Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is as practiced in garnering headlines as she is in making statements of utter nonsense, said Thursday that a statue of St. Damien in the Capitol was a perfect example of “what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like.”
Her commentary on the Catholic saint drew condemnation from across the spectrum, including a sharp rebuke from Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. In a pair of tweets this weekend, Barron educated AOC and her followers on St. Damien.
“Just taking a couple minutes out of my day here because I felt the need to respond to something I came across that was just so outrageous,” said Barron. “It was a tweet, or an Instagram or something from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and she was complaining about the presence of a statue in Statuary Hall in the Capitol building that she thought was a sign of colonialism and white supremacy.
“The statue that she picked out, of all the possible ones, was of St. Damien of Molokai. And I thought it was so crazy and outrageous, and I wondered, did she have any idea who St. Damien of Molokai was?” he mused.
Barron explained that St. Damien was a Belgian priest who dedicated himself to spreading the word of God to lepers in Hawaii in the 19th century. Ultimately, he contracted the disease himself and died at only 49 years of age.
“Damien went knowing full-well that he would most likely never return from this ministry and, in fact, he never did,” Barron said. “Damien came to the island and right away gave himself utterly to the people. Ministering to them, yes, preaching to them, but also caring for them in the most direct way. Touching them at a time when even those who were there sometimes wouldn’t touch those who were suffering from the disease. He would.”
Barron said that Damien’s work made him an icon in the Catholic faith and a particular legend in Hawaii.
“Damien of Molokai is reverenced by the people of Hawaii – he was in his own lifetime, and then after his death, he’s been reverenced as a saint by the people of Hawaii,” said Barron. “My point is, to associate this man in any way with colonialism or white supremacy is so ridiculous and insulting. And it shows the superficiality and the simplistic quality of these sort of woke categories.”
Rather than take her medicine like a big girl, AOC responded by insisting that her remarks were taken out of context.
“Read the text of the video you posted: it’s not about litigating an indiv person or statue, but examining that the TOTALITY of all 100+ statues are almost all white & male, incl to rep largely nonwhite places,” she wrote.
The thing is, Sandy: We could easily come up with similar history lessons about every single WHITE MALE honored at the Capitol. That’s the point. Why not take a moment and familiarize yourself with these great men rather than simply rage against their race and sex? Afraid you might learn something more valuable than critical race theory?