I am mesmerized by the Iranian citizens, most of them young, who are marching in the streets of Tehran. They show courage, spirit and a deep desire for justice. I’m especially intrigued by the women, many of whom are letting their head scarves slide back on their heads. A good number, I am sure, believe that the “hijab” is not essential for Muslim women. In that highly religious nation, this crowd clearly wants a government that reflects the best of Islam, the best of what their religion has to offer.
All this makes images of St. Peter’s Square flash through my mind. I recall in the late 1990s, marching through that square with hundreds of Catholic reformers from all over the world. We too wanted justice: justice in our church, such as gender equality in all ministries, optional celibacy for priests, and the right to elect our bishops. None of us wore veils, but if we had, they would have been slipping, you can be sure. We wanted a church that reflects the best of the Catholic tradition.
True, Iran is not the equivalent of the Vatican. Iran is a nation-state, and can put physical force behind its demands. The Vatican, although technically a “nation,” is really a seat of ecclesial power, with no physical security forces (only psychological ones) to enforce its will. But both are theocratic and although both have traditions of democracy in their history (yes, we did elect bishops in the church at one time), and neither seems to embrace the meaning of that tradition.
The National Catholic Distorter is the mouthpiece for Call-to-Action (and nearly every other dissident group out there). So after giving it some thought, I've written the following:
I am mesmerized by the Call-to-Action members, most of them old and graying, who are shuffling with their walkers and canes. They show dissent, a spirit of Vatican II and a disproportionate desire for out-of-whack social justice. I’m especially intrigued by the women, many of whom are wearing albs and cassocks irreverently. A good number, I am sure, believe that the “all-male priesthood” is not essential for Catholicism. In this highly heretical group, this crowd clearly wants a church that reflects the "best of Catholicism", the best of what their religion has to offer.
All this makes images of the movie "Shaun of the Dead" flash through my mind. I recall watching it on DVD in 2006 (or maybe 2007), zombies shuffling through the streets of London with hundreds of other zombies. They too wanted justice: well, actually, they just wanted to bite people and eat them. But they had no real purpose in their lives, no guiding principle to provide them peace and joy. And they were more humorous than scary. Kind of like the CTA'ers.
True, Call-to-Action members are not the equivalent of zombies. Call-to-Action is a national group who uses protests, letter campaigns and toothless press releases to back up their crazy demands. Zombies, though technically a "group", are really just disorganized animated corpses, with no real physical skill (other than psychological ones, cos they're scary!) to enforce their will. Actually, they sound oddly similar when described that way. But both are fanatical and although both have traditions of illogical actions in their history (yes, it is true there is no such thing as "faithful dissent"), neither seems to embrace how silly and strange they seem to the rest of us.
And zombies are so much easier to dispense with, aren't they?