Planet Money: How the University of Notre Dame ranks…

 

At the sametime academic administrators at the University of Notre Dame (UND) formed a faculty committee to consider reducing UND’s Theology requirement to one course, National Public Radio’s Planet Money team created an interesting ranking of 4-year undergraduate programs.

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Here’s how UND ranks:

  • It’s not one of the nation’s top 15 “schools for making money,” which measures income 10 years after graduation (50%), on-time graduation rates (25%) and net price (25%). (Hoyas have no fear: Georgetown is #7!)
  • It’s #8 for “schools that make financial sense,” which measures share of students who receive Pell Grants (16%), net price for families making <$48k (16%), share of students who are first-generation college students (16%), default rates (16%), on-time graduation rates (16%) and average income 10 years after graduation (16%). (Once again, Hoyas have no fear, Georgetown in #4!)
  • It’s not one of the nation’s top 15 “schools that emphasize upward mobility,” which measures on-time graduation rate (50%), default rate (16%), share of students receiving federal loans (16%), average income six years after graduation (16%). (Have no fear, Fightin’ Irish, neither is Georgetown!)

Clearly, Georgetown is the better choice for parents whose primary interest are that doing so makes financial sense and their children are likely to earn more $$$s following graduation. Isn’t that what most interests many parents today?

The data suggest to parents that they shouldn’t send their children to UND so they’ll make more $$$s and/or be more upwardly mobile. However, correlating the curriculum review with these findings, does it make greater financial sense for parents to send their children to UND for a distinctively Catholic undergraduate education?

 

 

 

To read UND’s curriculum review document, click on the following like:
http://curriculumreview.nd.edu/

To Planet Money’s rankings, click on the following link:
http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/09/21/441417608/the-new-college-scorecard-npr-does-some-math

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

4

U.S. Catholic higher education: The National Labor Relations Board upholds Catholic identity more than many U.S. bishops and administrators?

 

When the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) abandoned its “substantial religious character” test in December 2015 as a measure of whether a Catholic university or college is sufficiently “Catholic” enough to remain exempt from NRLB jurisdiction, administrators at the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education breathed a sigh of relief. In short, the NLRB said that it will continue to use the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in NRLB v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago (1979) (“Catholic Bishop”) as its standard for determining whether an institution is sufficiently religiuos to qualify to be exempt from NLRB oversight.

Those administrators—especially those at Manhattan College and Seattle University—may have breathed that sigh of relief too soon, however.

In a decision last week, NLRB Regional Director Karen Fernback judged that Manhattan College is not exempt from NLRB oversight because its hiring and interview practices do not promote the development of a religious environment. That is, as these practices concern adjunct faculty, Manhattan College did not establish that adjunct faculty are hired to perform “a specific role in creating or maintaining a religious educational environment.”

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Uh oh. To teach as an adjunct professor at a Catholic university or college, that individual must facilitate the creation and/or maintenance of a Catholic environment? Fernback wrote:

While there is extensive evidence in the record concerning the College’s religious identity and its stated mission, adjunct faculty are not expected to advance the College’s religious mission, other than respect and support it. Even the forms that are required to be signed when adjunct faculty are hired only demand that they read the mission statement and will respect the Lasallian culture of the College.

There is no evidence that adjunct faculty are expected to further the mission by serving as religious advisors to students, propagating the Catholic faith, engaging in religious training, or conforming to the tenets of Catholicism in the course of their job duties. Thus, the record fails to establish how the College’s religious identity affects actual job functions.”

The facts? Fernback notede:

  • “While the College posited there was an expectation that adjunct faculty support and respect its Lasallian Catholic mission, it acknowledged that all religious programming and events, even adjunct orientation, are optional.”
  • Department chairs at Manhattan College testified across the board that they do not ask adjunct faculty in any way to “adhere to or propagate any Catholic doctrine as part of their jobs.”
  • Only one job posting—a Sociology opening—specified the Catholic mission. It required “that potential applicants are sensitive” to Manhattan’s Catholic mission and identity.

This is “far short of showing a connection between performing a religious role and the job requirements,” Fernbach concluded.

What about full-time, tenure-track faculty hirings?

That question was answered last March when NLRB Regional Director Ronald Hooks upheld a previous NLRB ruling by the NLRB’s Seattle office that professors—even professors of Theology—aren’t held to a religious standard.

So, the NLRB has changed its target. Even though “Catholic Bishop” will continue to provide the standard, the new test will be to determine whether individual faculty members in the institution serve a religious function. Note: That’s more than the professorial functions of research, teaching, and service that provide the standard at the nation’s non-religious universities and colleges.

For a Catholic university or college, doesn’t that ruling make eminent sense? As it is religious as opposed to non-religious (or secular), is not the that institution’s “value proposition” its distinctive religious identity? Further, by virtue of that religious identity, should not that value proposition evidence itself in all aspects of that institution’s operations, and in particular, in classroom teaching?

These questions raise precisely what the issue of contention is. For the NLRB, it’s not enough to “talk the talk” through speeches, institutional propaganda, and optional activities. An exemption from NLRB oversight will be merited if and only if those religious institutions actually “walk the talk” and, in this instance, in every classroom.

The tragic irony is that many of the nation’s bishops as well as many of administrators of many of Catholic universities and colleges aren’t as exacting as is the NLRB. Imagine that!

 

 

 

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

5

Liberty University: Gone liberal?

Universities are founded with the idea of providing the requisite freedom (libertas) and rest (otium) that’s necessary for human beings to pursue ideas and ultimately to grasp truth.

That’s certainly not the case today as most of the nation’s campuses are controlled by ideologues on the political left. Their primary interest seems be imposing their ideas upon students rather than exposing those ideas to full and unfettered inspection in the public forum so that students learn to think for themselves. Ideologues on the political left conveniently seem to forget that telling students what to think is very different from teaching them how to think.

Imposing an ideology of any stripe in an institution of higher education is antithetical to the pursuit of truth, the equivalent of an academic “mortal sin.”

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During the past five decades, it’s hardly a secret that the political left has committed this sin at a far greater rate than has the political right, most of whom seem to have headed for the bunkers and are in hiding. The number of the nation’s institutions of higher education controlled by the former attest to the accuracy of this observation.

Furthermore, their prejudice as well as their ire manifest themselves in spades when the names of conservative institutions—like Hillsdale College or Liberty University—are introduced into discussion. Listening to those on the political left castigate such “conservative” institutions, one would hardly think they deserve the moniker “institution of higher education.” How could they be? They’re not “liberal”!

However, imagine one of those conservative institutions of higher education out “liberaling” those so-called liberals.  An Inside Higher Ed article reports that’s exactly what Liberty University—a conservative, evangelical Christian university—has done.

No one on the political left or right would be surprised at Liberty inviting conservatives and evangelicals to speak at its Convocations. Those convocations provide students—who are required to attend—a healthy dose of conservative dogma. Recently, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) kicked off his campaign for the presidency at one such convocation. Retired neurosurgeon and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Ben Carson, is scheduled to speak at a convocation this fall.

But, guess who is also scheduled to appear on the stage at Liberty University on September 14? U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and avowed socialist.

In his statement announcing that he had accepted the invitation to address the student body, Senator Sanders wrote:

Liberty University was kind enough to invite me to address a convocation and I decided to accept. It goes without saying that my views on many issues – women’s rights, gay rights, education – are very different from the opinions of some in the Liberty University community. I think it is important, however, to see if we can reach consensus regarding the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in our country, about the collapse of the middle class, about the high level of childhood poverty, about climate change and other issues. It is very easy for a candidate to speak to people who hold the same views. It’s harder but important to reach out to others who look at the world differently. I look forward to meeting with the students and faculty of Liberty University.

Inviting Bernie Sanders speak at a Liberty University is the equivalent of inviting U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas or U.S. Senator Ted Cruz address students at an Ivy League or University of California System institution. That would be authentically liberal.

The truth be told, those on the political left are more conserative than they’re willing to admit: They aren’t much interested in listening carefully to the other side in a debate. Instead, they steadfastly refuse to issue invitations to those with whom they disagree and, should academic administators make the mistake of doing so, are forced to “disinvite” those with whom the political left disagrees. Just ask Condolezza Rice and Dr. Ben Carson.

In this instance, who’d have thunk Liberty University is more liberal than most liberal institutions of higher education in the United States?

 

Let the discussion begin…

 

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/08/06/liberty-us-unexpected-speaker-bernie-sanders

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

10

From the folks at LifeSiteNews.com: Planned Parenthood sells intact fetal body parts…

 

LOS ANGELES, July 14, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – An undercover video released this morning shows a national leader of Planned Parenthood admitting that the abortion provider uses the illegal and highly controversial partial birth abortion procedure to sell intact fetal body parts.

The average asking price for fetal body parts? Between $30 and $100 per specimen.

Dr. Deborah Nucatola has been senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood since February 2009, where she oversees medical practices at all Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide. She has been employed by Planned Parenthood for more than a decade. She also performs abortions up to 24 weeks in Los Angeles.

In the video, she met with investigators posing as buyers from a human biologics company on July 25, 2014.

While casually sipping wine and eating salad, Dr. Nucatola revealed that she charges $30 to $100 per specimen, and that fetal livers are especially in demand – although “a lot of people want intact hearts these days,” and she has had requests for lungs and “lower extremities.”

Planned Parenthood affiliates “absolutely” want to offer such organs, she said.

Nucatola admitted that Planned Parenthood’s abortionists take great care not to appear to be profiteering off fetal body parts. She said, “They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, ‘The clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off of this.’”

The issue is not merely PR – there is also the little matter of federal law. Trafficking in human body parts is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.

The method of abortion she describes, on video, also appears to violate federal law.

Dr. Nucatola said she has “a huddle at the beginning of the day” to determine what fetal body parts consumers are requesting, and which patients that day will have babies from which they will be able to harvest them. Then Planned Parenthood abortionists tailor the procedure to assure they do not destroy the organs, maximizing profitability.

“For that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps,” she said.

She revealed that, as abortionists are dismembering the child, they decide, “I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

In order to procure intact organs, she seemed to describe herself and others performing the illegal partial birth abortion method.

“Some people,” she said, taking another sip of wine, “will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex [head first],”she continues. “So, if you do it starting from the breech presentation [feet first]…often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium [the head] at the end.”

President George W. Bush signed a law outlawing partial birth abortion in 2003. It, too, is a federal felony punishable by two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

But, Dr. Nucatola told the undercover investigators, there are ways around the law.

“The federal abortion ban is a law, and laws are up to interpretation,” she said. “So, if I say on day one that I don’t intend to do this, what ultimately happens doesn’t matter.”

“At the national office, we have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she says. “But I will tell you that behind closed doors these conversations are happening with the affiliates.” (You can read a full transcript of the conversation here.)

In a separate video, the investigators meet with Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, saying that Dr. Nucatola has been incredibly helpful in their efforts to procure unborn babies’ body parts.

“Oh good,” Richards replies. “Great. She’s amazing.”

In addition to overseeing all medical practices at the abortion giant, Dr. Nucatola has frequently been a media spokeswoman promoting the organization’s political concerns.

The video was the fruit of a nearly three-year-long undercover investigation by theCenter for Medical Progress.

“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” said Project Lead David Daleiden. “Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business.”

National pro-life leaders immediately called for a Congressional investigation. “This video provides a shocking reality check about the grisly, inhumane business model of Planned Parenthood,” said Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life (AUL). “Under Cecile Richards’ leadership, breast screenings are down, abortions are up and profits are up, as even the bodies of the unborn become something else for her to sell. We call for an immediate Congressional investigation into these alleged atrocities. And just as important, the time is now to defund Planned Parenthood. The American taxpayer should not be in business with such callous profiteers.”

Organizers are asking that this information be shared on Twitter with the hashtag #PPSellsBabyParts. They also request that everyone contact Congress and demand a full investigation.

5

State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-IA): A genuine Catholic pol…

 

Over at the Souix City Journal, State Senator Rick Bertrand (R-IA) has written an impassioned op-ed explaining why Catholics, especially those who are pro-life, need to stop supporting pro-death politicians.

Given the demographic data, Bertrand writes:

Abortion in this country will only be abolished through the legislative process, and that begins by Catholics electing representatives, an organization, that will aggressively pursue a pro-life agenda. Only then will a domino of judicial rulings pave the way back to the U.S. Supreme Court where this horrific tragedy started.

This is the reality. Can we Catholics handle the truth?

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State Senator Rick Bertrand, wife Tammy, and daughter, Addison

More to the point, Bertrand offers an opinion about what the data suggest for the nation’s Catholic bishops, priests, and deacons:

Any priest or member of our clergy who is voting with the Democratic Party is not leading by example, and simply living and preaching a lie. “Not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter 5:3)

“How do we Catholics end abortion?”, Bertrand asks. “By looking in the mirror.”

Kudos to State Senator Rick Bertrand for taking his faith into the public square and courageously stating what it requires of Catholics. Read his story here.

 

 

 

To read State Senator Bertrand’s op-ed, click on the following link:
http://siouxcityjournal.com/news/opinion/columnists/other-voices-life-can-we-catholics-handle-the-truth/article_f8b833a5-2836-5b89-8d9d-875cfe7bcf5c.html

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

4

Laudato si: Its pessimistic tone sounds like Environmental Defense Fund propaganda…

 

Many have rightly lauded Pope Francis’ encyclical concerning the environment, Laudato si. However, many of those doing so view the encyclical as a crucial document, not for its defense of life, family, and the impoverished but for its utility in furthering their environmentalist agenda.

For example, repeatedly mentioning the “environmental crisis””and stating “the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air, and in all forms of life” (¶ 2), Pope Francis provides environmentalists a motherlode of propaganda soundbites as well as rhetorical ammunition to make an appeal to papal authority in support of their agenda. Unfortunately, although this appeal represents the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority,” that won’t matter much.

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The President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs and Illusory Benefits, Steven Mosher, has carefully considered Laudato si and asks over at the New York Post: “Do the Pope and I live on the same planet?”

Answering his question, Mosher argues that the encyclical’s pessimistic tone neglects the much of the progress that’s already been achieved in caring for both the environment and the poor. He writes:

Many of its strong claims about the dire state of the world don’t take into account positive change reported even in UN documents, which themselves tend to magnify environmental and other global problems as a fundraising ploy.

In this regard, Mosher cites this discrepancy concerning the issues of: water (¶ 27-31); loss of biodiversity (¶ 32-42); decline in the quality of human life and the breakdown of society (¶ 43-47); and, global inequality (¶ 48-52). In sum:

…a dismal tone of environmental “apocalypse now” pervades the entire document, as when it breathlessly proclaims that: “Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or distain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth….our contemporary lifestyle [is] unsustainable …” (¶ 161).

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Mosher correctly argues that problem isn’t Pope Francis but the so-called  environmental “experts” who were hand-selected by the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. One of those experts, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who assisted in drafting the encyclical, happens to be a member of the Club of Rome, a global think tank. In 1972, the group issued the now-discredited “The Limits to Growth” study which famously predicted the world would run out of “nonrenewable resources” in the 1980s and 1990s, and that environmental, economic, and societal collapse would follow.

“In selecting Schellnhuber,” Mosher asserts, “[Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo] might as well have turned the manuscript over to a fundraising copywriter for the Environmental Defense Fund.”

The truth concerning the scriptural injunction to cultivate, rule, and care for the environment is ill-served when ideology—in this case, the ideology of those who worship at the altar of environmentalism—and its propaganda are selected to provide the substantive foundation for the argument.

Where Laudato si promotes that truth, it’s a fine document for serious reflection and action. Where Laudato si veers from that truth, the encyclical can easily be hijacked by environmentalists and their  propagandists.

 

 

 

To read Steven Mosher’s article in the New York Post, click on the following link:
http://nypost.com/2015/07/05/do-the-pope-and-i-live-on-the-same-planet/

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

8

Being ‘Welcoming and Opening’ to Those Outside of the Faith

When it comes to the Anglican Communion, it’s not only possible to believe anything, it’s also possible to develop a high-church liturgy for everything.

Consider the text of an April 2015 motion proposed by the Diocese of Blackburn for review during the upcoming July 2015 General Synod of the Church of England. The text marks an individual’s gender transition, stating:

…to move on behalf of the Blackburn Diocesan Synod:

“That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.

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The Rev. Megan Rohrer, an openly transgendered Lutheran pastor in San Francisco who is overseen by the local Lutheran and Episcopalian bishops

Studying the motion, one particularly astute commentor authored a collect for a welcoming/affirming ceremony. The commentor asks: “What will the collect look like?”

Here’s the text:

“Partially mighty God, who makes mistakes by placing female souls with male bodies and male souls with female bodies; we thank you for the gift of surgical techniques which can improve upon your justice. As we place our trust in the ‘social construct of gender fluidity’ rather than the waters of baptism, we claim the goodness of a new name for our transgender (brother/sister) and repent of our cisgender pride. Hail Cobra!”

The essence of humor is a kernel of truth that’s stretched beyond credulity.

This couldn’t possibly be what Pope Francis had in mind when he said “the Roman Catholic Church must be opening and welcoming to those outside of the faith,” is it?

 

 

 

 

To read the motion authored by the Diocese of Blackburn, click on the following link:
http://anglicanink.com/article/transgender-motion-submitted-general-synod

To read Pope Francis’ remarks about the Church being open and welcoming, click on the following link:
http://www.ibtimes.com/pope-francis-news-catholic-church-needs-be-more-welcoming-he-says-1823830

To read about the Rev. Megan Rohrer, click on the following link:
http://kalw.org/post/pastor-megan-rohrer-shepherd-finds-perfect-flock

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

15

Pursuing the parochial truth: Dominican University (River Forest, IL)…

 

“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.”

That’s the tagline for the Dominican University (River Forest, Illinois) website for this Dominican institution of higher education which advertises its mission using the following descriptor:

As a Sinsinawa Dominican-sponsored institution, Dominican University prepares students to pursue truth, to give compassionate service and to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.

Notice the word “Catholic” by its absence in that descriptor.

 

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Just what might that mission mean in actual practice?

Consider the “New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church” conference scheduled for October 24. The conference’s subtitle is noteworthy: “An exploration of the American Catholic Church going forward.”

Hmmm….

The description of the conference is even more noteworthy:

[The National Catholic Reporters’ (NCR)] founders were journalists whose first priorities were holding authorities accountable and being a platform for a free, open discussion of ideas. Solidly founded in an American culture, NCR has been a chronicler of society and the Catholic Church for 50 years. Through this uniquely American and Catholic lens, the conference will explore what might be on the horizon for the American Catholic church.

Putting some flesh on those bones, conference speakers include:

  • Maria Pilar Aquino: A Catholic feminist theologian who teaches liberation theology, is pro-abortion, and supports the ordination of women. “We feminist Catholic theologians profoundly disagree with the intractable position of official Roman Catholicism regarding reproductive rights and women’s human rights,” Aquino has said. Of the pontificate of St. John Paul II, Aquino noted that it exhibited “strong signs of theological intolerance and of rigidity in the exercise of power….[The] mode of Church promoted by John Paul II was widely characterized by authoritarianism, centralism, conservatism, imperialism, and by monoculturalism, and is consistent with the patterns of dominant male-centered Western European Christianity.” In her talk, Aquino will explore the contribution of the deep voices from the Global South to those processes.
  • Reverend Bryan Massingale, STD: A priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and professor at Marquette University, Father Massingale spoke at an event on Capitol Hill on behalf of Equally Blessed, a homosexual activist coalition which counts among its number Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry. At the event, Massingale advocated “full equality” for homosexuals. Afterwards, Massingale was asked whether he agreed with the teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law” and “[under] no circumstances can they be approved,” Massingale evaded the question. In his talk, Father Massingale will explore how this moment challenges the Catholic faith community to face the “unresolved racism” in its own life, as well as the opportunities for more engaged social reflection and justice ministry.
  • Jamie Manson: A National Catholic Reporter columnist, Manson covers the so-called “homosexual marriage” and and feminist ideology beat. A critic of Pope Francis for upholding the complementarity of the two genders, Manson accuses the Pope of denegrating both homosexuals and women. Defending legal recognition of so-called “homosexual marriage,” Manson has argued: “How sad that church leaders refuse to see that same-sex couples have as much potential to be visible signs of God’s ‘masterwork’ as heterosexual relationships.” She also calls Church leaders to “have the courage and humility to see that God can be as fully present in the relationships of same-sex couples as God can be in opposite-sex couples and that God can be as sacramentally present through the body of a woman priest as God can be sacramentally present in the body of a male priest.” In her presentation, Manson will explore some of the new models of church that have been emerging among marginalized faith communities and consider what forms of church may be meaningful and relevant to new generations of Catholics.
  • Sister Joan Chittister, OSB: The “counter Mother Angelica” founder of Benetvision–an organization that promotes “contemporary spirituality” with the aim of awakening the “Divine Feminine” within each woman–Sr. Chittister is arguably most noted for her dissent against Church teachings concerning abortion (claiming it denies women a basic “freedom”) and female ordination as well as her critique of the Council of Trent, saying that it “plunged Catholicism into the Dark Ages.” Sr. Chittister will consider a way forward that is rooted in the prophetic message of the gospel which demands that we seek a new way of being church.

While the Dominican University website advertises that “All are welcome,” all of the invited speakers align themselves squarely with the NCR’s radical stance toward the Roman Catholic Church and whose shared desire is to shape the Church in their “American Catholic” image, as that’s defined by the contents of their lectures.

While those who are convening the event may “welcome” others to listen, they certainly aren’t welcome to speak. How open and inclusive of a diversity of thought! Tres catholique!

This conference isn’t an “academic” conference and, given topic’s parochial treatment, certainly won’t prepare any Dominican University students in attendance to pursue the truth.

“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.” That’s what it means to be Dominican University (with no mention of the word Catholic). And, all for only $40 per ticket (or $20 for students).

St. Thomas Aquinas must be scratching his head in disbelief.

 

 

 

To read the conference advertisement, click on the following link:
http://events.dom.edu/new-faces

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

7

Doublespeaque vs. truth in advertising: The NLRB tightens the noose…

 

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is tightening the noose as it ups the ante in recognizing the rights of adjunct faculty in private, religious colleges and universities to unionize. This decision could also be a first step in the long-term efforts of the National Education Association (NEA) and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to achieve a much larger agenda: To unionize all full-time faculty teaching in religious institutions of higher education.

At issue is the NLRB’s contention that if these institutions are to remain nonunionized, they must provide evidence that individual faculty members in their teaching role are directly responsible for furthering the religious mission of these institutions, similar to how members of religious congregations did in the past.

The NLRB’s approach is especially disconcerting for academic administrators at the nation’s Catholic institutions of higher education because, in contrast to the past, the overwhelming number of faculty members in these institutions today are laypersons, some of whom are not Catholic and most of whom do not view themselves as contracted to further the religious mission of the institutions at which they teach.

Compounding the problem, academic administrators generally don’t require faculty members to demonstrate that they further their institutional missions. Like faculty, academic administrators believe that such a requirement is antithetical to academic freedom as well as to the espoused goal of being institutions that are characterized by inclusivity among faculty and, in this sense, diversity of thought. In short, that faculty be “catholic” and avoid what many administrators and faculty believe is the narrow parochialism of being “Catholic.”

ndu

That said, the NLRB is now treating these institutions in the same way it would treat public and secular universities and colleges.

In 2015, the NLRB remanded three cases concerning Catholic institutions of higher education to NLRB Regional Directors, delegating to them the authority to determine whether individual faculty members at those institutions actually perform religious functions. The NRLB’s litmus test for determining whether an institution has a “substantial religious character” to claim a religious exemption from the NLRB’s jurisdiction states:

…faculty members are required to integrate the institution’s religious tenets into coursework, serve as religious advisors to students, propagate those tenets, engage in religious training, or conform to the tenets in a manner specifically linked to their job duties.

Any 1 of the above 4 requirements is sufficient to exempt a Catholic institution of higher education from the NLRB’s jurisdiction. But, in several cases during recent years, the NLRB has found no substantial evidence to suggest this is the case.

For example, in its supplemental decision in the Seattle University case, the NLRB found:

There is no evidence in the record that faculty members are required to serve as religious advisors to students, propagate the tenets of the Society of Jesus, engage in religious training, or conform to the tenets of Catholicism in the course of their job duties. In short, a reasonable candidate for a contingent faculty position at Seattle University would not conclude that performance of their faculty responsibilities would require furtherance of a religious mission.

Just the other day, the Region 13 National Labor Relations Board decided that that adjuncts at Saint Xavier University (Chicago) (SXU) may count their union election votes. That effort was put on hold 4 years ago when SXU contested the NEA’s union drive, arguing that its Catholic identity put SXU beyond the NLRB’s jurisdiction.

However, when the NLRB remanded several similar adjunct union cases to its regional offices for further consideration in light of the Pacific Lutheran University decision, the new guidelines for evaluating similar cases were then used to re-evaluate the SXU case. SXU has 2 weeks to appeal is reviewing its options.

Then, just yesterday, non-tenure-track faculty at Siena College voted 102 to 32 to form a collective bargaining unit affiliated with SEIU.

In statement to the Times-Union, academic administrators said that as a Franciscan and Catholic institution, “we recognize and respect the dignity of work, the right of workers to organize and the need for all workers to make informed decisions.” The administrators are committed to “productive dialogue” with the bargaining unit.

According to Inside Higher Ed, a visiting assistant professor of history at Siena, Mara Drogan, said that she hoped the union would help set new standards for faculty pay, benefits, and working conditions across the Albany region and beyond.

While the rhetoric of being a “catholic” institution in whatever tradition may work with trustees, administrators, faculty, alumni/ae, prospective parents of students, and students, the handwriting is on the wall and is crystal clear. The NLRB doesn’t believe for a moment that the institutions in the cases that have been brought before it have demonstrated that they are sufficiently Catholic. Lawyers don’t care much for doublespeaque. For them, it’s all about “truth in advertising” or today’s buzzword “transparency.”

Cry “catholic” all they want, the NLRB isn’t buying the argument. It won’t be very long before the NEA and SEIU renew their efforts to unionize the full-time faculty teaching at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges. Why? They aren’t “sufficiently” Catholic.

Why is the NLRB calling out these institutions and the nation’s bishops aren’t?

 

 

 

To read the NLRB’s Pacific Lutheran decision, click on the following link:
http://apps.nlrb.gov/link/document.aspx/09031d4581a176cb

To read the NLRB’s supplemental decision in the Seattle University case, click on the following link:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fapps.nlrb.gov%2Flink%2Fdocument.aspx%2F09031d4581c71d91&ei=8iNwVcCeOpTioAS2sICABA&usg=AFQjCNEZFRHiZNSLU3U3Zz965sUukwE_9g&sig2=SxELSDVvS1qqarN_YHUd7w&bvm=bv.95039771,d.cGU

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/06/04/siena-college-adjuncts-vote-form-union

To read the Times Union article, click on the following link:
http://blog.timesunion.com/business/siena-adjuncts-vote-3-1-to-unionize/66778/

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

8

Evangelizing young people: The power of liturgical signs and symbols…

 

Over at Fr. Z’s blog, there’s a great photo album posted by the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius Parish (Archdiocese of Chicago). The photographs contained in the album were taken as rose petals descended from the church’s ceiling upon the congregation below.

Screenshot 2015-05-27 11.11.54

As Fr. Z explains the ritual, it developed for the Solemnity of Pentecost in the Pantheon (now a minor basilica called S. Maria ad martyres). Rose petals are dropped through the circular oculus opening at the top of the dome, which is the widest  in all of Rome.  The petals descend upon the congregation below, reminding its members of the descent of the Holy Spirit like tongues of flame.

In the picture below, study carefully the faces of the little girl and boy.

Screenshot 2015-05-27 11.14.11

Now study carefully the surprise, delight, and glee on the faces of the children in the church’s main aisle.

Screenshot 2015-05-27 11.12.43

It’s obvious this ritual has struck a sense of awe and wonder into these young people, opening their consciouness if not their souls to the mystery surrounding the birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday.

Over the past five-plus decades, how often has Rudolph Otto’s description of the “awe and wonder” (tremendum et facinans) that is experienced upon encountering the Holy been demonstrably visible on the faces and in the behavior of young congregants?

During those decades since the Second Vatican Council, have all of those guitar Masses, puppet Masses, and even those clown Masses struck young congregants with that sense of awe and wonder that’s evident in these photographs?

When it came to evangelizing young people through the Mass, the architect of the so-called “reformed” liturgy, Cardinal Annibale Bugnini, may have made the Mass more relevant by a worldly standard by appealing to the masses (pardon the pun).

bugnini

Cardinal Annibale Bugnini

But, he very well have thrown the baby away with the bathwater by a spiritual standard.

 

 

 

To read Fr. Z’s blog, click on the following link:
http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/05/of-the-dropping-of-rose-petals/

To view the photo album, click on the following link:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/canons-regular/sets/72157645271941293/

30

Cardinal Maradiaga and worshipping at the altar of environmentalism…

 

According to Vatican Insider, Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras isn’t very much happy with climate change skeptics in the U.S.A. who have expressed their reservations concerning Pope Francis’ cozy relationship with those who worship at the altar of environmentalism over at the United Nations.

Cardinal Maradiaga is especially chagrined by those “movements in the United States” he apparently observed during a recent trip to the U.S.

In the Cardinal’s view, members of those movements have had the temerity to express their concern about this cozy relationship and its potential to influence the Pope’s upcoming encyclical letter concerning the environment. Those people are “absurd,” the Cardinal opined:

The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits: these criticisms make no sense! How can they criticise a text they do not even know?

Indeed, if there is climate change, it’s all due to greedy capitalists. Cardinal Maradiaga sounds like Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara, all wrapped up into one, doesn’t he?

The Cardinal also apparently fashions himself to be a meteorologist and/or climate scientist. Last week at the Caritas International confab in Rome, Maradiaga challenged the debate swirling around the scientific basis for man-made climate change:

There is a big discussion about whether global warming is scientific or not, but speak to the taxi driver who drove me here today and he’ll tell you the temperature in Rome is not typical of spring; think of the Philippines where there were 21 typhoons this year and in California water is being rationed. This proves that the issue needs to be taken seriously. (italics added)

Proves?

Perhaps Cardinal Maradiaga should meet the founder of The Weather Channel, John Coleman, to discuss the other point of view.

In 2014, Coleman was a featured speaker at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change. Listen to Coleman’s presentation about how the global warming frenzy began:

Also, check out Coleman’s two documentaries debunking the global warming scare:

Of course, those who worship at the altar of environmentalism dismiss Coleman’s facts because their dogma posits the opposite.

Some good news (perhaps). Sandro Magister is reporting that the Pope’s encyclical has been drafted, but he has rejected that text and sent it back to be rewritten. Why? Pope Francis fears the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ludwig Müller would “demolish” it.

Let’s hope so if the first draft reflects Cardinal Maradiaga’s “proof.”

 

 

 

To read the Vatican Insider article, click on the following link:
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/caritas-gutierrez-41032/

To read Sandro Magister’s article, click on the following link:
http://magister.blogautore.espresso.repubblica.it/2015/05/11/e-questo-sarebbe-il-teologo-di-fiducia-del-papa/

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

15

Who should be offended?

 

Imagine the leaders of a Catholic high school having the audacity to bring in a speaker to inform the student body about the nature of the horrific violence being perpetrated against people in the Middle East, in general, and Christians and Assyrian Catholics, in particular.

Yet, according to some of parents, that’s what happened a couple of weeks back at Junipero Serra Catholic High School (JSCHS), a Catholic college prep school located in San Mateo, California.

As a Catholic school, JSCHS leadership believed it important to inform the student body about these atrocities against humanity, in general, and fellow Catholics, in particular. So, they invited Mrs. Juliana Taimoorazy to address students concerning the nature of the horrific violence being perpetrated against people in the Middle East.

Mrs. Taimoorazy’s narrative was particularly compelling because, being Assyrian, she is a member of one of the longest-living ethnic groups on Earth. For ISIS radicals, Assyrian Catholics are overt targets. Mrs. Taimoorazy related, among other things, that the Muslims will hold parents captive and then proceed to cook and eat their children in front of them. Taimoorazy has lost a couple of her own children as well as her grandparents to the Muslims. Some students found Mrs. Taimoorazy’s presentation compelling and motivating, having the effect of putting the fear of God in them.

Evidently, that description of “Muslims” didn’t set well with some parents of JSCHS students who are of Middle-Eastern descent and/or are Muslim. Hearing reports about the speaker’s narrative, some of those parents were outraged, claiming the speaker’s narrative negatively portrayed Muslims, in general, and negatively affected their families, in particular.

Events conspired to devolve to the point that JSCHS’s “Head of Faith Formation,” Patrick Reidy, felt impelled to reiterate to the JSCHS student body the following Monday

….that JSerra Catholic High School’s intention for Friday’s presentation was to raise awareness about the gruesome massacres occurring in the Middle East. In no way did the school intend to be political. Rather, we hoped that the JSerra community would become more acutely aware of the extremism that is brutalizing all of our brothers and sisters in the human family so that we can pray for them and assist them in creative and generous ways.

Reidy then sent an email to the parents of JSCHS students in which Reidy expressed his “heartfelt sorrow for the way recent events may have immediately affected your own family” noting that this “is deeply distressing for all of us here.” Reidy proceeded to blame Mrs. Taimoorazy for the brouhaha. He wrote:

Our speaker focused on the attacks against Christians and was not inclusive of the other peoples that have been terrorized by radical groups such as ISIS. Furthermore, she did not always distinguish clearly between radical Islamic groups and ordinary Muslims. This is a necessary distinction to make. (italics added)

Step back for a moment. Imagine Catholic parents of students enrolled in a Muslim school complaining that they’re offended that a Muslim speaker detailed the atrocities perpetrated upon Muslims by the Crusaders. Should those parents of Catholic students expect that the leadership of that Muslim school would apologize for not being “inclusive” enough of them and not carefully distinguishing between Crusaders and ordinary Catholics?

To ensure that Mrs. Taimoorazy’s message will be revised appropriately for JSCHS students, Reidy noted:

We have been following up in our Religion and History classes to make sure that our students know that there is a distinction. We also want to help them process the emotional content of these outrages, the irrationality of which can seem impossible to imagine.

Yes, indeed. JSCHS students need to “process” the “emotional content of these outrages.” But, apparently not from the perspective of what Christians and Catholics are being compelled to endure, but from what some JSCHS students interpreted Mrs. Tiamoorazy’s message to imply about them and their families as well as what some JSCHS students felt compelled to do to some of their fellow students.

To punctuate his message of contrition, Reidy closed his email, stating:

I hope that you know that JSerra welcomes all families of all religious beliefs and does not equate Islam with ISIS. Nor do we or will we at any time tolerate taunting, harassing, belittling or bullying of anyone based on their ethnicity or religious beliefs.  As followers of Jesus Christ we find any such behavior inconsistent with the dignity of the human person and morally unacceptable.

What does “taunting, harassing, belittling or bullying” have to do with Mrs. Taimoorazy’s presentation in a Catholic school about what Christians and Catholics are enduring at the hands of Muslims (or, must it be said because people don’t already understand the distinction, radical Muslims)? If some JSCHS students left her presentation believing she was encouaging them to engage in thuggery, then those students should be dealt with as thugs should and ought to be dealt with.

But, to blame Mrs. Taimoorazy for their conduct and to apologize to the point of telling the JSCHS student body that she had been one-sided in her presentation?

That seems to be inclusion run awry.

What will be next? Apologizing to those who claim that Junipero Serra was a prejudiced, bigoted anti-Native American who thought they needed to be imprisoned and brainwashed if they were to be civilized?

 

 

 

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

9

Presenting some eminent alumni/ae of the nation’s catholic colleges and universities…

 

Over at Catholic Education Daily, Kimberly Scharfenberger has done a yeowoman’s job in culling together some data concerning the nation’s Catholic colleges and law schools:

  • They boast 65 alumni who are members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • That’s 15% of the House’s membership, twice the number of Catholic 4-year institutions of higher education in the United States.

Is that political clout something about which the Church should be proud?

Scharfenberger reports that 50%+ of these Catholic college alumni/ae—38 to be precise—have votes on abortion that “should mortify their alma maters.”

Pro-abortion organizations such as the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and Planned Parenthood have rated most of those 38 alumni/ae at 100%. In contrast, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) has rated many of them at 0% when the vote comes to significant life-related issues.

Here’s the roll call of those 38 members of the U.S. House of Representatives who were educated at Catholic institutions and have consistently voted in favor of abortion rights:

  • Brad Ashford (NE)
  • Brendan Boyle (PA)
  • Mike Capuano (MA)
  • David Cicilline(RI)
  • Gerry Connolly (VA)
  • John Delaney (MD)
  • Rosa DeLauro (CN)
  • Mark DeSaulnier (CA)
  • Deborah Dingell (MI)
  • Sam Farr (CA)
  • Lois Frankel (FL)
  • Steny Hoyer (MD)
  • Jared Huffman (CA)
  • Hakeem Jeffries (NY)
  • Eddie Bernice Johnson(TX)
  • Bill Keating (MA)
  • Ann McLane Kuster (NH)
  • Ted Lieu (CA)
  • Zoe Lofgren (CA)
  • Stephen Lynch (MA)
  • Sean Patrick Maloney(NY)
  • Betty McCollum (MN)
  • Gwen Moore (WI)
  • Jerrold Nadler (NY)
  • Rick Nolan (MN)
  • Bill Pascrell (NJ)
  • Nancy Pelosi(CA)
  • Mike Quigley (IL)
  • Charles Rangel (NY)
  • Kathleen Rice (NY)
  • Bobby Scott(VA)
  • Albio Sires (NJ)
  • Adam Smith(WA)
  • Chris Van Hollen (MD)
  • Juan Vargas(CA)
  • Filemon Vela, Jr.(TX)
  • Pete Visclosky(IN)
  • Peter Welch(VT)

Another interesting factoid: Of those 38, 27 attended Jesuit institutions. 11 of them—25%—attended Georgetown University.

Something about which the Church should be proud? No.

About which the Church should boast? No.

Something those institutions should honor? No.

But, why did those obviously bright women and men choose to attend Catholic institutions in the first place? It mustn’t have been to learn to think about important matters—like the law and significant life issues—as Catholics do, to paraphrase Blessed John Henry Newman in his Idea of the University and St. John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Or, for that matter, natural law.

No, it must’ve been the institution’s reputation, the prestige associated with the degree awarded, and other such worldly honors and accolades.

“By their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:16).

 

 

 

To read Kimberly Scharfenberger’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/
DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/4125/Most-Catholic-College-Alumni-
in-House-of-Representatives-Vote-for-Abortion.aspx

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

 

8

Perhaps Catholic schools no longer provide an answer…

 

Over at The Wanderer, James J. Kirkpatrick has written a defense of San Francisco’s Archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, for injecting a so-called “morality clause” into the contract of archdiocesan teachers. Archbishop Cordileone has come under heavy fire from activists—including some self-identified “prominent” Catholics—who claim the clause would “create a repressive environment in which not only dissent, but any critical thought, robust exchange of ideas and genuine dialogue are discouraged and punishable by loss of livelihood.”

All Archbishop Cordileone apparently has required is that employees of San Francisco’s archdiocesan schools “conform their hearts, minds and consciences, as well as their public and private behavior, ever more closely to the truths taught by the Catholic Church.” These moral issues include “adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations” as well as “the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Presumably, Kirkpatrick accurately assesses that

…this is not the understanding of the role of teachers of secular subjects in Catholic schools held by those protesting Archbishop Cordileone’s morality clause in San Francisco; they do not see the teachers of secular subjects as “ministers” of the Catholic faith.

cordileone

 

 

Yes, the ideal is that “practical” Catholics (defined by Kirkpatrick as “loyal to…Church teaching”) should be teaching every course in the curriculum. It is also quite likely that those who protest the Archbishop’s mandate don’t hold that view.

The issue isn’t just who is teaching those courses, as the ideal is that every employee appreciates one’s ministerial role simply because the school is a Catholic school.

Why? Contrary to Mr. Kirkpatrick’s assessment, the subject taught in Catholic schools is not the various academic disciplines comprising the curriculum. No, the subject taught is each and every student enrolled in the school.

Those who work in Catholic schools are charged with forming what the Church calls an “integral person,” that is, a person whose mind, body, and soul are imbued with the truth as revealed by the Gospel as well as the truths unveiled by human arts and sciences.

In this sense, administrators, teachers, and staff members of a Catholic school aren’t just “professionals” but also are a community of adult “ministers” who collaborate in forming integral persons and, at a minimum, each according to one’s contractual responsibilities. If “practical” Catholics aren’t available, there are many “practical” non-Catholics and non-Christians who might very much desire to minister in this way to the students enrolled in Catholic schools. Certainly this is not the ideal, but preferable to a community of adults who are, at best, “Catholic In Name Only.”

But, Kirkpatrick veers away from the facts when he asks whether this ideal is a realistic possibility or even necessary, in every instance. Yes, as he notes,

It doesn’t make sense for a Catholic school to hire teachers of subjects such as those who are going to devote their classes to promulgating a worldview indistinguishable from what is taught at a “progressive” academy in Greenwich Village or Berkeley.

He then adds:

That is not the reason why Catholic parents send their children to Catholic schools.

Really? For decades, research findings have been rather consistent: Parents send their children to Catholic schools for a number of reasons. In general order of preference, these include: a strong academic reputation; a climate characterized by order and discipline; teachers who care; and, a sense of community that emphasizes generic, pan-Protestant values. Teaching and practicing the Catholic faith appears very low in the list of reasons (anywhere from 10th to 15th).

Reminiscing a bit about his five brothers and sisters, all of whom graduated from their parish elementary school in the late 1950s and 60s, Kirkpatrick notes:

…we could chose [sic] from literally dozens of Catholic high schools in New York City, run by many different orders of priests and religious brothers and sisters: Jesuits, Marists, Christian Brothers, Dominican Sisters, and the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, for starters. It was pretty much the same during the years I taught at a Catholic high school in the Bronx in the mid-1960s.

Once again, Kirkpatrick is accurate in that many people do “call those years the ‘golden age’ of Catholic education in the United States.” And perhaps they were. He is also accurate when assessing that

…there were very few laymen who taught with me who considered themselves “ministers” of the faith. In fact, not all practiced their faith. Not all were Catholics. More than a few dissented from the Church’s teachings on contraception, divorce and remarriage, and abortion.

But, Kirkpatrick may not be as accurate as he believes in his assessment that

 All of them…would have accepted—some more compliantly than others—a requirement that they not use their classes to proselytize anti-Catholic views; all would accept the proposition that they serve as models of good behavior and solid citizenship in their role as teachers. All would agree that they had a responsibility to teach academically sound courses. (italics added)

Today, the sad fact is that many graduates of those Catholic schools Kirkpatrick laments having passed from the scene are not “practical” Catholics but hold dubious moral positions that align better with those of liberal Protestantism. Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin are but two examples of “prominent Catholics” who had nearly the same educational experience about which Mr. Kirkpatrick reminisces…all the way through Catholic college and graduate school.

In fact, the research once again is pretty clear that, beginning in the mid- to late- 1960s—as the transition to lay faculty started—those who have taught in Catholic schools have been eerily similar to the public at large in terms of their attitudes about Catholic moral teaching, in general, and the very matters Archbishop Cordileone has contractually mandated, in particular.

Apparently, those teachers weren’t quite as willing to comply with keeping their moral opinions to themselves. One outcome of this transition has evidenced scores on standardized tests of basic knowledge of the Catholic faith and its practices have for the most part demonstrated no significant difference between graduates of Catholic elementary and high schools and those who attended parish religious education programs.

Embarrassing but true.

In retrospect, that “Golden Age” about which Kirkpatrick reminisces may not have been so golden, after all. It may have been in some respects, but not quite as golden as Kirkpatrick implies.

Yes, it would be a tremendous boon to the Church if, as Kirkpatrick notes,

…the religion courses were sound, and the social studies and literature courses were supportive of Catholic values, and the Mass and the rosary were regular parts of the students’ lives, the school was solidly Catholic, worth every dollar in tuition payments.

In most locales. there simply aren’t a sufficient number of those “practical Catholic” parents whom Kirkpatrick identifies as “looking for a solidly Catholic environment for their children” for parishes to operate the kind of Catholic school he envisions.

Perhaps the more challenging and difficult truth that must be considered in light of the signs of the times is that, in face of the fact that many so-called “Catholic” schools are “Catholic in Name Only,” perhaps the Church should stop sponsoring educational institutions. After all, finding qualified personnel has been a perennial problem for Catholic schools. Paying a just wage to those who are qualified and willing to teach in Catholic schools has also been a perennial problem for Catholic schools. Building and funding those schools has been yet another perennial problem for Catholic schools.

The Church has an interest in the moral education of baptized children, not necessarily in building Catholic schools to do that. Parents possess a prior right to educate their children as they see fit and when it come to the moral education of Catholic children, the Church must figure out how best to support parents in what is their prior right.

Confronting a new age having different challenges may require discerning more effective ways to catechize children and young adults so that one day, they will be the kind of “practical” adult Catholics that all of us would hope they would be. After all, they’re going to be the Church’s future if it’s to be a Catholic Church.

 

 

 

To read James J. Kirkpatrick’s article in the Wanderer, click on the following link:
http://thewandererpress.com/frontpage/catholic-school-teachers-as-ministers-all-catholic-school-teachers/

To read about the reaction to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s mandate, click on the following link:
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/04/15/open-letter-pope-francis-oust-san-francisco-archbishop-salvadore-cordileone-morality-clauses-teachers/

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

26

In this picture, who really are the “dreamers”?

 

My thesis is as simple as it is straightforward: The Roman Catholic Church should accept no federal dollars.

My response to the naysayers is equally simple and straightforward, per Amanda Hocking in My Blood Approves: “When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change. The devil changes you.”

Consider the nation’s largest resettlement agency, the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS).

MRS estimates that between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014, ~90k young illegal immigrants crossed the border. To deal with the human needs associated with this influx, MRS had a budget of ~$71M (~$789/illegal immigrant).

However, 93% of that ~$71M—$66M–flowed into MRS from the federal government’s spigot. MRS argued that they needed this infusion of federal $$$s to assist the federal government to provide care for unaccompanied, young illegal immigrants.

Supporters of MRS ask: “Who could possibly disagree, except for heartless, anti-immigrant, xenophobes?” Then, too: “The federal government is pouring that money into a charitable, religious organization to provide much-needed services that the feds couldn’t possibly provide. You don’t want to expand the size and scope of government, do you?”

Sounds similar to subsidizing faith-based organizations, a central policy objective of the George W. Bush administration.

There’s one, very big problem, however. MRS must provide those services in ways that are consistent with Church teaching.

So, what’s going to happen when unaccompanied, young, illegal immigrant, females get pregnant? Those federal $$$s require that those females receive “reproductive care,” including contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion.

The USCCB rightly argues that such a requirement violates freedom of religion since contraception, emergency contraception, and abortion are against the Church teaching.

However, that argument may matter not one whit.

Why? The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) has filed a suit in a federal court “to order the federal government to release documents related to how groups that are awarded government funding contracts are restricting refugee and undocumented immigrant teenagers’ access to reproductive health services, including contraception and abortion.”

A senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, Brigitte Amiri, told Breitbart News, “Religious freedom does not include the right to take a government contract that requires providing access to health care, and then refuse to provide a teen who has been raped the health care she needs.”

So, it’s “deja vu all over again”:

  • Remember when President Obama double crossed the USCCB after securing its blessing to get Obamacare passed? POTUS promised a religious exemption.
  • Remember when, in July 2014, President Obama issued an executive order banning “all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees.” The USCCB called it “unprecedented and extreme.”
  • And just today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found “reasonable cause” to rule that a Catholic prep school has unlawfully discriminated against a homosexual band director formerly in the school’s employ.

Get the picture? In baseball, the rule is “three strikes and y’er outta here!”

But, this isn’t baseball. It’s hardball politics, not ecclesiastical politics.

If MRS didn’t take the ~$66M in federal money, its budget would have been ~$5M. MRS would have been free to provide illegal immigrants programs and services in alignment with Church teaching. And, the federal government could use that money to deal with the rest.

But, the USCCB’s desire to expand programming and provide services to more and more illegal immigrants has required taking to the dance floor with the Devil. To keep those federal $$$s flowing into the MRS’ coffers, the USCCB claims that if MRS didn’t provide those services, then chaos would break out.

And that’s the USCCB’s problem?

 

 

To read the Breitbart News article, click on the following link:
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/04/10/aclu-demands-catholic-bishops-provide-abortions-for-illegal-minors/

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

 

 

23

The rise of the neo-Lutherans: Will there be a schism?

 

Watching last fall’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family from the sidelines, what was surprising was the level of rancor (and perhaps even acrimony) manifesting itself in the debate concerning, among other matters, the Church’s prohibition of divorced/remarried Catholics receiving Holy Communion.

Media reports characterized the division this way:

  • The intelligent, sensitive, and pastoral “pro-Pope Francis” mercy faction (the theological liberals) were doing battle with the unintelligent, insensitive, and unpastoral “anti-Pope Francis” truth faction (the theological conservatives).
  • The leader of the former faction, Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany, provided the theoretical “Call to Arms” identifying his faction’s much-desired, if not much-anticipated changes to Church teaching. If Cardinal Kasper’s faction prevails, there will be changes to Church teaching. Read: A very good outcome!
  • The leader of the latter faction, Cardinal Raymond Burke, published a chapter in the book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ, reiterating the significance of longstanding Church teaching for the world today. If Cardinal Burke’s faction prevails, there will be no change in Church teaching. Read: A very bad outcome!

luther

That oversimplistic, pro-Kasper bifurcation of what transpired at the Extraordinary Synod distracts attention from what may really be in the offing, namely, the rise of neo-Lutherans who may cause a schism in the Church. Armed with very clever exegetical and political skills, this faction has already artfully devised a way to contort Jesus’ unambiguous teaching against both divorce and remarriage—read Remaining in the Truth of Christ to learn how—into a teaching that would allow for both divorce and remarriage. And the media is delighted.

Using divorced and remarried Catholics—who cannot receive Holy Communion—as public relations props in a strategy to stiffen opposition to Church teaching, the neo-Lutherans are, in reality, forcing Pope Francis to choose up sides in a theological battle. The outcome of that battle could end in schism:

  • If the Pope sides with the neo-Lutherans, his important words about mercy will be translated into Church teaching, all will be well with the world, and the orthodox faction will have taken quite a drubbing. At least, that’s what the Kapserites would have everyone believe.
  • If the Pope sides with the orthodox Burkites, well…er…ummm…there will be Hell to pay, as the Pope’s words about mercy will end up not being quite as generous as people have been led to believe and they will turn against Rome and the orthodox faction, emptying the pews even more. Again, at least, that’s what the neo-Lutherans would have everyone believe.

Apparently, the neo-Lutherans are as serious and as stubborn as was the Augustinian friar, Martin Luther, when in 1517 he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church. To wit: Consider the words of the President of the German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Quoted in Die Tagespost (the original article having since been expunged from the website) stating:

We are not just a subsidiary of Rome. Each episcopal conference is responsible for the pastoral care in their culture and has to proclaim the Gospel in its own unique way. We cannot wait until a synod states something, as we have to carry out marriage and family ministry here.

Positioning himself squarely on the side of the mercy faction led by Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Marx subsequently backtracked a bit, according to Vaticanista Andrea Gagliarducci.

Even so, the neo-Lutherans are on the march.

But, before concluding an investigation, the general rule is “Follow the money.”

Follow the money: It’s a well-known fact that church attendance in Germany (as in most Western, industrialized nations) is plummeting. What that means for the German bishops, in particular, is that income to their dioceses from the government—derived from a census of those who actually attend Mass—is way, way down.

What better way, then, to increase attendance at Mass in Germany? Extend mercy to the disaffected or alienated Catholics by changing Church teaching concerning divorce and remarriage. Then, all of those other disaffected and alienated Catholics can also be brought back to Mass by changing other Church teachings. However, that will take a bit of time. Right now, what’s imperative is to get one foot into the Porta Sancta at St. Peter’s Basilica, beginning with divorced and remarried Catholics.

porta sancta
The rationale? It’s not selling indulgences and would provide a great opening move in the larger strategy of reforming the Church…once again…via Deutschland.

All or none of that may have entered into Cardinal Kasper’s thought process or the German bishops’ discussions over which Cardinal Marx has presided.

Who’s to know? Only those who are privvy to such knowledge.

Even so, if one is to understand better what the neo-Lutherans may be up to, the facts cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Follow the money: Those coffers need to be replenished if the bishops are to be good stewards of the critical infrastructure and all the other blings in their possession. As has recently been exposed:

  • The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, led by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has spent $150M on a new diocesan service center.
  • Cardinal Marx’s residence was renovated at a cost of $9M, paid for by the state of Bavaria. That’s not quite the 31m euros Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg spent to renovate his official residence, but $9M can go a long way to make a humble hermitage feel a bit more comfortable.

Follow the moneyIn his National Catholic Register article, Edward Pentin carefully lays out the critics’ argument that the German Bishops’ Conference has become more of a temporal than spiritual power.

Yes, follow the money.

Isn’t that what Martin Luther did when he initiated a schism that eventuated a Reformation?

 

 

 

To read about Cardinal Marx’s statement (as the original Die Tagespost article is no longer available online), click on the following link:
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/german-bishops-we-are-not-just-a-subsidiary-of-rome/

To read Andrea Gagliarducci’s assessment, click on the following link:
http://www.mondayvatican.com/vatican/pope-francis-will-his-revolution-be-effective

To read Edward Pentin’s articles, click on the following links:
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/germanys-bling-bishop-gets-new-post-in-rome/
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/german-bishops-conferences-dance-with-the-material-world/

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

9

Christian evangelicals: Those knuckle-dragging, anti-science Neaderthals not…

 

Contrary to the popular caricature that many politicians the mainstream media tout about evangelical Christians—likening them to knuckle-dragging, anti-science Neanderthals—a recent study, “Religious Understandings of Science,” found that ~70% of evangelical Christians believe that religion and science are not in conflict with one another. That is, they believe faith and reason are complementary.

pathways

The study, conducted by Rice University Professor of Sociology, Elaine Howard Ecklund, focused upon Christian evangelicals because they constitute approximately 26% of the nation’s population and frequently are depicted as the most hostile body of Christians toward science. About this focus, Ecklund stated:

We really wanted to determine if this claimwas based in any truth. Although many politicians and the media at large portray evangelicals as distrustful of science, we found that this is more myth than reality.

The professor’s findings:

  • 38% of Americans view religion and science as complementary; 35% of Americans view science and religion as entirely independent.
  • 48% of Christian evangelicals view science and religion as complementary; only 21% view them as entirely independent of one another.
  • 15% of Americans and 14% of Christian evangelicals agree that modern science does more harm than good.
  • 76% of scientists in the general U.S. population identify with a religious tradition.
  • Jews (42%), Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus (52% as a group) and the nonreligious (47%) are more interested in new scientific discoveries than evangelicals (22%).

Creationism vs. Evolution

These findings are noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First: More Christian evangelicals than the population at large believe religion and science are complementary.

Second: The data indicate that fewer Christian evangelicals than the population at large believe religion and science are entirely independent of each other.

Third: It is astounding to learn that 76% of the nation’s scientists identify with a religious tradition and only 24% don’t. If one was to believe media interviews and investigative reports covering matters associated with science, one would mistakenly conclude exactly the opposite was the case.

In sum: The data indicate that the popular caricature touted by politicians and the mainstream media has it backwards. It’s the nation’s population at large that those politicians and the mainstream media should be lampooning, not Christian evangelicals.

But, of course, they can’t do that. Look what happened to Jonathan Gruber. And he was telling the truth!

Or is it that the mainstream media won’t do that? Why so? It’s impossible to assign a motive, but one can surely speculate that doing so furthers a much-cherished agenda: To drive from the public sphere all religious talk and especially the critique faith has to offer as a remedy from a science that is practiced devoid of religion.

Thank goodness, it appears 75% of scientists won’t or don’t do that…despite what the politicians and mainstream media would have people think to the contray.

 

 

 

To read Professor Ecklund’s study, click on the following link:
www.elainehowardecklund.com/research/

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

 

9

A decades’ long struggle: Catholic identity and the University of Notre Dame…

 

One of the first, unspoken rules of assuming the presidency of an institution of higher education is “Remake the board in your image.”

That rule contains a lot of wisdom. The president may have only had a slim majority to be elected. And, as the stormy petrels will surely be stirring up all sorts of challenges to one’s leadership from all sides, to garner a significant base of support and win re-election, the challenge confronting any first-term president is to ensure that trustworthy and erstwhile allies are appointed to seats on the board. That requires working very closely with the board’s membership committee and selecting candidates who share the president’s vision of what it means to be a university and here, a Catholic university.

In that regard, the President of the University of Notre Dame (UND), the Reverend John Jenkins, CSC, has done extremely well. Recently re-electing him to UND’s presidency, UND’s Board praised Fr. Jenkins’ “unfailing commitment to the University’s Catholic character.”

Juxtapose that effusive praise to a recently-published opinion piece concerning the morality of UND’s conduct under Fr. Jenkins’ leadership in extending spousal benefits to those recognized as married by civil law (e.g., health insurance and student housing to same-sex employees and students).

The authors of that opinion piece—Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law; John Finnis, Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy Emeritus in the University of Oxford and Professor of Law at UND; and, Daniel Philpott, Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies and Director of UND’s Center for Civil and Human Rights—concluded that the extension of those benefits by an institution like UND is “morally indefensible” and will have “far-reaching and very damaging” consequences.

How so? Citing the Catholic moral principle concerning cooperation with evil, they state:

Where homosexual unions have been legally recognized, one must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation.

Furthermore:

The benefits extension undeniably has the direct effect of encouraging same-sex couples to make or persist in an immoral commitment. It constitutes an endorsement of this commitment, promotes it with direct benefits, and cooperates in it in a way that, on widely used theological conceptions, constitutes formal cooperation with wrongdoing.

Since UND is not compelled by law to implement this policy, the authors observe that doing so constitutes “a morally corrupting scandal, needlessly given,” to persons tempted to enter into, or already in, a same-sex “marriage,” as well as to all others, who “can readily infer that the university actually does not regard any kind of sex acts between adults as grave matter.”

Their conclusion? UND’s policy “imperils the souls and the earthly fulfillment of those whom it has undertaken to support in a Christian life.”

In light of this policy, UND’s Board of Trustees’ ringing endorsement of Fr. Jenkins’ leadership provides an object lesson in what is mortally wrong with much of U.S. Catholic higher education today. Many, if not most of those who hold in “sacred trust” the institutional mission—the members of the board of trustees—apparently are not adequately prepared for the trust which they hold, as this evidences itself in the continuous, creeping secularization of the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education since the 1960s and 1970s when most of those institutions were turned over to lay boards.

It was the presidents of those institutions who successfully built their boards of trustees in their image and likeness. This is how U.S. Catholic higher education came to the precarious state in which it finds itself today where its universities and colleges implement policies that might be acceptable in secular institutions, but not Catholic institutions.

All of this was quite conscious and deliberate, as those presidents sought to have their institutions emulate their secular peers while retaining a patina of Catholic to please the folks and donors that they’re still Catholic institutions of higher education.

And so it is today at UND. As the authors of that opinion piece note:

[Implementing this policy] violates the institution’s duty of love for same-sex couples, who will inevitably be confirmed and encouraged to continue in their wrongful commitment; it also violates the University’s duty of love for everyone in the campus community, many of whom will be misled about the meaning of marriage and the truth about sexual morality, as well as about how a Christian community rightly responds in love to persons living out a public commitment to an immoral relationship.

If that’s not enough, by “build[ing] into the bricks a norm that leads members of the community directly away from a life lived in friendship with Christ,” UND creates a “structure of sin” that “will be difficult to contain.” How so? It will be increasingly difficult to bar from academic administration those who live openly in immoral relationships.

Does this not present a proximate threat not only to the institution’s Catholic identity but also to the freedom in a Catholic university or college to uphold Catholic teaching?

Nearly two decades ago, a UND professor of history, George M. Marsden, narrated the same story as it pertained to Protestant higher education in the United States. Marsden wrote:

In the context of all these forces, we can understand the residual formal role left for religion in universities. Clearly, despite the presence of many religion departments and a few university divinity schools, religion has moved from near the center a century or so ago to far on the incidental periphery. Aside from voluntary student religious groups, religion in most universities is about as important as the baseball team. Not only has religion become peripheral, there is a definite bias against any perceptible religiously informed perspectives getting a hearing in university classrooms. Despite the claims of contemporary universities to stand above all for openness, tolerance, academic freedom, and equal rights, viewpoints based on discernibly religious concepts (for instance, that there is a created moral order or that divine truths might be revealed in a sacred Scripture), are often informally or explicitly excluded from classrooms.

 

 

 

To read the UND’s Board of Trustees’ letter, click on the following link:
http://news.nd.edu/news/55564-notre-dame-trustees-elect-father-jenkins-to-third-term/

To read the opinion piece concerning UND’s policy, click on the following link:
http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14522/

To read Marsden’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.firstthings.com/article/1991/01/005-the-soul-of-the-american-university

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

 

7

The University of Scranton: Reclaiming its Catholic and Jesuit heritage…

 

The University of Scranton’s President, the Reverend Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., has announced plans to terminate the institution’s health insurance coverage of all abortions.

Since the 1990s, the University’s healthcare policy allowed for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother was endangered by a pregnancy. This policy was implemented so as to comply with the limits of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania law for traditional insurance plans.

However, that was then and this is now.

letter-header

In his letter to the campus, Fr. Quinn  stated that the coverage of any abortion is inconsistent with the University’s Roman Catholic faith:

…the moral teaching of the Church on abortion is unequivocal. Circumstances, “however serious or tragic, can never justify the deliberate killing of an innocent human being,” and “[n]o one more absolutely innocent could be imagined” than the unborn child. (Evangelium Vitae, no. 58)

Why the dramatic change in policy?

The University of Scranton is now self-insured, meaning  that “we can, and therefore must, offer insurance plans that are free of all abortion coverage,” according to Fr. Quinn.

Aware of the problems this change in healthcare policy will likely provoke–in particular, with the faculty union because the University’s contract with the union will need to be adjusted–Fr. Quinn wrote an eloquent, proactive defense:

…fidelity to our mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution is the abiding theme of our history, regardless of the times and trials.

Remaining faithful to our identity as a Catholic institution calls us to serve the world in unique and inspiring ways. It has also, over the years, led the University to adapt its institutional practices to ensure harmony with the moral teachings of the Catholic Church….

Would that all of the presidents of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges experienced a similar conversion or, at least, learned that it is possible to overcome their timidity, defend Church teaching at their institutions, and tred where angels fear!

Fr. Quinn’s defense of Church teaching raises substantive questions:

  1. Should not what is unique about a Catholic institution of higher education–its “value added”–be its role in integrating faith and reason, first, by propagating the Catholic faith and its values and, second, building upon that foundation? After all, shouldn’t one know what one is critiquing before critiquing it?
  2. Why ever would anyone pay tuition to attend a Catholic university or college in order to be strategically de-Catholicized? Aren’t there already enough officially secular-humanist institutions of public higher education available in the United States?

Kudos to Fr. Quinn and the University of Scranton! May his leadership inspire his colleagues in U.S. Catholic higher education to tred where they’d rather not…by becoming self-insured and, then, ending all abortion coverage as part of their healthcare policies.

 

 

To read Fr. Quinn’s letter, click on the following link:
http://www.scranton.edu/about/presidents-office/emails/letters/2015/our-mission-healthcare.html

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

14

Catholic culture wars: The soap opera at Marquette University continues…

 

The suspended Marquette University political science professor who asserted “Marquette…has again shown itself to be timid, overly bureaucratic and lacking any commitment to either its Catholic mission or free expression,” has received a 16-page letter from the Dean of Marquette’s Klinger School of Arts and Sciences, Richard Holz.

In his letter, Dean Holz notes that “Marquette University is commencing the process to revoke your tenure and to dismiss you from the faculty.” Why? Holz continues:

…your conduct clearly and substantially fails to meet the standards of personal and professional excellence that generally characterizes University faculties. As a result, your value to this academic institution is substantially impaired.

The brouhaha began last fall when the professor, John McAdams, posted an article in his blog, the “Marquette Warrior,” voicing his concern about the way the concept of social justice is communicated and typically understood at Marquette. McAdams noted how opposition to hot-button issues—like abortion and same-sex marriage—is not a part of the University’s version of social justice. “On the contrary, any opposition to gay marriage is called ‘homophobia,’” McAdams wrote.

Holz’s letter details the results of an investigation into the events leading McAdams to post that article and what transpired in the aftermath of his posting that article. Holz contends that McAdams’ conduct was not only unprofessional but that he also misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student that McAdams described in his article. Worse yet, McAdams published the graduate instructor’s name.

In a new post, McAdams responds to each charge, claiming that he is being punished for his free speech. McAdams also maintains that the problem isn’t him—he is simply defending an undergraduate’s views against gay marriage that are consistent with Roman Catholic teachings—but with those who are tolerant only of what is not Roman Catholic teaching. McAdams closes by noting:

Campus bureaucrats hate controversy, since it makes trouble for them. Thus the most “valuable” faculty members are the ones who avoid controversy, and especially avoid criticizing administrators.

In real universities, administrators understand (or more likely grudgingly accept) that faculty will say controversial things, will criticize them and each other, and that people will complain about it. They understand that putting up with the complaints is part of the job, and assuaging those who complain the loudest is not the best policy.

That sort of university is becoming rarer and rarer. Based on Holz’ actions, Marquette is certainly not such a place.

With what McAdams calls “excellent legal counsel,” he vows to fight Holz. McAdams states that he “most certainly will not go quietly.”

 

 

 

To read Professor McAdams’ post announcing his suspension, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/12/reprisal-marquette-warrior-under.html

To read Dean Holz’s letter to Professor McAdams, click on the following link:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4jS38HQ3f8dSDhNX1FQRnlpcTQ/edit?pli=1

To read  Professor McAdams’ original post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.in/2014/11/marquette-philosophy-instructor-gay.html

To read Professor McAdams’ latest post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2015/02/marquette-to-warrior-blogger-were-going.html

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

7

The University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN) says, “Stick it in your ear!”

 

The folks over at The College Fix have done their homework, exposing how administrators at the University of St. Thomas (UST)—a “private Catholic liberal arts school” located in St. Paul, MN—are standing by their decision to let students to gain academic credit by serving as interns at a Minnesota-based National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter, even though the organization advocates for abortion on demand, LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage, and its brand of so-called “racial justice.” UST’s Women’s Studies Department is sponsoring the internship opportunity.

This decision comes after the folks over at TFP Student Action also did their homework, organizing a successful petition drive garnering 10k+ signatures admonishing UST for offering internships at Planned Parenthood and Minnesota NARAL. Quickly after that email was forwarded to UST President Julie Sullivan, the listings were removed.

Now, that administrative fiat might satisfy some people.

However, what’s noteworthy about the NOW incident is not that diversity and inclusion means providing students opportunities to intern in organizations whose purpose contradicts official Church teaching. Nor is what’s noteworthy that academic administrators and professors sincerely believe that providing students those internships advances the institution’s mission as Catholic.

What’s noteworthy about this incident is that doing so provides additional evidence of a pattern of conduct on the part of academic administrators and professors at many of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges. Namely, tacitly allowing opportunities like those internships at NOW to proceed. How? Perhaps through a “wink and a nod” or, even better yet, “Don’t inform me.” The idea is that if nobody finds out, all the better. And, if a crazy conservative Catholic does find out and complain, assert plausible deniability.

To wit:

…the links were published in error on the website of our College of Arts and Sciences, and they are being corrected. Student internships in the college are approved through the Office of the Dean. The Dean has not approved, nor would he approve, academic credit for internships at Planned Parenthood or abortion organizations.

  • The Director of UST’s Women’s Studies Program, Susan Meyers, claimed she was “completely unaware of any protests and petitions regarding Planned Parenthood internships at UST.”

What’s important is that other voices also be introduced into the discussion. In this way, the narrative can be change from one that focuses upon upholding Catholic identity to one of safeguarding academic freedom. To wit:

  • UST’s Vice President for University and Government Relations, Doug Hennes, said that UST administrators view the NOW as “an advocacy group on a wide variety of women’s issues, not specifically on abortion.” Yes, including: LGBTQ rights, same-sex marriage, and racial justice.
  • Catherine Cory, Director UST’s Murray Institute—an on-campus Catholic institute for dialogue with the Archdiocese—asked: “If some of Planned Parenthood’s work is morally wrong according to Catholic moral teaching, does that make everything they do wrong?” “Planned Parenthood does more than provide abortions and contraceptives,” Cory added.
  • A St. Thomas alumna, Chloe Lawyer, thinks “it is a shame that members of the St. Thomas community are not even allowed to view these opportunities.” Lawyer just happens to have completed one of those internships at Planned Parenthood and said that limiting internship opportunities disrupts freethinking, adding, “Freethinking does not always align with Catholic values.”

Yes, indeed. When caught with your finger in the cookie jar, claim plausible deniability. Then have all of your friends explain why it’s perfectly reasonably that your finger should be in the cookie jar.

What the NOW incident exposes is what may be a more radical approach emerging, namely, “Stick it in your ear.”

When will the nation’s Catholic bishops realize where this narrative is headed and set about righting the wrong?

 

 

 

To read The College Fix article, click on the following link:
http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/21062/

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

8

Bias in the American Catholic media?

 

Thomas Joseph O’Brien.

The name may have slipped from memory, as the media has moved on to cover other “hot,” Church-related scandals as well as to cover the ecclesiastical politics associated with the upcoming Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2015.

O’Brien is the Bishop Emeritus of Phoenix, resigning in 2003, 4 days after he struck and killed a 43-year-old man in a hit-and-run car accident. In 2004, O’Brien was found guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and was sentenced to 4 years’ probation, 1k hours of community service, and required to surrender his driver’s license for 5 years.

obrien

Thomas Joseph O’Brien is the first American Catholic bishop convicted of a felony.

This was a delicious scandal for some in the American Catholic media. For example, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) jumped right on the story, here and here, providing the coverage it deserved. After all, committing vehicular manslaughter is no trivial matter.

Compare that scandal to a more recent one involving Maryland’s second-highest ranking Episcopal bishop who was charged in January 2015 with drunken driving and vehicular manslaughter after fatally striking a cyclist late in December 2015. Prosecutors charged the bishop with leaving the scene of an accident, criminal negligent manslaughter, failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury and death, using a text messaging device that resulted in an accident, and 3 drunken driving charges. If convicted of all charges, the bishop could face 20+ years in prison. The bishop’s bail was set at $2.5M. A trial is scheduled for February 6.

Sadly, this bishop also appears to have had problems with alcohol, charged by police in 2010 while yet a priest with drunken driving. Police also found wine, liquor, and marijuana in the car. In exchange for pleading guilty to the drunken driving offense, the drug charges were dropped and the priest received probation.

The most recent charges came less than 1 week after the national Episcopal Church announced it was opening an investigation into the bishop. Why? The 2010 charges weren’t shared with the clergy and lay church members who were charged with selecting the bishop from among four finalists. Then, too, another complaint was filed last week calling for national Episcopal Church leaders to open an investigation to determine whether the bishop violated church law in the hit-and-run accident.

Oh, by the way, it just so happens this bishop is female. She is Heather Cook, the suffragan bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

cook

A search of the NCR archives from 2008-2014 using the key terms “bishop” “Thomas O’Brien” and “Phoenix” revealed 1161 articles in which the bishop was identified. A search using the key terms during the same period “Heather Cook” revealed 0 (nada, zippo) articles. Nothing about her being ordained a female priest or bishop and deafening silence about her accident.

It isn’t that the NCR doesn’t cover the topic of female bishops. Another search of the NCR archives since 2008 using the keyword “female bishop” revealed 23 articles. Another search using the keyword “suffragan bishop” revealed 4 articles discussing female bishops. True, the NCR didn’t cover Bishop Cook’s ordination.

That said, these data do raise a question: Is focusing exclusively upon the errors of male bishops and overlooking those of female bishops what it means for the NCR “in all our management and publishing decisions, to evaluate carefully the needs of the faith community we serve and to respond effectively to those needs?”

 

 

 

 

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

34

Pope Francis: President Obama’s gift that keeps on giving…

 

When the Washington Times brandishes the banner headline “Obama finds an ally on political controversies at the Vatican,” it may be time to step back and assess what exactly is transpiring.

From income inequality to Cuba and soon to global warming, it seems that Pope Francis is doing some heavy lifting for President Obama, his political agenda, and his legacy. That’s not to say that’s what the Pope intends; it is to say that this may very well be the outcome of what the Pope actually doing.

Suffice it to say, the Pope’s interests are primarily evangelical. Economic structures that enrich the few but keep the many impoverished are certainly immoral. Only plutocrats would disagree. Political structures that accrue power to the few but exclude the many from the process are certainly immoral. Only oligarchs would disagree. Destroying the Earth’s biosphere is certainly immoral.  Only the most virulent “anti-greenies” would disagree.

Yet, Pope Francis appears to be completely tone deaf to the message that his actions communicate. He’s providing President Obama cover to advance an economic, political, and environmental agenda that is more ideological than rooted in economic, political, and environmental fact. Imagine what would have been said if President John F. Kennedy had said the following about St. John XXIII in December 1962, as President Obama did about Pope Francis in December 2014:

He played a very important role. The pope doesn’t wield armies. He can’t impose sanctions. But he can speak with great moral authority, and it makes a difference. And it certainly made a difference in this case.

What’s especially troubling is how the Pope’s actions embolden liberal Catholic American politicians, most of whom are Democrat, to promote the Pope’s actions while advocating their ideologically-driven economic, political, and environmental policies. Again, that isn’t the Pope’s intention; but, his actions do allow others to politicize them for their own personal and partisan ends, as if Pope Francis is goading them on.

The problem, it seems, is not with the Pope’s agenda as much as it is the way the Pope’s agenda appears to be one-sided. While he will assert very strong moral opinions about economic, political, and apparently, environmental injustices, Pope Francis seems not to be very interested in or much inclined to be equally assertive in expressing Church teaching when it comes to grave moral errors like abortion, divorce/remarriage, and homosexuality.

That the Pope is touted in the press as one of President Obama’s “greatest allies” is disconcerting at best. Income inequality, unjust political structures, and the environment are important issues that politicians must deal with and, yes, they should consult with religious figures across the globe to find moral ways to resolve those issues. Yet, this Pope appears to believe it more important to articulate his solutions to these issues forcibly which, in turn, provides diplomatic cover for politicians, than he is to express with equal vigor and clarity their abject failure to address the grave moral errors of this era.

As the Washington Times, noted:

“It’s not quite a gift from God but, politically, it may be the next best thing.”

 

 

 

To read the Washington Times article, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/dec/30/president-obama-sees-pope-francis-as-political-all/print/

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

6

The NRLB and the lost soul of U.S. Catholic higher education…

 

In the case of Pacific Lutheran University and Service Employees International Union, Local 925 (Case 19–RC–102521), the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) ruled on December 16 that contingent (“adjunct”) faculty members at private colleges and universities can unionize.

This decision certainly has the potential to impact the nation’s Catholic institutions of higher education. But, of far greater importance is how the NLRB will require those institutions to demonstrate they are Catholic, that is, if they are to be excluded from the National Labor Relations Act.

Moving forward, the NLRB fully expects an institution to fulfill its religious mission—to make it promient in the classroom—through its faculty in the classrooms, while advising, and in conducting research. The key finding is found in the decision’s second paragraph:

After careful consideration of applicable case law, as well as the positions of the parties and amici, we have decided that we will not decline to exercise jurisdiction over faculty members at a college or university that claims to be a religious institution unless the college or university first demonstrates, as a threshold matter, that it holds itself out as providing a religious educational environment. Once that threshold requirement is met, the college or university must then show that it holds out the petitioned-for faculty members as performing a religious function. This requires a showing by the college or university that it holds out those faculty as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the university’s religious educational environment. (bold, italics added)

The case concerned the right of contingent faculty to unionize at a religious university. At issue was the institution’s claim that full-time contingent faculty members are “managerial employees” based upon the Yeshiva decision (444 U.S. 672 [1980]). The NRLB rejected that claim, redefining “managerial status” and providing the thresholds bolded and italicized above. But, the NRLB went further, offering examples regarding how administrators can provide evidence that contingent faculty members meet the new thresholds.

  • Concerning how an institution “holds itself out as providing a religious educational environment,” the NRLB states:

Appropriate evidence of how the university holds itself out as providing a religious educational environment would include, but by no means be limited to, handbooks, mission statements, corporate documents, course catalogs, and documents published on a school’s website. Press releases or other public statements by university officials could also be relevant. A university’s contemporary presentation of itself is likely to be more probative than its founding documents and historical tradition. (p. 6)

The NRLB is clearly not interested in making an “intrusive inquiry into the university’s beliefs or how it implements its religious mission.” What the NRLB is interested in, however, is that the institution presents itself as providing a “religious educational environment.” That phrase, ambiguous as it is, provides the minimal threshold for an institution to be excluded from the Act.

  • Concerning how an institution “holds out the petitioned-for faculty members as performing a religious function,” the NRLB states:

The focus is on whether faculty members are held out as having such an obligation as part of their faculty responsibilities. Although we will not examine faculty members’ actual performance of their duties, we shall require that they be held out as performing a specific religious function. Generalized statements that faculty members are expected to, for example, support the goals or mission of the university are not alone sufficient. These types of representations do not communicate the message that the religious nature of the university affects faculty members’ job duties or requirements. They give no indication that faculty members are expected to incorporate religion into their teaching or research, that faculty members will have any religious requirements imposed on them, or that the religious nature of the university will have any impact at all on their employment. This is especially true when the university also asserts a commitment to diversity and academic freedom, further putting forth the message that religion has no bearing on faculty members’ job duties or responsibilities. Without a showing that faculty members are held out as performing a specific religious function, there is no basis on which to distinguish these employees from faculty members at nonreligious universities or to exclude them from coverage under the Act….

If the evidence shows that faculty members are required to serve a religious function, such as integrating the institution’s religious teachings into coursework, serving as religious advisors to students, propagating religious tenets, or engaging in religious indoctrination or religious training, we will decline jurisdiction.  (pp. 8-9) (bold, italics added)

With this second threshold, the NRLB is clearly interested that an institution demonstrate how its faculty are fulfilling a management function by actively translating the institution’s religious doctrine into the experience of students. If an institution can demonstrate that its faculty meet this threshold, that institution is excluded from coverage under the provisions of the Act because its faculty are providing the “religious educational environment” for which the institution exists.

  • Concerning how an institution “holds out those faculty as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the university’s religious educational environment,” the NRLB states:

Our minimal requirements do not, of course, preclude a party from presenting additional evidence that it believes is relevant to demonstrating that faculty members do or do not perform a religious function…. (fn. 13, p. 9)

….if the college or university holds itself out as requiring its faculty to conform to its religious doctrine or to particular religious tenets or beliefs in a manner that is specifically linked to their duties as a faculty member, we will decline jurisdiction….However, general or aspirational statements, without specificity as to how the requirement affects actual job functions, will not suffice…. (p. 9)

Our inquiry in this regard focuses on whether a reasonable prospective applicant would conclude that performance of their faculty responsibilities would require furtherance of the college or university’s religious mission. (p. 9)

Interestingly, this third threshold implicitly raises a fundamental issue: “Truth in advertising.” That is, it’s one thing for an institution to promote itself as religious (the first threshold) and that its faculty promote the institution’s religious doctrine (the second threshold). Superadded to providing evidence that the institution does all of that as defined by this new management standard, the institution must now also clearly communicate to potential applicants that they will receive a specifically religious education and they should fully expect that all faculty members will provide that religious education. That is, if the institution is to be excluded from being covered by the Act.

Considering the number of Catholic universities and colleges and associated organizations filing amicus briefs to exclude those institutions from the provisions of the Act, this decision represents what may be a major blow in their efforts to keep faculty in their institutions from unionizing. In that regard, the decision is almost certain to be appealed.

More substantively, the decision articulates with clarity what an authentic Catholic higher education in the United States involves and requires of both administrators and faculty. For five decades, administrators of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges have had it both ways. They could “talk the talk” about how their institution are “Catholic,” while at the same time, allow faculty in the classrooms, in their advising, and in their research to emulate their secular counterparts.

What’s ironic about the NRLB decision is that it took an agency of a secular government to dictate to those administrators what it means to “walk the talk” and how that requires faculty who teach students as they should be taught in a specifically Catholic institution. The NRLB may have done more to reclaim the lost soul of U.S. Catholic higher education than has any other group—including the National Conference of Catholic Bishops—in the past 50 years.

 

 

To read the NLRB’s decision, click on the following link:
http://mynlrb.nlrb.gov/link/document.aspx/09031d4581a176cb

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

23

So much for freedom of speech in U.S. Catholic higher education…

 

Back in early November, a professor of political science reported in a personal blog post about a fellow professor teaching “Theory of Ethics” who was applying a philosophical text to modern political controversies. Listing some controversies, the professor wrote down “gay rights.” The professor then said to the class, “Everybody agrees on this, and there is no need to discuss it.”

One student disagreed.

After the class had ended, the student approached the professor, stating that the issue and associated matters, like homosexual rights, so-called homosexual marriage, and homosexual adoption, merit discussion. According to the blog post, the student went further, stating that if the professor dismissed the issue and its associated matters based solely upon personal views, that would set “a terrible precedent for the class.”

The professor was skeptical, offering counter arguments. Lastly, the professor asked the student for research demonstrating the student’s assertions.

But, like most political controversies, the discussion didn’t end there, as the professor explained that “some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions,” asking “Do you know if anyone in your class is homosexual?” and whether, if some student raised his hand and challenged so-called homosexual marriage, “Don’t you think it would be offensive to them?”

The student responded, stating that as an American citizen he possessed the right to advance counter-arguments, to which the professor replied,

You don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments….In this class, homophobic comments, racist comments, will not be tolerated.

Finally, the professor invited the student to drop the class.

In late November, The Motley Monk discussed this incident within a broader analysis, “Some stirrings of discontent in U.S. Catholic higher education.”

But, like most matters involving people feeling offended, the story didn’t end there.

On December 17, the professor who wrote the personal blog post received a letter from the institution’s Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences:

The university is continuing to review your conduct and during this period—and until further notice—you are relieved of all teaching duties and all other faculty activities, including, but not limited to, advising, committee work, faculty meetings and any activity that would involve your interaction with… students, faculty and staff. Should any academic appeals arise from Fall 2014 semester, however, you are expected to fulfill your obligations in that specific matter.

Your salary and benefits will continue at their current level during this time.

You are to remain off campus during this time, and should you need to come to campus, you are to contact me in writing beforehand to explain the purpose of your visit, to obtain my consent and to make appropriate arrangements for that visit. I am enclosing with this letter [the institution’s] harassment policy, its guiding values statement, the University mission statement, and sections from the Faculty Handbook, which outline faculty rights and responsibilities; these documents will inform our review of your conduct.

Sincerely…

Even if the suspension is “a bit of a joke, since it’s Christmas break and we aren’t teaching,” as the professor noted in a new personal blog post, what isn’t a joke are some of the potential implications of this suspension:

  • Class discussion that’s likely to “offend” any particular group of students in the class must be proscribed…a “gag” order, as RedState.com described it. Consider all of the matters that might offend particular groups of students.
  • Calling out colleagues who are intolerant of full, free, and unfettered discussion of the facts can warrant a suspension and possible dismissal for failure to adhere to the institution’s harassment policy. Professors would be indemnified from any challenges to their unfounded opinions.
  • Challenging such proscriptions can also end in a suspension and possible dismissal. This would have a “chilling effect” upon free speech, as academic administrators could investigate, censor, and or even punish professors who express their personal beliefs not only in classrooms but in personal blog posts. That process could take the form of harassment which the procees is supposed to ensure doesn’t happen.

Doesn’t all of that present a proximate danger to academic freedom?

About the institution, RedState.com observed:

Marquette is Wisconsin’s leading Catholic university. As such, it is a high profile institution among Catholics both in and out of Wisconsin. It also prides itself as one of the most well known centers of higher education in the state. By imposing a gag order on McAdams, the school has done damage to both its Catholic and academic traditions….

One can only shake one’s head in disbelief, reading of these events and juxtaposing them to Marquette’s mission statement:

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university dedicated to serving God by serving our students and contributing to the advancement of knowledge. Our mission, therefore, is the search for truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others. All this we pursue for the greater glory of God and the common benefit of the human community.

Or, as the now-suspended professor noted:

Marquette…has again shown itself to be timid, overly bureaucratic and lacking any commitment to either its Catholic mission or free expression.

 

 

 

To read the professor’s original blog post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/11/marquette-philosophy-instructor-gay.html

To read The Motley Monk’s previous blog post, click on the following link:
http://the-american-catholic.com/2014/11/23/some-stirrings-of-discontent-in-u-s-catholic-higher-education/

To read the professor’s update, the December 17 blog post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/12/reprisal-marquette-warrior-under.html

To read the RedState.com article, click on the following link:
http://www.redstate.com/2014/12/17/catholic-university-imposes-gag-order-prof/

To read the Marquette University Mission Statement, click on the following link:
http://www.marquette.edu/about/mission.php

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

9

Some stirrings of discontent in U.S. Catholic higher education

 

It’s difficult to gauge precisely how many Catholics—in particular, those who are genuinely concerned about the Catholic identity of U.S. Catholic higher education—are feeling like Howard Beale, the fictional anchorman for the UBS Evening News in the film Network. Beale had a difficult time accepting the social ailments and depravity existing in the world he was reporting to his viewers. The image of Beale—his beige coat and wet, gray hair plastered to his head—standing up during the middle of his newscast and proclaiming, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” is arguably one of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history.

But, when it comes to U.S. Catholic higher education, the scene is memorable not because Beale had grown insane. No, it’s memorable because Beale was prophetic, correctly discerning the “signs of the times.”

Beale

Yet, although many of Beale’s viewers shared his outrage, they didn’t voice their frustrations. Why?

  • Perhaps some figured they would live their lives the way they saw fit and allow others to do the same. “Live and let live,” they thought. After all, who were they to judge?
  • Perhaps others figured those social ailments and depravity would eventually disappear, collapsing upon themselves of their own weight of the unhappiness they bring. Isn’t that what the natural law teaches?
  • Perhaps yet others lived in fear of those who were actively promoting those social ailments and depravity. They asked, as did Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

For a very long time, some Catholics have been “mad as hell” about the direction U.S. Catholic higher education has taken. Yet, they have remained silent for whatever reason, just like many of Beale’s viewers. However, those Catholics may now be at the point they’re “not going to take this anymore.” Their decades-long, simmering discontent may be at the boiling point and close to boiling over. To wit:

  • A professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Randall Smith, recently argued in Aleteia that something must be done about those universities and colleges which self-identify as “Catholic,” yet are less-than-supportive of Catholic students, faculty, and Church teaching. Smith noted the hostility demonstrated at many nominally Catholic universities in recent decades that has rendered some of them what Smith called “hot-beds of anti-Catholicism.”
  • A Marquette University political science professor, John McAdams, recently posted an article at the Marquette Warrior in which he voiced his concern about the way the concept of social justice is communicated and typically understood at Marquette. McAdams noted how opposition to hot-button issues—like abortion and same-sex marriage—is not a part of the University’s version of social justice. “On the contrary, any opposition to gay marriage is called ‘homophobia,’” McAdams wrote.
  • James Schall, SJ, formerly a member of Georgetown University’s faculty, recently published “The Catholic Difference” at The Catholic World Report. In his post, Fr. Schall emphasized the importance of maintaining a Catholic distinction in this secular world. “Catholics see themselves being…separated out because of a radical cultural change that they did not always notice,” Schall wrote. However, this isolation “is not so much because of any specific doctrinal issue peculiar to Catholics but because of issues of reason and natural law concerning human life and family, the very pillars of civilization.” Losing sight of the search for truth through sober reasoning that’s rooted in natural law, Fr. Schall argued, those institutions are forsaking their Catholic identity at a time just when young people need to experience it most.
  • In Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching, a Providence College professor of English, Anthony Esolen, has argued that many of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges have narrowed the rich tradition of Catholic social teaching. How so? By limiting it to papal writings of the last couple decades and, in particular, papal concerns about society in the post-industrial West. What this narrowing of the tradition has accomplished, Esolen believes, is to divide Church teaching into neat compartments—like sexual morality, marriage, family, and economics—rather than to present the integral whole that it is. In the end, “progress” has been made synonymous with “dispensing [with] the wisdom of the ages.”

The singular problem is the largely unchallenged motive that most academic administrators at those institutions have evidenced for nearly six decades. In short, they want their institutions to be exactly like their secular peers with a patina of Catholic—not too much, not too little, just enough to convince the folks that their institutions are genuinely Catholic. Moving those institutions in this direction is nothing new, tracing its history back to the Land O’ Lakes conference in the late 1960’s.

After nearly six decades, the outcome is a system of higher education that, in most of its policies, classrooms, and dormitories, consists of 240+ universities and colleges that are discernably similar to their secular counterparts.

For those Catholics who are frustrated with the current state of U.S. Catholic higher education, this history raises some fundamental questions:

  • If those institutions aren’t going to be distinctively Catholic and educate students in a decidedly Catholic body of tradition, for what purpose do they exist?
  • How would the virtue of justice adjure administrators who advertise and promote their institutions as “Catholic” when their fundamental motivation is to imitate their secular peers?
  • If a student is not going to receive a distinctive education in the Catholic tradition, is this not tantamount to “false advertising” or, worse yet, theft for charging tuition for something that’s knowingly not going to be provided whole and intact?

When conservatives raise questions like these, they are routinely accused of being interested only in “indoctrinating” students. However, it’s the conduct of those making this accusation that ought to be critically examined. Have they not been using “Catholic” social justice as their Trojan Horse to indoctrinate students into their ideology?

That long-term project and its success is what makes conservatives “mad as hell.” Evidently, some of them are “not going to take this anymore” and are beginning to speak out.

 

 

 

To read Randall Smith’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.aleteia.org/en/education/article/should-catholic-universities-be-subject-to-bishops-accreditation-5327231924568064?

To read John McAdams post, click on the following link:
http://mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2014/11/marquette-how-do-we-deal-with-students.html

To read Fr. Schall’s article, click on the following link:
http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/3502/the_catholic_difference.aspx

To learn about/purchase Anthony Esolen’s book, click on the following link:
http://shop.sophiainstitute.com/Reclaiming-Catholic-Social-Teaching-P738.aspx

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

20

There’s No Place Like Creighton University

Although it happened a couple of weeks back, it was bound to happen.

A President of a Catholic University has cited Pope Francis as an influential factor extending health benefits to same-sex “spouses” of university employees.

According to the Omaha World-Herald:

[The President of Creighton University, the Reverend Timothy Lannon, SJ] said the idea began to take root after Pope Francis took a different tone on gays in the church. He said he discussed it with campus leaders for a year before making the decision. Though he largely heard agreement on campus—Lannon said the university’s benefits committee approved it unanimously—Archbishop George Lucas was firmly opposed.

Lannon

The Reverend Timothy Lannon, SJ

In the article, Fr. Lannon is also quoted as saying:

I asked myself, what would Jesus do in this case? And I can only imagine Jesus being so welcoming of all people.”

Continue Reading

12

A new gender classification coming soon to a nearby Catholic university or college…

 

One of the premiere campus events during the month of October occurred beneath the radar screen: “Asexual Awareness Week.”

asexual

This lack of awareness won’t contine if Emily Johnston and some of her pals at Carleton College are effective in getting their message out, according to Inside Higher Ed. Johnston is the President and Co-Founder of The New England Asexual Community and Education (ACE) which holds meetings and is actively working to expand programming at Carleton for asexual students.

To date, Johnston and her allies have experienced some success. For example, Carleton’s Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) earlier this year added the word “asexual” into its mission statement as well as an “A” onto the LGBTQ acronym. For Johnston, that’s important because it provides recognition that asexuals exist and are a valued and visible part of the queer community. “It’s an act of validation,” Johnston noted.

The GSC’s Director, Laura Haave, said her organization is making an effort to sponsor programs that are more inclusive of asexual topics or speakers. In addition, the GSC is also revising some of its programs concerning communication and consent. The idea is to acknowledge that talking about sex for some people means identifying as asexual. “There’s a pretty strong belief in our society that if you don’t experience sexual desire or sexual attraction, there’s something wrong with you,” Haave said. Haave hopes the GSC’s recognition will mean asexual people won’t face the discriminatory pressure that confronted the gay, lesbian, and transgender populations, namely, to “change who they are” or “get better.”

What’s an “asexual” person? Johnston defined an asexual as a “person who doesn’t feel sexual attraction.”  However, Johnston added:

It means something different for everyone, and it means they experience relationships and intimacy differently.

As this definition isn’t inclusive of the wide spectrum of asexual variations, Johnston expressed her preference that people use the more inclusive term “asexual spectrum.”

For Johnston, even though the number and visibility of people who identify as asexual has grown, it’s still too low. Johnston observes:

It happens so often that people don’t even know that asexuality is an orientation. Or they’ve heard of the word, but don’t know what it means.

Beyond Carlton, the movement appears to be growing nationally with the establishment of support groups for asexual students at the University of Colorado at Boulder and New College of Florida. At other institutions—like the University of Georgia, for example—existing student groups have added asexual to the list of gender identities and sexual orientations represented.

Once academic administrators at the nation’s Catholic colleges and universities learn that asexuals are being stigmatized on their campuses because sex, attraction, and desire are celebrated and encouraged by the culture, they’ll be sure to note that Catholic social teaching requires a more inclusive approach towards asexuals. Perhaps the New England ACES would be willing to offer those administrators recommendations for their college gender and sexuality centers. Then, they’ll demonstrate greater compassion toward and inclusity of the newest of sexual minorities, all of those students on the “asexual spectrum.”

Any bet which Catholic college or university will spearhead the effort?

 

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/11/10/asexual-student-groups-growing-more-common-campuses

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

18

Cardinal Raymond Burke: Not one to back down when it comes to Church teaching…

The soon-to-be “former Prefect of the Sacred Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, isn’t letting his alleged “demotion” to head the Knights of Malta get in the way of his speaking out about the scandal caused by the first round of the Synod on the Family. No, it seems that the Cardinal is speaking out even more forcibly.

In his most recent interview posted at CNSNews.com, Cardinal Burke speaks about the “very serious responsibility to try to correct as quickly and as effectively as possible the scandal caused by the midterm report.”

And that wasn’t all Cardinal Burke had to say. About Church teaching regarding marriage, he said:

We have to recognize that if we don’t get it right about marriage–in other words, if we’re not faithful to the word of Christ, to the truth which Christ announced to us about marriage–in the Church, I don’t know how people can trust us with regard to teaching the truth of the faith in any other matter.

We’re talking here about the very foundation of the life of the church, the first cell of our life, in the marital union and the formation of the family and if we don’t uphold the sanctity of the marital bond we have really not only abandoned the Catholic faith but really abandoned the Christian faith in the sense that we are abandoning the natural law itself.

Crucial in the Cardinal’s understanding of the Church is its essentially conservative nature. Popes and bishops cannot “invent” or “change” Church teaching because it is divinely revealed, coming from Scripture and Tradition. Instead, Popes and bishops must fearlessly proclaim Church teaching–in this regard, concerning marriage and sexuality–by relying upon what the Church has already produced to explain its teaching rather than abandoning it for new, untested theories like that of “gradualism.” Cardinal Burke said:

The Church must now in this period hold up the beauty, the splendor, of this teaching for the sake of her own members that they not be confused about the truth but also for the sake of our world and the church’s call to serve the world by proclaiming the truth and by giving witness to it.

And, so, I’m praying very fervently that this coming year that this confusion will stop and instead that there will begin to be a strong emphasis on the beauty of the truth of the Church’s teaching on marriage and on human life and human sexuality.

If there was any scandal, it wasn’t generated by the Synod’s final midterm report but the mainstream media’s manipulation of the contents of the discussions transpiring within the Synod and the first midterm report which contained statements that were well-suited to advance the mainstream media’s agenda. However, with those statements deleted from the final midterm document, the mainstream media couldn’t but relish the opportunity they were provided to pit one midterm report against the other, painting the former as more sensitive, inclusive, and understanding of and merciful to humanity while identifying their bogey-man as Cardinal Raymond Burke.

If the members of the mainstream media think Cardinal Burke is one who is easily going to back down when the issue concerns Church teaching, his recent interviews suggest they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Hopefully, this most recent interview portends more of what’s to come if the scandal generated by the mainstream media isn’t stopped dead in its tracks.

 

 

 

To read the CNSNews.com interview transcript, click on the following link:
http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/cardinal-burke-i-m-praying-very-fervently-coming-year-confusion-will

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

12

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

16

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

28

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

9

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

4

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:

Continue Reading

5

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

18

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

6

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

9

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

53

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

12

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

22

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

7

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

 

16

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

 

23

“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

19

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

24

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

6

Au revoir and good riddance, Secretary Sebelius…

 

Over at The Catholic Thing, Dr. Paul Kengor—a professor of political science at Grove City College—comments about the transition now taking place at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The outgoing Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, confronts the specter of the threat of contempt of Congress. According to Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), Sebelius has obstructed the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into the rollout of Obamacare:

The Department’s substantial delay in production, combined with its improper redactions, has obstructed the Committee’s investigation. Should the Department continue to refuse to produce all documents in un-redacted form as required by the instructions in the subpoena issued on October 30, 2013, I will have no alternative but to consider the full range of options to enforce the subpoena.

Sebelius

That’s provides great fodder for political junkies.

But, more important in the estimation of The Motley Monk, is Kengor’s discussion about what the HHS transition has to do with the Roman Catholic Church. As Kengor notes:

Kathleen Sebelius will be remembered not only as Barack Obama’s longtime HSS Secretary, but also as the spearhead of Obamacare. For that, many liberals will remember her fondly.

And here’s why:

  • Sebelius is a lifetime/pro-choice Catholic who, as the Governor of Kansas, expanded access to abortion in the state.
  • As HHS Secretary, Sebelius then expanded access to abortion nationally, forcing religious believers of practically every stripe to fund contraception and abortion drugs.
  • According to the New York Times and Politico, Sebelius and Valerie Jarrett–President Obama’s closest adviser–championed the mandate from the outset. They did so even as Vice President Joe Biden and Obama Chief of Staff Bill Daley (both Catholics) warned the President to consider carefully the backlash from the Catholic Church. Sebelius and Jarret bested Biden and Daley. (NOTE: One thing Dr. Kengor didn’t mention: The assistance and cover provided by the Catholic Health Association of the United States in the person of Sr. Carol Keehan.)

Keehan3

Sebelius’ legacy includes one of the most anti-Catholic pieces of policy legislation and religious discrimination in U.S. history. “That is quite a legacy for a Catholic public official,” Kengor notes.

With Sebelius on the way out, the selection of Sylvia Burwell as HHS Secretary offers Roman Catholics a bit of solace. Nothing’s going to change, of course. But, according to Kengor:

…whatever Burwell’s doings, I can say this much that gives me a measure of relief as a Catholic: At least she isn’t Catholic. At least we’ll no longer have a Catholic who is the point-person and poster girl for this ignoble and ignominious cause. I don’t know if that is much solace, but maybe it makes the ordeal slightly less painful.

As for the unborn children whose lives will be snuffed out at taxpayer expense, the pain continues. And for that ordeal, Kathleen Sebelius, lifetime Roman Catholic, will always shoulder her share of responsibility.

Kudos to Dr. Kengor for discussing these important matters in his is substantive post in defense of the Gospel of Life.

 

 

To read Dr. Paul Kengor’s post, click on the following link:
http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2014/so-long-kathleen.html

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

59

Can it possibly be? A return to virtue at Boston College…

 

Consider the following statistics describing today’s undergraduates:

  • 60-80% of college students have had some sort of hookup experience.
  • 63% of college-age men and 83% of college-age women would prefer a traditional relationship to an uncommitted sexual one.

No doubt about it, college is the place to be if one is interested in engaging in sex.

Yet, an associate professor in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Richard McAnulty, notes: “The vast majority of young adults hope to be in a romantic relationship characterized by mutual love and commitment.”

If the latter statistics and McAnulty’s research are accurate, then would it not seem sensible for that every administrator at every one of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges to work assiduously to provide undergraduates a culture wherein they can fulfill their hope?

Yes, it is sensible. But, try convincing those administrators of their moral obligation to reverse the hook up culture. “How?” they ask.  When told “Provide students a culture that not only raises their hopes but also assists them to translate those hopes into actual behavior,” they oftentimes opine something learned…about hopelessness…like Sisyphus.

Forget those administrators. They’re more interested in producing slick advertising campaigns and travelling all over Timbuktu to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their institutions than they are about their primary moral obligations to form their students in wisdom and grace before God and man.

But, according to the Boston Globe, hope is alive…at Boston College.

There, the associate director of the Lonergan Institute, Kerry Cronin, is showing those feckless administrators how to build that culture. How? She’s teaching her students the lost art of dating…that is, how to date. The idea came to Cronin years back when she was delivering a lecture about the hookup culture. A student asked, “How would you ask someone on a date?…Like the actual words.”

Cronin believes most of today’s undergraduates don’t know how to date or, even, how to ask for a date. Why? This generation has grown up with relatively low expectations in the realm of “happily every after.” She notes:

  • In their world, most embrace group activities that are punctuated with the periodic hookup.
  • They communicate in digital bursts of 140-250 characters instead of in person.

Cronin’s pedagogical remedy? A class assignment that helps students reclaim the “lost social script” of dating. Not knowing where to begin or what to say, the assignment defines the boundaries so that students know exactly what to expect:

  • The date has to be 45 to 90 minutes in length with a person of legitimate romantic interest.
  • The student has to pay and has to make the invitation not by text or e-mail but in person.
  • The date cannot involve alcohol, kissing, or sex.

Cronin tells her students that dating requires the courage to be vulnerable to another person. As a freshman, Frank DiMartino said about the assignment:

It’s easy to hook up with someone you’ve just met in a dark room after having a few drinks. But asking someone out on a date in broad daylight, and when you actually have to know their name, can be really scary.

Cronin’s assignment directly confronts the culture that emphasizes uncommitted sex when it’s committed love that their hearts desire. She says:

  • Students use friendships and groups to satisfy social and emotional needs and see hookups as purely physical. As a result, students don’t have a relationship that allows them to address the confusions or expectations that can arise out of hookups.
  • Relying on groups prevents students from learning to interact one-on-one.  Getting to know another person through a group dynamic is very different from getting to know another person in an interpersonal dynamic.
  • Social media, especially texting, is another way one-on-one conversations are mediated. It provides access to a constructed “virtual self.” Students may feel connected but it builds habits of “ADD-quality connections” rather than face-to-face relationships.

Cronin’s alternative builds on her students’ hope yet challenges them to risk failure. She said:

When you ask somebody, you risk failing, and nobody likes to fail or be vulnerable to rejection….[Undergraduates] like to push themselves out of their comfort zone only if the energy and effort will equal success. But when asking someone out, nothing can ensure the person is going to say yes.

Cronin believes the hookup culture “creates a part of life that is unnecessarily chaotic and lonely.”

Yes, indeed. Leading undergraduates from the darkness of sin into the light of faith, hope, and love. Cronin might not think of her assignment in this way, but she’s evangelizing young people about the Gospel of Life!

Kudos to Kerry Cronin! She’s treading in and casting her net into the deep waters that most Catholic university and college administrators fear will engulf, sink, and drown them and their careers.

 

 

To read the Boston Globe article, click on the following link:
http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2014/05/16/boston-college-professor-assigns-students-dates/jHXENWsdmp7cFlRPPwf0UJ/story.html

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

17

The “spirit of adolescent progressivism” and the commencement season at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges…

 

It’s commencement season in U.S. Catholic higher education, that time of year when administrators of the so-called “independent” Catholic universities and colleges can take advantage of the annual opportunity to “thumb their noses” at the Church and Her teaching.

The truth be told, those administrators don’t actually thumb their noses. Instead, they invite speakers with pedigrees aligning them with the “progressive forces of worldliness,” to quote Pope Francis. The speakers then do the thumbing for the administrators, as they sit on the dais and applaud.

Consider this year’s commencement speaker at Villanova University, Dr. Jill Biden.

The wife of Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Biden is being honored for her work as an educator, supporter of military families and veterans, and breast cancer prevention. So far, so good! Dr. Biden also earned an M.A. in English at Villanova. Even better yet!

However, the University’s announcement of Dr. Biden’s invitation didn’t mention her support for abortion, for the proliferation and use of artificial forms of birth control (some of which are abortafacients), and for so-called “homosexual marriage.” Check it all out at LifesiteNews.com.

Administrators at Villanova likely would reply to critics that Dr. Biden’s invitation evidences their unwavering, personal commitment to “the tradition of Catholic higher education [that] has always placed a priority on the integration of the pursuit of intellectual excellence and ethical conversions essential for the integration of knowledge and faith.” Furthermore, those administrators likely would assert that this invitation demonstrates their commitment to “the sacredness of individual conscience [that] must find a secure place in the discourse with a Catholic, Augustinian university.”

In her speech, even if Dr. Biden wasn’t to mention any of her personal beliefs that are contrary to Church teaching, it will be eminently clear to everyone in the audience what those beliefs are. After all, that’s why administrators of the independent Catholic universities and colleges exercise such great care and oversight when inviting commencement speakers. In this case, Dr. Jill Biden will clarify for graduates the administrators’ loyalty to those cherished Catholic and Augustinian values as well as what those values should mean for graduates in the existential practice of their lives as they commence forth into the world beyond Villanova.

Yes, indeed. “Ethical conversions” and “the sacredness of individual conscience”—cherished institutional values.

Especially at a Catholic university, should it not be asked: “Ethical conversions to what ?” and “Individual conscience guided by what ?” And, especially at an Augustinian university, should it not also be asked: “Supported by what truth ?”

During a daily homily as Pope Francis was describing the Maccabean persectuion, he noted how when the people of God live in a foreign and alien culture, they oftentimes prefer to distance themselves from the Lord in favor of worldly proposals. These proposals, he said, are the root of evil. This preference then leads the people of God to abandon their sacred traditions as they negotiate their loyalty to God. This is “apostasy—a form of “adultery” the Pope said—that transpires as the people of God negotiate the essence of their being: loyalty to the Lord. This attitude of adolescent progressivism, he said, is the attitude “is a fruit of the devil who makes his way forward with the spirit of secular worldliness.”

Just two weeks ago, the University’s pro-life group, Villanovans for Life, celebrated its 40th anniversary. This student organization has evidenced a legacy of unwavering loyalty to Catholic and Augustinian values rooted in Church teaching. In contrast, the invitation to Dr. Jill Biden evidences the spirit of adolescent progressivism, as the University—like so many other independent Catholic institutions—seeks to be part of the secular world and promotes  its spirit.

 

 

To read the LifesiteNews.com article, click on the following link:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/villanova-announces-2014-commencement-speaker-jill-biden-the-pro-abortion-w

To read the text of Pope Francis’ comments about adolescent progressivism, click on the following link:
http://www.romereports.com/pg154748-pope-adolescent-progressivism-protects-human-sacrifices-en

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

18

William Peter Blatty, Georgetown, and the Congregation for Catholic Education: Headed for the circular file?

 

The narrative is pretty common today. An alumnus of a Catholic university believes his Alma Mater is failing to uphold in a significant and meaningful way her Catholic identity. So, this alumnus collects signatories on a petition and sends the petition to the members of the institution’s Board and administration. All of which goes nowhere, as everyone decides to ignore the stormy petrils.

This particular narrative takes a different turn, however, as the alumnus is William Peter Blatty—author of The Exorcist—whose Alma Mater is Georgetown University. Moreover, rather than have his petition go nowhere except into the circular file, Blatty decides to exercise his canonical rights, sending his petition containing 2k+ names to the Congregation for Catholic Education (CCE) asking that the Congregation “require that Georgetown implement Ex corde Ecclesiae, a papal constitution governing Catholic colleges.” Failing that, the petition asked the Congregation to strip Georgetown of its right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit. Let there be not doubt: Blatty is serious. He believes that neither Georgetown’s faculty nor its students are exemplary of the faith.

In a letter sent to Blatty dated April 4, 2014, the CCE’s Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Zani, stated that CCE cannot grant Blatty’s request for “hierarchic recourse” because Blatty is not able to demonstrate that he has “suffered an objective change in his/her condition due to an administrative act.” However, Zani did write:

Your communications to this dicastery in the matter of Georgetown University…constitute a well-founded complaint. Our congregation is taking the issue seriously and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard.

(click on the image below to read the letter in its entirety.)

cec letter

At this time, precisely what Archbishop Zani has in mind when he states that CCE is “taking the issue seriously” and is “cooperating with the Society of Jesus [SJ] in this regard” is impossible to know from those phrases. Is CCE sufficiently serious enough in this issue to bring pressure upon SJ leadership in Rome to introduce the kind of changes at Georgetown that Blatty seeks? Or, lacking “hierarchic recourse,” is CCE going to communicate with SJ leadership in Rome (perhaps over a very nice lunch and glass of wine) and then place Blatty’s canonical petition in the circular file, Archbishop Zani having done what said he would do?

One thing is for certain: Administrators at Georgetown are unrepentant. According to Inside Higher Ed, a Georgetown spokeswoman, Rachel Pugh, wrote in an email that the University has received no formal correspondence from the Vatican regarding the petition, and that Georgetown’s Catholic identity “has never been stronger.”

Perhaps the petition has already been placed in the circular file.

 

 

To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/05/14/vatican-responds-criticism-georgetown-u#ixzz31hSL4lqW

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