deeper theological reflection emerged, one which recaptured the teaching of the early fathers of the Church-men like Basil the Great and John Chrysostom. How can people go to communion and take the “Body” while doing irreparable damage to living bodies in the torture chamber? George Bush and his vaunted Christianity might ask the same of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Bodies are sacred, ikons of the living God. War and torture shatter the Body of Christ.
Bishops could no longer distribute communion while staying silent as the larger Body was being disfigured.
Another blasphemy occurred in the Regan years.
A nuclear sub was launched actually named Corpus Christi! The dolts in the US government including the Admiral of the ship could not figure out why many Catholics were beside themselves. I remember Leroy Matthiessen the great Texas bishop writing a powerful objection to this shocking development.
Imagine a ship carryong Trident missiles poised to deliveer the equivalent of 50 Hiroshimas, named after the Body of Christ.
That’s what the Reagan years were about. Imperial strutting, inflationary military budgets
and war on the poor. The Gipper made America feel good after Vietnam. What a great president. some neocons still believe this.Jimmy Carter called him the worst president (by gospel standards he was) ever—until W.
Last week W appeared with Benedict XVl. I spied another torturer in the background, the Deputy secretay of State, the man who supervised the Contra attacks from his ambassador’s post in Honduras, John Negroponte. Of course, the pope would hasve no idea of this thug’s background.
Another tribune with no concern for the Body of Christ. The Contra murdered innocent civilians by the hundreds.All in a good day’s work for Negroponte.