The Motley Monk
Last December, S. E. Cupp wrote an op-ed “A Pope Conservative Can Love” in the New York Daily News in which she stated:
While liberals will revel in ideas that Pope Francis is reforming the church to their liking, and condemning conservative values in the process, it’s actually fairly easy to see his mission as the opposite. He’s arguing for a church with limited powers, reduced bureaucracy and lean, local governing.
Conservatives should say “Amen to that.”
Having mulled over that thought for a while, The Motley Monk decided he can’t say “Amen” to that.
Ms Cupp’s lens for “conservative” in social, political, and economic theory, doesn’t apply to ecclesiology. That fundamental misunderstanding causes many conservatives to fail to call out the liberals in the Church who continuously argue for “limited powers, reduced bureaucracy, and lean, local government.” Doing so enables them to manipulate local bishops and dioceses into doing whatever they, the liberals, want them to do.
This is what happened in the Church during the “liberal” pontificate of Paul VI. The “conservative” pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict reversed this trend, re-centralizing doctrinal authority in Rome, where it belongs. That was good for the Church, and it was also conservative.
Conservatives should say “Amen to that.”
To read S. E. Cupp’s op ed, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
“Educational itineraries of encounter and of dialogue”: The new mission of Catholic higher education…
Many have said that Pope Francis would “shake things up.” They have pointed to his living quarters, cars, committee of cardinals to study reforming the Curia, founding the new dicastery for finance, and most famously, his “Who am I to judge?” statement. These provide all the testimony need to demonstrate that this Pope is indeed shaking things up.
There’s now more evidence.
At the recent Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Catholic Education, members discussed a series of issues:
- the reform of the Apostolic Constitution, Sapientia Christiana, which governs the Pontifical university system (Catholic universities chartered by the Vatican, not Catholic universities and colleges chartered by other nations or states);
- the recovery and strengthening of Catholic identity in all Catholic institutions of higher learning; and,
- the preparation of two major anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the II Vatican Council’s declaration, Gravissimum educationis, which called for a renewal of Catholic instruction and formation at all levels and the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution, Ex corde Ecclesiae, which describes the nature and mission of Catholic universities.
Ho hum. More pious platitudes about providing an “integral formation” and strengthening Catholic identity.
Who’s interested in that? Certainly not many of those who administer and teach in the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges. They routinely interpret Vatican statements concerning Catholic education to fit their progressive secularist agenda or ignore those statements altogether.
However, those weren’t the topics on Pope Francis’ agenda when he addressed the Plenary Assembly. Of many things the Pope told participants, he expressed his desire that they
…be involved in educational itineraries of encounter and of dialogue, with a courageous and innovative faithfulness that is capable of bringing the different “souls” of a multicultural society together with Catholic identity.
What’s this? “Itineraries of encounter and dialogue”? A “courageous and innovative faithfulness”? “Bringing different ‘souls’ of a multicultural society together with a Catholic identity”?
It’s difficult to know what Pope Francis means, as the terms he used could mean many different things to many different people and be invoked to quite different ends.
Take the phrase “courageous and innovative faithfulness,” for example.
Liberal Catholics could interpret it to justify continuing their experiments in Catholic thought and practice that undermine Catholic doctrine. It takes courage and innovation to move beyond the confines and limitations of doctrine, they would argue. Consider, for example, their research and calls for change in Church teaching about so many moral issues–including divorce and remarriage, so-called “homosexual marriage,” and women’s ordination–and being rebuffed at the highest levels of the Vatican, especially the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Just ask Father Charles Curran.
Conservative Catholics could interpret that phrase to justify a greater emphasis upon doctrine in Theology courses as well as reining in many of the so-called “progressive” trends in U.S. Catholic higher education during the past five decades. It takes courage and innovation stem the tide of secular progressivism that has diminished Catholic identity in those institutions, they would argue. Consider, for example, the national culture of Catholic higher education as well as many of those institutions where conservatives are marginalized, if not mocked for their fidelity to Church teaching. Just ask the folks at Wyoming Catholic College or conservatives at institutions like the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown, DePaul, Gonzaga, and the University of San Francisco, among others.
Is it possible that the Holy Father thinks both are forms of courage and innovative faithfulness?
The Motley Monk thinks not.
In this instance, however, the Pope’s choice of terms has muddied the waters more than they have been for the past five decades. In doing so, the Holy Father may have unintentionally emboldened the secular progressivists in U.S. Catholic higher education. Now, their lemmings over at National Catholic Reporter will endeavor to convince more and more folks that they are the authentic interpreters of Pope Francis’ statements concerning Catholic higher education.
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
Despite the Siren song of the stormy petrils, a Bay Area News Group article reports that the Board of Trustees of Santa Clara University (SCU)—a Jesuit university—has upheld its decision last year to terminate elective abortion healthcare coverage for employees beginning January 1, 2015.
In a statement issued February 14, Board Chairman Robert Finocchio wrote:
In making the decision, the President carried out this duty. The decision was not a decision of condemnation or of exclusion, but rather one that flows from the University’s identity and mission as a Jesuit, Catholic university.
In his statement, Finocchio merely reiterated what the Board had stated previously when Fr. Engh announced the Board’s decision last fall.
As was entirely predictable, Fr. Engh’s announcement didn’t set well with SCU’s Faculty Senate, which objected strenuously. Members claimed that the Board’s new policy sent several messages: the Board doesn’t value diversity (not all employees support Church teaching), the Board doesn’t value inclusivity (having excluded faculty leaders from the process), and the Board was imposing Catholic doctrine on employees (many are not Catholic).
Addressing the protests, Fr. Engh announced a delay in the benefits change until January 2015. The extra year, he said, would allow the Faculty Senate to review the new policy and study options beyond SCU’s healthcare plan.
That said, in this round, the decision has been made. The Board didn’t reverse it, despite the Siren song of the stormy petrils.
Isn’t it refreshing to read that members of the Board of Trustees of a Catholic university are upholding their sacred trust? Would that members of the boards of every institution of U.S. Catholic higher education had as much spine!
Come to think of it: Why do so many of Board members live in mortal fear of and cower before the stormy petrils who charge them with not being diverse and inclusive as well as with imposing Church doctrine on employees? Or, is the real truth that many Board members actually side with the stormy petrils?
To read the Bay Area News Group article, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
Given the outcry on the part of the stormy petrils and length of the article in the National Catholic Reporter Online (NCR), one would think the world had come to an end.
At least, according to the “narrative.” It seems as if everything today is about a “narrative.”
Consider the angry narrative providing the subtext of the NCR article.
On January 13, 2014, Archbishop Michael Sheehan of the Santa Fe Archdiocese told the pastor of Aquinas Newman Center that the Dominicans’ service would be terminated on June 30, 2014. Worse yet, the ham-handed, conservative Archbishop issued this edict allegedly without any prior consultation. And, rubbing some salt into the ecclesial wound he was unnecessarily inflicting upon all of the Center’s students and parishioners, the Archbishop stated in the press release he issued announcing the change that two “fine young priests” of his Archdiocese would be replacing the Dominicans. (The latter obviously aren’t “young” and perhaps will be touted as victims of age discrimination.) Those two priests include the Archdiocese’s vocation director and University of New Mexico (UNM) alumnus, Fr. Michael DePalma, who will serve as pastor. The parochial vicar will be Fr. Simon Carian, 26. Ordained last year, Carian is a University of Notre Dame alumnus currently studying medical ethics in Rome.
Why the change?
Consider Archbishop Sheehan’s pastoral narrative which added fuel to the angry narrative. In his press release, the Archbishop stated:
Having Archdiocesan priests at the Newman Center will enhance relations with the Archdiocese’s pastors and parishes of whose young adults attend [UNM], as well as promote diocesan vocations.
The angry narrative’s reaction?
To paraphrase: The nerve of His Excellency! This is the post-Vatican II Church, not the patriarchal and triumphal post-Tridentine Church! That man has no right to remove our beloved Dominicans. For gracious sakes, he even dumped the name “Aquinas” that has been in the Center’s title for as long as everyone can remember. Hrrumphhhh….
Some background information concerning the two narratives.
The Dominicans have served UNM’s Aquinas Newman Center in Albuquerque since 1950. The Center currently serves more than 500 UNM students and 750 families. One Mass is offered daily and five Masses are offered on Sundays. The Center also provides campus ministry, parish social groups, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and service opportunities.
Now, in light of these competing narratives, what may be the real narrative: Archbishop Sheehan is well aware of the success many Newman Centers across the nation are having in fostering vocations to the priesthood, especially those centers where “young” priests serve. The Dominicans never had much success in this regard during their 60+ years of service at the Center. So, the Archbishop decided to staff the Newman Center with his men and have them run it in the style that has demonstrated success at other universities and colleges.
That has the stormy petrils in an uproar. An allegedly “pre-Vatican II” bishop is seeking to destroy the “Pope Francis Church” the Dominicans have constructed and which parishioners seem to enjoy very much. After all, one subtext to the angry narrative is that parishioners must enjoy going to Mass (or “services” as the NCR article called them). As the Newman Center’s current pastor, Fr. Dan Davis, OP, opined:
The parishioners are very progressive, very intellectual, and they resonated with the way we preached. The Newman Center tends to be a conglomeration of disenfranchised Christians from around the city–which confirms the very things that the bishop is contesting.
In an email circulated to parishioners, a former UNM student and longtime Center parishioner, Chuck Wellborn, provided some additional details:
The Archbishop has made critical statements about our parish to others in the Archdiocese….These comments suggest that he believes our parish is insufficiently doctrinaire. It is certainly true that the Newman Center attracts parishioners with a wide variety of backgrounds and views, in particular university students and faculty. In that sense, our parish is quite dissimilar and perhaps more liberal in its thinking than at the Archdiocese’s non-university parishes.
Is that what has the stormy petrils in an uproar? A Newman Center that was intended primarily to serve students’ religious, spiritual, and moral needs has developed into a parish that operates as a “quasi-exempt” institution in the Archdiocese, meaning “operating parallel to but not necessarily in tandem with the Archbishop and his clergy.” And now, Archbishop Sheehan is quashing that long-term “arrangement.”
Despite the anger espoused by Fr. Davis and parishioner Wellborn, not all are happy with the current arrangement and support the Archbishop’s decision.
For example, on January 13, a UNM student, Colt Balok, posted a picture on his Facebook page of himself having dinner with Archbishop Sheehan. Balok captioned the picture, “I had a great dinner with Archbishop Sheehan tonight. UNM, he has some great news for us Catholics!” Then, in a Letter to the Editor printed on January 29 in the Daily Lobo, UNM’s student newspaper, Balok said:
…[the Newman Center] needs to be a place where the body and blood of Christ is adored and worshipped, not a place where the altar servers wear polo shirts and fail to honor and respect our Lord Jesus Christ….Thank you, Archbishop, for making the Newman Center Catholic again. My friends and I will no longer have to travel to other parishes to attend Mass.
Good for Archbishop Sheehan!
The Motley Monk would observe that His Excellency has every right to provide UNM students a religious, spiritual, and moral home in a way that fits his overall pastoral plan and its objectives. One objective is to increase the number of vocations to the diocesan priesthood so that UNM students will continue to be served by the Archdiocese. And, the Archbishop has every right to staff it with his men who will run it in the way the Archbishop desires.
Given the demographics, archbishops and bishops across the United States no longer can depend on the religious communities of men to provide manpower, especially manpower that is not self-sustaining. Now is the time to envision the future, not to look backwards in hope that the 1960s and 1970s will return.
To read the National Catholic Reporter Online article, click on the following link:
Planned Parenthood is constructing a new $42.M, 8k-square foot building in New Orleans.The City of New Orleans has already approved the construction permit and the facility is scheduled to open later this year. It is estimated that 30 abortions will be able to be performed each day at the facility.
Archbishop Gregory M, Aymond of the Archdiocese of New Orleans isn’t taking the news sitting down, taking direct aim at the facility in a letter published in the Archdiocesan newspaper, the Clarion Herald.
“We cannot be silent in view of the grave injustice presented by the abortions that will be performed at the Planned Parenthood facility,” Aymond wrote. “The Archdiocese is obliged to remind every person and organization involved in the acquisition, preparation, and construction of this or any abortion facility that they are cooperating with the evil that will take place there.”
Not mincing his words, Archbishop Aymond fired off a unique first salvo:
For this reason, the Archdiocese, including the churches, schools, apartments for the elderly and nursing homes, will strive in its privately funded work not to enter into business relationships with any person or organization that participates in actions that are essential to making this abortion facility a reality.
This policy applies to all businesses, regardless of religious affiliation or non-affiliation. Our fidelity to Church teaching and our conscience necessitates this stance. There is no justification, including economic hardship that will make a direct or indirect relationship with Planned Parenthood, or any abortion provider, acceptable. Additionally, affiliation or support of Planned Parenthood by Catholics is a matter of serious scandal. (emphasis added)
In his final salvo, Aymond noted:
There are many issues, from violence in the streets to poverty, which hurt this community. A regional abortion center will not solve our problems; it will only create more….We hope that the community invested in the City of New Orleans and in her future will join us in standing for life, not more abortion. All citizens of the New Orleans area must stand together for a peaceful community, not one with more abortion and more Planned Parenthood.
Kudos to Archbishop Aymond! His Excellency not only is attention to the facility, but also calling upon Catholics and non–Catholics alike to use their economic clout in the cause of life. Pressuring those who have or will be participating in this grave evil by entering into direct or indirect business relationships with the facility is a very clever way to challenge Catholics, in particular, to put their faith into economic practice.
How’s that for some authentic Catholic social justice?
To read Archbishop Aymond’s letter, click on the following link:
Liberal American Catholics are in for one, big surprise. The Pope who is expected to change everything–Pope “Wunnerful”–isn’t quite the liberal they hope he is.
The Rolling Stone magazine cover naming Pope Francis its “Person of the Year for 2013″ along with its banner headline, “The Times They Are a-Changin,” is yet another instance of the mainstream media proclaiming the singular liberal American Catholic hope. Namely, that the Pope’s views concerning homosexuality, the ordination of women, and economics are more closely aligned with liberal American Catholics.
Unfortunately, mainstream media proclamations, like the Rolling Stone magazine cover, are based upon little substance.
What liberal American Catholics do “get” is that their views concerning most moral issues contradict Church teaching. Yet, they live in hope that Pope Francis will emerge one day on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica having withstood the power being wielded by all of those “curial careerists” and announce to the world that he’s returning the Church and its teaching to the people. The “Pope of the People”…Pope Wunnerful.
On this score, liberal American Catholics couldn’t be more wrong, in The Motley Monk’s opinion. Hints in papal pronouncements already have and increasingly will clarify this is the case.
Of greater interest to The Motley Monk is what liberal American Catholics “don’t get.” Namely, that Church teaching about economic systems is as suspicious of socialism as it is of capitalism.
For example, liberal American Catholics jumped upon Pope Francis’ statement in Evangelium gaudiam–“trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market alone, will succeed by itself in bringing about greater justice” [the correct translation]–to be a denunciation of capitalism. Correctly translated and read carefully, there is no denunciation. Pope Francis–as did John Paul II and Benedict XVI before him–is correctly teaching that unfettered capitalism is as much of a corruption as is unfettered socialism. That represents very sound teaching.
This strand of Church teaching began with Pope Leo XIII who, in 1891 condemned socialism. He wrote:
And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. (#15)
One century later, Pope John Paul II viewed capitalism as a potential force for good. Yet, he wrote in 1991:
It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. But this is true only for those needs which are ‘solvent’, insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are ‘marketable’, insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price. But there are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish….
If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy”, “market economy” or simply “free economy”. But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative….
The Marxist solution has failed, but the realities of marginalization and exploitation remain in the world, especially the Third World, as does the reality of human alienation, especially in the more advanced countries. Against these phenomena the Church strongly raises her voice. Vast multitudes are still living in conditions of great material and moral poverty. The collapse of the Communist system in so many countries certainly removes an obstacle to facing these problems in an appropriate and realistic way, but it is not enough to bring about their solution. Indeed, there is a risk that a radical capitalistic ideology could spread which refuses even to consider these problems, in the a priori belief that any attempt to solve them is doomed to failure and which blindly entrusts their solution to the free development of market forces. (Centesimus Annus, 1991, #42)
Once again, what John Paul II described as a “radical capitalistic ideology”–one lacking an “ethical and religious” core–is a corruption.
At the Inaugural Session of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Carribean in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI stated:
Both capitalism and Marxism promised to point out the path for the creation of just structures. And this ideological promise has proven false….Capitalism leaves a distance between rich and poor…giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity. (#4)
On this score, liberal American Catholics are simply wrong. Pope Francis hasn’t promoted their economic agenda. Instead, the Pope has reiterated consistent Church teaching.
Hope all they want, liberal American Catholics just “don’t get it” when it comes to Church teaching concerning economics because they have adopted the socialist critique of capitalism as a core dogma of their faith. As a result, liberal American Catholics cannot appreciate that Church teaching concerning economics hasn’t taken sides in debates about the superiority of one economic system over another. Instead, the Church has examined and critiqued two economic systems in particular, socialism and capitalism, to ensure that they serve people rather than at as their masters.
In the end, liberal American Catholic are desirous of a unilateral embrace of socialism and a unilateral condemnation of capitalism, which makes The Motley Monk wonder: Isn’t it strange how Rush Limbaugh is now their best pal for peddling their hope, as he falsely opines that Pope Francis is a Marxist and is undoing Church economic teaching? In this regard, Rush is mind-numbed because he hasn’t studied Church teaching carefully.
When it comes to Church teaching concerning economics, the times, they aren’t a-changin’, despite what the editors of Rolling Stone and other mainstream media outlets proclaim. Pope Francis isn’t going to emerge from the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as Pope Wunnerful.
To read Pope Leo XIII’s condemnation of socialism, click on the following link:
To read Pope John Paul II’s critique of socialism and capitalism, click on the following link:
To read Pope Benedict XVI’s critique of socialism and capitalism, click on the following link:
To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
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:
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:
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:
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: