Father Wilson Miscamble, a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and a history professor at Notre Dame defends Bishop Jenky from the attacks of members of the Notre Dame faculty:
Do you know Bishop Jenky?
I do, indeed. He’s, of course, a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and I’ve known him since I came to the order as a seminarian 30 years ago. He’s a terrific priest and a great bishop.
Have you worked with him closely?
He was the rector of Sacred Heart Basilica in my younger days as a priest here on campus and was the superior of the Holy Cross community here during my early days on campus. That was in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when I was part of the community of which he was local superior.
But then he was taken away from us and made auxiliary bishop here in Fort Wayne-South Bend, and then was made bishop of Peoria about 10 years ago. So, for the last 15 years or so, I’ve seen him periodically. He comes back to visit, and so on.
What do you think of this brouhaha over his remarks?
I have found the reaction of my faculty colleagues quite embarrassing — embarrassing because these academics disgracefully misused Bishop Jenky’s words by taking them out of context. It has been a little disappointing, to say least. Bishop Jenky was making remarks about the religious-liberty issue, and some of my colleagues implied that Bishop Jenky was suggesting that President Obama was on his way to adopting the entire Hitler-Stalin agenda. It’s a mischaracterization that is unworthy of supposedly serious scholars.
You’re a historian, albeit your specialty is American history.
I am a historian, and I challenge the signatories to this letter criticizing Bishop Jenky to point to one part of his homily that is historically inaccurate.
Is he historically accurate?
Absolutely. By the way, Bishop Jenky was a history major when he was an undergraduate here at Notre Dame. He’s read quite a bit of history in his day. And he is a good student of it.
Why do you think they would take his remarks out of context?
Well, this is to engage in speculation, and I probably shouldn’t go down this path myself; one should be cautious. But I think this very poorly crafted letter says more about the rather predictable and ideological bias of the signatories than it does about Bishop Jenky’s courageous homily.
But do you feel that he might have overstepped any kind of line?
No. His homily was a courageous homily which pointed to a pattern of behavior of a number of regimes to limit religious freedom and to attack religious institutions.
Go here to read the rest of the interview at the National Catholic Register. I like Father Miscamble’s use of the phrase “rather predictable and ideological bias” which sums up not only what is wrong at Notre Dame but throughout most of American academia. Academia purportedly is about the pursuit of knowledge. Instead, today most academics seem to be chiefly concerned about ideological purity and attacking ideas that offend their preconceived prejudices. This is a direct betrayal of the very purpose of higher education and is part of a goal of too many in academia to replace education with indoctrination.