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: organization theory; leadership ethics; Catholic eduational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Fr. Jacobs writes several blogs: "The Motley Monk Omnibus" (http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/); "The Motley Monk's Homilies for Sundays and Holy Days" (http://themotleymonkhomilies.blogspot.com); and, "The Motley Monk's ***** Food" (http://www83.homepage.villanova.edu/richard.jacobs/FOOD/index.html).

What to pray for on the 2013 World Day of Prayer for Peace: Some facts and some perspective…

 

With the “World Day of Prayer for Peace” just around the corner, what should people be praying for?  Perhaps a few facts along with a bit of perspective will provide a better focus for answering that question.

First: some facts.

Since its inception, the State of Israel has been a social democracy and, for decades, the American Jewish community has supported both the Jewish state as well as the Democrat Party.  Noteworthy is the fact that 78% of American Jews voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and, as reported by JTA, 69-70% did the same in 2012.

Yes, that’s down approximately 10%.  But, still, a pretty substantial majority.

Why do so many American Jews support President Obama whose support for the State of Israel during his first term was tepid, at best?  Perhaps the majority of the American Jewish community is prepared to support Israel as long as none of them has to pay the ultimate price.

"Now you listen here, Bibi."

“Now you listen to me, Bibi.”

Then, too, many in the U.S. Catholic community have for decades supported the Jewish state as well as the Democrat Party.  Like the American Jewish community, 51% of Catholics favored the President in 2012 while 54% favored then-candidate Obama in 2008.  Not as substantial a majority, but substantial enough.

Yet, among those on the American catholic left, support for the Jewish state has been declining during the past two decades, shifting to the Palestinians.  Citing so-called “human rights abuses” by successive Israeli governments, many on the American catholic left have been promoting Yasser Arafat as the poster boy for freedom fighters across the globe.

Interestingly, this pro-Palestinian bent in the American catholic left increased during the closing decades of the Cold War when the United States supported Israel and the then-Soviet Union supported the anti-Israel, Arabic world.  It culminated in  the “Arab Spring,” as many of the American catholic left supported this so-called “pro-democracy movement.”  In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak was driven from office and made the poster boy of all brutal dictators.  Many on the American catholic left rejoiced in his departure from the scene.

Second: some perspective.

With a democratically elected, constitutional, radical Muslim regime soon to be ruling Egypt, those on the American catholic left who supported the Arab Spring and the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak will find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.  This new regime is likely to end up being even more unjust and violent than Mubarak’s.

How so?  Just check out what’s been transpiring in places where radical Muslims are in control and backed by Sharia law, places like Iran and Nigeria.  Pope Benedict XVI cited the latter in his 2012 “Urbi et Orbi,” calling for “concord in Nigeria” where “savage acts of terrorism [by the militant Muslim Jihadist group Boko Haram] continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians.”

A Catholic Church destroyed by the militant Muslim Jihadist group Boko Haram

A Catholic Church that was bombed by the radical Muslim group Boko Haram

Will these facts matter to the American catholic left?

Probably not.

After all, the American catholic left was pretty much silent when it came to President Obama’s nifty little war (aka, “Overseas Contingency Operation”) in Libya.  Then, too, they have been pretty much silent about the injustices being perpetrated by radical Muslims in Africa.

Third: prayer.

Sadly for those who have been suffering these horrific injustices for the better part of the past decade, what the American catholic left prioritized during those year are the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals, for which an American catholic left social justice group—the Center of Concern—published a special prayer:

Prayer for the Millennium Goals:

In a world where so many go hungry,
Let us make the fruits of Creation
available for all.
In a world where one billion of our brothers and sisters
do not have safe drinking water,
Let us help the waters run clear.
In a world where so many children
die so young,
And so many mothers die in childbirth,
And so many families
are ravaged by disease,
Let us bring health and healing.
In a world where women carry
such heavy burdens,
Let us recognize and restore
the rights of all.  (by Jane Deren)

Noble humanistic concerns, but far short of the mark during a period when Catholics  are being brutally terrorized and murdered by radical Muslims under the disguise of democratic reforms.

In seeking to right the injustices caused by man’s inhumanity against man, what Catholics and all people of good will should be concerned with is true and abiding peace which is pure grace, God’s gift to mankind.  This grace should be the focus of prayer this 2013 World Day of Prayer for Peace.

 

 

To access the American Jewish community’s voting record, click on the following link:
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/11/07/3111381/fighting-over-every-percentile-arguing-about-the-jewish-vote-and-exit-polls

To access the Catholic vote in 2012 and 2008, click on the following links:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/us-usa-campaign-religion-idUSBRE8A71M420121108

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/07/catholic-voters-heavily-favored-obama-analysis-sho/?page=all

To read the text of Pope Benedict’s “Urbi et Orbi,” click on the following link:
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/popes-2012-urbi-et-orbi-address-open-the-door-of-faith/

To learn more about the Center of Concern, click on the following link:
https://www.coc.org/about-us 

To learn more about Catholic social justice, check out “Education for Justice” at the Center of  Concern:
https://educationforjustice.org/taxonomy/term/336

 

 

And the winner is…

 

In most matters “of this world,” it’s all about “winners and losers.”  ”Winners” are lauded and celebrated.  At best, “losers” are lamented and, at worst, forgotten.

Consider the state of religion in the United Kingdom.

When it comes to the battle of faith in the British Isles, the Anglican Communion is surely a big-time loser.

But, if the Anglican Communion is losing, who’s winning?

Yes, indeed, it’s the Jedi Knights!

The Jedi’s “Star Wars Credo” is on the rise…making it the seventh most popular religion on the British Isles.

According to an article in The Telegraph, the 2011 census indicates that 176, 632 citizens of England and Wales self-identified as Jedi Knights.  The Jedi now constitute 0.31% of all people’s stated religious affiliation in England and Wales.  Excluding non-religious people and those who did not answer, only Christianity (in aggregate), Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, and Buddhism rank higher.

However, it looks like even the Jedi’s are losers, too.  In the 2001 census, 390,127 people self-identified as followers of the fiction.  That’s a 54% decline in only one decade.

One potential future winner may be the religion of Heavy Metal.  The 2011 census indicates that 6,242 people on the British Isles subscribe to its credo, roughly 21% of the total number of people self-identifying as Atheists.  Then, too, it may be those who checked the “No Religion” box will end up being the really big winners in the future.  13.8 million citizens of the British Isles professed no credo in 2011.

Jedi’s.  Heavy Metal.  Atheists.  Agnostics.  ”Religions” of this world.

Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31).

Now, there’s the all-time winner because his words are not of this world.

 

 

To read the article in The Telegraph, click on the following link:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9737886/Jedi-religion-most-popular-alternative-faith.html

The drama of the sexennials at St. Louis University continues…

 

For the past several months, the embers of an ugly confrontation involving the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees have been smoldering at St. Louis University (SLU).

The first act in this drama unfolded when an administrator proposed that all tenured professors would undergo a sexennial review.  For the administrator, the proposal’s merit was that tenured professors would continue demonstrating satisfactory achievement in the conduct of their teaching, research, and service responsibilities.  (Read: “Tenured professors can be dismissed for unsatisfactory work.”)  For SLU’s tenured faculty, the proposal’s drawback was its administrative merit.  (Read: “Short of misconduct, there’s no way in Hell the administration will dismiss tenured faculty.”)

The first act in the drama came to a close in October when members of SLU’s Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Sciences cast a 35-2 vote of no confidence against SLU’s President, the Reverend  Lawrence Biondi, SJ, for not firing the administrator who floated the proposal.  The vote upped the ante, getting the SLU Board of Trustees involved.

The second act has been unfolding behind the scenes since October, with the SLU Board of Trustees’ President, Thomas H. Brouster, attempting to tamp down the embers.  According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, a truce between the administration and faculty was imminent.

But, a letter Brouster wrote was leaked to the press:

 

Who disseminated the letter has not been disclosed, but it was posted to a Facebook page entitled “SLU Students for No Confidence.”  The post represents a third call for Fr. Biondi’s removal, lending support to two “no confidence” votes earlier this fall by the Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association.

Since St. Louis University is a Catholic university sponsored by the Society of Jesus, a couple of items that merit consideration:

  • The notion of tenure at a Catholic university.  Tenure was invented to protect professorial academic freedom, that is, “the ability to pursue the truth wherever the facts may lead.”  However, the term now connotes “a guaranteed job for life, short of professional misconduct.”  The former protects professors from interference in the conduct of their profession by outsiders.  The latter immunizes professors from interference by outsiders no matter what professors may do, short of professional misconduct.  The SLU administrator understands this “difference with a distinction,” as does the SLU faculty, and ostensibly wants to do something to redress the balance so that tenured professors who fail to fulfill their professional obligations can be liable for dismissal.
  • The laicization of Boards at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges.  Since the 1960s, Boards have been dominated by the laity.  In many cases, these women and men have proven themselves to be successful professionals and as Board members, have fulfilled their primary responsibilities (what’s called the “3 G’s,” namely, “to give, to get, or to get off”).  At the same time, the worldview of many of these Board members has been shaped by their professional experience and they tend to evaluate and resolve problems by imposing what they’ve learned from that experience upon the institution.

At SLU, these two items coalesced as the Trustees’ President hunkered down by hiring a St. Louis-based public relations firm, Fleishman-Hillard , to direct a Board Task Force in “crisis management.”

All of this raises three questions:

  • Are differences between factions within these institutions—where the unfettered search for truth is supposed to be paramount—best resolved by “calling for the head” of an administrator who proposes a perfectly reasonable policy as well as the head of that administrator’s boss?  Some much for unfettered discourse!  ”Give us Barabbas,” the frenzied crowd shrieked.
  • Should the award of tenure immunize professors from interference by outsiders—in this case, administrators—no matter what professors may do, short of professional misconduct?   In the professional world, “a fair day’s pay” is earned by “a fair day’s work.”  Continuing to pay underperforming, substandard employees is no way to “run a business.”  For a professional academic to deny this fact is conduct unbecoming a professional academic.  Worse yet is the professional academic who aids, abets, and protects colleagues who, in their classrooms, state as fact what are personal opinions and tolerate no discussion concerning the merits of contrary opinions.
  • While hiring p.r. experts to manage crises represents “best practice” in the corporate and political world, should it be normative when differences between various entities—like Boards, administrators, faculty, and students—arise at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges?  Hiring expensive experts in public relations to deal with fissures within a collegiate community isn’t so much about educating its members as it is of “tamping down and putting out fires.”  Perhaps that’s appropriate for private sector “management vs. labor” negotiations, but for a Catholic institution of higher education?

Perhaps what’s unfolding at SLU is part of a larger narrative in U.S. Catholic higher education: Its professionalization and secularization where the values of this world increasingly inform and shape institutional decision making, policies, and procedures.

So much for Ex corde ecclesiae.

 

 

To read The Motley Monk’s original post about this drama, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/10/16/sexennials-at-st-louis-university/

To access the Board of Trustees’ President’s letter online, click on the following link:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7HsEqmC0EunUGFoZDc4QjFGWUk/edit?pli=1

To read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, click on the following link…
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/no-confidence-voted-by-slu-faculty-unit-on-biondi/article_f0d6d525-b995-525c-968f-6e38897d5da1.html

Catholic hospitals (and politicians?) being put “on notice”…

 

With the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) having been called to task by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it may not be long before organizations sponsoring the nation’s Catholic hospitals will be called to task by the Pontifical Council for Health Care (PCHC).

Why?

According to one member of the PCHC, Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, it’s to preserve the identity of Catholic hospitals.  In many nations across the globe, this identity is being threatened as decisions at the local level are being made—using the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity—that undermine Church teaching.

St. Joseph’s Hospital
operating in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona

 

The first step will be taken when PCHC releases its updated Charter for Health Care Workers on June 16, 2013, the “Dignity of Life Day” during the Year of Faith, following CDF review and approval.  It’s that review and approval that should be neither overlooked nor underestimated.

The current Charter’s directives are divided into three categories: procreation, life, and death.  The revised Charter is said to discuss Church teaching as it concerns bioethics, healthcare coverage, and “orphan drugs” (providing affordable pharmaceutical treatments even though the market for the drugs is too small to make research, production, and distribution economically viable or profitable).

More importantly, the updated Charter will include a fourth section, “the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.”

It’s this fourth category—the second step—that organizations sponsoring the nation’s Catholic hospitals and some professionals working in them will find challenging.  While the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity advocate that decisions be made and action taken at the lowest possible level, a Catholic News Agency article is reporting that some employees at Catholic hospitals have taken that definition to mean that providing abortafacients, sterilizations, and abortions is permissible as is genetic experimentation and embryo selection for eugenics.

But, don’t miss what’s also in the document by focusing solely upon how some employees of Catholic hospitals across the globe are undermining their institution’s identity.

Why?

The updated Charter is said also to include CDF notes and instructions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life, published in 2003.  This document states that while Catholics are free to choose among political parties and strategies for promoting the common good, they cannot claim that freedom allows them to support abortion, euthanasia, or other attacks on human life.

Could it possibly be that CDF is going to use PCHC to fire a first salvo at  certain Catholic politicians?

If so, the inclusion of those  CDF notes and instructions is putting those Catholic politicians on notice that they no longer will be able to promote their support of  anti-life policies by claiming that the Church’s principles of solidarity and subsidiarity support their policy positions.

 

 

 

To read the articles, click on the following links:

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1204785.htm

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-to-address-abortions-in-catholic-hospitals/

Whatever became of “communio”?

 

Communio” (def.) the organic life of the Church where the diversity of gifts—like the various parts of the body—work together in complementary ways to usher in God’s reign.

St. Paul described communio using these words:

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)

Was this idyllic image not one of the primary images used by Second Vatican Council  to describe the Church and its organic life?

Communio”:

  • Neither “liberals” nor “conservatives.”
  • Neither “ultra-liberals” nor “ultra-conservatives.”
  • Neither “Tridentine” nor “post-Vatican II.”

Only the one People of God consisting of the Body of Christ and their gifts—diverse as they are—alive and at work with one another “transforming all things in Christ Jesus.”

After five decades, however, it appears that communio is out and hunkering down is in, at least according to the Reverend Richard McBrien who holds the Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Theology Chair and is now hunkering down at the University of Notre Dame.  The  nation’s Catholic universities and colleges, Fr. McBrien observes,  are places “where the long arms of a bishop cannot reach.”

Not all bishops, mind you.  Just those “ultra-conservatives”—the Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI appointees in the United States.

Unfortunately, it’s some ideological progressives who have made communio impossible. Following Vatican II, these progressives didn’t want, nor do they want, nor they never will want any conservative (forget the ultra-conservatives) intruding into their safe zone.

What these ideological progressives have always feared  most is any conservative bishop—not just an ultra-conservative—having the audacity to challenge the their magisterium on what they have made their home turf.

That said, Fr. McBrien’s article in the National Catholic Reporter may provide an indication of a far more profound change: The pendulum is changing directions, potentially threatening the protections afforded Fr. McBrien and those ideological progressives for nearly five decades.

Yes, those new conservative prelates are emphasizing fidelity to Church teaching.  That alone seems to be scaring the bejeezus out of Fr. McBrien and ideological progressives.

A formerly compliant national hierarchy—whose members generally allowed those progressives free reign to redefine Church teaching in their image and likeness—is becoming increasingly less compliant.  Its members may even possess sufficient backbone at some point in the near future to extend their long arm into those institutions and hold the ideological progressives—like Fr. McBrien—accountable for their doctrinal errors…in exactly the same way the nuns are now being held accountable for their doctrinal errors.

Of course, Fr. McBrien’s hope is that Benedict XVI’s successor will adopt McBrien’s progressive vision for the Church and will undo the “terrible backlash” visited on the U.S. Church by those ultra-conservative appointees who “overemphasize the abortion issue” over “social justice.”

Short of that, what’s next?  “Ideologically progressive professors at Catholic universities and colleges on the bus?”

The “signs of the times” indicate that something more may be transpiring than just the pendulum shifting direction: Communio with the Bishop of Rome is in.

The week after the NCR published Fr. McBrien’s article, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Carlo Maria Viganò, extended his long arm into the matter.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Archbishop Viganò told an audience at the University of Notre Dame that it is a “grave and major problem” when self-professed Catholic faculty at Catholic institutions are the sources of teachings that conflict with Church teaching on important policy issues rather than defend it.  Professors at these institutions who do so, the Archbishop noted, are “allying with those forces that are pitted against the Church.  These institutions hold themselves out to be “Catholic.”  But, he observed:

This, my brothers and sisters, is a grave and major problem that challenges the first freedom of religious liberty and the higher purpose of the human person.

Maybe the signs of the times are signaling that time is running out for the ideological progressives and their project to deconstruct Catholic higher education.  And Fr. McBrien is worried about it.

 

 

To read the NCR article, click on the following link:

http://ncronline.org/blogs/essays-theology/showing-support-lcwr-during-these-trying-times

To read the CNA article, click on the following link:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/papal-nuncio-catholic-division-undermines-religious-freedom

When a Letter of Congratulations Contains a Warning. . .

The Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow, Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, has written a letter of congratulations to Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and nominee as Archbishop of Canterbury.

+Hilarion
Metropolitan of Volokolamsk

Consider its contents:

Dear Brother and Lord Bishop,

 

I would like to extend to you wholehearted congratulations on your election as Head of one of the oldest episcopal chairs founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in the 7th century.

 

You have been entrusted with the spiritual guidance of the entire Anglican Communion, a unique union of like-minded people, which, however diverse the forms of its existence in the world may be, needs one ‘steward of God’ (Tit. 1:7) the guardian of the faith and witness to the Truth (cf. Jn. 18:37).

 

The Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion are bonded by age-old friendly relations initiated in the 15th century. For centuries, our Churches would preserve good and truly brotherly relations encouraged both by frequent mutual visits and established theological dialogue and certainly by a spirit of respect and love which used to accompany the meetings of our hierarchs, clergy and ordinary believers.

 

Regrettably, the late 20th century and the beginning of the third millennium have brought tangible difficulties in relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion. The introduction female priesthood and now episcopate, the blessing of same-sex ‘unions’ and ‘marriages’, the ordination of homosexuals as pastors and bishops – all these innovations are seen by the Orthodox as deviations from the tradition of the Early Church, which increasingly estrange Anglicanism from the Orthodox Church and contribute to a further division of Christendom as a whole.

 

We hope that the voice of the Orthodox Church will be heard by the Church of England and Churches of the Anglican Communion, and good fraternal relationships between us will revive.

 

I wish you God’s help in your important work.

 

“May the God of love and peace be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11).

 

+Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk

“Congratulations” might not be the best word to describe the entire contents of Bishop Hilarion’s letter.

“Innovations,” “deviations,” “increasingly estrange,” “further contribute to a further division of Christendom,” and “good fraternal relationships between us will revive” sound more like a “warning” to the new Archbishop of Canterbury: His denomination is falling off a moral cliff.

Bishop Hilarion doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the orthodox Christian faith, does he?

Imagine what the National Catholic Reporter would have to say if the USCCB or a U.S. metropolitan archbishop sent  the new Archbishop of Canterbury a similar letter of congratulations!

“Colluding in the Sovietization of Catholic intellectual life”?

The narrative isn’t anything new.

A Catholic university or college invites a “leading Catholic theologian” to give a talk or to function as a visiting professor.  Individuals and groups from outside the institution perform a background check, uncovering facts about this theologian’s public opinions that dissent from Church teaching.  Those outsiders publicize the invitation and facts, asking “Why is this Catholic university or college inviting this person?”  Unable to defend the invitation in the face of the controversy stirred up by those outsiders, the institution’s president “disinvites” the theologian.

In response, the theologian runs to the left-of-center Catholic press.  Berating the institution for capitulating to that tiny minority who seek to silence “free discussion” about Church teaching, the theologian asserts that even worse yet is how this bullying represents a mortal threat to academic freedom in Catholic higher education.  Then, too, there’s the omnipresent Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).  How long before it steps in to quash discussion by labeling the Church’s “thinkers” as “heretics”?

Continue reading

Xavier University’s “moderate” approach to healthcare coverage: A breach in the firewall?

 

In this election cycle, much has been made about the importance of establishing a “firewall” in certain states so that a candidate’s electoral college numbers don’t collapse.

When it comes to defending the faith against insurgents, one might hope the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges would provide the Church a “firewall of firewalls.”  After all, haven’t they proclaimed themselves to be the places “where the Church does its thinking”?  Where better to turn for a reasoned defense of the Church and its teaching than through its institutions of higher education?

Of course, as the pundits have been opining, it takes only one breach of the firewall to accelerate the process of potentially losing that firewall and, hence, increasing the probability of losing the election…or, in this instance, weakening one institution’s Catholic identity and providing “cover” for others to do the same.

Has that firewall wall been breached?

According to Inside Higher Education, the President of Xavier University in Cincinnati, the Reverend Michael J. Graham, SJ, has reversed himself.  This “Catholic university in the Jesuit tradition” will now continue to provide employees artificial contraception coverage as part of the institution’s healthcare coverage.

 

The Reverend Michael J. Graham, SJ
President, Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH)

 

Last April, Fr. Graham announced that Xavier had been covering contraception but no longer would, effective July 1, 2012.  In a letter to employees, Graham wrote that offering such coverage was “inconsistent” for a Roman Catholic institution.

Correct!  That’s defending the firewall.

However, that was then and this is now.

Between then and now, Fr. Graham’s decision and letter provoked an outcry.  A number of Xavier University faculty and staff wanted to know who Fr. Graham or the institution were to dictate so-called “healthcare options” to married couples, to non-Catholics, and to those who don’t agree with Church teaching concerning artificial means of birth control.  After all, that’s not being inclusive, is it?  Then, too, they wanted Fr. Graham to explain why he made the decision and issued his letter without consulting Xavier employees first.  That’s not very collegial, is it?

In the face of this tide of opposition, Fr. Graham agreed to postpone implementing the change until December.  Perhaps Fr. Graham was biding his time while waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule.

But, once again, that was then and this is now.

Between then and now, the Supreme Court ruled in June, upholding Obamacare.  The opinion was written by the Chief Justice, himself a Catholic.  Talk about being provided intellectual and legal cover to allow the firewall to be breached!

Fr. Graham subsequently decided that since Xavier University would be required to provide contraceptive coverage as part of the institution’s healthcare coverage beginning August 1, 2013 anyway, the University would continue providing it to employees.

No doubt about it.  The firewall has been breached!

In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Fr. Graham blamed himself for how he handled this issue. But, he went even further.  While strongly disagreeing with the Obamacare mandate, Fr. Graham said he “believes universities should set a moderate example for the nation.”

The president of one of those institutions where the Church is supposed to do her thinking has decided his institution should “set a moderate example for the nation”?

Why so?

Could the rationale be that Church teaching tramples upon the religious freedom of those who freely choose to work at Catholic institutions, like Xavier University, yet don’t believe what those institutions represent?  Then, too, borrowing from the example of St. Isaac Jogues, SJ, and his companions, why alienate all of those people when, simply by leaving the door open to them, they can be evangelized?  And what will it matter anyway?  After all, providing artificial means of contraception as part of nationalized healthcare coverage is going to be required of those institutions come August 1, 2013.

The rationale is problematic and the firewall has been breached.  How long will it be before presidents of the other U.S. Catholic universities and colleges seize upon Fr. Graham’s reasoning and follow Xavier University’s lead?

This battle is not about “healthcare options.”  It’s all about the much larger war to delegitimize Church teaching.

Where’s the reasoned defense to come from, now that this firewall has been breached?

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Education article, click on the following link: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/29/catholic-college-reverses-course-covering-contraception#ixzz2AhJ4Ca00

Intolerant tolerance…

 

While on this side of the pond the nation’s bishops are waging battle against the government’s incursions upon religious freedom, an interesting battle is unfolding on the other side of the pond in Great Britain.

It seems that Susanne and Mike Wilkinson who own Uf Dorf Wilkinson—a Swiss country B&B located in Cookham, Berkshire, which also serves as the couple’s home—believe the precepts of their Christian faith trump the law of the land.  In this instance, that precept concerns the sanctity of marriage and the law is the Britain’s Equality Act Regulations of 2007, which outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation when providing goods, facilities, services, education, and other public functions.

The Swiss Bed & Breakfast property in Cookham, owned by Mr & Mrs Wilkinson, caught up in the discrimination row

 

According to the UK Daily Mail, Mrs. Wilkinson told Michael Black and his partner John Morgan in March 2010 that they couldn’t sleep in a double bed at Uf Dorf.  That allegedly “discriminatory” judgment led to a lawsuit that Black and Morgan have won, with the judge requiring Mrs. Wilkinson to pay Black and Morgan £3,600 in compensatory damages on the grounds of “hurt feelings.”

Responding to the judgment, Mrs. Wilkinson to the Daily Mail:

Naturally, my husband and I are disappointed to have lost the case and to have been ordered to pay £3,600 in damages for injury to feelings. We have the option to appeal, and we will give that serious consideration.

We believe a person should be free to act upon their sincere beliefs about marriage under their own roof without living in fear of the law. Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home.

People’s beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack, and I am concerned about people’s freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs. I am a Christian, not just on a Sunday in church, but in every area of my life – as Jesus expects from his followers.

That’s all I was trying to do and I think it’s quite wrong to punish me for that, especially after enduring over two years of vile abuse and threats.

 

In court, Mrs. Wilkinson explained to the judge that she was serious about her Christian beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage and wasn’t discriminating because Black and Morgan are homosexual.  Mrs. Wilkinson explained that she also doesn’t allow unmarried heterosexual couples to share a double bed at Uf Dorf.

That would make Mrs. Wilkinson consistent in her intolerance or, put in another way, consistent in bringing her faith into her workplace.

Mrs. Wilkinson put her finger squarely on the truth when she observed: “We find this a strange justice in a society that aspires to be increasingly tolerant.”

In the UK, it may very well be the case that the principle of “tolerance” doesn’t extent to being tolerant of traditional Christian teaching about the sanctity of marriage.

Is this a ”coming attraction” of what’s soon to transpire in the United States?

 

 

 

To read the UK Daily Mail article, click on the following link:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2219594/Christian-B-amp-B-owners-refused-bed-gay-couple-ordered-pay-3-000-compensation.html#ixzz2ALQ71FAj

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