News Release

Questions on SCOTUS Nominee: What Version of Christianity?


[The Washington Post reports: “Yes, Senate Republicans could still confirm [Amy Coney] Barrett before the election.” Also see analysis in The Intercept. The vice presidential debate is scheduled for this evening and the issue of the Supreme Court is likely to be discussed.]

MATTHEW FOX, via Dennis Edwards,, @RevDrMatthewFox

Fox is a theologian, an Episcopal priest and an activist. He has written 37 books including A Spirituality Named CompassionThe Reinvention of WorkThe Order of the Sacred Earth and A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey.

He recently wrote “A Public Letter to Supreme Court Nominee Amy Barrett” which was published by Tikkun magazine. Fox writes: “With the nomination of a new supreme court judge, some are being accused of ‘anti-catholicism’ for posing questions about your religious beliefs. I, however, think questions like the following are important and I am sure that you are open to discussing them with the American public whose job it is [for you] to serve.

1) “Since you are a practicing Catholic, have you studied Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment (‘Laudato Si‘)? What are your positions on environmental justice? On climate change? Are you as passionate about them as you are about opposing abortion? …

2) “Have you studied Pope Francis’ statements on the ‘idolatry of money‘ that dominates so much of our economic system? Where do you stand on that subject and on unbridled Wall Street power? And on tax breaks for the very rich vs. for the poor and middle class? (Revelations on President Trump’s non-taxes being very relevant to the question.)

3) “Where do you stand on the long-standing teaching of the right for unions to organize that are embedded in papal documents dating all the way back to Pope Leo XIII in the nineteenth century?

4) “As for abortion, surely you know the distinction in Catholic philosophy between what makes good law and what makes good morality. They are not always the same. Since women are going to have abortions (and not all American women are Catholic, by the way), isn’t it preferable to make abortion as safe as possible than to make abortion go underground? …

11) “… Speaking anecdotally, in my interactions with charismatics over the years, I have hardly ever met one who considered the struggle for justice for the poor and oppressed as part of their religious consciousness. In fact, it was precisely the charismatic groups in South America who were financed to oppose and replace base communities and liberation theologies, while buttressing right-wing political fanatics.

“My question is this: What does the canonization of Saint Oscar Romero mean to you and your community? How does his struggle on behalf of the poor resonate with your version of Christianity?”