The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.

Coming soon to a college near you: Men’s studies programs…

 

Somewhere beneath the radar screen, college-age American men as a group aren’t doing so well, especially when compared to today’s college women and  men of the halcyon era of U.S. higher education long past, according to Rocco L. Capraro, who wrote an essay published in What Works: A Book About Raising Boys, Engaging Guys, and Educating Men.

As compared to college women and previous generations of college men, the sad facts:

  • they read less;
  • graduating from high school, they are not prepared for college;
  • many are simply not attending college; and,
  • those who matriculate aren’t graduating in large numbers.

These sad facts translate into the reality that if college admissions were gender-blind, then the majority of students at the nation’s most selective colleges would be women.

Of those men who do attend college today:

  • they are less engaged in studies and student life;
  • they receive lower grades and fewer academic honors (men in STEM courses–i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math–being the exception);
  • they exhibit higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse and commit more social conduct violations; and,
  • they use fewer student services and are more reluctant to seek help and attend support programs.

In sum, men are getting less out of their college experience, and they are not taking it upon themselves to do something about it.

So, what’s to be done? Capraro’s answer: “Men’s studies” that will enable college men:

  • To get at the underlying causes of the lack of success of college men, what’s needed is to take a cue from feminist, critical race, and other explanatory systems to understand differentials in power to explain to college men the experience of college men, why they are struggling, and what they can do about it.
  • To understand men’s experience, identity, and development throughout the life course—understanding men as men, not as generic human beings—will assist college men to know who they are (the social reality), what they think (stereotypes) and what they would like to be (the gender ideal). In short, to study “masculinities” so as to be able to discuss male students as males.

Capraro is optimistic, writing:

At bottom, what men’s studies teaches us, and where it can play a role in improving the lives of college men, is the fundamental insight that the totality of men’s experience cannot be explained by men’s power alone. True, objectively speaking, men as a group may still have power over women as a group; however, subjectively, individual men do not necessarily feel powerful, or behave as if they were in control.  That is because many men engage in harmful, self-destructive behaviors linked to messages about manhood, or feel they do not measure up to the gender ideal, or are burdened by harmful stereotypes of what it means to be a man.

They are also socialized not to express their feelings, report symptoms, reveal their vulnerability, or otherwise deal in healthy ways with their emotions. And when it comes to learning, they learn at an early age that “school is for girls.” Masculinity leaves men feeling shamed and disempowered, suffering the negative consequences of their own notions of manhood and their own aversion to female identified values and attributes.

Worse yet, after steering men in the wrong direction, masculinity—insidiously and tragically—interferes with help-seeking behavior. No wonder so many men struggle in college. On campus, college women more likely to be sober and involved and men are drinking more—and more often—and are more distracted. College women in distress are more likely to seek out counseling centers or are referred by a friend, while college men become silent or act out. Informed by men’s studies, we can better design programs and services for college men, with men in mind.

If Capraro is to be believed, teachers and administrators in the nation’s K-12 schools are causing boys to become confused about what it means to be men so that, by the time high school graduation rolls around, they have absolutely no sense about their identity as males. Today, college men are “victims” who need to attend college to learn what who they are not only as men but also be educated in the various forms of “masculinities.” All of this will empower college men to be men, in the same way that college age women have been empowered through K-12 schools to seize upon their college experience to be equal and, it seems, surpass all of those poor, confused college men.

“Male studies.” The panacea for confused college men?

Good grief.

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

The “free market” and “social exclusion”: Cardinal Maradiaga’s “sloganeering”…

 

Catholic prelates are certainly entitled to their opinions but, when expressing those opinions, prelates should identify them as personal opinions. That’s especially true when Catholic prelates are speaking outside of their area of competence, as those opinions can be seized upon and promoted by others—and the mainstream media, in particular—as if they are official Church teaching.

Consider the example of Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, the Salesian Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, President of Caritas International, as well as Vatican spokesman with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Concerning the issue of Third World debt, Cardinal Maradiaga has written: “In this time the free market has produced one sector which is booming: social exclusion.”

Maradiaga

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga          Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras

In The Catholic HeraldPhillip Booth has written that this type of “sloganeering” is unbecoming a Catholic prelate. To wit: Booth identifies two substantive errors evidencing themselves in Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga’s opinion.

Error #1:The number of people living in absolute poverty

  • The past 6 years (the Cardinal’s point of reference) extended a 25-year period during which absolute poverty has declined more rapidly than at any previous time in human history. Unfortunately, that’s not happening in Honduras, which ranks as the 112 freest country in the world (out of 189) with 25% of its citizens living in absolute poverty.
  • Those who live at the margins are not suffering due to free markets. No, their poverty is due to cronyism, corruption, and the absence of the basic conditions for markets to function. In that regard, Honduras ranks 162 (out of 189) of the easiest places in the world to start a business.

In South and Central American countries, governments are excluding citizens from markets. Citizens are not being excluded by markets. But, according to the Cardinal, it’s the “rich countries”—especially Italy and Spain—where markets exclude people are at fault for this “social exclusion.”

Unfortunately, the Cardinal errs once again. As Booth correctly has noted, Spain and Italy are not hotbeds of free-market liberalism. Spain is the 22nd freest country in Europe and Italy is the 35th freest.

Error #2: The markets are unconstrained

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga has also overlooked how, in recent decades, governments have increasingly constrained markets. Again, Booth has rightly highlighted some inconvenient facts the Cardinal has conveniently overlooked:

  • Between 1950 and 2010, government spending on the part of most of the world’s largest economies increased 200% as a proportion of national income. Much of this spending went to entitlement programs, the cost for which requires increasing taxes—thus decreasing income—and cutting back in other discretionary programs.
  • The number of new laws and regulations passed and the proportion of people working for the government have also increased markedly over the past 20 years. This is true even of the financial sector.

Governments have been increasingly constraining markets, making it increasingly difficult for los pueblos to participate in free markets.

And that’s just the beginning of Booth’s well-founded critique of Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga’s opinion, because the Cardinal didn’t stop there. If people were to take the Cardinal seriously, Booth opines, nations like Britain would become more like Italy and Chile would become more like Honduras. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Spread the pain around for all to experience rather than eliminate the pain so no one experiences it…the latter seeming to be the case, contrary to the Cardinal’s problematic opinion.

Booth is correct: Communicating one’s highly debatable opinions as if they are truth “undermines the respect in which in which clergy are held when they talk about issues on which they are (or should be) expert and authoritative.”

When it comes to economic matters, it would much better if prelates invited Catholic economists to write and publish papers from an informed Catholic perspective. Then, let other experts have at those papers to vet their contents “speaking clearly with frankness and listening with humility,” much like Pope Francis desires for the Synod on the Family.

 

 

 

To read Phillip Booth’s article in the Catholic Herald, click on the following link:
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2014/10/02/a-cardinals-error-on-poverty-and-the-free-market/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

A “Catholic” environmentalism…

 

Caring for and ruling the environment are biblical imperatives going back to the Book of Genesis. It’s a no-brainer: There is what might be termed a “Catholic environmentalism.”

This sound, theological proposition is not the ideology of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism and propounded by their stormy petrels and a compliant mainstream media. It is not rooted in contrived “facts” supported by spurious research that, in the end, is dubious research, at best. It also is not “sexy” in the sense that Catholic environmentalism will win the Church a Nobel Prize or that Pope Francis will jet across the imperiled globe in a private jet, increasing his carbon footprint while, at the same time, preaching against everyone else who does so.

No, Catholic environmentalism is constructed upon a profound sense of responsibility for the gift of nature, entrusted to humanity by its Creator. Love of God and of neighbor are the twin pillars upon which Catholic environmentalism is constructed. Catholic environmentalism is, as Pope Francis has said of marriage and fidelity to spouse and family, “a beautiful thing.”

That said, it appears some very high Vatican operatives have become smitten with the secular version of environmentalism, relying upon its dubious “scientific” reserach to assert that it’s a “moral imperative” to act with regard to “climate change.” Consider what the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said to the 2014 United Nations’ Climate Change Summit:

The scientific consensus is rather consistent and it is that, since the second half of the last century, warming of the climate system is unequivocal. It is a very serious problem which, as I said, has grave consequences for the most vulnerable sectors of society and, clearly, for future generations.

Numerous scientific studies, moreover, have emphasized that human inaction in the face of such a problem carries great risks and socioeconomic costs. This is due to the fact that its principal cause seems to be the increase of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere due to human activity. Faced with these risks and costs, prudence must prevail, which requires thoughtful deliberations based on an accurate analysis of the impact our actions will have on the future.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin Vatican Secretary of State

The problem with Cardinal Parolin’s assessment is that no “scientific consensus” exists concerning global warming. What exists are manipulated data—which many have called “fraudulent”—that conform to the ideology of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism and whose political goal is to impose a novus ordo saeculum—a new one-world order—across the globe.

Considering the content of the Cardinal’s speech, it might just as well have been written by those who worship at the altar of environmentalism. Yes, it might not promote the gospel of global warming, but it’s there. Yes, it may not be hysterical in tone, but it’s there. What’s next, a papal encyclical concerning the Earth’s melting icecaps which are raising the ocean’s levels and threatenting to imperil cities, when, in fact those icecaps are expanding? Another papal encyclical calling upon the people of the earth to protect the endangered polar bears whose numbers are actually expanding?

The Vatican oftentimes is criticized for immersing itself in matters that are “beyond the Church’s competence.” That’s certainly apropos in this regard. There absolutely is an imperative—a scripturally-based imperative—to care for and rule creation in order to ensure the next generation’s health and well-being. As Cardinal Parolin notes, that would be “prudent.”

But, to provide propaganda for those who worship at the altar of environmentalism that will be propagated by their stormy petrels as well as a compliant mainstream media isn’t good diplomacy. Especially when those statements are rooted in falsehood.

 

 

 

To read Cardinal Parolin’s address, click on the following link:

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/09/24/vatican_address_to_2014_un_climate_change_summit/1107182

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

The weighty burden of administration at Gonzaga University…

 

Imagine what it must be like to be the President of Gonzaga University (GU)—a Jesuit, Catholic, and humanistic university—located in Spokane, Washington. Not only does GU’s President have to contend with the demands of a diverse and inclusive group of administrators, faculty, staff, and students but he also has to contend with the insufferable demands of a conservative Catholic alumni group—“The 1887 Trust”—whose mission is “to provide a source of information, a means of communication, and a collective voice to Gonzaga University alumni and others in the Gonzaga family who are concerned about preserving and recovering the Catholic identity of the University.”

According to the 1887 Trust’s latest bulletin, administrators, faculty, staff, and students—in the name of supporting GU’s mission—have successfully agitated to:

What the 1887 Trust wants GU’s President to do is to lead the institution in such a way that it gives “uncompromising witness” to the “Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom.”

Just how should GU’s President do that? By leading a “sexual revolution” on GU’s campus.

According to the 1887 Trust:

…We believe that Gonzaga University’s leadership is failing to fulfill its responsibility to uphold and defend its Catholic mission in the area of human sexuality. The failures are serious and the school has been failing for some time and so, yes, we believe a “revolution” in outlook and practice is required if Gonzaga is to mend its Catholic identity.

Imagine such audacity!

The 1887 Trust contends:

The revolt Gonzaga needs is one that’s staged by faithful Catholic students and faculty on campus and by board members who are concerned about the continued weakening of Gonzaga’s Catholic identity. Faithful Catholics should demand strong institutional support for magisterial teaching about sexual morality. Differing opinions are valued in academic settings, but Gonzaga’s institutional voice must be true to its mission…

Moreover:

One often hears Catholic university administrators and faculty say that “students must confront the issues of today and be prepared to encounter ‘the other’ and learn to be inclusive.” Somehow, the ‘others’ that our students are taught to encounter and appreciate are most often representatives of groups who wish to re-make the Church in their image, if not dismantle it altogether. The faculty members who are so very supportive of fostering encounters with those “on the margins” seldom seem to be as engaged in fostering an inclusive appreciation for what the Catholic Church actually teaches as the truth about human sexuality. It is long past time for a “radical and pervasive change” in Gonzaga’s approach to its Catholic identity. Call it a revolution, if you will, or call it metanoia. Either way, we believe it is worth working for, and praying for.

Isn’t this all so very sad, isn’t it? A GU alumni group that’s demanding the institution’s President to strengthen GU’s Catholic, Jesuit, and humanistic identity by providing appropriate institutional support to Catholic teaching concerning sexual morality. Aren’t alumni supposed to fork over $$$s and that’s it?

These Catholic right-wing nut wackos just don’t “get it,” do they?

Why won’t they just disappear into some empty Gothic-style Catholic Church where Mass is conducted in Latin? Administering GU would be so much easier, wouldn’t it?

 

 

 

To read The 1887 Trust’s latest bulletin, click on the following link:
http://www.1887trust.org/index.cfm?load=news&newsarticle=19

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

Virtue Is Attractive: The Crossroads Walk

For the past 20 years, some wonderful young college students have been participating in “Crossroads Walk,” dedicating the 3 months of their summer vacation to trek each year across the nation on behalf of life.

The walk started in 1995 when 15 Franciscan University of Steubenville (OH) students took up then-Pope John Paul II’s challenge to you to spread the gospel of life. Those 15 students now number several hundred thousand and their 1 annual walk has grown into 3. Beginning in May and ending in August, participants trek from Seattle, San Francisco, and San Jose-Los Angeles, crossing 36 states before reaching their destination: Washington, DC. Each group covers anywhere from 10k-15k miles. Weekends feature the groups praying, providing counselling in front of abortion clinics, and speaking at local churches.

map

No doubt about it, Crossroads is a pro-life “civil rights” organization whose members seek to protect the civil right of the “right to life.”

Catch a glimpse of Crossroads Walk 2014:

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Parents and praying for their children in school

 

Dr. Edward Mulholland, an assistant professor of classical and modern languages at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, recently discussed a prayer for students composed by St. Thomas Aquinas which the Angelic Doctor prayed before studying:

Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom, origin of all being, graciously let a ray of your light penetrate the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness in which I have been born, an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding, a retentive memory, and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally. Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning, direct the progress, and help in the completion. I ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Commenting on this prayer as it concerns college students, Dr. Mulholland describes parents and educators some of whom believe education is only about academics, others of whom believe it’s all about money, and yet others of whom believe it’s about prestige. And, yes, there are those parents and educators—almost certainly a very tiny minority in today’s world—who could care less about all of that, believing as they do that education is all about getting young people to persevere in morality.

As St. Thomas’ prayer reminds all of us, education and the virtue of humility are inextricably related: The proper attitude toward learning—whether in an elementary or secondary school or a college or university—is to allow God to form one’s mind to grasp the light of truth and, then, to will it in one’s life from the beginning through its completion. With that attitude, other utilitarian ends—academic success, money, and prestige—are put into proper perspective with morality becoming an imperative.

In 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life/U.S. Religious Landscape survey reported the prayer habits of Americans. Of particular interest, note the habits of U.S. Catholics:

Pew1

Among U.S. Catholics who report they do pray and broken down by political ideology, the following pattern emerges:

Pew2

Of those Catholic parents who report they do pray—irrespective of political ideology—how many pray for their children ?

With the new academic year now underway in many locales, wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents wrote down St. Thomas’ prayer on a notecard and presented it to each of their children, asking them to say the prayer at the start of each day of school? Better yet, to tell their children they will be saying St. Thomas’ prayer for each of them at the start of each school day?

 

 

 

To read Dr. Mulholland’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/leading-out-of-double-darkness?utm_campaign=dailyhtml&utm_medium=email&utm_source=dispatch

http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/report2religious-landscape-study-key-findings.pdf

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

Removing the Bible and prayer from public schools has caused student behavior to decline?

 

It’s an eye-popping headline: “Education Expert: Removing Bible, Prayer from Public Schools Has Caused Decline” (italics added).

An education “expert” has evidence that the decades’ long decline in public education has been caused by removing the Bible and prayer? If true, that’s something of which everyone should take note!

Some background:

Recently, a professor at California State College in Long Beach and a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ, William Jeynes, suggested to an audience at the Heritage Foundation the existence of a correlation between the decline of U.S. public schooling and the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1962 and 1963 decisions that ruled school-sponsored Bible reading.

According to a CNSNews.com article, Professor Jeynes said:

One can argue, and some have, that the decision by the Supreme Court—in a series of three decisions back in 1962 and 1963—to remove Bible and prayer from our public schools, may be the most spiritually significant event in our nation’s history over the course of the last 55 years.

Okay. That’s a fair enough assessment. But, what objective evidence supports the assertion? That so-called “correlation.”

Citing data from the federal government (Departments of Education, Justice, Health and Human Services and the U.S. Census Bureau) as well as research conducted by the advocacy groups Bibleasliterature.org, the Bible Literacy Project, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, and California educator Nader Twal, Jeynes identified five negative outcomes since 1963 that have evidenced themselves in public schools across the nation:

  • academic achievement has plummeted, including SAT scores;
  • increased rate of out-of-wedlock births;
  • increased illegal drug use;
  • increased juvenile crime; and,
  • deterioration of student conduct.

Yes, those negative outcomes have evidenced themselves in government schools, no doubt about it.

But, that’s a pretty slippery statistical slope onto which Jeynes is venturing, unless he’s merely stating his personal opinion and citing alleged “research” to support his opinion. Why? There’s absolutely zero “proof”—no scientifically demonstrated causal relationship—that those negative outcomes are related to the removal of the Bible and/or prayer from government schools. They may be, but that’s different than demonstrating that they are. After all, aren’t most of those negative outcomes also associated with nongovernment schools—where Bible study and prayer have been present all of those decades—though perhaps not in the same magnitude?

Jeynes continued:

Now the question is, given that there is a movement to put the Bible as literature back in the public schools and a moment of silence and so forth, can we recapture the moral fiber—the foundation that used to exist among many of our youth?

To that end, Jeynes cited the movement to reinstate the Bible as literature in government schools, with 440 school districts in 43 states currently teaching this type of course. In addition, 10 states have passed a law or resolution to bring the Bible as literature in the public schools statewide.

Forget that slippery statistical slope. Jeynes’ proposed solution has absolutely no foundation in careful research nor the careful analysis of objective data. Reintroducing either the Bible and/or prayer into government schools may be a very good idea, but Jeynes fails to establish any scientific correlation or causation to support what in reality is only a hope. Yes, having hope may be better than doing nothing. But that’s not good social science research.

Moreover, much of the alleged “research” Jeynes cites to support his conclusion is not careful research and analysis of objective data. They are policy proposals based upon religious ideology. Once again, as good as that ideology may be, it must be subjected to rigorous research and analysis of objective data to determine its veracity.

Religious conservatives do themselves a grave disservice when they suggest that correlations “prove” causation.  The former indicate some type of relationship (positive or negative) while the latter demonstrate a hypothesis (“if…then”) given a pre-determined level of probability of error for analyzing objective data.

Implying causation may play well with the ignorant (that is, those who do not know better for a variety of reasons), but it doesn’t with liberals who know better and will use such “research” to make conservatives look stupid (that is, those who should have known better). It also besmirches the stellar reputation of conservative organizations, like the Heritage Foundation.

In the end, the kind of homily Jeynes offered his audience is better preached in a church than peddled as social science at the Heritage Foundation. Want the Bible and prayer returned to government schools? Organizing like-minded folks to mount a grassroots political effort doesn’t require “research.” It requires political will.

 

 

To read the CNSNews.com article, click on the following link:
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/education-expert-removing-bible-prayer-public-schools-has-caused-decline

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

The Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family: How empathy promotes division…

 

Over at The Catholic Thing, Brad Miner posts a fantasy discussion between a Catholic man and a divorced Catholic woman who has announced she is getting remarried. The gist of it is that a priest—Fr. Blithe—has told the woman that the remarriage is fine. Moreover, he will witness it at St. Brendan’s. The Catholic man will have nothing of it, and tells her so. Or, better, he re-catechizes the woman about Church teaching—the “rules.” She concludes, “That is so unfair!”

The scene aptly describes the situation confronting the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops this October concerning marriage and family.

Reading numerous websites—including the National Catholic Reporter and The Wanderer—to get the full spectrum of what Catholics are thinking about the Synod, Miner’s post identifies what appear to be the fault lines. On the one side, there are those who hope the Synod will change Church teaching. These are the forces of pastoral reform who feel angry because the Church is being “so unfair.” On the other side, there are those arguing that Church teaching must not and cannot change.

Unfortunately, many view the matter of marriage and family as well as the division among Catholics as a political matter, in particular, where theology and ecclesiology interface. They would have the division dealt with and solved politically, not as a rupture in the Church that requires healing. Empathy for the plight and feelings people have as a result of their freely-made commitments—important as it is and as is required within the Christian community—may make people feel better. But, it doesn’t bring healing. After all, empathy for a Stage 1 cancer patient doesn’t keep the cancer from spreading.

That is where Miner’s post is extremely important.

At first read, some (and more likely, many) Catholics will be offended by this Catholic man’s patient, persistent, and sound catechesis and will not empathize with him. Instead, they will attack his character, lack of compassion, as well as his fundamental lack of awareness. “After all,” they will argue, “the times have changed.” One can easily imagine someone asking the Catholic man: “Just who do you think you are to tell this poor woman how to live her life? Fr. Blithe has it exactly right because he cares for her like Jesus cared for sinners.”

The trouble is that Fr. Blithe has it all wrong. Moreover, he has allowed empathy to trump his role and responsibilities, at least, according to Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In an interview soon to be published in The Hope of the Family, Cardinal Mueller takes the Fr. Blithes of the world to task, unloading an arsenal of arguments in support of the indissolubility of marriage. He argues, in particular, that indissolubility of marriage is no mere doctrine that’s subject to change, but a divine and definitive dogma of the Church that’s unchangeable. What the Cardinal intimates is necessary is not a political solution but a cure for the division that exists. That requires recover the sacramental understanding of marriage and family.

To that end, Cardinal Mueller lays all of his cards on the table in that interview. According to the interview as reported by The Wanderer, Cardinal Mueller seeks:

  • to correct any misunderstanding about the Church’s teaching on family;
  • to underscore the dramatic situation of the children of separated parents; and,
  • to stress that more education is needed and that education should start from the reality of the love of God.

Okay, that’s all fine. But, that doesn’t respond directly to the Church’s Fr. Blithes. Not backing off, Cardinal Mueller states:

  • Of Fr. Blithe’s argument that the Church should allow spouses to “start life over again” and that the love between two persons may die: “These theories are radically mistaken.” After all, “One cannot declare a marriage to be extinct on the pretext that the love between the spouses is ‘dead’,” because “the indissolubility of marriage does not depend on human sentiments, whether permanent or transitory. This property of marriage is intended by God Himself. The Lord is involved in marriage between man and woman, which is why the bond exists and has its origin in God. This is the difference.”
  • Of Fr. Blithe’s mistaken social notions about marriage that result from individualism: “In a world that is angrily individualistic and subjectivist, marriage is not perceived anymore as an opportunity for the human being to achieve his completeness, sharing love.”
  • Of Fr. Blithe’s failure to prepare couples adequately for marriage: More in-depth education about marriage, including “remote preparation for marriage — from infancy and adolescence — should be a major pastoral and educational priority.”
  • Of Fr. Blithe’s mistaken notion of the virtue of justice: “[A]mong the poor of the Third and Fourth World,” those relegated to the “existential peripheries,” there are “the children who must grow up without their parents,” the “orphans of divorce,” who are perhaps “the poorest of the poor of the world.” These poorest of the poor, these orphans of divorce, are most often found, not in materially impoverished nations, but in Europe and North America—some of the world’s wealthiest places

What advice Cardinal Mueller might have for Fr. Blithe?

As a shepherd, I say to myself: It can’t be! We must tell people the truth! We should open their eyes, telling them they have been cowardly tricked through a false anthropology which can only lead to disaster.

Now, none of that’s very empathetic.

Or, is it?

Cardinal Muller said: “[W]e should above all speak about the authentic love and the concrete project which Christ has for every person.”

Is it authentic love to withhold the truth from a spouse?

In the end, Brad Miner’s catechetical efforts are doing more to promote healing than are Fr. Blithe’s efforts to make the divorced woman feel good by arranging a sham marriage ceremony at St. Brendan’s.

 

 

 

 

To read Brad Miner’s discussion over at The Catholic Thing, click on the following link:
http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2014/modern-re-marriage-a-fantasy.html .

To read about Cardinal Mueller’s interview in The Wanderer, click on the following link:
http://thewandererpress.com/featured-today/cardinal-mueller-clarifies-marriages-indissolubility-is-a-dogma/

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

It’s all Israel’s fault, isn’t it?

 

Over at the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) the first of a new series of sociopolitical blog posts on issues related to the Middle East begins:

More than 500 people have died in Gaza as of Monday morning. The latest tragedy came with the killing of over 60 Palestinian civilians in a Gaza neighborhood destroyed by Israeli shelling. Add to that 3,000 injured, vital infrastructure and apartment buildings destroyed, and 1.8 million Palestinians trapped in an area the size of Manhattan with nowhere to run from the death raining on them from the skies. On the Israeli side, the death toll stands at 20.

Every innocent death, Israeli or Palestinian, is one too many. All the same, the world has gotten inured to Israeli tactics of massive and disproportionate response to acts of violence. The stubborn, feckless resistance of Hamas gives the Israelis apparent cause for their indiscriminate strikes. Palestinian suffering has become routine. As a result, the international community heaves a collective shrug when they hear about Palestinian deaths. The world is no longer moved to learn of Palestinian affliction.

The blog post continues:

Insidious racism colors perceptions of the conflict and reactions to it. If we had 400 Israeli deaths instead, the world would have been in an uproar, as it should. Giving Palestinian civilians a couple minutes’ warning to evacuate a civilian building where a Hamas member lives or had been a few minutes before when there is nowhere to run is a mere fig leaf disguising ingrained Israeli indifference to Palestinian life.

And, then, it states:

The Arab enemy is necessary to keep the world from looking too closely at Israel’s record of illegitimate acts.

Is there any question about where this particular blog post (or perhaps this series) is headed?

Yes, it’s all about those racist Israelis—the puppets of the Great Satan—and the most vile of them, the Likud Party, before which the world cowers. Due simply to racism, the Israelis will do anything—using brutal force that includes sophisticated weaponry—to smote and eventually drive the Palestinian people into the Mediterranean Sea. Seizing upon the world’s collective guilt in the years following World War II, those racist Israelis commandeered the Palestinian homeland.

Yes, indeed. Those racist Israelis. Absolutely no provocation. Those unjustly besieged Palestinians whose homeland was stolen from under their feet.

Before making a judgment, watch David Prager’s summary of how the conflict came to be what it is today:

Not one word of any of this in the NCR blog post.

Seems the NCR story has it backwards, doesn’t it. Who is really racist? Who has been the provocateur? Who seeks the death of the other?

For a moment, let’s consider one item: The tunnels Hamas has constructed as they are described in an article published by the Journal of Palestinian Studies (JPS).

In 2004, Israel leveled the territory separating Gaza from Egypt to create what was supposed to be a barren corridor. One decade later, the corridor is buzzing with all sorts of activity above and beneath the surface. What happened? The territory’s governing body—the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas—has built and operates a tunnel complex that feeds Gaza’s economy and, through the taxes collected, Hamas’ coffers for its war against Israel.

Pretty good, huh? As one Hamas Gaza leader, Mahmud Zahar, explained, “No electricity, no water, no food came from outside. That’s why we had to build the tunnels.”  The tunnels rapidly turned into what one trader described as “the lungs through which Gaza breathes.”

Sounds like the stuff of ancient mythology: “Out of the ashes, the Phoenix rises.”

Perhaps it is. But not quite the way one might think, that is, if one listens only to the supporters of Hamas.

The tunnels Hamas built to keep taxes flowing into its coffers were constructed by teams consisting of 6 laborers whose members worked in 2, 12-hour shifts to dig 10 to 15 meters/day.

Guess who manned those teams?

According to the JPS article, child laborers who “much as in Victorian coal mines, they are prized for their nimble bodies.” While Hamas officials admit that at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels, public outrage indicates that more children died while constructing those tunnels.

Nowhere in the NCR blog post is there even a hint that Hamas has engaged in internationally proscribed conduct. For example, Article 3 (d) of International Labour Organization Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182) defines hazardous child labor as “(d) work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.”

If that’s not good enough, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church states:

Child labour, in its intolerable forms, constitutes a kind of violence that is less obvious than others but it is not for this reason any less terrible….The Church’s social doctrine condemns the increase in “the exploitation of children in the workplace in conditions of veritable slavery.”  This exploitation represents a serious violation of human dignity, with which every person, “no matter how small or how seemingly unimportant in utilitarian terms.” (#296)

Exploiting children violates their human dignity no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to Hamas and its larger political goal of eliminating Israel. To fuel achieving that end, Hamas has used the means of depriving Palestinian children of their childhood years by forcing them to labor in a corrupt and dangerous environment.

What a great way to treat God’s children!

This exploitation of children is both unjust and unfair, defying international covenants as well as Church teaching. But, not one word of this either in the NCR blog post.

But, then, should anyone expect “fair and balanced” in NCR’s reportage and blog posts?

 

 

 

To read the International Labour Organization’s definition and examples of child exploitation across the globe, click on the following link:
http://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/WorstFormsofChildLabour/Hazardouschildlabour/lang–en/index.htm

To read the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, click on the following link:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

To read the Journal of Palestinian Studies article, click on the following link:
http://www.palestine-studies.org/journals.aspx?id=11424&jid=1&href=fulltext

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

Beware of government mammon: It always comes with strings attached…

 

A Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report indicates that converting private Catholic schools into charter schools can significantly increase school enrollment, reversing enrollment declines even after several decades. The primary reasons cited for these declines?

  • The rising cost of Catholic education that’s attributable to the shift in from religious/clergy teachers to lay educators.
  • The increase in the number of charter schools.

Confronting these issues, 3 of the nation’s archdioceses—Indianapolis, Miami, and Washington, DC—have allowed some schools to reopen as independently managed, public charter schools rather than close them. (Philadelphia has done similarly.)

Overall, this transformation has increased enrollments and students seem to be achieving well. In addition, the archdioceses no longer are pouring money into moribund schools, enabling these archdioceses to support other operations, provide additional $$$s to support schools that remain in operation, and provide tuition assistance to qualifying students.

Sounds like “all’s well that ends well” story, no? Everyone’s a winner!

Well, perhaps not.

The decision to accept state funds to run schools carries with it some foreseeable consequences. In retrospect, these consequences may make today’s “solution” appear foolhardy.

Consider the example of the Archdiocese of Vancouver (Canada) where the state fully funds Catholic schools. For more than two centuries, many U.S. Catholics have understandably advocated for a similar policy.

According to an article published by Straight.com, an 11-year-old student attending Delta’s Sacred Heart Elementary School, Tracey Wilson, was diagnosed during the past year with gender dysphoria and wanted to be treated as a girl. The school’s administrators refused, citing the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA) policy regarding gender expression and gender dysphoria.

In response, Tracey Wilson filed a human rights complaint, causing CIVSA to resolve rather than contest the complaint. The terms of the resolution included apologizing to Tracey and her family “for not being in a position to meet her needs” as well as paying the Wilson family an undisclosed amount of $$$s.

The CISVA policy is similar to the policy the Vancouver Public School Board approved  one month earlier. However, the resolution in this case makes CISVA the first school district in Canada to have a policy accommodating gender expression and gender dysphoria among students.

Of the policy, CISVA Superintendent Doug Lauson said:

We expect that this policy will be a practical basis for accommodating students with gender dysphoria, or who express their gender in ways that are different from prevailing stereotypes. This policy will ensure that Catholic schools are a safe and accepting place for all students.

“Free” government money always comes “with strings attached.” In this instance, the mammon that’s raining down from the state upon Catholic schools (charter or otherwise) may very well end up forcing district superintendents to compromise the Catholic identity of those schools in order to keep the rain pouring down.
 

 

To read the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice report, click on the following link:
http://www.edchoice.org/CMSModules/EdChoice/FileLibrary/1048/Sector-Switchers-Why-Catholic-Schools-Convert-to-Charters-and-What-Happens-Next.pdf

To read the CISVA policy, click on the following link:
http://www.cisva.bc.ca/policy_manual/CISVA_Gender_Dysphoria_Policy.pdf

To read about the CISVA case and resolution, click on the following link:
http://www.straight.com/news/687496/vancouver-catholic-schools-introduce-transgender-policy-after-human-rights-complaint

To read the Vancouver Public School Board policy, click on the following link:
http://www.straight.com/life/652381/vancouver-school-boards-lgbtq-policy-sparks-debate

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

The “Removal of Existing Protections and Safety Measures for Women Undergoing Abortion Act”

 

For Roman Catholics, the defense of life is a sine qua non, one that’s sadly missing form many politicians who self-identify as “Catholics.” To wit: Nancy Pelosi (C-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Vice President Joe Biden.

So, it’s refreshing when a politician defends life, especially at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where the proposed bill—the “Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) (S.1696)—would block all restrictions on abortion. WHPA includes sweeping federal authority to preempt “any provision enacted by a state or subdivision.” Of course, the bill is a legislative response to the recent Hobby Lobby decision.

U.S. Representative Marsha Wentworth Blackburn (R-TN)

U.S. Representative Marsha Wentworth Blackburn (R-TN)

According to CNSNews.com, Congresswoman  Marsha Wentworth Blackburn (R-TN) stated in her comments: “Our Constitution does not put a qualifier on life.” Blackburn then held up a large, 3-D ultrasound image of her grandson. She continued:

And I have to tell you how exciting it was for me to see this ultrasound. I was thrilled. I could tell…three months before he was born, he had my eyes and nose. Now, for a grandmother, that’s a really big deal. I could see his hands. I could see his arms. And I could see him peacefully resting in his mother’s womb. That’s the wonder of science. That is life!

Our Constitution does not put a qualifier on life. The pursuit of life, liberty–pursuit of happiness. Those protections–the right to life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, (exist) even in the mother’s womb.

I urge the committee to reconsider this legislation.

As for the bill’s title, Blackburn said it’s misleading:

I find it so curious that this legislation is termed “The Women’s Health Protection Act.”  In my opinion it would be more accurately titled the “Removal of Existing Protections and Safety Measures for Women Undergoing Abortion Act.”

Kind of refreshing, isn’t it, to see an elected representative bringing the battle for life right into the Chambers? Would that every Roman Catholic member of Congress courageously promoted the cause of life, as does this member of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Pro-Life kudos to U.S. Representative Marsha Wedgeworth Blackburn!

 

 

 

To read the CNSnews.com article, click on the following link:
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/rep-blackburn-constitution-does-not-put-qualifier-life

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

Child trafficking: The political left’s silence borders on the outrageous…

 

In a previous post concerning the topic of human trafficking and the political left’s seeming lack of interest in it, The Motley Monk observed:

This iteration of the global war on human trafficking is doomed to failure. Fueled by their hearts and not by their minds, the very people who decry human trafficking can’t seem to figure out whose policies sent an open invitation for human traffickers to practice their trade in the left’s own front yard…at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

With that in mind, The Motley Monk overheard U.S. Representative Louis Gohmert (R-TX) state on Saturday’s “Fox and Firends” that a federal judge had accused the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of participating in human trafficking.  That statement caught The Motley Monk’s ear, so he did a little investigating, finding that Representative Gohmert was 100% correct. His source was an article over at Townhall.com, written by Katie Pavlich and published nearly seven months ago on December 19, 2013. The headline: “DHS Complicit in Cartel Human Trafficking of Minors to Illegals Living in the United States.”

Hmmm…isn’t DHS responsible to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

“But wasn’t that a long time ago?” many on the political left might ask.

Yes, it’s true that was a very long time ago.

Some might even protest: “What…does…it… matter…now?”

It matters very much now because DHS continues to participate in enabling cartel trafficking of minors, delivering them to illegals who live in the United States, and completing criminal transactions on behalf of illegal immigrants. This, despite a filing written by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on December 13, 2012.

Pic_Human-Trafficking01

The case before Judge Hanen concerned Patricia Elizabeth Salmeron Santos, the mother of a 10-year-old El Salvadorean girl, who had been living illegally in Virginia after being denied legal entry into the United States in 2001. Salmeron Santos hired Mirtha Veronica Nava-Martinez, a resident alien living in the United States while travelling to and from Mexico, to smuggle the girl from Matamoros to Virginia. Nava-Martinez was caught at a Brownsville, Texas, border checkpoint.

Judge Hanen wrote:

Salmeron Santos admitted that she started this conspiracy by hiring alien smugglers to transfer her child from El Salvador to Virginia. She agreed to pay $8500 (and actually paid $6,000 in advance) for these human traffickers to smuggle her daughter). The criminal conspiracy instigated by Salmeron Santos was temporarily interrupted when Nava-Martinez was arrested. Despite this setback, the goal of the conspiracy was successfully completed thanks to the United States Government. This Court is quite concerned with the apparent policy of the Department of Homeland Security completing the criminal mission of individuals who are violating the border security of the United States.” (italics added)

According to Pavlich, what’s going on is that illegal immigrants who are living in the United States are paying human traffickers connected to Mexican cartels to smuggle their children into the United States.  How so? Judge Hanen writes:

Although Nava-Martinez [the smuggler] was arrested and charged, the minor was delivered to her mother living illegally in Virginia by DHS, automatically making the minor eligible for the President Obama’s DREAMers program. Further Salmeron-Santos, who illegally hired a human trafficker to smuggle her daughter across an international border, isn’t facing charges.

The DHS officials were notified that Salmeron-Santos instigated this illegal conduct. Yet, instead of arresting Salmeron-Santos for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the DHS delivers the child to her—thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy. It did not arrest her. It did not prosecute her. It did not even initiate deportation proceedings for her. This DHS policy is a dangerous course of action.

How dangerous? In his order, Hanen notes:

  • DHS encourages parents to “seriously jeopardize the safety of their children”;
  • DHS policy enables violent drug cartels, undermines efforts to deter criminal activity or further violations and lowers the morale of law enforcement agents working to enforce the law on the border.
  • Aliens being smuggled are “assaulted, raped, kidnapped and or killed.”

Obviously, the people running and working for these cartels are not the kind of people who staff the local Catholic Charities office. Hanen continues:

The cartels control the entire smuggling process. These entities are not known for their concern for human life….The Government is not only allowing them to fund the illegal and evil activities of these cartels, but is also inspiring them to do so. These men and women [law enforcement], with no small risk to their own safety, do their best to enforce our laws and protect the citizens of the United States. It seems shameful that some policymaker in their agency institutes a course of inaction that negated their efforts. It has to be frustrating to those that are actually doing the work of protecting Americans when those efforts are thwarted by a policy that supports lawmakers.

Judge Hanen likens the logic of the DHS policy to their agents seizing illegal drugs or weapons from smugglers and delivering those drugs or weapons to the criminals who initially solicited their illegal act of importing or exporting those drugs or weapons. Judge Hanen concluded: “DHS should enforce the laws of the United States—not break them.”

Unfortunately, as the number of immigrant children smuggled illegally into the United States by criminal cartels has increased exponentially since Judge Hanen filed his brief seven months ago, the President of the United States has evidently done nothing to direct his DHS to cease from participating in cartel human trafficking of minors to illegals living in the United States.

How’s that for social justice?

Why hasn’t the United Nations, the Holy See, and the Catholic Religious Orders and Congregations—all of whom who have be uniform in their condemnation of child trafficking—protested and condemned the Obama administration’s policy? After all it tolerates—if not requires—DHS to be complicit in cartel human trafficking of minors to illegals living in the United States.

Perhaps their silence is simply due to the mainstream media’s blackout concerning Judge Hanen’s filing.

 

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s previous post, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/06/25/human-trafficking-in-the-usa-wheres-the-catholic-lefts-outrage/

To read Katie Pavlich’s article at Townhall.com, click on the following link:
http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2013/12/19/dhs-complicit-in-cartel-human-trafficking-of-minors-to-illegals-living-in-the-united-states-n1765920

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

The “Director” of Inclusion and Diversity: The notion of “sexual minorites” in U.S. Catholic higher education…

 

In their unbridled lust to prove to the world they are inclusive and diverse institutions not parochial and doctrinaire institutions, many of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges are “putting the money where their mouths are” and “walking the talk.” How so? By imitating their secular counterparts and expanding the already bloated number of high-ranking administrators to include the position of “Director of Inclusion and Diversity.”

When all’s said, done, and hired, that’s probably a $150-200k/year additional personnel expense, excluding associated operating expenses, all for the bragging rights to claim: “[We strive] to be an inclusive and diverse community that educates and cares for the whole person.” A quick calculation suggests that’s about 4 fully-paid tuitions at many Catholic institutions of higher education.

The most recent Catholic institution seeking to fill this position is St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. As advertised, the individual holding this position:

  • is responsible for providing institutional leadership to create and sustain a culture that embraces and promotes diversity and inclusion in their broadest meanings; and,
  • defines, assesses, and nurtures diversity and inclusion as institutional resources that support and enhance the mission of Saint Joseph’s University.

What possibly might that mean?

Actually, there’s no need to hazard a guess. The position description states this individual will evidence a “nuanced, broad, and sophisticated understanding of diversity and inclusion issues.” In addition, this individual will “be culturally sensitive to racial/religious/cultural/sexual minorities that present themselves as part of the campus community.”

While The Motley Monk “gets” the notions of racial/religious/cultural minorities that present themselves as part of a campus community in the broadest sense, what’s this notion of “sexual minorities”? Demographically, there’s one sexual minority globally. It’s the male sex.

Adam and Eve in garden

The Douay Rheims version of Genesis 5:2 states:

He created them male and female; and blessed them: and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

Perhaps something got lost in the translation…of the word Catholic, as in “As Philadelphia’s Jesuit Catholic University….”

 

 

 

To read the job posting, click on  the following link:
https://jobs.sju.edu/postings/11338

To read the mission of Philadelphia’s Jesuit Catholic University, click on the following link:
http://www.sju.edu/about-sju/mission-statement

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

Human trafficking in the USA: Where’s the Catholic left’s outrage?

 

Judging solely from the amount of time international organizations—like the United Nations and the Holy See—have been devoting to it, human trafficking appears to be an another example of the old observation “their hearts in the right place, but their minds are in the wrong place.”

Consider the United Nations. Recently, it declared the moral equivalent of a global war against human trafficking. Yet, this is nothing new, despite the mainstream media’s interest in promoting it:

Even the Holy See appears to be smitten with this misguided notion. For example, the Holy Father met with the Archbishop of Canterbury a couple of weeks back. According to the Independent, the two agreed to:

  • a joint project that will utilize the global reach of their churches to combat the global trade in human trafficking;
  • pressure 50 top multinational companies to free their supply chains of forced labor by 2020; and,
  • “slavery proof” investments as well as the purchases of churches.

With more than one century’s worth of white papers, jetting here and there to convene high-level conferences, international agreement after international agreement, the question is: What’s there to show for the effort? The evil has grown into a $150B+ global industry that Kevin Bales in his 2004 book, Disposable People, estimated to involve 27M human slaves. Today, some believe it’s 35M.

So much for caring. It doesn’t win global wars.

Given these facts, when it comes to global trafficking in human beings, the left’s outrage de jour and #hashtag diplomacy isn’t just mindless. It’s also insincere. Sincere people would have been marching on the White House as far back as 2012 when President Obama bypassed Congress and stopped the certain deportation of illegal aliens. Instead, the President granted work permits to ~800k younger illegal aliens.

That policy opened the floodgates for an unprecedented number of illegal alien children to be imported into the United States. The facts:

  • In FY 2013, Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (HHS-ORR) served ~24.7k children, almost double the ~13.63k from the previous year.
  • In FY 2014, ~60k children are expected to come to the United States. Most will be from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. That’s a 243% increase!

This iteration of the global war on human trafficking is doomed to failure. Fueled by their hearts and not by their minds, the very people who decry human trafficking can’t seem to figure out whose policies sent an open invitation for human traffickers to practice their trade in the left’s own front yard…at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

 

 

To read the Independent article, click on the following link:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/could-the-archbishop-and-the-pope-really-reunify-the-church-9552879.html

To read the International Labour Office’s 2014 statistics “Profits and Poverty,” click on the following link:
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_norm/—declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf

To read the Boston Globe article about President Obama’s policy, click on the following link:
http://www.boston.com/politicalintelligence/2012/06/15/president-obama-let-children-illegal-immigrants-avoid-deportation/andhGTWZtcf35T21dzq0nI/story.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

 

“The candidate was simply too Catholic”…

 

For the past several decades, an ideological battle has been transpiring somewhat “beneath the radar” at religiously-affiliated universities and colleges throughout the United States. What’s being contested is control of what an institution’s “religious affiliation” means in the conduct of educating young adults.

In many institutions, the battle has focused upon controlling  of the board of trustees. Conservatives and liberals have vied for control to appoint presidents who will enact their religious views campus wide. Once the president is appointed, the focus of battle then shifts to the appointment of administrators—provosts, deans, and department chairs—who are intimately involved in hiring new faculty and granting/rejecting tenure and promotion in the professorial ranks. Of course, the overall objective is to control what students will experience of an institution’s religious affiliation in classrooms and through on-campus activities.

As this battle has been playing out most recently at Erskine College in South Carolina, the institutions’ Board of Trustees was concluding a presidential search when the board’s choice—a Christian college vice president—withdrew from consideration. Why? He was Baptist not Presbyterian.

Some background:

  • Erskine is a small liberal arts college, the only one affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) denomination. ARP is a branch of the Presbyterianism that’s closer in beliefs to the many evangelical Christian denominations, meaning that Erskine tends to be more “conservative” than other, more “liberal” Presbyterian colleges.
  • In the past, Erskine’s board has hired presidents who were not ARP members. But, the board has never hired a non-Presbyterian.

What makes this particular candidate’s withdrawal noteworthy is that Erskine has been caught in a cultural struggle for years. At issue is how closely Erskine will adhere to a conservative worldview that treats the Bible as history and as a guide for all academic subjects and campus conduct.

According to Inside Higher Ed, this particular battle has been brewing since 2010—about the same time Erskine’s board was involved in a previous presidential search—as ARP conservatives began bringing pressure to bear upon Erskine’s board. Some alumni, students, and faculty members—who value Erskine’s liberal arts tradition—have been chagrined.

As the current presidential search was nearing its conclusion, ARP Talk—a blog that has led the criticism of Erskine’s board and administration in recent years for what ARP conservatives believe is the institution’s deviation from church teaching—took the institution to task. As reflected in a post about the now-failed search, what Erskine’s conservatives want this time around is a president who will:

  • affirm the inerrancy of the Bible;
  • affirm the historicity and special creation of Adam;
  • work to maintain and strengthen the institution as an “agency” of the ARP denomination;
  • address sexual impurity on campus; and,
  • take fiscal responsibility by reducing the draw on the endowment to 5% immediately.

These are sound, conservative religious, moral, and economic principles, the first four of which fly in the face of how liberals today define the term “liberal arts tradition” while the fifth means cutting programs and, potentially, faculty positions.

For decades, similar litmus tests—but from the opposite direction—have been administered in the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges. Boards and officials in the religious orders sponsoring those institution have been carefully vetting candidates for presidencies—whether religious or lay—for their religious ideology. The objective is to appoint liberal Catholics. Then, once  a president is appointed, this litmus test is applied even more stringently at the Provost and Dean levels, so these upper- and mid- level administrators will implement that agenda, protecting academic freedom and use their ideological agenda to guide decision making concerning all academic subjects and campus conduct.

As for Erskine’s failed search, ARP Talk states:

They put a good and honorable man through an unnecessary ordeal and in an untenable position! In all fairness, this candidate possesses a charismatic personality, a warm evangelical testimony of faith, and many admirable leadership skills. And the gentleman is not faulted because he is a convinced Baptist. A little background search on the Internet reveals his theological convictions, and he is forthcoming in what he believes. We can only wish he were Presbyterian in his theological convictions.

At too many of the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education, the statement could be shortened considerably: “The candidate was simply too Catholic.”

 

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/06/02/erskine-struggles-find-president-who-meets-its-religious-requirements#ixzz33TnuZwNg 

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard.jacobs.blog.com/omnibus.html

Predatory sexual abuse of minors: “What’s…it…matter…now?”

 

The article’s lead paragraph says it all:

The recent arrests of teachers in the El Paso area accused of sex crimes against students is part of a nationwide epidemic that dwarfs the priest molestation scandal.

Now, if true, that’s a very big story. But, it seems it’s one in which the mainstream media (MSM) doesn’t appear very much interested. Instead, the MSM—including the National Catholic Reporter—has been focused like a laser whenever the story involves a priest, even if the case is decades old and a $3M settlement was reached.

Now, that’s not to dismiss any of those stories about predatory priests. What’s wrong is wrong—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Prosecute the evildoers to the full extent of the law. It is to say that the MSM seems to be motivated by a particular agenda concerning those stories: To expose the moral failures of Catholic priests, not those of public school teachers and staff.

Terri Miller, the president of a victims advocacy group that tracks teacher-staff sexual misconduct across the nation—Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E)—is quoted in the El Paso Times as saying that since January 1, 2014, 180+ teachers in the United States have been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct. As of June 1,2014, that’s 1+ teachers-staff/day. Miller said: “We find that to be a huge problem of epidemic proportions.”

Think that number high?

A 10-year-old U.S. Department of Education study indicated that ~10% of children in U.S. public schools are victims of teacher-staff sexual misconduct sometime during their elementary and high school years. The alleged misconduct ranged from sexual comments to statutory rape. However, even though the U.S. Department of Education tracks just about everything that transpires in the nation’s public schools and will be tracking even more with the common core, the Department doesn’t track teacher-staff sexual misconduct! Furthermore, school districts are extremely reluctant to publicize problems. So, with no data available, a compliant MSM has no story. But, when it was discovered that dioceses weren’t tracking misconduct on the part of priests as well as only reluctantly publicizing any allegation, didn’t a non-compliant MSM function as the primary whistleblower?

Well, that was in 2004. To quote Hilary Clinton’s testimony before Congress about Benghazi: “What’s…it…matter…now?”

Well, 10 years later, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining the sexual abuse of K-12 students in the nation’s public schools. In January 2014, the GAO found that policies and methods to prevent teacher-staff misconduct vary from state to state and from school district to school district. The report noted:

The sexual abuse of students and sexual misconduct by public K-12 school personnel is a complex problem, and such behavior is particularly egregious because schools are entrusted with educating the nation’s children. There are no simple solutions to this problem and, although states and school districts are taking some positive steps, current efforts are clearly not enough.

This is now. Ever hear of that report? Did the MSM publicize its content 24/7/365?

Worse yet, the teachers and staff who are accused of misconduct typically are “placed on leave” and, then, “resign.” But that’s not all. According to Miller:

When I was in high school more than 35 years ago, there were teachers sleeping around. The creepy guys. They would be gone one day to the next. They just seemed to disappear.

But those “creepy guys” didn’t disappear. No, an accused teacher would be sent to different school or allowed to resign and move to another district. The practice was called “passing the trash.” What this practice allowed is for teachers accused of misconduct potentially to victimize multiple students before being brought to justice. Miller notes that teachers charged with sexual misconduct typically work in 3 jurisdictions before being punished. She said: “This practice of ‘passing the trash’ is truly evil. It is helping and abetting child molesters.”

Okay. But, all of that was also a very long time ago. Again, “What’s…it…matter?” Besides, victims’ advocates—including S.E.S.A.M.E’S Miller—believe “passing the trash” has decreased. No…big…problem.

Doesn’t that sound eerily similar to bishops who moved predatory priests around their dioceses and across dioceses?  Didn’t the MSM widely publicize bishops who engaged in similar, reprehensible conduct? Why weren’t public school superintendents exposed?

If Miller’s statistics concerning teacher-staff sexual misconduct in the nation’s public schools are accurate, her assessment may be correct:

The abuse that is happening in our schools is 10 times worse than the abuse that happened with clergy in five decades.

“The problem of educator abuse is far greater than clergy abuse,” Miller concluded. “The big difference is that we are not mandated to send our children to church. We are mandated to send them to school.”

Well, it may very well be accurate that teacher-staff sexual misconduct in the nation’s public schools is an “epidemic” affecting nearly ~4.5M students and “10 times worse than the abuse that happened with clergy” during the past 5 decades. But, given a generally compliant MSM, it sure would be difficult for anyone to discover.

Why? Could it that the predatory priests didn’t have  unions and a generally compliant MSM to protect them?

 

 

 

To read the Daily Mail’s recent article concerning a decades’ old sexual abuse story, click on the following link:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2646248/Catholic-diocese-claims-priest-duty-molested-boy-attempt-deflect-responsibility-sex-crimes.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

To read the El Paso Times article, click on the following link:
http://m.elpasotimes.com/elpasotimes/db_22762/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=zc481fKm&full=true#display

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

Pope Francis: A “political genius”?

 

The subtitle of the January 17, 2014, Politico article concerning Pope Francis was eye-catching: “This guy could teach President Obama a thing or two.”

The article’s author, Candida Moss—a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame—wasn’t writing about biblical, moral, or ethical matters. No, she was writing about political matters and reversing President Obama’s low poll numbers.

HH

Moss’ thesis is that because President Obama and Pope Francis have so much in common, perhaps “that guy”—the President—can learn “a thing or two” (it’s actually four things) from “this guy”—the Pope.

Regarding those similarities:

  • Both elections were historic firsts: Obama was the first Black elected U.S. President and Francis is the first Pope from Latin America and first Jesuit.
  • Both preside over deeply-divided constituencies and institutions: Scandal and bureaucratic incompetence plague both the U.S. government and Roman Curia.
  • Charting an unlikely path to power, both were initially media darlings who were heralded as ushering in a hopeful new era. President Obama has slipped in the polls but Pope Francis remains astoundingly high in the polls.

Given these similarities, Moss wonders why Pope Francis’ approval rating is 200%+ more than President Obama’s?

Moss answers her question, offering four lessons Pope Francis might have to teach President Obama:

  1. While utterly without guile, Pope Francis avoids the trappings of office which bolsters his credibility on political issues. The lesson?  President Obama should avoid the trappings of the imperial presidency. After all, Moss notes, “power unexercised is power preserved.”
  2. Pope Francis sets aside notes and speaks off the cuff, giving his words an additional layer of sincerity. The lesson? President Obama should get out from behind the teleprompter and toss the script aside.
  3. Pope Francis has a knack for politics as well as people. His “eagerness to engage people proves not just that he’s a man of the people, but that he’s willing to do this despite the risk to his personal safety.” The lesson? President Obama should emulate the humility and accessibility of Pope Francis.
  4. Pope Francis embodies a few big ideas and persuades people to rally around them. The lesson? “What American president couldn’t benefit from a reminder of that?

Moss summarizes these four lessons stating “Herein lies the genius of Pope Francis’s papacy: He has persuaded the world he isn’t a politician and, in doing so, has become arguably the most politically influential man in the world.”

If Moss’ assessment is accurate, Pope Francis has mastered the politician’s arts. Were President Obama to become more like Pope Francis, his polling numbers would skyrocket.

There’s a problem The Motley Monk has with Professor Moss’ assessment.

Pope Francis would have to become the politician he is not. And President Obama would have to become the spiritual leader he is not. After all, leopards don’t change their spots.

 

 

To read Candida Moss’ article in Politico, click on the following link:
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/pope-francis-political-genius-102301.html#.U4OHxPldXE0

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html

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