The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organization theory; leadership ethics; Catholic eduational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Fr. Jacobs writes several blogs: "The Motley Monk Omnibus" (; "The Motley Monk's Homilies for Sundays and Holy Days" (; and, "The Motley Monk's ***** Food" (

Dropping all insurance coverage appears to be the most morally sound approach…


Founded in 1972, the National Catholic Bioethics Center  (NCBC) “pledges its fidelity to the magisterial teaching of the Church and to the bishops who provide leadership and pastoral guidance to clergy and laity on complex bioethical issues.”

NCBC recently has published a detailed analysis which concludes that it would be immoral for a Catholic who owns a private business to purchase health insurance for his or her workers under Obamacare.   The conclusion is terse: “Dropping all coverage appears to be the most morally sound approach.”

Assessing all of the options available, the NCBC also calls for action, including suing the Obama administration: “We support and encourage the many lawsuits challenging this injustice and expect them to be successful before the Supreme Court.”

The NCBC’s excellent analysis raises some politically difficult choices for faithful Catholic business owners. If they choose to drop insurance coverage, it is likely their employees will be forced by circumstances—fully intended by those who crafted Obamacare—into healthcare plans offering medical services that are contrary to Church teaching.  While those employees would not be forced to avail themselves of those morally objectionable services, the simple fact remains that those services would be funded by taxpayer money, meaning in this instance the taxes paid by those businesses owned and operated by faithful Catholics.

Is this not an infringement on religious liberty?


To read the NCBC analysis, click on the following link:

A preview of what’s to come in U.S. jurisprudence?


It isn’t often that The Motley Monk finds himself agreen with an Archbishop of Canterbury.  But, in this instance, the former and 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, hit the nail on the head when he challenged the “reigning orthodoxy of diversity and equality.”


This orthodoxy allows for neither diversity nor equality.

According to the BBC News, four British Christians were discriminated against in the workplace because of their Christian values.

The cases aren’t new, going back seven years:

  • Two lost their jobs because they believe that homosexual relationships are contrary to God’s law.  In addition, they believe that homosexual relationships are incompatible with their religion and it’s immoral to do anything that condones homosexuality.  One, a registrar, objected to officiating at civil partnership ceremonies between homosexuals.  The other, a therapist, did not wish to provide counselling to homosexual couples.
  • The other two, one worked for British Airways and the other was a nurse, wore necklaces with crosses at work.  Both lost their jobs, they believe, because of wearing those necklaces.

In what is nothing other than hypocritical reasoning, British employment tribunals and the British Supreme Court ruled against the four.

Why hypocritical?

In Britain—where there is an “Equality Law”—no workplace restrictions are placed upon other religious symbols, including the Sikh turban or the Muslim hijab.

According to AFP, Carey thought the four should “have earned widespread respect” for their witness.  Now, their cases have prompted him to “question whether…faith is a bar to public service.”  He added:

In the past, there was space for negotiation between individuals and their employers, but the burden of ever-increasing regulation has meant that questions of conscience and freedom are neglected in favour of conformity.

The lawyer representing the UK government, James Eadie, argued that expressions of belief “were not absolute rights, or rights without limits.”  He added:

Employers cannot be forced to accommodate (the) religious beliefs of employees who do not wish to provide services to the public or a section of a public.

Carey called the four the “new heretics,” adding:

Indeed, it seems the secular equivalent of the Inquisition will brook no dissent from the reigning orthodoxy of diversity and equality.

The Motley Monk is wondering if this is a preview of what’s soon to come in U.S. jurisprudence?



To read the BBC News article, click on the following link:

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

Collegians unite: Occupy Chick-fil-A…


As The Motley Monk predicted back in February, it wouldn’t be all that long before the anti-Chick-fil-A forces (aka, “Occupy Chick-fil-A”) would amass on the nation’s college campuses and throw tantrums.  Their goal would be to force weak-willed administrators to cower to Occupy Chick-fil-A and its members’ demands that they remove the fast food chain from their campuses because of the company’s bigoted, non-inclusive, and anti-homosexual policies.

It doesn’t matter whether the allegations are true or not.  What does matter for Occupy Chick-fil-A members is that they feel the company is all of those things…and more.

It was at Northeastern University where Occupy Chick-fil-A leader bleated in delight:

I’m very excited and really, really surprised this is the decision [the NU's  administration] came to. We didn’t expect them to cut the contract with  Chick-fil-A.

As the new academic year is set to unfold, Occupy Chick-fil-A forces are amassing at the University of Maryland, agitating for the institution to close its owner-operated store.  According to the the Baltimore Sun, Occupy Chick-fil-A forces have posted an online petition demanding that the University shut down its store in the Stamp Student Union Building.


Dan Cathy
Chick-fil-A President


When asked in an interview with the Baptist Press about reports that the Chick-fil-A corporation is opposed to homosexual marriage, the President of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, responded, “Well, guilty as charged.”  He added:

We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit…We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.


Feeling outrage upon hearing of Cathy’s remarks, Occupy Chick-fil-A forces at the University of Maryland are demanding a “more accepting” option, the Baltimore Sun article states.

As one who enjoys Chick-fil-A’s products and tried to participate in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day but couldn’t get near the local owner-operated store, The Motley Monk would have thought Occupy Chick-fil-A forces would be more upset that the fast food chain’s on-campus stores are closed on the Sabbath.


What Sabbath?



To read about Northeastern University’s decision to drop Chick-fil-A:

To read the Baltimore Sun article, click on the following link:,0,1531183.story

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

Stripping Catholic universities and colleges of their “Catholic” identity: Is it “forfeiting a valuable resource”?


When the Vatican recently informed officials of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PCUP) that the institution could no longer be called either “Pontifical” or “Catholic,” many wondered whether this action was a “signal” intended to get other Catholic universities and colleges in line soon or face similar consequences.

For those who would hope that the edict is a signal, the Vatican didn’t issue the edict precipitously.  Decades of listening and discussing the issues proved fruitless.  In the end, the Vatican acted decisively, leaving the door open to reconciliation on the Vatican’s terms.



In the weeks following the announcement, many observers of U.S. Catholic higher education who would hope that the edict is a signal have mused about whether and what it would take for the Vatican to strip an institution’s status as a Catholic university or college.

What interests The Motley Monk isn’t all of that speculation, but the fear expressed by some of those observers about the consequences—the fall out—of the Vatican decision to strip one institution of its status as Pontifical and Catholic.

For example, of those U.S. Catholic universities and colleges that appear to be “Catholic in Name Only,” the editor of Catholic World News, Phil Lawler, recently wrote:

We could easily supply a long list of colleges and universities that should no longer be allowed to parade as “Catholic” institutions—if only for the sake of truth in advertising.  But before indulging that daydream too long, stop and consider the possible consequences.  If a bishop were to take the bold step of declaring that, say, Georgetown (or Boston College or Fordham or Loyola—take your pick) is no longer a Catholic institution, would the Church be forfeiting a valuable resource?

At one time all these universities were genuinely Catholic. Built up by the contributions of loyal Catholics, they nourished generations of students in the faith before something went terribly wrong. These schools exist because faithful Catholics wanted a solid Catholic education for young people. The campus, the buildings, the proud traditions: these are all part of a patrimony, handed down by our forefathers in the faith. Are we willing to give them all away now?

Yes, I know; these institutions already largely controlled by professors and administrators who are at best indifferent to the Catholic faith, and at worst hostile. But that could change. Just as the culture of dissent took over the schools in the late 20th century, a resurgence of orthodoxy could recapture them in the 21st. If the schools were officially stamped as non-Catholic, it would be much more difficult to reclaim them.


Lawler raises issues that many have been discussing for a very, very long time.

But, The Motley Monk asks:

  • If a Catholic institution isn’t providing students a distinctively Catholic educational experience as the Church defines that, what “valuable” resource would the Church be losing?
  • If that institution’s campus, building, and proud traditions—the ”patrimony”—are nothing but mausoleums testifying to a dead past and which the majority of its administrators and faculty wish would disappear into the dustbin of history, what “valuable” resource would the Church be losing?
  • And what evidence is there that those who control most of these institutions today have in place succession plans to ensure they will be replaced by authentically Catholic academics—that so-called “resurgence of orthodoxy”?


Speculating about the answers to these questions isn’t necessary.  After all, the answers are already in.

Consider George M. Marsden’s “The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief.”

  • All of those once eminent Protestant universities and colleges in the United States he studied are now abundantly-endowed, nonsectarian, and secular institutions.
  • The patrimony has been eviscerated from their institutional cultures.
  • Any hoped-for resurgence of orthodoxy hasn’t happened for 100+ years and, quite likely, won’t happen any time soon, given the state of U.S. Protestantism.


The Motley Monk is wondering whether the fear of losing a “valuable” resource is a chimera, one engendering cowardice in those who bear a moral responsibility for U.S. Catholic higher education.

What’s at stake?

The soul of U.S. Catholic higher education, what may have once been a valuable resource.



To read Phil Lawler’s article, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

LCWR: No “dialogue” about discussion about sexual abuse by nuns…


The day after The Motley Monk posted “Cracking Down on the LCWR: Is Orthodoxy the Only Problem?” at The American Catholic, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (SNAP) staged a protest outside of the meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in St. Louis.




According to Steve Theisen of Iowa SNAP who was sexually victimized by a nun as a child:

The scandal of child molesting nuns takes a backseat to abuse by priests, remaining dangerously in the shadows.  More and more, we’re hearing from men and women who were molested, as young kids and vulnerable adults, by nuns across the country. Yet nun officials have done little to determine just how widespread such crimes and cover ups are or take effective steps to stop them in the future.


Isn’t that exactly what the leaders of the LCWR have been saying about the bishops?

According to SNAP’s Director, David Clohessy, LCWR has not responded to SNAP’s repeated prodding to let childhood sexual victims speak at the nun’s conference,  to actively reach out to victims of nun abuse, and to post the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted, and credibly accused child molesting nuns on church websites.  Clohessy writes:

It’s ironic that the LCWR makes the same excuses for inaction now what bishops used 20 years ago.  They make essentially bureaucratic claims like “our structure doesn’t permit us to do more” and their meetings are not “the best venue” to address these issues. It’s very disheartening.


As The Motley Monk also noted, there’s also not much the main stream media is reporting about the issue of clergy sex crimes and cover ups by nuns.  According to SNAP’s Outreach Director, Barbara Dorris:

It’s stunning, really, to see nuns moving more timidly and slowly on child sex crimes and cover ups than bishops.   Abuse by nuns is certainly more common than anyone suspects, and inaction by nuns’ groups contributes to this secrecy.



To read The Motley Monk’s post “Cracking Down on the LCWR: Is Orthodoxy the Only Problem?,” click on the following link:

To read David Clohessy’s post, click on the following link:

Cracking down on the LCWR : Is orthodoxy the only problem?


The Vatican’s so-called “crackdown” on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for doctrinal heterodoxy generated a bit of press on the part of the American Catholic left.

If leftist media reports are to be believed, LCRW leaders were “stunned” and their ire has been raised by the crackdown.  Rome is “bullying” those selfless, consecrated women whose lives of humble charity in imitation of Jesus endeared  them to many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  After all, LCRW leaders only seek “honest, respectful dialogue towards peacemaking and reconciliation.”


Now that the initial fallout has settled a bit, The Motley Monk detects what may be a new twist surfacing in the narrative.  This slightly revised version raises the specter that conservative  American cardinals living in Rome were pivotal in what The Motley Monk previously called a “hostile takeover” of the LCWR.

That “conservative” American cardinals engineered this shocking maneuver, according to the American Catholic left, is bad enough.

But, compounding evil upon evil—yes, in the eyes of many on the American Catholic left, conservative Catholicism is an intrinsic evil that’s intent upon destroying the authentic reform of the Church envisaged at Vatican II—the Catholic left’s media has reported that one of the key players in the LCWR’s hostile takeover was none other than Cardinal Bernard Law.  He’s the former Archbishop of Boston.

If previous media reports are to be believed, Law’s cover up of priestly pedophilia and ephebophilia in Boston required the Vatican to usher him out of the United States and ensconce him safely in the Vatican.  Doing so under the Vatican’s protective cover of “diplomatic immunity” would ensure that a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church wouldn’t be indicted on U.S. soil.


Cardinal Bernard Law kisses the papal ring
on Wednesday June 7, 2006


According to Robert Mickens in The Tablet, Cardinal Law was “the person in Rome most forcefully supporting” the LCWR investigation that began in 2009 and ended in 2011, with the hostile takeover being announced in April 2012.   Minkens reports one American cleric calling Cardinal Law the “prime instigator” of the investigation.

It has been alleged that Law’s cohort included the former Archbishop of St. Louis, Cardinal  Raymond Burke, as well as Cardinal James Stafford, the former Archbishop of Denver who worked in the  Roman Curia since 1996.  Then, too, another American, the former Archbishop of San Francisco, Cardinal William Levada, conducted the actual investigation.

Is the “crackdown,” as it’s being suggested, “pay back” for the grief the LCWR has caused the American hierarchy for the past several decades?

The Motley Monk thinks maybe not.

With the leftist media linking the hostile takeover of the LCWR to the pedophilia and ephebophophilia scandal, The Motley Monk wonders whether operatives of the American Catholic left and their media outlets are attempting to distract attention away from what’s a very important question that’s not being asked, at least in public: What was the LCWR’s role, if any, in a glossing over—if not a coverup—of pedophilia and ephebophilia on the part of Catholic women religious?

Check out how Sr. Joan D. Chittister, OSB, the 1976 LCWR President,  avoids the question (begin at 9:05)



Promoting the narrative that the women religious were 100% “pure as the driven snow” as they set about effecting greater “peace with justice” in the post-Vatican II era, the media’s sole focus became the alleged machinations of evil clergymen who engaged in an unconscionable covering up of the pedophilia and ephebophilia scandals.  There’d be little reason to suspect that women religious—and especially the LCWR—would ever engage in similar heinous behavior.

Perhaps CNN’s Christiane Amanpour didn’t do her homework.

Doctrinal heterodoxy may not be all that’s problematic with the LCWR.  It may very well be that the “Nuns [are] on the Run from the Truth,” as Frances Kissling observed three years ago and as a Daily Kos article has detailed.  There’s also a long list of allegations posted at

Just ask the folks at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) about how the LCWR treated them when they started asking questions.



To read The Motley Monk’s post at The American Catholic, click on the following link:

To read about Robert Micken’s report, click on the following link:

To read Frances Kissling’s article in, click on the following link:

To read the Daily Kos article, click on the following link:

To read the National Catholic Reporter article about SNAP’s experience with the LCWR, click on the following link:

A seamless garment: The Vatican, the LCWR, and U.S. Catholic higher education…


In a speech delivered in June 2012 to the Catholic bishops of the United States gathered in Atlanta, the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, called this a “difficult time.”  He then said:

The Church must speak with one voice.  We all know that the fundamental tactic of the enemy is to show a church divided.

This can be viewed, he said, “providentially, as an invitation to the entire Church in the United States, especially among her consecrated religious and in her educational institutions, to take on an attitude of deep communion with the local bishop.”


Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
Papal Nuncio to the United States


In that one very diplomatically worded statement, Archbishop Viganò put his finger directly on the raw nerve The Motley Monk believes has been stretched, if not perforated and maybe even torn—a schism in the U.S. Catholic Church—since the close of the Second Vatican Council.

What’s that nerve?

It’s the stretching of the meaning of the term “Catholic“—as in “Roman Catholic“—through the incessant questioning of its doctrinal and moral teaching that has as its primary objective to berate fundamental tenets of the Christian faith.  That questioning has gone to the point that many religious women and men as well as many Catholic institutions of higher education no longer uphold Church teaching—are not united with the bishops—but instead thrive on “questioning” both Church teaching and its pastors—all under the disguise of “teaching Theology” (without a mandatum, of course).

Most recently, this nerve has been tested yet once again by the instruction issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCWR).

Discussing the instruction, the LCWR’s President, Sister Pat Farrell, told a New York Times reporter that the Vatican seems to regard “questioning” as “defiance,” while the sisters see it as a form of “faithfulness.”  Sr. Farrell said:

We have a differing perspective on obedience.  Our understanding is that we need to continue to respond to the signs of the times, and the new questions and issues that arise in the complexities of modern life are not something we see as a threat.

Let’s be honest: That’s code language for the Marxian materialist dialectic—identify the thesis, promote the antithesis, and develop a “consensus” in the form of a new synthesis that gradually “transforms” the “old” into the “new.”


The Marxian materialistic dialectic


To wit: “defiance vs. faithfulness,” emerging in a new “consensus” of openness to the modern world as taught by Vatican II.  Such “questioning,” it is asserted, should present absolutely no threat, except to those old and tired Vatican ideologues who are grasping onto their failed ideological thesis that the modern world resoundingly rejects.

Get with the program!

That’s why Sr. Farrell equates the LCWR’s “questioning“—which, by the way, The Motley Monk happens to believe is a very good thing when it’s actually questioning not filibustering or badgering—with the need to use materialist ideologies (the antithesis) to judge the validity of Church teaching (the thesis) for the modern world.

Is this a Faustian pact?

The Motley Monk would note, there’s a vast gulf demarcating “belief seeking understanding” (“I believe in the virgin birth and am questioning what I believe in order to understand better what it really means in the modern world”) from “understanding seeking belief” (“I question the virgin birth and will not believe in it until I have sufficient proof using my standard for determining the truth of the matter”).  The former reveals a sincere questioner—a person of faith—while the latter reveals a petulant ideologue—a closed-minded bigot.

Or, more pointedly, about the issues of concern to the LCWR:

  • “I believe that God has ordained complementary roles for women and men, with the priesthood reserved to men and I am questioning that tenet in order to understand better what that means in the modern world” vs. “I question the Church teaching about an all-male priesthood and will not change my mind until I judge that teaching’s validity using my standard of judgment.”
  • “I believe that God has endowed nature with a law that governs all of nature and violating that law is immoral and I am questioning that tenet in order to understand better what that means about the use of artificial forms of birth control in the modern world” vs. “I question the Church’s teaching about the use of artificial forms of birth control and will not change my mind until I judge that teaching’s validity using my standard of judgment.”
  • “I believe that God has ordained marriage to be a sacred union between one male and one female for the purpose of begetting families and I am questioning that tenet in order to understand better what that means about homosexuals who want to attempt marriage in the modern world” vs. “I question the Church teaching about marriage, am open to homosexual marriage, and will not change my mind until I judge that teaching’s validity using my standard of judgment.”



What’s the likelihood of “metanoia” (a change of “mind”), that is, giving up the Marxist materialist ideology?

Pretty slim.

That’s the nerve Archbishop Viganò put his finger on when he addressed the nation’s bishops.  It’s the materialist, Marxist ideology that’s shaped how many of the nation’s religious women and men think.  It’s also shaped the culture of many of the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education because it’s how many of those who administer and teach in those institutions think.

That in his role as Papal Nuncio, The Motley Monk understands why Archbishop Viganò delivered that address to the bishops.  Viganò was relating to the bishops—the pastors—what’s on the Pope’s mind

The problem is that the Archbishop’s message needs to be delivered directly to the pastors’ choirmasters and mistresses.

It would be quite interesting if Archbishop Viganò was to deliver the very same address to the heads of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, and the presidents of the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education.

His reference to “an attitude of deep communion with the local bishop” recalls The Motley Monk’s reading of the 1978 joint-directive from the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious “Directive for mutual relations between bishops and religious in the Church.”  Chapters 2 and 3 offer a rich theological reflection upon the concept of ecclesial communion which differentiates the Roman Catholic Church from other churches and denominations, and in particular, Protestantism and Anglicanism.

Challenging the women and men religious as well as the presidents of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges to read and reflect upon this model may inform them that they are not thinking with the Church.




To read the article in the New York Times, click on the following link:

To read the 1978 joint-directive from the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for Religious “Directive for mutual relations between bishops and religious in the Church,” click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

Catholic capitalists opposing Obamacare: A “leaven at work in the world”…


Thank goodness the federal government has made it possible for all of those capitalists entrepreneurs to succeed.

For example, consider William E. Newland who founded Hercules Industries (HI) in 1962 as a family owned and operated heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning business in Colorado.



Five decades later, William, Paul, and James Newland, along with their sister, Christine Ketterhagen, own HI which boasts 265 employees.

More important than all of that success—that’s due, as President Obama reecently reminded the nation, to the federal government’s largess— reports that the Newlands are Roman Catholic.  Better yet, HI offers its employees a self-insurance plan, providing generous healthcare coverage that’s consistent with Church moral teaching.  That is, the plan doesn’t cover sterilizations, artificial contraceptives, or abortifacients.

And, because of that, HI now finds itself in the crosshairs of legal jeopardy…all due to the federal government.

HI must comply by August 1, 2012, with the mandate issued by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in February 2012 which requires businesses having more than 50 employees to provide health insurance to their employees—including free sterilizations, artificial contraceptives, and abortafacients—or pay a penalty.

With 265 employees, HI will have to pay the federal government $26.5k/day if HI doesn’t comply with the Sebelius mandate and provided insurance to its employees anyway.  The annual cost to HI will be ~$9.7M.

Much to their credit, the Newlands aren’t taking this matter sitting down and have decided not to comply.  Instead, they’ve filed a lawsuit, Newlands v. Sebelius et al., alleging that they can’t comply with the mandate without violating their religious faith.  The lawsuit states:

The Newlands sincerely believe that the Catholic faith does not allow them to violate Catholic religious and moral teachings in their decisions operating Hercules Industries.

The Newlands believe that according to the Catholic faith, their operation of Hercules Industries must be guided by ethical social principles and Catholic religious and moral teachings, that the adherence of their business practice according to such Catholic ethics and religious and moral teachings is a genuine calling from God, that their Catholic faith prohibits them to sever their religious beliefs from their daily business practice, and that their Catholic faith requires them to integrate the gifts of the spiritual life, the virtues, morals, and ethical social principles of Catholic teaching into their life and work.

The Catholic Church teaches that abortafacient drugs, contraception and sterilization are intrinsic evils.  As a matter of religious faith the Newlands believe that those Catholic teachings are among the religious ethical teachings they must follow throughout their lives including in their business practice.


Don’t think for one moment that the Obama administration is going to have any of that!

The Justice Department responded by making a formal filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.  The filing states:

Here, plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged that the preventive services coverage regulations substantially burden their religious exercise.  Hercules Industries, Inc., is not a religious employer; it is “an HVAC manufacturer.”

The First Amendment Complaint does not allege that the company is affiliated with a formally religious entity such as a church.  Nor does it allege that the company employs persons of a particular faith. In short, Hercules Industries is plainly a for-profit, secular employer.

By definition, a secular employer does not engage in any “exercise of religion.”

Hercules Industries has “made no showing of a religious belief which requires that [it] engage in the [HVAC] business.”  Any burden is therefore caused by the company’s choice to enter into a commercial activity.


Of course, skeptics and cynics will see in the Newlands’ fidelity to Church teaching a bunch of greedy capitalists responding to a profit motive.  The Newlands’ simply want to keep their healthcare expenses down in order to increase HI’s profit.

Others are defending the Newlands and HI on the grounds of freedom of religious expression and speech, arguing that the Obama administration is forcing the Newlands to chose between exercising freedom of religion and speech or shuttering HI.

For example, the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the Newlands, responded to the Justice Department’s brief:

[T]o the extent the government is arguing that its mandate does not really burden the Newlands because they are free to abandon their jobs, their livelihoods, and their property so that others can take over Hercules and comply, this expulsion from business would be an extreme form of government burden.


The Motley Monk wants to point instead to the Newlands’ fidelity to Church teaching.  These are the Catholics who take seriously the challenge that the Second Vatican Council issued to the laity.  They are to be a “leaven at work in the world.”


Today, the forces of this world—embodied in the Sebelieus mandate (the demonic irony being that Ms. Sebelius is Catholic)—are presenting the Newlands a “choice” that’s actually “no choice” at all:

  • They can shut down HI and add 265 new individuals to the unemployment lines.
  • They can sell HI and let the buyers do what they want.
  • They can stop providing health insurance through HI, but HI employees will only be able to purchase healthcare insurance that covers artificial contraception, sterilizations, and abortafacients. (The premiums then help pay for those “services” and HI would be required to pay a penalty to the government of ~$2k/year/employee that HI did not insure.)
  • They can ignore the Sebelius mandate and continue to provide HI employees healthcare insurance that doesn’t provide “free” coverage for artificial birth control, sterilizations, and abortafacients.  (That’s when the federal government will use those 50k new IRS agents to come in and require HI to pay those confiscatory penalties.)


“Witness”—being a leaven at work in the world or, in a previous era, “martyrdom”—never presents a good option.

In this era, it requires Catholics—following the lead of the Newlands as they operate HI—to stand up for the moral teachings of their faith.  In this way, they demonstrate their love of God and neighbor as a leaven at work in the world.



To read the CNSNews story, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

Cardinal Burke: How to stop mandatum abuse…


The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has released a new report, “A Mandate for Fidelity,” concerning the mandatum (a bishop’s mandate) that’s required to teach theology in a Catholic institution of higher education.



The mandatum was specified by the 1990 Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Ex corde Ecclesiae, and as implemented in the United States, requires a theology professor to request mandatum from the local bishop where the theologian teaches.  The professor commits, in writing, “to teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the Church’s Magisterium.”


Canon 812 of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law also requires theologians to possess a mandatum:

Those who teach theological disciplines in any institutes of higher studies whatsoever must have a mandate from the competent ecclesiastical authority.


In addition, Canon 810 describes the responsibility of academic administrators at Catholic institutions of higher education in this regard:

It is the responsibility of the authority who is competent in accord with the statutes to provide for the appointment of teachers to Catholic universities who, besides their scientific and pedagogical suitability, are also outstanding in their integrity of doctrine and probity of life; when those requisite qualities are lacking they are to be removed from their positions in accord with the procedure set forth in the statutes.


The Motley Monk thinks the CNS report is especially worth reading for two reasons.


The first reason concerns the number of administrators and professors in the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges who have not taken the mandatum seriously.


The CNS report draws attention to a 2011 survey of U.S. Catholic university and college academic administrators indicating that:

  • 42% of respondents said their institutions have neither a department nor a chair of Catholic theology as required by Ex corde Ecclesiae
  •   7%+ responded that Catholic theology isn’t taught in their institutions.


Of the remaining 51% of respondents who said their institutions have a department or chair of Catholic theology:

  • 36% said they didn’t know whether their Theology professors have received the mandatum;
  • 10% reported some but not all of their theologians have received the mandatum; and,
  •   6% said no professors have received a mandatum.


The “dirty little secret” is that more than two decades after the publication of Ex corde Ecclesiae, nearly 50% of the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges don’t have a department or chair of Catholic theology.


The second reason for reading the CNS report concerns how, during those 2+ decades, many administrators and professors have “privatized” the mandatum, making it a private matter between the bishop and theologian.  And, apparently, bishops in whose dioceses Catholic universities and colleges are located aren’t very much interested in pushing the issue.


This conduct has evidently been brought to and caught the attention of Pope Benedict XVI, who in a May 5, 2012 ad limina address to a group of American bishops, expressed his concern that “much remains to be done” toward the renewal of Catholic identity in U.S. Catholic colleges and universities.  The Pope highlighted, in particular, “such areas as compliance with the mandate laid down in Canon 812 for those who teach theological disciplines.” He then cited “the confusion created by instances of apparent dissidence between some representatives of Catholic institutions and the Church’s pastoral leadership.”


So, then, what does Canon 812 require?


Responding to a CNS inquiry, the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican’s Supreme Court), Cardinal Raymond Burke, pointed to Pope Benedict XVI’s description of the mandatum as “a tangible expression of ecclesial communion and solidarity.” Asserting that the mandatum is a public not private matter, Cardinal Burke said:

It’s tangible in the sense that it’s a public declaration, in writing, on the part of the ecclesiastical authority that a theologian is teaching in communion with the Church, and people have a right to know that so that if you, for instance, are at a Catholic university or parents are sending their children to the Catholic university, they know that the professors who are teaching theological disciplines at the university are teaching in communion with the Church.  They are assured in that by the public declaration of the diocesan bishop.


Cardinal Burke added: “The fact that I teach in accord with the Magisterium is a public factor.  That’s not some private, secret thing between myself and the Lord” (italics added).


Should only theology professors with the mandatum be employed at a Catholic university or college?


Cardinal Burke responded “Yes,” adding:

…[T]he Catholic university will want that all its teachers of theology or the theological disciplines have a mandate and will not, of course, retain the professor in teaching Catholic theology or the theological disciplines who does not have a mandate, because to do so would be to call into question the whole raison d’etre of the university.  If a Catholic university doesn’t distinguish itself for its care, that those who are teaching theology and the other theological disciplines are doing so in communion with the Magisterium, what reason does it have to exist?




The Motley Monk concurs with Cardinal Burke’s assessment.


Academic administrators at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges should take the mandatum seriously, if only because it provides a tangible—public—recognition of an institution’s fidelity to the Church and its teaching, which constitutes the essential identity of Catholic higher education.


If those academic administrators are not willing to require a mandatum as a condition for employment as well as tenure and promotion in rank for those who teach theology and theological disciplines, they should—at a minimum—make public to students and their parents those professors who teach theology or theological disciplines and are in communion with the Church.


Unfortunately, Cardinal Burke has no ordinary jurisdiction in the matter as he is not the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.  However, his opinion as the Church’s highest ranking juridical official after the Pope does carry great moral weight and should influence the thinking of the diocesan bishops in whose territory Catholic universities and colleges are located.  They can and should require those who teach theology or theological disciplines to possess a mandatum.



To read the CNS report, click on the following link:

To read Ex corde Ecclesiae, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

The mainstream media and the Leadership Conference of Religious Women: “Fair and balanced” reportage?


The so-called “mainstream” media had a feeding frenzy immediately after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) announced its doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

If one was to believe the reports, an institution led by patriarchal, misogynists who don’t “get it” are now attempting to strike back by discrediting “the good sisters.”

Bishop Leonard Blair
Diocese of Toledo (OH)

There’s another side to the story not being reported by the main stream media.  It’s provided by Bishop Leonard Blair, who led the initial inquiry into the LCWR.  In an article entitled, “Reality Check: The LCWR, CDF, and the Doctrinal Assessment,” Bishop Blair explores what he calls “the distortions and misrepresentation of the facts being asserted by the mainstream media.

These include:

  • The claim that CDF has no direct authority over the LCWR.  In fact, the LCWR’s function, responsibilities, and statutes have been approved by the Holy See and to which the LCWR remains accountable.
  • The claim that the CDF and the bishops are attacking or criticizing the life, work, and members of women’s Catholic religious congregations in the United States.  In fact, the CDF’s concerns are doctrinal.
  • The claim that the “investigation” is directed at women’s religious congregations and their members.  In fact, the word “investigation” mischaracterizes the doctrinal “assessment” ordered by the CDF.  The assessment was aimed at the LCWR’s operations, including its programs and publications.
  • The claim that the assessment was covert, blindsiding the LCWR and its members.  In fact, the assessment was carried out in dialogue with the LCWR leadership, both in writing and face-to-face, over several months.

For Bishop Blair, the fundamental question was simply this: “What are the Church’s pastors to make of the fact that the LCWR constantly provides a one-sided platform—without challenge or any opposing view—to speakers who take a negative and critical position vis-a-vis Church doctrine and discipline and the Church’s teaching office?”

Suffice it to say, the Church’s pastors had every reason to be concerned about the LCWR’s doctrinal positions.  After listing some causes for concern, Bishop Blair then asks:

[Is] it the role of a pontifically recognized leadership group to criticize and undermine faith in church teaching by what is said and unsaid, or rather to work to create greater understanding and acceptance of what the Church believes and teaches?

Note too, Bishop Blair asserts, that those who are criticizing the CDF and the bishops for assessing the LCWR don’t hold the teachings of the Catholic Church or are Catholics who dissent from those teachings.

A good observation.  Why should those who dissent from Church teaching—Catholic or not—determine for the Church what constitutes a “legitimate cause for doctrinal concern” about the activities a pontifically-approved organization?

More interesting is Bishop Blair’s prognosis about what the future portends.  He writes:

The response thus far is exemplified by the LCWR leadership’s choice of a New Age Futurist to address its 2012 assembly, and their decision to give an award this year to Sister Sandra Schneiders, who has expressed the view that the hierarchical structure of the church represents an institutionalized form of patriarchal domination that cannot be reconciled with the Gospel.

So much for the much-touted, post-Vatican II spirit of “communio.

To The Motley Monk, it’s sounding more and more like heresy and schism.

Call it what it is and be done with it as nature follows its inevitable trajectory.



To read Bishop Blair’s article, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

Catholic educators and their problems with making a “profession of faith”…

So…if a CCD teacher believes that the all-male priesthood is wrongheaded Church policy and that the ban of the use of artificial birth control is equally wrongheaded, should that individual be allowed to teach CCD?

If that person happens to want to do so in the Diocese of Arlington, VA, the answer is “No.”


The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde
Bishop of Arlington (VA)


According to the Washington Post, the Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, the Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, is requiring his 5k teachers in Catholic schools and CCD teachers as well—to “submit of will and intellect” to teachings the Church characterizes as divinely revealed.  The diocese includes nearly 500k Catholics across northern and eastern Virginia.

The diocese sent a letter to the teachers in early June and requires that they profess an oath of fidelity before a priest.

The diocese’s Director of Education and Liturgy, the Reverend Paul deLadurantaye, said:

The Church is foremost a communion, not a building.  And the church’s teaching is meant to be a service, not to coerce or oppress….This is just to say the Church is a reliable guide, more reliable in these matters than what I read elsewhere. There’s something more transcendent than just my own judgment.

The diocesan spokesman, Michael Donohue, said Bishop Loverde sent the letter in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s direction Catholics celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II in various ways, including those that “profess our faith in the risen Lord.”  Donohue called the oath “uncontroversial,” saying it is meant to be a positive sign to parents:

I can’t imagine there are many [teachers] who have issues with the church’s teachings on faith and morals.

Donohue also said he “found it hard to believe” that anyone who had concluded that a Church teaching was wrong would want to teach it.

Apparently Bishop Loverde, Fr. deLadurantaye, and Mr. Donohue didn’t consult with Kathleen Riley and Rosemarie Zagarri or at least three other CCD teachers at St. Ann’s Parish who have resigned rather than make the profession of faith.

Riley said:

I’m just shocked, I can’t believe they’re asking me to sign this.  The bishops are human, and sometimes their judgment is not God’s judgment.  We always have to be vigilant about that. The Holy Spirit gives us the responsibility to look into our own consciences.

Zagarri—a professor of history at George Mason University—called the profession of faith a “slap in the face” to Catholics who have remained active and close their differences with Church teaching.  Zagarri wrote Bishop Loverde:

Although I fully understand the authoritative role of the Catholic hierarchy in defining the teachings of the faith, in my view only a person who is willing to abandon her own reason and judgment, or who is willing to go against the dictates of her own conscience, can agree to sign such a document.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Zagarri added:

This is not in the spirit of what people go to a Catholic church for, which is community and a loving, welcoming environment. It’s exclusionary, a suppression of dissent, let’s all line up and be the army of God.

The Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, Reverend Ronald Zuzzi, sympathizes with the bishops…to a degree.

Nuzzi told the Washington Post that he believes many bishops “are in a pickle” because they want Catholic institutions to be staffed by people who not only teach what the Church teaches but whose “whole life will bear witness.”

However, Nuzzi also keeps a 1940s photo on his desk showing the German bishops giving the Nazi salute.  He said:

I keep it there to remind people who say to do everything the Church says, that their wisdom has limitations, too.

A “profession of faith” is synonymous with a Nazi salute?

When bishops make political decisions—no matter what their political views may be—they’re not teaching faith and morals. The profession of faith concerns only those defined Church teachings which are applicable for all times.



To read the Washington Post article, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

It’s raining on the pro-homosexual “marriage” parade…

It’s a tough slog to read Mark Regnerus’ study “How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study.” But, it’s required if one is to properly evaluate whether the findings are the result of “good” social science methods or “junk” social science methods.

The Motley Monk evaluates the study as “good social science,” the findings of which are going to fuel a lot of acrimony on the part of those advocating so-called “homosexual marriage.”

The key finding?

According to Regnerus:

While it is certainly accurate to affirm that sexual orientation or parental sexual behavior need have nothing to do with the ability to be a good, effective parent, the data evaluated herein using population-based estimates drawn from a large, nationally-representative sample of young Americans suggest that it may affect the reality of family experiences among a significant number.

It appears anecdotally that children don’t need a married mother and father to turn out well as adults.  Furthermore, the data gathered in the New Family Structures Study (NFSS) indicates there are many children who “have proven resilient and prevailed as adults in spite of numerous transitions, be they death, divorce, additional or diverse romantic partners, or remarriage.”  That said:

[The] NFSS also clearly reveals that children appear most apt to succeed well as adults—on multiple counts and across a variety of domains—when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day. Insofar as the share of intact, biological mother/father families continues to shrink in the United States, as it has, this portends growing challenges within families, but also heightened dependence on public health organizations, federal and state public assistance, psychotherapeutic resources, substance use programs, and the criminal justice system.

Whoa!  The best home environment in which to raise children is one with a married mother and father who remain married?

There’s more:

  • There are “statistically significant” differences in 25 of 40 outcomes between adult children who grew up with married, heterosexual parents and those who grew up with a mother who had a homosexual relationship.
  • Households led by parents of either sex who are engaged in homosexual relationships demonstrate greater household instability.
  • Children from lesbian households demonstrate more physical and mental health problems, more instability in romantic relationships, and lower average income as adults. In addition, children from these households also demonstrate higher levels of unemployment, smoking, need for public assistance, and involvement in crime.

The critics haven’t allowed these findings to go unchallenged…so much so that a group of 18 eminent social scientists have criticized the “sustained and sensational criticism” voiced by the mainstream media concerning the study’s findings.  Asserting that the study is “not without limitations,” the scholars claim that much of the criticism is “unwarranted.”

According to Catholic News Service, the study’s findings are consistent with other studies of homosexual couples in countries like the Netherlands and Sweden and are “parallel” to those of the American Institutes for Research sociologist Daniel Potter.  Potter studied homosexual parenting and children’s academic achievement, finding that children in homosexual parent families scored lower than their peers in married households with both biological parents.

Interestingly, much of the criticism has nothing to do with the study’s methodology but with the how study is being used to promote an anti-homosexual “marriage” agenda.



To read the study, click on the following link:

To read the Catholic News Service article, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:

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