The Motley Monk
The folks over at CNN emailed The Motley Monk the transcript of Jake Tapper’s January 30th interview of President Obama. Among the topics covered was the President’s upcoming trip to Rome which includes a meeting with Pope Francis.
TAPPER: Are you bringing [your daughters] to the Vatican for when you meet the Pope? Are they going to come?
[OBAMA]: You know they met, uh, the previous pope, the last one. [Umm, who was that guy?] But I’m not sure they’re going to have a chance to go this time. It was wonderful great story. Sasha was still pretty young at the time, it was my first year in office and they see the Sistene Chapel and they’re going through the various chambers, each time she’d she somebody dressed up in the cloth she’d say ‘Is that the pope? Is that the pope?’ How bout that guy over there?’ No no you’ll know when it is finally the pope.
TAPPER: I was thinking about this pope and there’s so much excitement that he’s going to change everything. [Dream on, Jake. "Everything?" Come now!] You want to talk to him about managing expectations at all is that something he needs to think about?
OBAMA: I have been really impressed so far with the way he has communicated what I think is the essence of the Christian faith and that is a true sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and a true sense of regard for those who are less fortunate. My suspicion is based on what I’ve seen of him so far, he’s a pretty steady guy. I don’t think he needs any advice from me on staying humble. [That's for sure.]
TAPPER: He’s not worrying about his approval ratings? [Imagine that! Someone on the face of the globe who isn't interested in approval ratings? BTW: If the Pope was worried about his approval ratings, he'd not have said some of the things he's said.]
OBAMA: I don’t think he is. I think he is someone who is very much focused on his faith and what he needs to do to make sure that folks not just in the Catholic faith, but people all over the world are living out the message that he thinks are consistent with the lessons of Jesus Christ so I’ve really been impressed with him so far. [There you have it. Pope Francis gets an endorsement from President Obama, even though Pope Francis has said "No" to abortion, women priests, so-called "homosexual marriage," and the like.]
The Motley Monk isn’t quite sure how or why he was emailed the transcript with the portion of the interview concerning Pope Francis highlighted. Perhaps CNN is attempting to woo the “Catholic demographic,” the 75% of U.S. Catholics whose positions on moral issues align with those of President Obama.
To access Jake Tapper’s interview, click on the following link:
To access The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
Q: How many federal judges does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One. They hold it and the universe revolves around them.
Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX)—a former state district judge for the 7th Judicial District and Chief Justice the Texas 12th Court of Appeals—repeated that joke at a recent “Conversations with Conservatives” event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and reported by CNSNews.com. Gohmert was making the point about how liberal federal judges are ruling against state-made prohibitions banning so-called “homosexual marriage” In Gohmert’s view:
…it’s up to the states to define, according to the Supreme Court. So for one omnipotent, omnicious, ubiquitous federal judge, who is wise beyond his education, to say, to make such a declaration about the law, I think requires revisiting by each state and compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court.
This cannot continue like one of the 9th Circuit judges reportedly said, that, “Well, we know we’re not doing in accordance with Supreme Court precedent, but they can’t reverse all of our [decisions] so we’ll keep cranking them out.”
We gotta’ get back to real law and order and that includes by judges not becoming God in their place….That stuff’s gotta’ stop. We’ve got to get the law back in the hands of the state where it was originally intended in a federalist republic.
What’s got Representative Gohmert irked is that liberal federal judges are ruling against state laws that ban “homosexual marriage,” based upon the assertion that there is no biological evidence to support the idea of marriage between a man and a woman. These judges, Gohmert argues, “need some basic plumbing lessons.”
Liberals pillory conservatives like Gohmert for their commonsense assertions and portray conservatives as rubes or knuckle-dragging Neanderthals because they just aren’t “with it” and don’t possess any “withitness.” But, Gohmert’s commonsense observation is rooted in Natural Law theory which, it should not be overlooked, provides the philosophical foundation for much of what’s written in the Declaration of Independence and is enshrined in the Constitution.
What liberals have been attempting to do for decades by “packing the courts”—and is so patently obvious in everything that led up to the Roe v. Wade decision—is not to “rewrite” the nation’s founding documents, as some conservatives have argued. No, liberals have been attempting to substitute Utilitarianism for Natural Law theory. That is why they must direct their vitriol, in particular, at Justices Scalia and Thomas, both of whom understand what’s involved in this attempt to change the philosophical underpinning of the nation’s founding documents.
Unfortunately, many voters don’t “get it” or their eyes “glaze over” when it comes to appreciating the very important role the third branch of the federal government plays in protecting their natural rights.
And liberals are just as happy as a bed of clams that voters react in these ways.
To read the CNSNews article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
How queer: What defines Catholic identity in 2014 at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges…
Thank goodness the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education have become so much more inclusive and diverse that those institutions now take pride in providing an intellectual climate where LGBT studies thrive. At least that’s the case at the nation’s largest Catholic university, Chicago’s DePaul University.
That’s not The Motley Monk’s opinion. No, it’s that of Elizabeth “Beth” A. Kelly, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. In a 2010 interview with The Windy CityTimes, Kelly said:
If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would be a professor teaching the courses that I teach, developing the courses I develop as a publicly professed lesbian at the nation’s largest Catholic University I would have found that completely incomprehensible.
An Irish Catholic who lapsed from the Church prior to Vatican II, Kelly had misgivings about coming to teach at a Catholic university. That is, until she discovered DePaul’s academic administrators were serious about hiring for inclusion and diversity. So serious that since the early 1990s, the number of LGBT faculty has grown to the point where, Kelly observed, “today I know that I don’t know all of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faculty at DePaul.”
Since being hired in 1992, Kelly served as Director of the LGBT Studies Program from 1997-2003. Reflecting back on that role, Kelly noted, “What was interesting to me was the lack of opposition.” In that interview, DePaul’s President, the Rev. Dennis Holschneider, provided what Kelly called “amazing support” as did the Dean of School of Arts and Sciences. The one thing Fr. Holschneider did require was the inclusion of education concerning the Church’s position which Kelly said was “really not a problem.”
How possibly could including Church teaching present a problem, especially in courses like:
- Feminist Theories;
- Creating Change;
- Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Politics;
- Contemporary Knitting: Gender, Craft and Community Service;
- Intro to LGBTQ Studies;
- Sexual Justice: Lesbians, Gays, and the Law; and,
- Queer Pioneers.
Each must surely be premised upon the inclusion of a full, robust, fair, and honest discussion of Church teaching as it relates to and critiques these topics, no?
What evidence is there to demonstrate that this is the case? Since secular progressives use academic freedom to protect the content of courses as well as classroom speech of professors, there is no solid evidence. Then, too, would a lapsed Catholic, lesbian feminist LGBT program director hire a heterosexual, conservative Roman Catholic priest to teach Feminist Theories? Of course not! How could he possibly be objective?
This outcome is not anything new and should not prove surprising. After all, Kelly’s hiring dates back more than two decades. Instead, it represents a long-term effort to redefine institutional Catholic identity in terms of a progressive, secularist agenda. To that end, academic administrators have required the “inclusion” of Church teaching–without specifying what that means so that it is “really not a problem”–and have built a critical mass of LGBT faculty who implement that agenda while peddling it as “Catholic.”
To read Professor Kelly’s interview/profile in the Windy City Times, click on the following link:
To read Professor Kelly’s curriculum vitae, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
Ireland’s former President, Mary McAleese, is no stranger to controversy. This time, however, it’s not of the political sort—which is to be expected—but of the ecclesial sort. Insofar as Mrs. McAleese is concerned, the Church is in denial concerning homosexuality which, she said, is “not so much the elephant in the room but a herd of elephants.”
As a “Visiting Scholar” at Boston College last fall, McAleese provided a hint of her mounting frustration with Church teaching concerning homosexuality and the contradiction that she sees evidencing itself in the clerical pedophilia scandal. In a November 2013 interview with the Boston College Chronicle, McAleese explained that she is pursuing a doctoral degree in canon law at the Gregorian University in Rome to develop “some helpful insight into how this unhappy situation came about.”
…I decided to make it my business to study canon law, something very few laypeople have done. And what I’m most interested in is, how is it that we’ve arrived at a situation in the Church where the increasingly educated laity feels more and more excluded from the discourse that is necessary to run an organization this big and this advanced? And how can we now trust the judgment of the people we’ve learned, to our cost, cannot be trusted in matters of children and abusive priests? Why should they continue to make decisions for the 1.2 billion of us on the same terms as before?
I think that we are entitled to that critical faculty, which is given to us by the Holy Spirit, in the light of what we now know; the false deference, the unadulterated trust—these things were and still are phenomenally dangerous. We need accountability, we need openness, we need rigor, we need to address the people who have decision-making power over us, to show us those decisions are made in our best interests, and crucially, in the light of the best information available.
In an interview with Glasgow’s Herald newspaper published January 07, 2014, McAleese expounded upon those thoughts:
Things written by Benedict, for example, were completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding, and to the understanding of most Catholics nowadays in relation to homosexuality.
Nowadays, it is not something that is perceived as something that is intrinsically disordered. Homosexual conduct is not seen as evil….
I don’t like my Church’s attitude to gay people. I don’t like “love the sinner, hate the sin.” If you are the so-called sinner, who likes to be called that? We also know that within the priesthood a very large number of priests are gay.
McAleese also drew a comparison with the Church’s attitude to Jews: “It took almost two millennia formally to revise the ‘Christ-killer’ slander which had been repeated down the decades.”
McAleese is particularly chagrined by Cardinal Keith O’Brien who resigned after admitting to inappropriate sexual conduct during his ecclesial career. Of O’Brien, McAleese said:
I would have thought Cardinal Keith O’Brien, in telling the story of his life—if he was willing to do that—could have been of great assistance to gay people, not just in the Church but elsewhere, who felt over many, many years constrained to pretend to be heterosexual while at the same time acting a different life.
Instead, McAleese believes, O’Brien had hoped to divert attention from himself by raising his voice “in the most homophobic way.”
So, Mrs. McAleese has embarked on a personal mission to cleanse the Church of its attitude and conduct. She said:
I can’t walk away from the Church, my spiritual home, just like I couldn’t walk away from Northern Ireland, my birthplace. I had to hang in there and see if I could make some sort of contribution. I don’t flatter myself that I’ll be able to do anything in my lifetime, but I also believe that if I don’t help plant the seed, then nothing new will grow.
Mrs. McAleese’s opinions, while generating controversy, happen to be identical to those held by many U.S. Catholics, and especially young adult Catholics. Consider the 2011 Pew Center study’s findings:
- 32% of U.S. Catholics have left the Church.
- 48% who are now unaffiliated left Catholicism before reaching age 18. An additional 30% left the Catholic Church as young adults between ages 18 and 23. Only 21% who are now unaffiliated and 34% who are now Protestant departed after turning age 24. Among those who left the Catholic Church as minors, most say it was their own decision rather than their parents’ decision.
- Among those who were raised Catholic, both former Catholics and those who have remained Catholic, report similar levels of childhood attendance at religious education classes and Catholic youth group participation. Additionally,16% of lifelong Catholics say they attended Catholic high school, somewhat higher than among former Catholics who have become Protestant (16%) but roughly similar to former Catholics who have become unaffiliated (20%).
- At least 75% of those raised Catholic attended Mass at least once a week as children, including those who later left the Catholic Church. But those who have become unaffiliated exhibit a sharp decline in worship service attendance through their lifetime: 74% attended regularly as children, 44% did so as teens and only 2% do so as adults.
- 71% of former Catholics who are now unaffiliated gradually drifted away from Catholicism, as did 54% of those who have left Catholicism for Protestantism.
- 65% of former Catholics who are now unaffiliated stopped believing in Catholicism’s teachings overall, 56% are dissatisfied with Catholic teaching about abortion and homosexuality, and 48% cite dissatisfaction with church teaching about birth control. These reasons are cited less commonly by former Catholics who have become Protestant; 50% stopped believing in Catholicism’s teachings, 23% say they differed with the Catholic Church on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, and 16% say they were unhappy with Catholic teachings on birth control.
In Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell reports:
- 10% of all adults in America are ex-Catholics (p. 25).
- 79% of those who have dropped the name “Catholic” and claim no religious affliation of any kind, have done so by age 23 (p. 33).
- In the early 21st century, among Americans raised Catholic, becoming Protestant is the best guarantee of stable church attendance as an adult (p. 35).
Unlike Mrs. McAleese, young adult Catholics who are disaffected with Church teaching are leaving the Church.
Not that the loss of anyone to the Church is good, this discussion raises the question concerning who’s being more honest. Is it Mrs. McAleese or all of those young adult Catholics?
To read the Glasgow Herald interview, click on the following link:
To read about disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien, click on the following link:
To read the Pew Center study, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
Vatican Insider reports that Pope Francis has abolished the conferral of the Pontifical Honor of “Monsignor” on secular priests under the age of 65. The only Pontifical Honor conferred will be that of “Chaplain to His Holiness,” namely, “worthy priests” who exceed 65 years of age. The Pope’s decision is not retroactive, however. Thus, Monsignors who have not yet reached the age of 65 will not lose their honor, title, and better yet, the red buttons, piping, and cuffs on their cassocks, and fuchsia sash (that is, if they wear cassocks).
The Pope’s objective is to “reform the clergy” and “eliminate careerism” in the Catholic Church.
Many on the Catholic left will hail the move and acclaim it as a positive step in declericalizing the Church, building as it does on Pope Paul VI’s reform in the area of ecclesiastical titles following in the wake of Vatican II.
It took almost 1600 years for many of those honors and titles to creep into the Vatican bureaucracy. Today, they represent a style of Church and ministry that Pope Francis apparently disdains. It’s one many people across the globe also resent. Some say “It’s a Church that Jesus wouldn’t recognize as his own.”
The Motley Monk doesn’t view this “reform” in itself as a positive step. While reforming the clergy and eliminating careerism in the Catholic Church are important and worthy objectives, consider who now bears the brunt of the burden of reform for all of those careerists: the extraordinary, hardworking Father Joe Schlub.
This isn’t a “real” reform. It’s boasts a patina of reform, but doesn’t strike to the heart of the Pope’s real objective: clericalism and careerism in the Catholic Church.
Want real reform?
For a starter, as a bishop and cardinal, Pope Francis asked people to call him “Father,” convinced that this title best reflects the mission entrusted to priests, bishops, and cardinals. Indeed, the Pope is called “Holy Father.” Why not strip future bishops, archbishops, and cardinals of their formal titles (“Your Grace,” “Excellency,” and “Eminence”) and specialized clerical daily apparel that sets them apart from the others (meaning, ordinary Fr. Joe Schlubs). Why should they not also be called “Father” to reflect better their mission as bishops and cardinals? Why should they not also wear typical priestly garb?
Then, too, how about “term limits” for the Vaticanista careerists? Have “Father” work in the Vatican for a specified period of time that can be renewed if necessary and, then, return home to live with the sheep and start smelling like them again.
Now that’s real reform!
Pope Francis first set the personal standard for reform: He wears shoes that practically anyone can purchase at Walmart, has moved out of the Apostolic Palace into an apartment in a hotel, scuttled his Mercedes Benz limousine in favor of a Volkswagen limousine, and drives a 1984 Renault 4 to shuttle about town. Nine months later, the Pope is undertaking a reform of the clergy and the elimination of careerism in the Church.
However, it’s a reform that starts “from the bottom-up.” While Pope Francis himself “walks the talk,” those working for the Pope also need to “walk the talk.” Reforming the upper levels of Church management first would send a clear and unambiguous message to the world that the ordained priesthood in all of its dimensions is not a matter of titles, positions and roles, or apparel of honor but of service to the Church.
The ordinary Fr. Joe Schlubs who desire to become careerists will get the message real fast.
To read the article in Vatican Insider, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
With the mainstream media proclaiming in bold and bright rainbows that the Church is “homophobic,” it becomes necessary at times to move to the vanguard to defend the Church against her most vociferous critics.
According to the highly-regarded investigative reporter, Randy Engle, Pope Francis’ efforts to bring greater “transparency,” “efficiency,” and “financial reform” to the Vatican City State’s government, have resulted in the hiring of the pro-lesbian, pro-homosexual, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) consulting firm of Ernst & Young (E&Y) to spearhead the efforts. On its corporate webpage, E&Y advertises itself as the world’s most “gay friendly” employer.
Imagine that! The allegedly “homophobic” Catholic Church has contracted with E&Y, even though E&Y is reportedly going to refuse to operate in countries with “homophobic laws.”
But, there’s even more!
On this day in 1962, Blessed John XXIII excommunicated Cuba’s “maximum leader,” supposedly on the basis of a 1949 decree by Pope Pius XII forbidding Catholics from supporting communist governments.
A couple of years back, Andrea Torinella of Vatican Insider wrote about the genesis of the excommunication, finding it to be somewhat of a “mystery” that may not be related to the 1949 decree.
Archbishop Dino Staffa, who at the time was a member of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and wrote the decree, alleged the reasons were not related to supporting Castro’s support of communism, but to having committed or collaborated in acts of violence against the Catholic hierarchy.
Indeed, months prior to the excommunication, Bishop Eduardo Roza Masvidal and 135 priests had been expelled from Cuba. In his declaration, Archbishop Staffa made reference to this and to various other problems existing at the time with regard to the Catholic Church in Cuba.
Torinella wonders whether the declaration, which coincided with a broader message John XXIII send to Castro, was an attempt to balance the effect of the Pope’s words could have–which some considered too expansive–while also reminding other Catholic political leaders what canon law had in store for those who would conspire against or bring harm to the Catholic hierarchy.
As a result, Castro never received an ad personam excommunication and neither did Blessed John XXIII make any decisions in this regard.
To read Andrea Torinelli’s article in Vatican Insider, click on the following link:
The Common Core?
“No problem!” many allegedly very savvy educators opine. “Only conservative, right-wing, nut jobs have problems with it.”
In this instance, it may very well be the case that the naysayers are absolutely correct in stating “Hold on before you enter into something you will end up regretting.”
The nation’s bishops ought to be extremely wary. Why? The Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative (CCCII)—led by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) which has received more than $100k from the Gates Foundation to provide training for educators in the nation’s Catholic schools to implement the Common Core—is discovering that the Common Core’s curriculum is laden with problems…after the fact of promoting the Common Core for implementation in the nation’s Catholic schools. CCCII’s website states:
Catholic educators will never forget that our schools exist to bring our students to Christ. By adapting standards from the CCSS that are challenging, they are working to fulfill the promise of quality Catholic education that educates the whole child, mind and soul.
Really? That’s all well and good. But, let’s first consider some facts.
Over at Crisis magazine, Mary Jo Anderson has chronicled some problems, including ninth graders having to read Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye, which has been banned from several school districts for its explicit depiction of rape, incest, sexual violence and pedophilia. The pedophile, named “Soaphead Church,” claims God as his inspiration, “I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people.”
The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) has gone one step further, taking a critical look at the Common Core curriculum and finding much that should cause the nation’s bishops to be wary.
According to CNS, its findings have forced the CCCII to remove three books from the first grade English Language Arts curriculum. The books celebrate family “diversity” which includes single parents, homosexual parents, mixed-race couples, grandparents and divorced parents.
Forget whether first graders in the nation’s Catholic schools should be reading books which have no preconceptions about what makes a family, a family. Doesn’t the Catholic Church already have a preconception about family and family life that it should boldly proclaim? And shouldn’t educators in its schools do the same?
How was it possible for CCCII to publish the following instructions for teachers first grade teachers in the nation’s Catholic schools? (the * indicates a book CCCII eventually removed)
Family -The teacher can choose any of the books below that relate to the theme:
The books listed are First Grade level unless otherwise noted.
The suggested books for the teacher to read aloud are noted.
Horton Hatches a Who (Seuss) – Grade level 2
*Who’s In a Family (Skutch)
*All Kinds of Families (Simon)
Blueberries for Sal (McCloskey) – Read aloud
*The Family Book (Parr)
The Story about Ping (Flack)
The Kissing Hand (Penn)
Sam and the Firefly (Eastman)
Grandfather’s Journey (Say) – Read aloud
Did CCCII’s people even read the books before approving them?
What are CCCII and the NCEA up to? Had the folks at CNS not pushed the issue, CCCII’s approved curriculum was ready to be implemented in the nation’s Catholic elementary schools. And what about all of those other books Mary Jo Anderson has challenged? Is it the same for the nation’s Catholic secondary schools?
Previously, The Motley Monk labeled the Common Core a “train wreck coming for Catholic schools…” and a “threat to the nation’s Catholic elementary and secondary schools.”
Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.
To read about the efforts on the part of CNS to question the Common Core, click on the following link:
To read Mary Jo Anderson’s article in Crisis magazine, click on the following link:
To view the CCCII’s original approved curriculum, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s previous post about the Common Core at The American Catholic, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s previous post in Omnibus concerning the Common Core and the threat it presents to the nation’s Catholic schools, click on the following link:
So, the headmaster of a Catholic high school is a “bigot” and he’s also “homophobic” if a member of his faculty applies for a so-called “homosexual marriage” certificate and states that he will go through with the so-called “wedding ceremony”?
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the answer is “Yes” if you are State Senator Daylin Leach (D-PA).
The faculty member in question is Michael Griffin. The high school in question is Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, PA, sponsored by the Holy Ghost Fathers.
Griffin, an openly homosexual Holy Ghost alumnus and veteran foreign languages teacher of 12 years at the school, and his “partner” of 12 years, Vincent Gianetto, who reside in Mount Laurel, NJ, applied for a so-called “homosexual marriage” certificate in New Jersey. When Griffin sent an email informing the school’s principal that he might be a bit tardy to a teacher in-service because he was obtaining a “marriage license,” the principal evidently informed the school’s Headmaster, the Rev. James McCloskey, C.S.Sp., who met later with Griffin. After Griffin acknowledged his awareness of his contract’s provision that all faculty and staff follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of employment and, then, indicated he was going to proceed with the ceremony anyway, Fr. McCloskey terminated Griffin effective immediately.
Griffin is perplexed. He has brought his partner to school functions over the past 12 years with no problem. At last year’s annual charity auction, the duo was seated at the same table as the principal, Jeff Danilak, and his wife. Griffin asks: What about teachers who have been divorced and remarried? What about teachers who contracept?
In that restricted sense, Griffin is correct. There are many administrators, faculty, and staff serving in Catholic schools across the nation whose conduct is contrary to Church teaching. Moreover, no one at Holy Ghost Prep—not even Fr. McCloskey—evidently had any intention doing of anything about Griffin’s living arrangements. But Griffin made the fact of so-called “marriage” known in his email to the school’s principal. At least that was one element of Fr. McCloskey’s rationale for terminating Griffin.
Administrators at Holy Ghost Prep have conducted themselves no differently than have administrators at many other Catholic schools across the United States. Call it the “Wink-and-Nod Policy.” That is, divorce and remarriage, practicing contraception, and openly homosexual faculty who live with their partners seem to be acceptable as long as those facts are kept private. However, should those facts be made public, the “contract clause” may be triggered. It’s one weapon in an administrator’s arsenal that can be implemented if and when moral issues involving administrators, faculty, and staff are believed to present a threat to a school’s Catholic identity and undermine it.
Griffin decided to publicize. He wanted his story to draw attention to the fact that while some municipalities within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have passed anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation, the Commonwealth has not.
Which brings this narrative back to State Senator Daylin Leach, who is now attempting to change the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Senator Leach’s proposed law would protect sexual orientation, removing any school’s right to hire/fire based upon mission. Leach told Philly.com:
Being homophobic is the last legally legitimate form of bigotry. The thing we hear is that we don’t need this because it never happens. This is a perfect example of how it happened.
While some might hail Fr. McCloskey for upholding the school’s Catholic identity and having taken a strong stand concerning Michael Griffin’s conduct that runs contrary to his contractual obligations, The Motley Monk doesn’t. Griffin’s firing was necessary, yes. But, it was the consequence of 12 years of benign neglect. It appears administrators and faculty (at a minimum) knew all along about the Griffin’s living arrangements and were quite accepting of those arrangements. This long-term “Wink-and-Nod Policy” at Holy Ghost Prep included allowing the duo to be seated together at the principal’s table for the school’s annual fund raiser.
Like many other administrators, faculty, and staff serving in Catholic schools whose conduct is contrary to Church teaching, Griffin said:
I feel like I do lead a moral life. I’m far from perfect but I feel like I do it to the best of my ability.
So, despite what the school policy or Church teaching might dictate, Griffin is proud of the way he lives his life. Later this December, Griffin hopes to call his longtime partner his “husband.”
That makes Fr. McCloskey a bigot and homophobe? Quite the opposite, that is, until Griffin violated the terms of his contract.
To read the Philadelphia Daily News article, click on the following link:
The stormy petrils at Santa Clara University (SCU) once again are singing their Siren song, according to an article in Inside Higher Ed.
As The Motley Monk previously reported, SCU’s President, Rev. Michael Engh, SJ, informed SCU faculty and staff in October 2013 that SCU no longer would provide health insurance coverage for elective abortions. In the letter announcing his decision, Fr. Engh wrote:
Our commitments as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the university’s health care plans.
As was predictable, the stormy petrils protested mightily. They believe Fr. Engh’s decision was inherently flawed, potentially setting an unethical precedent. How so? The expected refrain: Engh “did not consult the faculty first.”
Those protests evidently had a bit of an impact, as Fr. Engh decided to delay the policy from taking effect for one year. In a November letter to faculty and staff, Engh stated that while the decision remains “final,” delaying its implementation until January 2015 would allow the Faculty Benefits Committee time to explore third-party coverage options for abortions. But, Engh was steadfast: SCU would not pay for that coverage.
Predictably, that wasn’t good enough.
SCU’s Faculty Senate voted to call the health insurance policy change “invalid.” About this vote, the Faculty Senate’s President, Juliana Chang, wrote in an email:
The term “invalid” refers to the process by which [Fr. Engh] made the decision. Faculty believe that our shared governance structure means that the president should consult the faculty prior to implementing major policy decisions.
Due to the absence of meaningful faculty input, the Faculty Senate later drafted a three-part resolution condemning the decision submitting it to the 627 eligible faculty members for a vote.
Well, voting ended last week. The results were that the policy section of the resolution to invalidate the new policy passed 215 to 89. That is:
- a total of 48.5% of eligible faculty voted;
- 32.4% of the eligible voters voted for the resolution; and,
- 14.2% voted against it.
Professor Chang called the vote and turnout “unprecedented.”
Indeed, it was! The silent majority didn’t participate, rendering any conclusion about the vote’s significance “invalid.”
A professor of law and former Faculty Senate President, Margaret Russell, disagrees. Professor Russell wrote in an email:
I have a deep respect and regard for Santa Clara as a collegial and diverse intellectual and social justice community–which is one of the reasons why I think the Faculty Senate vote is so significant. (italics added) The vote shows that there is enormous disagreement with both the insurance decision itself and the peremptory manner in which it was reached and announced.
32.4%. “Enormous disagreement”?
Not allowing the negative poll results to dampen the minority’s spirits, one of the stormiest of the petrils, Professor Nancy Unger, sang her Siren again song in a recent San Jose Mercury News op ed:
Santa Clara faculty and staff are not members of a Catholic parish. They are employees of a large corporation. Many fear that this denial of comprehensive abortion coverage is part of a wider effort to allow private employers to impose their religious beliefs on employees, denying a raft of health care services from abortion and contraception to vaccines.
“Father knows best” is not a compelling argument here, especially when one man denies hundreds of women access to a procedure that he could never need. It’s also no principle on which to run a university.
The Motley Monk has heard this refrain so many times, it has become an earworm! If a president of a Catholic university or college upholds Church teaching in institutional policy matters, it’s denying women working at the institution their inalienable “rights” and, in this case, to “a raft of [so-called] health care services….”
Yet, all of this folderol at SCU may be rendered meaningless by the State of California.
According to an associate professor of law, Stephen Diamond, the new policy will be impossible to enforce under state law. Professor Diamond noted in an email:
HMOs in California are regulated by a statute which includes a multi-factor test for whether abortion is legally necessary. That test has long been interpreted to include all pre-viability abortions and so it is not possible for the university to institute the change the president has proposed.
The issue is far from resolved, irrespective of what Fr. Engh might hope or what song the SCU stormy petrils might sing.
To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s previous post, click on the following link:
For quite a while, The Motley Monk has been on top of the Common Core, concerned about its implications for Catholic schools.
Last September, The Motley Monk discussed some reasons why parents should be wary. In November, he pointed out why a number of Catholic school principals fear its potential impacts for curriculum. Also in November, The Motley Monk questioned whether the NCEA had embraced the secularist educational agenda of the Common Core irrespective of what those principals fear. The Motley Monk then followed-up with a post asking whether the NCEA’s President had put the proverbial “cart before the horse” by accepting money for staff development programs to implement the Common Core in Catholic schools from the Gates Foundation which is promoting the Common Core.
The Motley Monk is gratified that others are beginning to get the message and promote it.
- The Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation, Lindsey Burt, has written a commentary concerning the Common Core appearing in The Sunshine State News. Burke Believes Florida provides a perfect example of a state where national standards will hurt the educational system, not help it. So also with greater centralization. Burke would rather greater accountability to parents and taxpayers. More important insofar as Catholic schools are concerned, Burke believes that if the Common Core standards are fully implemented, school choice will end and the “public system will continue to receive a steady stream of dollars and students, no matter how poorly it performs.”
- Over at Commonweal’s blog, Paul Moses also writes of the threats to Catholic school identity posed by the Common Core:
The problem is that if the Gates Foundation and its allies take Catholic schools along the same path where they have led public education…that will fundamentally change Catholic schools and their Catholic identity, no matter how many cues about church teachings are inserted into lesson plans. Catholic identity goes much deeper than having tidbits of the Faith inserted into lesson plans….
The great strength of Catholic schools is their faith-based belief in human dignity. Studies have quantified how this philosophy of Christian personalism leads to higher levels of faculty engagement and concern not only for what students learn, but the kind of people they become.The nature of Catholic schools is “special” and shouldn’t be something given up too easily says Moses. Instead of treating students as persons with dignity, the standards “treat students like widgets” in an assembly line.
- Over at The Catholic Thing, David G. Bonagura, Jr.—a theology professor at St. Joseph’s Seminary in New York, says that “Catholic education ceases to exist” if Catholic schools adopt the Common Core. Yes, they will continue to have uniforms, religion classes, and charge tuition, but they will have surrendered their Catholic identity. Bonagura writes:
Catholic education begins on the premise that a loving, rational God created an ordered and purposed universe that points human beings back to Him….
In studying creation and all its features, including human beings and their works, we discover truths that shed further light on the mystery of God, the ultimate Truth….
With a “pedagogical method” grounded in the liberal arts—in which there is progression of stages from grammar to logic to rhetoric—the Common Core will upend a curriculum that supports the school’s identity.
The good news is that a number of dioceses—hopefully, the beginning of a trend—are getting the message and saying “No” to the Common Core.
The bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay (WI) has proscribed the Common Core. Also in Wisconsin , Common Core will not be part of educating youth in the dioceses of LaCrosse and Madison. In Michigan, the Diocese of Gaylord will not implement the Common Core. The bishops and superintendents in these dioceses are aware of the threat to Catholic identify the Common Core presents. The Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Gaylord, Charles Taylor, put it best when he observed:
[O]ur Catholic identity and formation remains at the heart of who we are and what we do; in essence teaching our students to recognize and pursue that which is good, holy, true and beautiful.
What the Common Core would require is that the teaching of religion be just one element of the curriculum, resulting in what Taylor calls the “dilution of Catholic culture and loss of identity that has been so lamented for nearly half a century.”
Hopefully, many other bishops and superintendents will “get it” and stop the “Common Core” train dead in its tracks before it makes a train wreck of Catholic schools.
To read The Motley Monk’s posts concerning the Common Core and Catholic schools, click on the following link:
To read Lindsey Burke’s op ed, click on the following link:
To read Paul Moses’ article, click on the following link:
To read David Bonagura’s commentary, click on the following link:
To read the Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay’s statement, click on the following link:
To read the Bishop of the Diocese of LaCrosse’s statement, click on the following link:
To read the Diocese of Madison’s statement, click on the following link:
To read Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Gaylor’s letter, click on the following link:
Sometimes The Motley Monk finds himself feeling irked when good intentions get translated into social policy and those good intentions end up hurting the very people who were supposed to be helped.
Why don’t the people holding those good intentions first consult competent economists about the unintended negative consequences that may follow once their much-cherished policy is implemented?
Consider the short-term negative consequences due to the roll out of Obamacare. Not the website, but what it has meant for real people. Like The Motley Monk’s retired priest-friend with advanced diabetes. His plan no longer will allow him to see his current doctor. Or, his neighbor who has a chronic illness. Her “substandard” policy was dropped. Now, she can’t afford the increase in the cost of her premiums if she were to sign up for what Obamacare calls a “standard” policy. Will The Motley Monk’s employer’s plan be cancelled next year when the mandate is implemented?
The Motley Monk recalls the testimony of the Chairman of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Justice and Human Development, Bishop William F. Murphy, before the United States Senate on May 20, 2009. In that testimony, Bishop Murphy laid out four assumptions which, he asserted, the USCCB hoped would “bring true reform to the nation’s health care system.” Those assumptions included:
- a truly universal health policy with respect for human life and dignity;
- access for all with a special concern for the poor;
- pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism, including freedom of conscience and variety of options; and,
- restraining costs and applying them equitably across the spectrum of payers.
The Motley Monk shares those assumptions. But, had they been subjected to rigorous scrutiny by competent economists, the USCCB might not have been so quick to make the critical deal with then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that made it possible for Obamacare to pass the House of Representatives. According to an Accuracy in the Media report, all the USCCB wanted deleted from the bill was abortion and artificial contraception. And they got that…at least for a while.
Prior to the passage of Obamacare, eminent economists were sounding the alarm that the so-called “Affordable Care Act” would have deleterious consequences. It would end freedom of choice in healthcare. Large large numbers of doctors would have to leave the practice of medicine or form “concierge” practices catering solely to people of means. The health insurance market would be altered in such ways that carriers would have to drop individual policies in the short term and perhaps corporate policies in the long term. And, despite all of the promises, millions of Americans would be left without healthcare insurance. Some economists even warned that Obamacare had the potential to bankrupt the United States within a couple of decades.
Having fallen for a political promise that would translate their assumptions into law, the USCCB—similar to most Catholic members of Congress—either didn’t read the bill’s contents or allowed their experts to tell them that Obamacare presented no substantive problems. It’s also pretty clear the economists the USCCB may have consulted failed to warn that Obamacare would ultimately hurt the very people Bishop Murphy and the USCCB were lobbying so hard to protect.
The outcome of those efforts?
Currently, 4.8M+ Americans have lost or will lose their health insurance (with perhaps 100M+ more to come, if competent economists are to be believed). Thousands of doctors have been dropped by health insurance carriers, are leaving (or likely to leave) the practice of medicine, or forming concierge practices. The doctor shortage is expected to grow, perhaps creating long waiting lines for people who need immediate medical care. Untold numbers of Americans cannot keep their doctors or medical treatments, as the President himself promised on many occasions.
There’s certainly a lot of blame to pass around on this one. And the USCCB certainly deserves its share of the blame. Why? They didn’t heed the warnings of those economists who were predicting these deleterious consequences long before Obamacare was enacted. Worse yet, the bishops may end up having compromised their teaching authority in the process.
This issue is not one that’s going to disappear any time soon. The Motley Monk intends to follow up this discussion with an analysis of some European nationalized healthcare systems to provide factual information about what people should expect as Obamacare continues to be implemented. So far, everything that eminent economists have been predicting (and more) has already transpired across the pond, despite what those who want to “Europeanize” the American healthcare system are stating to the contrary.
To read Bishop Murphy’s testimony, click on the following link:
To read Accuracy in the Media’s report about the USCCB’s role in passing Obamacare:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, the Omnibus, click on the following link:
If four critics are correct, New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan stepped into the middle of a mess when he said on last Sunday’s NBC’s “Meet the Press” that if not for the Obamacare’s treatment of undocumented immigrants, provisions that require Catholics to violate the dictates of their consciences, and abortion, Catholics would be among the loudest “cheerleaders” for Obamacare.
Concerning Obamacare, Cardinal Dolan said:
We bishops are really in kind of a tough place because we’re for universal, comprehensive. life-affirming healthcare. We, the bishops of the United States–can you believe it, in 1919 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal health care. That’s how far back we go in this matter, okay. So we’re not Johnny-come-latelys.
We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this. Where we started bristling and saying, “Uh-oh, first of all this isn’t comprehensive, because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and it’s excluding the unborn baby,” so we began to bristle at that.
And then secondly we said, “And wait a minute, we who are pretty good Catholics who are kind of among the pros when it comes to providing healthcare, do it because of our religious conviction, and because of the dictates of our conscience, and now we’re being asked to violate some of those.”
So that’s when we began to worry and draw back and say, “Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders.” And that, sadly, is what happened.
The Cardinal’s narrative didn’t set well with the President of the Media Research Center, L. Brent Bozell. In an interview with CNSNews.com, Bozell asked:
Who is the “we” in this conversation? Certainly not the Catholic Church.
It is simply untrue that the Catholic Church is one of Obamacare’s greatest supporters. It is simply untrue that the Catholic Church “wants to be” with Mr. Obama on this. It is simply untrue that the Catholic Church wants to be a cheerleader for a policy sold to the public through deceit, with projections that were false, and based on a formula that is guaranteed not to succeed.
I say this respectfully: Your Eminence, you speak for yourself here, not the Church.
Bozell is correct. Cardinal Dolan doesn’t speak for the Church, even when he was the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, Bozell went a bit far afield in his criticism because Cardinal Dolan specified three moral issues–lines in the sand, so to speak–that make it impossible for Catholics to support Obamacare.
The Cardinal’s narrative also didn’t sit well with the long-time Dolan critic, the President of the American Life League, Judie Brown. According to CNSNews.com, she said:
How dare he say that Catholics should be “cheerleaders” of Obamacare. He’s a pathetic example of a shepherd of the Catholic Church.
A bit strong, no? “Pathetic”?
Brown didn’t back down. The hierarchy’s failure to stand against the total opposition to Catholic teaching by prominent Catholics in the Obama administration–Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, specifically–and to unite their flock against the passage of Obamacare, means they now have to deal with the contraceptive mandate. She added:
[Dolan] is a media darling. They promote him as the preeminent Catholic speaker in the U.S. because they know what he’s saying suits their agenda, not what the Church teaches.
I’ve known Dolan for over 20 years, since he was the archbishop of Milwaukee, and it has not been what you would call a friendly relationship. That’s because I was one of the original authors of the campaign to get the bishops in the United States to follow Canon Law 915 and deny Communion to people who were persisting in the public promotion of a grave evil, such as abortion. Cardinal Dolan has never agreed to enforce 915.
If the courts uphold the contraceptive mandate, Brown believes the hierarchy will back off. She predicts:
It’s so very sad. The Catholic Church has the ability to shut down the Obamacare mandate. It would go away if they shut the doors of every Catholic facility, but they won’t–and Obama knows they won’t.
Unfortunately, Ms. Brown misquoted Cardinal Dolan. He did not state that Catholics should be cheerleaders but that they would have been cheerleaders for Obamacare if not for those three moral issues. Who’s to know if Catholics would have been? Cardinal Dolan is entitled to his opinion.
Not one to shy away from voicing his opinion, the founder of Church Militant TV, Michael Voris–who believes Obamacare would not have passed if Cardinal Dolan and other members of the U.S. hierarchy had actively opposed it–had this to say:
I just continue to be deeply disappointed in [Dolan]. They don’t want to rock the boat. They run the Church like it’s a corporation. Less than five U.S. bishops said, “We will defy this.” The other 300 said nothing, and a good number of them quietly supported it. They won’t make the tough choices. They’re constantly siding with a pro-abortion, liberal, socialist-minded agenda.
The Faith has been watered down. It’s like the 11th Commandment is “Never give offense”–and the other 10 have been erased.
Voris is absolutely correct. When the hierarchy is divided and does not speak with a united and forceful voice, opponents of Church teaching are always more likely to prevail in the public square.
Then, there’s the professor of political science at Christendom College, Dr. Christopher Manion, who has been examining the relationship between the U.S. Catholic bishops and federal government. Ever since World War I, Manion believes, the Catholic Church and the federal government have been “joined at the hip.”
In the CNSNews.com interview, Manion cited a March 31, 2012 Wall Street Journal article in which Cardinal Dolan admitted that the Church’s sex abuse scandal “intensified our laryngitis over speaking about issues of chastity and sexual morality.” Manion said: “They lack fortitude. They haven’t taught morality in 50 years.”
Manion fears the hierarchy will back down concerning contraceptive mandate. He said:
I only pray they do the right thing under tremendous pressure. There is a powerful temptation not to, and reasons that can be easily rationalized.
If Manion’s observations about Cardinal Dolan and the U.S. hierarchy are correct, for the past five decades the nation’s bishops have not been obsessing over social issues. Many disagree with that opinion.
The banner headline resulting from the “Meet the Press” interview was Cardinal Dolan’s statement that Catholics had been “out-marketed” in the battle over so-called “homosexual marriage.” But, the real headline is the opposition his statement that Catholics would have been “cheerleaders” for Obamacare–excepting three moral issues–has stirred. Unfortunately, much of that criticism is unwarranted.
To read the CNSNews.com article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
If liberalism was a religion, it’s parishes would be the nation’s public schools and its catechism would be the curriculum. Any evidence of their failure would be systematically denied, if only because “What happens in church must stay in church!” or “Who are you to question what we teach?”
Sounds a little bit like the Catholic clergy abuse scandal, no?
Back to the point. A short while back, Allison Benedikt published an article in Slate entitled “If You Send Your Child To A Private School, You Are A Bad Person.” Ms. Benedikt basically argues that parental choice in terms of what school their children should attend is a very bad thing, evidencing not “murder bad” but “pretty bad” parents. She writes:
If every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve…It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
What a gem of logic!
- “it could take generations“…(in English) parents should subject the children of this generation to a subpar education that results in high dropout rates and poor tests scores.
- “Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime“…(in English) education doesn’t really matter in the short run so providing a subpar education in this generation really won’t matter.
- “for the eventual common good“…(in English) we are all in this together, comrades, enduring a little short-term pain for some long-term hopium is a good thing.
Benedikt believes the body politic would do impoverished children a great favor by keeping them trapped in a failed educational system (especially in the nation’s urban areas) if only the body politic would pour all of its children into that system.
That’s nothing more than liberalthink! If the rich get all of the goods, the poor will suffer. So, let’s distribute the suffering equitably by tossing every child into the same failed system. Then, the long-term good will eventually be achieved.
What Ms. Benedikt’s ideology disallows is the fact that per-pupil spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools has increased 18% between 2000 and 2010. Today, there are more teachers, more reading specialists, more social workers, more assistant principals and principal, and yes, more computers.
But, guess what?
For that investment of an additional $1.9+B on the part of 48% of the body politic, standardized test scores have not improved. Except for many of those impoverished students whose parents have taken advantage of various voucher schemes.
When parents are allowed to choose where their children will get the best education–giving the “public” choice–marketplace competition produces better results than a government monopoly.
The Motley Monk wouldn’t ever call Ms. Benedikt “a very bad person” because she believes in the ideology of public education. That would be an illogical, ad hominem argument. Deluded, perhaps, Misguided, perhaps. But, not a “murder bad” or “pretty bad person.”
To read Allison Benedikt’s article in Slate, click on the following link:
To read the NCES report on spending in the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
When it comes to controversy, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield (Illinois) is no stranger. This prelate is fearless when defending Church teaching.
According to Breitbart.com, Bishop Paprocki will perform the Rite of Exorcism on Wednesday, November 20, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception located in the state capital. The rite is officially being called “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage.” Bishop Paprocki believes that so-called “homosexual marriage” is the work of the devil and, in this instance, Satan not only can inhabit people but also can invade the Church and the government. He said:
We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our Church.
On the same day as the Rite of Exorcism, Illinois’ Governor–himself a Roman Catholic, Pat Quinn, is scheduled to sign Illinois’ homosexual marriage bill into law.
Bishop Paprocki’s rationale for leading this particular Rite of Exorcism is to follow in the footsteps of Pope Francis who, as an archbishop in Argentina, called the country’s legalization of homosexual marriage “a move of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.” The Bishop said:
The Pope’s reference to “father of lies” comes from the Gospel of John, where Jesus refers to the devil as “a liar and father of lies,” so Pope Francis is saying that same-sex marriage comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.
As The Motley Monk reported in a previous post, it was Bishop Paprocki who used the “b” word to describe praying for so-called homosexual marriage (“praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous“) .
The Motley Monk is now wondering how long it will take before the Rainbow Sash Coalition denounces Bishop Paprocki for following in the Holy Father’s footsteps?
To read the article in Breitbart.com, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
During the past summer, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller, wrote two articles concerning Church teaching as it relates to divorce and remarriage among Catholics in a German journal. A slightly reworked text was later published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
Then, on his return flight to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis casually mentioned—in off-the-cuff remarks to reporters—that the Church might consider the Orthodox approach, looking toward divine economy (God’s mercy) to resolve the pastoral problem posed by divorce among Catholics. When that comment hit the press, it set off a flurry of speculation that the Church might admit divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments.
An office of the Archdiocese of Freiburg ran with the idea, formulating a 14-page pastoral policy and program that would pave the way for remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments.
That policy proposal earned a rebuke from Archbishop Müller. In a recent letter to the German bishops’ conference, Müller stated that if divorced and remarried Catholics are to receive the sacraments, they must conform to Catholic doctrine regarding the indissolubility of marriage. Müller specifically ruled out the Orthodox option implied in the Freiburg document, namely, a second marriage that is not “crowned,” because this option doesn’t conform to Catholic teaching.
While The Motley Monk would hope that a theological and canonical solution to the problem raised by divorce and remarriage among Catholics can be formulated—after all, it isn’t just liberal Catholics who have this hope—the recent pastoral solution proposed in Germany involves an important issue—call it a “head tax”—that liberal Catholics in the United States seem not to consider when advocating the adoption of a pastoral policy.
In Germany, the State collects a tax from every Catholic that is returned to the Church for the upkeep, maintenance, and running of its institutions. Many German Catholics who are in irregular marriages and can’t receive Holy Communion decide to stop participating in the life of the Church. As a result, the Church doesn’t receive the income it would otherwise receive from the State. If those marriages could just be regularized, the Church would reap the financial benefits.
This well-intentioned “pastoral” solution is, in part, a “financial” solution to the cost of maintaining the Church’s institutions in Germany. Archbishop Müller knows that and isn’t going to allow Church teaching to be compromised by financial gain.
Just to make sure everyone understands the Church’s position clearly, the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, had this to say about the Freiburg policy:
Nothing changes, there is no news for the divorced who remarry. The document comes in fact from a local pastoral office and does not touch the responsibility of the bishop. Therefore, it has jumped the gun, and is not the official expression of diocesan authorities.
There is no doubt that this pastoral problem is one Pope Benedict XVI wanted to resolve and Pope Francis seems bent on resolving. The problem with the many policies that have been floated for decades—each attempting to “thread the needle” by calling marriage “indissoluble” while allowing it to be “dissoluble”—don’t work theologically or canonically. Likewise, with the Orthodox solution proposed in off-the-cuff remarks by Pope Francis.
Marriage either is or is not dissoluble, with one exception, the Pauline privilege. And that fact presents problems for those who want it both ways.
That said, this story may have taken a wrong turn.
According to an article by Andrea Tornielli in La Stampa, the Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has criticized Archbishop Müller’s article, writing: “The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cannot stop the discussions.” Marx also described Archbishop Müller’s as putting a “fence” around Pope Francis’ “field hospital” of mercy.”
Why “a wrong turn?”
Cardinal Marx is a member of Pope Francis’ eight-member advisory Council of Cardinals whose task is to reform the Curia. It may be that the Holy Father has appointed a group of cardinals who may share his vision of the Church’s first duty towards those in society (and especially Catholics) who are wounded by evil. In the name of divine economy, this group may decide to treat and bind up old wounds irrespective of the problems that doing so presents.
At least, that’s what many liberal Catholics hope. Why should theology or canon law—or even, Church teaching—get in the way of how they feel?
To read the official Vatican transcript of Pope Francis’ off-the-cuff comments, click on the following link:http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/july/documents/papa-francesco_20130728_gmg-conferenza-stampa_en.html
To read Archbishop Müller’s letter to the German bishops’ conference, click on the following link:http://www.kath.net/news/43656
To read Andrea Torinelli’s article in La Stampa, click on the following link:
To learn about the Pauline privilege, click on the following link:
According to an article in Inside Higher Education, what began as a response to incidents of sexual assault at Duke University and the University of Virginia has evolved into a proactive program, the Hoyas Lead program, which joins Georgetown University’s (GU) Athletics, Academics, and Student Services divisions to teach GU athletes to get more out of their sport than just wins. In 2012, GU’s President, John J. DeGioia, created and funded the program using his office’s budget.
About Hoyas Lead, GU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Leadership and Development, Mike Lorenzen, said:
How do we find that balance? Are we just entertainment, or are we really using athletics as a means to a developmental end?
There’s a lot of hoopla generated by schools that are paying lip service to it but not really investing in a day-to-day, rubber meets the road, look the kid in the eye in a variety of situations and help them deal with their lives and capture the essence of their athletic experience.
Lorenzen believes that Hoyas Lead is well-suited to GU’s Jesuit mission, “Utraque unum,” which speaks to unity and educating the whole person.
Hoyas Lead began by bringing in an outside consultant who spoke with students about leadership. Now in its second year, the program has evolved into a comprehensive approach to athlete development includes a curricular component. Although classes are “required,” they’re not technically mandatory with about 140 of 150 new athletes signed up for them. By junior and senior year, athletes aren’t obliged to participate in Hoyas Lead. But, for those who want to do so through a more experiential-based approach, lectures and seminars as well as practical work such as working with kids, mentoring, assistant teaching, etc., are available.
This academic and co-curricular work is complemented by Lorenzen’s consulting teams on their athletic responsibilities. According to Lorenzen:
We have young people who are forced to deal with suffering, discomfort, dealing with adversity, success. They have to learn to follow, they have to learn to lead, and they do all of this in an ongoing, iterative process every day. If you believe that [athletics] truly belongs in higher education, it is a unique lab within which we can practice human development.
Reflecting upon the Hoyas Lead program, Lorenzen said:
At an institution like Georgetown, there is an almost institutionalized sense of inadequacy on the part of student-athletes who know that they got in here because they’re an athlete, and sit in class next to really smart people who got in because of their SATs and their GPAs. A lot of what we’re doing now is helping them see the value that they get out of their sport and reframing their participation in athletics as a really critical life skill.
The Motley Monk offers kudos to the GU Hoyas who have done something proactive to address the potential problem of athletes who commit sexual assault.
To read the Inside Higher Education article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link: