[I had signed up for a class in the Institute for Continuing Learning at nearby Young Harris College; however, with other commitments that have emerged, I will not be able to attend. I prepared the following to share with the professor and the class.]
The Impact of 1968 on the Roman Catholic Church
J. Patrick Mahon
Matthew Fox in his book, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church And How It can Be Saved, clearly delineates the events of 1968 which were to have a lasting impact on the world and on the Roman catholic Church:
The year 1968 was a tumultuous one around the globe. In the United States two assassinations roiled the country—the of the Reverend Dr. martin Luther King, Jr. in April, which set off riots all through urban America, and then the shooting of Senator Robert RF. Kennedy on the day of his presidential primary victory in California. The war raged in Vietnam, and so did students marching in opposition to it in Europe as well as the United states. In the spring of 1968, student rioters in Paris dug up stones on the Boulevard Saint Michel and used them as weapons to hurl at the police. Tear gas was everywhere. Students created barriers from felled trees and cars to defend themselves from the police. With strikes freezing public transportation, gasoline stations, grocery stores, and more shut down; businesses closed and the student uprising brought down the government of Charles de Gaulle. I was there. I lived through the powerful dynamics of it all.
I was also receiving letters from friends in Chicago who were beaten up in Grant Park by the police at the tumultuous Democratic National Convention, which took the Democrats decades to get over and gave the 1968 election to Richard Nixon. My Dominican [Order of priests in the Church] provincial was sitting in Mayor Daly’s box at the convention while his police were beating up protestors, including my brother Dominican activists, in Grant park. Turmoil was in the air. Vietnam was an issue that split fathers from sons. But so too was education itself.
In the Catholic Church, 1968 will be remembered as the year of Pope Pail VI’s notorious encyclical that reinforced birth control prohibitions, Humanae Vitae [in spite of the fact that the majority of the papal commission voted to relax the prohibitions]. . . .
Students were protesting in Germany as well as in Berkeley, Madison and Paris. Continue reading