Catholicism Has Rules?

Wednesday, March 4, AD 2015



Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels for the Church so frequently that I have name him Defender of the Faith, has a look at a “Catholic” who is outraged that teachers who teach at Catholic schools should be required to lead Catholic lives:

You know what would really be nifty, asks Christine Haider-Winnet.  If Catholic bishops would just quit running the lives of every single person in the entire world:

For several years now, we have seen a troubling trend in Catholic places of employment. Bishops are overstepping to meddle in employees’ personal lives. Firing competent, beloved teachers for same-sex marriages, requiring whole staffs to agree to statements calling contraception evil, and forbidding discussion of women’s equality in the church are now being included in morality clauses that administrators, teachers, and staff must sign.

The Reformation?  What the hell is that?

New contracts, like the most recent one in San Francisco, now govern whom one can marry, use of birth control and other reproductive choices, and in the most egregious of cases, what events one can attend and whom one can and cannot associate with. Attending your nephew’s wedding to his husband, or posting a congratulatory message on Facebook, could now cost you your job.

Hey, gang!  I heard that some German monk named Martin Luther just nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Haven’t read ‘em yet but I hear that they’re pretty spicy.

Perhaps the most disturbing part is the hierarchy’s claim that this is for the good of children. What our children need are good teachers and safe, affirming environments in which to learn and grow. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender role models and open, accepting communities are essential not only to the safety of our children, but to their growth and overall well-being. As research indicates, kids who are LGB or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity are up to four times as likely to commit suicide as their straight peers. Being in a community that rejects them increases that risk astronomically.

Yeah, but here’s the thing.  The ONLY job of Catholic bishops is to tell the truth.

What are Catholic school students to think when they see a beloved teacher fired for getting married?

That they forgot to find out where he/she was registered?

Or hear she lost her job for getting pregnant using alternative methods?

That Christ and Zeitgeist are not the same thing?

When it comes to employment, should not the focus be on professional competency? If a teacher can teach, shouldn’t he or she be applauded for this dedication and quality as an educator? Sifting through one’s private life in order to gauge doctrinal orthodoxy as a measure of job performance is disturbing and dangerous. Is this what our Catholic faith has come to? Is this the precedent we wish to set?

Well, yeah, insofar as the Catholic Church


and shouldn’t be forced to employ anyone whose life choices undercut its beliefs.

Let’s go at this bass akwards there, Chrissie.  If I ever went to work for your little group, “Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations committed to LGBT equality,” and started writing about how homosexual activity was a sin, how long do you think that I would I keep my job?  So “morality clauses” are nothing new.

Folks just have to have the correct “morality.”


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29 Responses to Catholicism Has Rules?

  • For what it’s worth, I am convinced after reading the opinions of CHRISTine, that Christians in America will be driven underground. Why?
    Because she, CHRISTine is not alone in her misguided opinions, and we have to many unholy and unworthy bishops and priests who would agree with poor lil’ CHRISTine.
    btw….I wonder if she’s aware of her names origin? That figure which is at the root of her name would and has said in the past; “Your sins are forgiven. Sin no more.” Not; “LGBT communities are a bedrock of virtue, a lifestyle that should be proud and worthy to be emulated.”

    Because society wishes to believe in False Mercy the Christian Church is doomed in America. She will be driven into clandestine Masses. She will survive, but dark days are ahead for Holy Catholic Church in America.

    Father John Hardon SJ (deceased) will have predicted this unreal and unbelievable truth if CHRISTine and her minions have their way.
    God help us.

  • “Sifting through one’s private life in order to gauge doctrinal orthodoxy as a measure of job performance is disturbing and dangerous. “
    One recalls the remark of Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister: “Things have come to a pretty pass, when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life.”

  • The First Commandment is Rule number one for Catholicism: ” I AM the Lord thy God.” and the Second Commandment: “Thous shalt not have strange gods before me.”
    Can there be any stranger gods than a person who cannot accept God?
    “Or hear she lost her job for getting pregnant using alternative methods?”
    Science has proven that the ovum gets to choose which sperm she will allow to enter and to fertilize her. Being punctured by a hypodermic needle as an experiment and forced to accept a strange sperm is not freedom but bondage. Christ gives us freedom. The Constitution guarantees freedom of association, especially for sperm and ovum to bring forth our constitutional posterity. Rape of the ovum is not scientifically decent.

  • One recalls the remark of Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister: “Things have come to a pretty pass, when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life.”

    Since I’m familiar neither with the saying nor the context, I guess I can only hope that Lord Melbourne was using “the sphere of private life” in much the same sense as the Clintonistas used to talk about fellatio in the Oval Office being a “private matter,” hopefully, albeit, for a less sordid reason.

  • “I object to people losing their job as a role model of a philosophy JUST because they disagree, publicly, with that philosophy!”
    Did I miss any of it?

  • Just the “I have a right to the job that you owe me!” bit. But that’s more implied than stated.

  • It seems Haiter-Wincet wants to do with the Church what they did with education (private and public).

    Quoted at Instapundit, Col. Kurt Schlichter: “Understand that the purpose of modern American ‘education’ is not to educate students. It is primarily to provide cushy, subsidized sinecures for liberal administrators and faculty while, secondarily, providing a forum to indoctrinate soft young minds in the liberal fetishes du jour. Actually educating students is hard, and a meaningful education is anathema to liberalism. In the liberals’ ideal world, the universities would simply fester with leftist nonsense and not even bother with trying to teach their charges anything at all. And today, it’s pretty close to being the liberals’ ideal world.”

  • Proposed topic for tonight’s “Various and Sundry” post: when was it, exactly, that religion was relegated to the private sphere and bedroom behavior* occuppied the public; and does that strike you as kind of topsy-turvey?
    *keepin’ it family friendly here

  • Or maybe she’s just taken Common Core to heart

    Kids are asked to sort facts from opinions and, without fail, every value claim is labeled as an opinion. Here’s a little test devised from questions available on fact vs. opinion worksheets online: are the following facts or opinions?
    — Copying homework assignments is wrong.
    — Cursing in school is inappropriate behavior.
    — All men are created equal.
    — It is worth sacrificing some personal liberties to protect our country from terrorism.
    — It is wrong for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.
    — Vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat.
    — Drug dealers belong in prison.

    The answer? In each case, the worksheets categorize these claims as opinions. The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a value claim and value claims are not facts. This is repeated ad nauseum: any claim with good, right, wrong, etc. is not a fact.
    In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths [emph. added].

  • “Clergy, or those laity in authority, who deliberately hire employees who do
    not embrace the teachings of the Church, are so lost to honesty that they
    would not know it if it came up and bit them on their bottoms.”

    My dorm roommate in my undergrad years was the childhood friend of a
    tight group of guys who were all graduates of a very expensive, very exclusive
    Jesuit high school. I recall being shocked when they told me about one
    Jesuit priest/teacher/administrator who would dismiss his classes on Fridays
    with the words “have a great weekend, and remember to wear a condom!”.
    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that every graduate of that high school that I’ve
    met is not only not a practicing Catholic, but they all seem to be uniformly
    contemptuous of the Faith. Gee, I wonder how that happened…

  • Col. Schlichter statement from T. Shaw post is worth a second look.

    Liberal administrators and faculty have their agenda and proper education takes a second to indoctrination of Left group think. Not long ago we witnessed this from the prof. at Northwestern and the student who questioned “homosexuality and so-called same sex marriage.”

    So. What is asking too much of someone who will be working closely with the Catholic Church? Hummm.
    How about their faith?
    Their beliefs?
    Their core values?

    Discrimination or safeguarding the faith?

    When the relativism fog blinds the masses it’s time to pray for a hurricane.
    At the very least a good strong gale.

  • Folks,
    Secular society will issue a backlash. Those working in secular occupations – especially those heavily regulated by the government (I work in such an occupation) – will soon be required to sign affirmations of belief in homosexual marriage, reproductive choice and the whole litany of liberal progressive manure. The consequence for not signing will be loss of employment and subsequent barring from the industry in which one had been employed. The reason to be given will be, “Unstable and untrustworthy individual due to intolerance and prejudice; person is an extremist and constitutes a national security risk.” This will happen. People who work in industries such as nuclear power, airlines, medical, rail road, oil refineries, etc., will be treated this way. The liberal progressives, when charged with violating people’s First Amendment rights, will respond by saying, “You did it to a homosexual teacher at your Catholic school.” Then criminal court cases for hate speech and subsequent incarceration will follow. The Nazis and the Communists forced people to go down this road in the 20th century. It has always ended in torture and death before.
    Am I paranoid? Maybe. But after how that godless man of sin and depravity has wrecked the morals of the country over the past 6 years and Congress refuses to impeach him because he is the 1st black President (oh for a Colonel Allen West or a business man Herman Cain!), what are we to think?

  • Doubling down because of resistance to an attack is not a “backlash.”

    Backlash implies a change on the one being attacked, not a failure of a previous attack.

  • Perhaps you are correct, Foxfire. But whatever the case may be, just as orthodox Bishops are rightly requiring employees at Catholic institutions to support Catholic principles outside the job, so also will secular institutions force their employees – Christians, Jews, or whatever (but I suspect Muslims will be exempt) – to support the homosexual and reproductive rights agenda. It is already happening.

  • It’s been happening my entire life– they’re just getting more extreme and open, which I think is a good sign.
    I believe it’s called the march through the institutions, or some such.

  • Ernst Schreiber wrote, “The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a value claim and value claims are not facts.”
    This goes back to Hume, who argued that we cannot reason from a descriptive statement to a prescriptive or normative statement or, as it is usually expressed (although not by Hume) from an “is” to an “ought.” He did assert that “the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.” (Treatise on Human Nature 3. 1. 1)
    Miss Anscombe imagines a housewife, a disciple of Hume, explaining to her greengrocer: ““Truth consists in either relations of ideas, as that 20/- = £1, or matters of fact, as that I ordered potatoes, you supplied them, and you sent me a bill. So it doesn’t apply to such a proposition as that I owe you such-and-such a sum.”
    Hume’s argument opens up a whole series of questions; not only how we get from “is” to “ought,” but how we get from “is” to “owes,” or from “is” to “needs.”
    That is why Miss Anscombe maintained that “although he reaches his conclusions – with which he is in love – by sophistical methods, his considerations constantly open up very deep and important problems. It is often the case that in the act of exhibiting the sophistry one finds oneself noticing matters which deserve a lot of exploring: the obvious stands in need of investigations as a result of the points that Hume pretends to have made… hence he is a very profound and great philosopher, in spite of his sophistry.”

  • Ernst Schreiber- If they have the “vegetarians are healthier” listed as an opinion, then they’re flatly wrong. It’s a statement of fact. (Most likely false, but it is a statement of fact.)
    Some of the others can be argued, but…well, let’s just say I’m glad the Navy gave me enough college credits that I’m allowed to homeschool.

  • One of the disheartening aspects of Catholicism over the past few decades is how many people draw a check from the Church, clergy and laity, and give every sign of not believing what the Church teaches.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    Bishop means “overseer”. When such things happen, bishops aren’t doing their job. But dabbling as Social Justice Warriors is soooo much more fun! Bishops dabbling in anti-death penalty politics after failing to warn their flocks against turning America into an Obamanation is but the latest example.

  • I agree with Philip that soon faithful Catholics will be forced to
    practice their faith in secret. However, our persecutors will be
    fanatical, modernist clergyman who are heretics, instead of the state.

    My hope, after I had been informed of Pope Benedict’s resignation, was
    that the Church would elect a no nonsense kicka__ pope, who would drive
    the Wuerls and the Bergoglios out of the Church, instead fanatical heretics
    are in control of the Church and the traditionalists are being driven out.

    I’ve heard some call Bergoglio, Hitler’s Pope. I prefer to call Bergoglio,
    Pope Hagee I.

  • Through reading the links in the post above, came across the following from Pope Benedict about the subject at hand. Good stuff. I encourage you to read it.

  • This is such a difficult debate to make any headway on. The secular side sees this as evidence of intolerance and theirs as a mission of love. The church sees this as stating the truth and proclaiming the Gospel. I don’t see any easy answers, but there is an answer… Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ by leading with the love of Christ. Humble , gentle and with reverence This is what St Peter taught us in his letter ( 1Peter 3:15) so that when maligned, those who defame your good works in Christ will put to shame. As did St Paul, 1Cor 13, if I speak in human and angelic tongues, but have not love, I am a banging gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have they gift of prophecy and I comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge ….but do not have love, I am nothing.

    It is the message, but also the delivery. The secular understanding of love is different, as is their understanding of marriage. Most people are sincere in their belief and it is a matter “Charity in Truth” as Pope Benedict described in his Encyclical. Sarcasm and satire have their place in this debate, certainly as a pressure release, but they do alienate those we wish to engage.

  • These are the same people that would show up at a HOG gathering on a rice burner and expect to blather on about their right to free expression.

  • Given the author’s hyphenated last name, I assume she is married. That being the case, would she see nothing wrong in hiring a nanny (hyphenates do rather tend to have nannies) who was constantly putting the moves on her husband? Rather doubt it.

  • I agree with John Peter and thank Barbara for Pope Benedict’s opinion.
    I think that a disrespectful tone and remarks are a result of fear.
    It was for me. Oh, and also pride.

    It helps me now to see those caught in what the church considers serious sin as one of my own children. To pray for them and to be kind.
    Christ asks us to be obedient and compassionate.
    It seems so much easier to be only one or the other.
    Unless we ask His help.

  • SouthCoast wrote, “Given the author’s hyphenated last name, I assume she is married…”
    Where I come from, hyphenated last names indicate inheritance of land or arms in the maternal, as well as the paternal line. Married couples never hyphenate each others’ names, for to do so indicates a claim by descent. A younger son marrying an heiress may sometimes apply to Lord Lyon for leave to assume his wife’s name and arms in substitution for his own, especially where her name and the name of her estate are the same e.g. Maitland living on the lands of Maitland.

  • Hypenated last names are also used by various Hispanic groups in the Military because of a tradition of having your mother’s maiden name as an additional middle name, which gets really ridiculous for their kids. Nicknames like “N-26” are not uncommon.
    Seeing as the name in question is “Haider-Winnet,” she is unlikely to be hispanic, and she apparently lives in Berkeley, California, so she’s not working on an English title or inheritance, either.

  • Ernst,
    I can appreciate the CC’s hypothesis, but I would be interested to know how the following would be classified:

    It is wrong to rape a child.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour and Foxfier, yes! yes! I know! *S* One of my hobbies is genealogy and I have Hispanic former-in-laws! But my point was, that those who see no problem with teachers in Catholic schools not adhering to Catholic standards might, paradoxically, have a problem with a close employee who did not adhere to their *own* standards. (They might, of course, argue that it is not “the same thing”. In point of fact, however, it is very *much* “the same thing”, i.e., a poisoning of one’s moral well.)

Sister Jane Tells It Like It Is

Friday, March 28, AD 2014

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel

In a testament to just how bad so much of what passes for Catholic education is today, note this reaction to Sister Jane Dominic Laurel preaching basic Catholic doctrine:

Charlotte Catholic High School has invited parents to a meeting Wednesday night to air concerns many of them – and their kids – had about a recent speaker’s comments about homosexuality, divorce and single parents.

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a Dominican nun based in Nashville, Tenn., addressed a student assembly on March 21. Days later, some students launched an online petition that called her comments “offensive and unnecessarily derogatory.”

A record of the comments  was not available. But students attending told their parents she criticized gays and lesbians and made inflammatory remarks about single and divorced parents.

The petition, which has drawn more than 2,000 supporters, listed 10 objections to her remarks, including this: “We resent the fact that a schoolwide assembly became a stage to blast the issue of homosexuality after Pope Francis said in an interview this past fall that ‘we can not insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.’ We are angry that someone decided they knew better than our Holy Father and invited (this) speaker.”

Some students told their parents that a few teachers left the assembly in tears.

In addition, parents called for a letter-writing campaign, sending out emails that listed the addresses of the Diocese of Charlotte, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, even the pope in the Vatican.

Shelley Earnhardt, who is divorced and who sent one of the emails, wrote that “in my home, there was outrage, embarrassment, sadness, disbelief, and further reason for my 16-year-old to move as far away from her religion as possible and as soon as she can.”

Other parents faulted the school for not notifying them about the sensitive nature of Laurel’s planned remarks. “It’s too big of a topic for parents to be surprised,” said Casey Corser.

Diocese spokesman David Hains acknowledged parents were not told ahead of time that Laurel would speak. But he said she has spoken frequently in the diocese and has a doctoral degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

“We have seen the petitions, and we have gotten the emails,” Hains said. “And we really hope to be able to answer their questions and address their concerns” at the meeting, which he said will be closed to the media.

The Rev. Tim Reid, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, sent an email lauding the nun, saying “she represented well the Catholic positions on marriage, sex, same-sex attraction and proper gender roles … The Church has already lost too many generations of Catholic schools students to … a very muddled and watered-down faith.”

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105 Responses to Sister Jane Tells It Like It Is

  • Wait…. “Nun does talk on binding Catholic teaching in Catholic school; students and teachers outraged”?

  • Well, first of all, she clearly looks to me very threatening and dangerous. Just look at her. 🙂

    Second, this part of the school petition smells of other forces at work:
    “We resent the fact that a schoolwide assembly became a stage to blast the issue of homosexuality after Pope Francis said in an interview this past fall that ‘we can not insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.’ We are angry that someone decided they knew better than our Holy Father and invited (this) speaker.” I don’t think high school students alone crafted this petition. Some organization is involved.

    Now, thirdly: Let’s go macro:
    Going back to this summer, when the present pontiff announced his motto as the “Who-am-I-to-judge?-Pope on the flight back from Buenos Aires Youth Day in summer 2013, as well as since then, it has been obvious that we are on the road to schism, persecution, and profound conflict in the Church. A pope who uses unparalleled immoderate language at best, poisonously insulting at worst (“this priest is an unfruitful bachelor”; this religious sister is a “spinster” (Sept 30 America publication of prior interview); or, smearing traditional Catholics as “self-absorbed neo-pelagians”,; or, saying “But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people,”etc) –excuse my ‘dangerous’ impertinacity—is not the brightest pontiff in memory and is energizing enemies of the Church—for example, in this case, as they attack Sr Jane. Again, I cite PF’s failure to complete his Ph.D (only reported in German language news sources, such as Die Tauber Zeitung, by the way), and we can conclude as to why, just by reading his wandering, undisciplined thinking proces, for example, in Evan. Gaudium. I cite his weakness as leader, showing a clear insecurity in deferring to Kasper and Muller to define where the Church will go and what it will believe, and permitting confusion to brew like a hurricane.
    I have warned other Catholics, and they, in turn have—like a tuning fork on the same wavelength—warned me: it is time to take defensive measures, whether by withdrawing more and more from associations with parishes or dioceses, or by getting new employment in secular organizations, certainly by concealing one’s traditional Catholic beliefs, and/or also by retreating from associations with the general Novus Ordo world. In San Francisco area Catholic schools, it is now unacceptable to criticize the pan-sexual lifestyle (see:
    A certain South Bay bishop has defended Dr. Lisa Fullam at Santa Clara University for her pan-sexual-ethic advocacy as “Pope Francis’ encouragement for open and free theological discussion…of our different perceptions of the one truth.” It is different if you dont have a family to protect, but if you do, you must measure the impact that one’s faith position will have on them. And act accordingly. Soon it will be too dangerous to post. This will have to be one of the last.

  • I have met Father Tim Reid who lauded Sister Jane Dominic Laurel. I live in Charlotte. I have this to say to all those students and parents who do not like what she said: she is right and you are wrong. Homosexual behavior is sin and will send the perpetrator to hell. Adultery and fornication are sin and will send the perpetrator to hell. Do you want your children to go to hell? Sister Jane doesn’t and she therefore demonstrates greater love than you apparently do. If you don’t like that and want to continue in rebellion, then why don’t you go all the way and join the Episcopalian heretics. Think not for one moment St Paul or St John would tolerate your sickening and putrid liberal progressivism.

  • The Church has already lost too many generations of Catholic schools students to … a very muddled and watered-down faith.
    Good take-away quote, by Fr. Reid.

  • I would be interested to know the sum of the good works performed by the students at Charlotte Catholic, and particularly the sum of the good works performed by the students and parents who signed the petition criticizing a woman who has devoted her entire life to learning and sharing the Catholic message.

    What a bunch of bullies! I hope they have A LOT of good works in the ledger.

    Also, their rugby team sucks. Xavier will beat the hell out of them.

  • I just sent this email to St Ann’s:

    Dear Father Tim Reid,

    I saw this article about liberal progressives whining over Sister Jane Dominic Laurel telling the truth regarding sodomy, adultery and fornication.

    I assure you of my support and my prayers. Keep preaching the truth and tell Sister Jane to pay no heed to the critics of what she rightly said. She is a Deborah, a Judith, an Esther, and I say bravo.

    Deus te et Sororem Ianam in omnibus vestris operibus benedicat. Vester amicus in caritate Christi.

    Paul Primavera

  • I never heard any nuns talk like Sister Jane and Mother Angelica. I wish I did.

  • “A record of the comments was not available…”
    One would think that a frequent speaker (and a Doctor of Divinity) intending to deliver a controversial address would have taken the precaution of recording it or of reading it from a prepared script.
    I find myself recalling more and more often Maurice Blondel’s remark, more than a century ago now, “With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies that set Catholic against Catholic in every order–social, political, philosophical–is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities,” particularly in France. And that is manifestly abnormal, since there cannot be two Catholicisms.”
    Responding to a national survey in 1907, Blondel articulated his sense of the “present crisis”: “[U]nprecedented perhaps in depth and extent–for it is at the same time scientific, metaphysical, moral, social and political–[the crisis] is not a “dissolution” [for the spirit of faith does not die], nor even an “evolution” [for the spirit of faith does not change], it is a purification of the religious sense, and an integration of Catholic truth”
    These remarks were written just before the Catholic world was riven apart by Lamentabili and Pascendi on the 3 July and 8 September of that year; divisions that were only partly healed by the Second Vatican Council, despite the great work during the fifty years that preceded it of theologians like the Dominicans, Chenu and Congar and the Jesuits, Lubac, Daniélou and Maréchal and lay philosophers like Blondel himself and Maritain.

  • “One would think that a frequent speaker (and a Doctor of Divinity) intending to deliver a controversial address would have taken the precaution of recording it or of reading it from a prepared script.”

    Giving an orthodox talk on Catholic doctrine to high school kids is now controversial? How bizarre the world has become.

  • Steve Phoenix: “Well, first of all, she clearly looks to me very threatening and dangerous. Just look at her. :)”
    Sister Jane Dominic Laurel: a joy to share.
    “We resent the fact that a schoolwide assembly became a stage to blast the issue of homosexuality after Pope Francis said in an interview this past fall that ‘we can not insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.’ We are angry that someone decided they knew better than our Holy Father and invited (this) speaker.” I don’t think high school students alone crafted this petition. Some organization is involved.”
    Hatred of God is the “other issues” Pope Francis addressed in his speech. Who can love his neighbor if he hates God? God, WHO is love.
    The issue is not “homosexuality”. The issue is the free will act of sodomy, read “so dumb ye”, the practice, the violation of the created virgin, hatred of God. Desecrating the human being in existence by separating his body from his immortal soul is a disgrace, a sin and human sacrifice, more hatred of God. Contraception is separating God from His married love for mankind and is hatred of God.
    This group of malcontents has nothing but hatred of God venom to spew. What are they doing in a Catholic school besides trying to subvert the TRUTH? Get them the hell out.
    Thank you. Paul W. Primavera, Your letter is clear and effective. Glad that you sent it.

  • Donald R McClary wrote,”Giving an orthodox talk on Catholic doctrine to high school kids is now controversial? How bizarre the world has become.”

    I find it hard to believe that the response was entirely unexpected, for the reasons I went on to develop.

    Given the situation in which we find ourselves, what is the best way to address it? At the time of the Modernist crisis, Abbé Henri Brémond used to recommend only two books to the many would-be converts who came to him seeking instruction – the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and Introduction à la vie devote of St François de Sales. He often quoted Pascal’s “Voilà ce que c’est que la foi parfaite, Dieu sensible au cœur » [This, then, is perfect faith: God felt in the heart.] The convert, said Brémond, does not need book-learning, but the contact and certainty that comes through prayer.

  • – the Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis and Introduction à la vie devote of St François de Sales.” Perfect.

  • “Given the situation in which we find ourselves, what is the best way to address it?”

    By preaching the Truth continually and incessantly whether people wish to hear it or not. Combined with good works that has been a winning formula for the Church for a very, very long time. What has obviously proven a flat-busted failure is cowardice and the fear to preach the Truth for fear of offending some precious snowflake. That has basically been the policy of huge segments of the Church since 1965, at least in most of the West, with disastrous consequences.

  • I think it is in Oregon where a male vice-principal at a ‘catholic’ high school ‘married’ a man and was dismissed from his position for doing so and the young people were outraged. Catholic schools for decades have not been a place –in a general sense–for our youth to learn or remain Catholics. Thanks be to God, I had to remove my son from the ‘catholic’ school due to an abusive situation. My children, now in their 20s, are practicing Catholics but we know of only perhaps one other person from the class that is. They have been sold the secular mindset. The off the cuff remarks from this Holy Father only convince them of the correctness of their immoral thinking.

  • Donald R. McClarey: “the fear to preach the Truth for fear of offending some precious snowflake” –
    that word is snowfakes

  • This article reminded me of the following quote.
    In 1931, Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen wrote the following essay:

    “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance-it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”

    “Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory.

    Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”

    Bravo to Sister Jane and all those who teach the Faith without reservation. Souls are at stake.

  • Well, it looks like our education system under the guidance of the NEA has accomplished one of it’s goals; to turn the children of this country into good little Brown Shirts. You think this is bad wait until they ram through Common Core.

  • Steve Phoenix wrote: “I don’t think high school students alone crafted this petition. Some organization is involved.” It would not be surprising if this were true. Not one bit.

    I do have to disagree with Steve’s “macro view” prescription. Yes, there may be times when doctrinal forthrightness may be counterproductive. I think we all to some degree pick and choose our battles now. However, a complete disengagement of orthodox Christianity from the mainstream culture is certainly wrong. Be careful of despair.

  • Thank God for Sister Jane. I assume the assembly was planned and all, students and parents knew ahead of time what the topic was. However, that being said, a Catholic High School teaching Catholic doctrine is well within its identity and mission-did students and parents sign up for simply a better education? [this is a rhetorical and tongue in cheek question. The answer is obvious]

    I remember seeing a web site for a local Parochial school in which a parent complained that the education was great but there was just too much emphasis on Jesus. More of it.

    To your point Donald it is true there are many many Catholics who [and I am sure this would be a surprise to them] are not only not in full communion with the Catholic Church [teaching, sacraments and governance] but in all but factual schism. The sad thing however it is not just a phenomenon of so called ‘progressive Catholics’. Very very sad indeed

  • How perverse it is that a straight-forward presentation of Moral Truths by a straight-forward Catholic nun discharging her forsworn promise to spread the Good News evokes such bad responses from the “people of God”! This is a clear sign that indeed the devil has settled himself quite well with this people: even the Pope himself can be his spokesman (according to the protesting ones); and it is but a sign that guilty consciences are bursting at the seam to protest too much. God bless Sr. Jane and her work. St. Michael defend her in the day of battle. Amen.

  • I also sent an email to Fr. Reid expressing my support and prayers. I think everyone should do this. He needs it.

  • A few years ago, I was asked to conduct 35 two-hour presentations on basic Catholic theology at a California parish. At the end of the second session, the last question of the evening was about Church teaching on contraception. I believed the class of 115 were not ready to hear the answer and had hoped the question would not come up until I had time to build a proper foundation. The class agreed to extend the program 30 minutes to hear what I had to say on the subject. When I completed my explanation, I said to myself, “Half these people will not come back.” The following session had 65 attendees. I was disheartened. At the end of that evening’s class a woman came to me and said that she had been scheduled for a tubal ligation three days after the previous class. She and her husband had five sons and thought they had given God opportunity enough to provide them with a little girl. She told me that they had discussed the issue till 2 A.M. She happily told me that she had cancelled the appointment and would be open to life. Another woman explained that her husband had cancelled a scheduled vasectomy. A year later the husband proudly showed off his newborn son.
    While at the time, I reluctantly explained Church teaching, I subsequently realized the Holy Spirit had been in charge all along.
    We should always be ready to share the Faith, however, it should be done with compassion and tact.

  • Victor-
    Selfishness on the part of the dissidents.

    Blessed Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrapped up one of his “Life is Worth Living” sermons with this; ” Sometimes a cloud can hide a star. And sometimes our selfishness can hide God. Despite the clouds and despite our selfishness, the star still shines and God still loves.”

    That beautiful Sister is shining brightly. A living testimony that Truth can never be snuffed out. It will light this darkened world as long as the Holy Spirit still finds Chambers within men to dwell.

    men / women 🙂


    Notice the grades given to the religion instructors at the schools

    ” Rate my teacher” site.

    It explains the disgusting reaction from the students and parents.

  • Can anyone say Vatican II? Sister Jane is absolutely right. She has courage and grace.
    Can any of those people say where she was wrong on Catholic teaching? It has only
    been since Vatican II that the teaches of the church has deteriorated. As St Thomas More said, if you gain the world and loose your soul, what have you gained? God Bless Sister Jane!

  • In today’s world, an unborn baby is not safe in his mothers womb it should not surprise us that Lay and Religous Catholics are not safe in Catholic Churches, Catholic Schools etc. Very Sad that some can be so far off the mark.

  • Let me further clarify, by safe i mean more along the lines of not being verbally attacked for what we believe and feeling like strangers in our Holy Mother Church’s womb.

  • This article points yet again to how much work we have to Evangelize our own who think they are Catholics. Two or more decades of “it’s all about me and what I want” Catholics actually do not know what our Church teaches. How very sad and especially if they are raising children.

    I bet the parents wouldn’t have reacted if one of the LCWR who identifies as a catholic sister spoke. Of course, she wouldn’t be promoting Church teachings.

  • Justme wrote, “It has only been since Vatican II that the teaches [sic] of the church has deteriorated.”
    That is not my own experience. The teaching at my Catholic boarding school in the ‘50s and early ‘60s exactly mirrored the Anglican schools described by Mgr Ronald Knox – “I think, then, it should be said at the outset that public schools are trying to teach the sons of gentlemen a religion in which their mothers believe, and their fathers would like to: a religion without ” enthusiasm ” in the old sense, reserved in its self-expression, calculated to reinforce morality, chivalry, and the sense of truth, providing comfort in times of distress and a glow of contentment in declining years; supernatural in its nominal doctrines, yet on the whole rationalistic in its mode of approaching God: tolerant of other people’s tenets, yet sincere about its own, regular in church-going, generous to charities, ready to put up with the defects of the local clergyman. This religion the schoolmaster is under contract to teach; it is left to him, if he be a sincere Christian, to attempt the grafting onto this stock of supernatural graces which it does not naturally develop: self-sacrifice, lively devotion, worthy reception of the Communion, and so on . That is the proposition.”

    When, at about the age of 14, I encountered Olier’s Journée chrétienne, “It is necessary for the soul to be in fear and distrust of self; … It should make its pleasure and joy depend on sacrificing to Jesus all joy and pleasure which it may have apart from Him. And when taking part in those things in which by Providence it is obliged to be occupied, such as eating, drinking, and conversation with creatures, it must be sparing in all, must discard what is superfluous, and must renounce, in the use of them, the joy and pleasure to be found therein, uniting and giving itself to Jesus as often as it feels itself tempted to enjoy something apart from Him and not Himself,” it seemed to me almost a different religion.

  • The situation is much like that of the height of the Arian heresy, which much of the Church followed in the Fourth Century. It got to such a point, with even the Emperor supporting the position, that St. Athanaisus was considered the Empire’s most wanted criminal for clearly teaching the Catholic Faith.

    Now, it seems, the only thing our “tolerant” society will not tolerate is the truth plainly discussed and forthrightly defended. Would that we had more like Sister Jane and St. Athanasisus.

  • Well, it looks like our education system under the guidance of the NEA has accomplished one of it’s goals; to turn the children of this country into good little Brown Shirts. You think this is bad wait until they ram through Common Core.

    I will offer you an alternative hypothesis. One states a proposition with implications which in turn influence or govern one’s behavior. You have strata of human behavior, with some dispositions and actions deemed better than others. You also have prevalent attitudes and conventions and social intercourse in light of those. When the proposition conflicts with what is fashionable or conventional or in conflict with commodious living, crisis ensues in the mind of the person contemplating these alternative, and the expression of that crisis is emotion: a poorly reasoned indignation.

    It does not have much to do with the NEA. I could have at one time introduced you to a Seven Sisters graduate who was educated in fine urban public schools in the 1940s ‘ere the NEA ever functioned as a union and ‘ere there was serious conflict over school curricula. Her mind worked just this way.

  • Perhaps it is because I have reached the winter of my life that I have been preoccupied with my desire for eternal life. Not a day goes by when I do not review my conduct in light of the Gospel, and do my utmost to remain in a state of grace. In doing so, have an assurance of salvation.
    It seems to me that those who dissent from Catholic moral teaching must live in a continual state of flux; cognitive dissidence, if you prefer.
    One the one hand, they know, down deep, that the teaching of Jesus as promulgated by the Catholic Church is certainly correct. On the other hand, their moral compass has been shaped by the satanic view of the world and believe they can always confess – tomorrow.
    I am certain most of you will agree that our society is preoccupied with sex and self pleasure. Sexual intercourse is meant to be a sacred act, simply because God is involved. When God infuses the soul, a new human being comes into existence. When artificial contraception takes place, the act becomes profane, selfish, and no different than what takes place in a barnyard.
    I have read estimates that as many as 95% of fertile Catholics contracept in one way or another. In doing so, they place their salvation in serious jeopardy.
    We were created to live a holy life, rather than being slaves to sin. Being in submission to the moral teachings of the Church provides the “peace that passes all understanding.”

  • I have read estimates that as many as 95% of fertile Catholics contracept in one way or another. In doing so, they place their salvation in serious jeopardy.

    I remember reading the source for that at one point– they include all forms of the rhythm method (and thus NFP) in the estimate, plus I think things like hysterectomies that can be from actual medical care, not for sterilization. (Sadly, some religious even misrepresent vasectomies.) They also had to include baptized-never-practiced Catholics and nominal Catholics.

    It’s an attempt to manufacture an overwhelming force. Don’t stop fighting it, but recognize that it is NOT what they try to promote.

  • This is such a depressing report: a RC high school that doesn’t know or believe their own values. Sigh.

    I felt sick after trying to read the comments in response to the original article in the Charlotte paper. Comments from atheists and anti-RCs were not surprising and, thus, “easy” to stomach. What nauseated me were the comments from RCs, especially parents and former teachers. They made Judas appear saintly.

    I found a tonic to this situation in a post by Msgr Charles Pope:

    The local bishop would be wise to close this school and start over with new staff, administration. Or if that is not within his power, he should officially and disassociate the diocese from the school. This school apparently has experienced a major failure. In such a catastrophe, it is often considered prudent to pause and take stock to discover the cause of the failure and take appropriate action in order to prevent further occurrences or repeat disasters.

    Some may consider such action to be overly severe. However, we need strong, courageous RC leaders who are willing to BOLDLY speak out for the faith. Continued weak response by bishops and priests and nuns will only reinforce the misguided.

    Some may take refuge in that a dialogue session is scheduled for parents. While this is certainly an opportunity to reinforce RC teaching, it likely will be met with a similar response to Sr. Jane’s presentation.

  • Foxfier,

    While I am sure you did not intend to do so you included all forms of rhythm and NFP in the numbers of contraceptive Catholics. The rhythm method was approved by Pope Pius XI in
    1931 in Casti Connubii, and while NFP had not been completely discovered in 1968, Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae, in continuity with Pope Pius XI showed that ‘natural’ forms of the regulation of birth were not contrary to natural law.

    I would not argue that a selfish intent can indeed motivate those who use natural methods but no one should impugn those who with good intention seek to preserve the unitive and creative element of conjugal charity in the spacing of children.

  • Keep up the great work Sister Jane! Fight the Good Fight!

    Does anyone know how I can contact this beautiful nun so I can tell her how appreciative I am of her fearless efforts?

    Food for thought:

    “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” – C.S.Lewis

  • Humanae Vitae and Artificial Contraception

    There has always been a long-standing general Christian prohibition on artificial contraception and abortion, with such Church Fathers as Clement of Alexandria and Saint Augustine condemning the practices. It was not until the 1930 Lambeth Conference that the Anglican Communion changed its long-standing position by allowing for contraception in limited circumstances. All other mainline Protestant denominations have since removed prohibitions against artificial contraception.
    In a partial reaction, Pope Pius XI wrote the encyclical Casti connubii (On Christian Marriage) in 1930, reaffirming the Catholic Church’s belief in various traditional Christian teachings on marriage and sexuality, including the prohibition of artificial birth control even within marriage.
    Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical, Humanae Vitae concerning the transmission of human life, in which the longstanding teaching of the Church which proscribes the use of artificial contraception was reaffirmed. Promulgated on July 25, 1968, Humanae Vitae re-affirmed the traditional teaching of the Roman Catholic Church regarding abortion, contraception, and other issues pertaining to human life.
    This encyclical is the probably the most talked about of any papal pronouncement. Paradoxically, few Catholics have actually read it, and although the encyclical is not lengthy, nor difficult to read or understand, even fewer have studied it. Yet from the day it appeared it provoked reactions and debate of historic proportions. The work is divided into three chapters. Chapter I, New Aspects of the Question and the Competence of the Magisterium; Chapter II – Doctrinal Questions; and Chapter III, Pastoral Directives.
    In summary: The encyclical opens with an assertion of the competency of the Magisterium of the Church to decide questions of morality. It then goes on to observe that circumstances often dictate that married couples should limit the number of children, and that the sexual act between husband and wife is still worthy even if it can be foreseen not to result in procreation. Nevertheless, it is held that the sexual act must “retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life”, and the “direct interruption of the generative process already begun” is unlawful.
    Abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, is absolutely forbidden, as is sterilization, even if temporary. Similarly, every action specifically intended to prevent procreation is forbidden. This includes both chemical and barrier methods of contraception. All these are held to directly contradict the “moral order which was established by God”.
    Therapeutic means which induce infertility are allowed (e.g., hysterectomy), if they are not specifically intended to cause infertility (e.g., the uterus is cancerous, so the preservation of life is intended). Natural family planning methods (abstaining from intercourse during certain parts of the woman’s cycle) are allowed, since they take advantage of “a faculty provided by nature.”
    The acceptance of artificial methods of birth control is then claimed to result in several negative consequences, among them a “general lowering of moral standards” resulting from sex without consequences, and the danger that men may reduce women “to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of [their] own desires”.
    The encyclical acknowledges that “perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching”, but points out that the Roman Catholic Church cannot “declare lawful what is in fact unlawful”.
    “The teaching of the Church on the regulation of birth, which promulgates the divine law, will easily appear to many to be difficult or even impossible of actuation. And indeed, like all great beneficent realities, it demands serious engagement and much effort, individual, family and social effort. More than that, it would not be practicable without the help of God, who upholds and strengthens the good will of men. Yet, to anyone who reflects well, it cannot but be clear that such efforts ennoble man and are beneficial to the human community” (HV 20).
    The encyclical closes with an appeal to public authorities to oppose laws which undermine the natural moral law, an appeal to scientists to further study effective methods of natural birth control and appeals to doctors, nurses and priests to promote the method.
    Mainly because of its prohibition of all forms of artificial contraception, the encyclical has been controversial.

  • Botolph-
    if you read again, you’ll notice I was pointing out that the folks trying to pull an “everybody does it” argument had to include “not having sex” in with “break your reproductive system and/or mutual masturbation* to avoid pregnancy” methods.
    I very much dislike such equivocation, even if technically “contraception” might be hammered so that avoiding sex when you know you are likely to become pregnant would be included.
    * various barrier methods. Makes sense if you think of the mechanics involved.

  • Incidentally, NFP is not just a way to avoid pregnancy– it’s also good for getting pregnant, and in theory you could use it to slightly increase the chance of having a boy or a girl. I was able to help a friend conceive her first child with some of the more basic things.

    Really wish that they’d covered some of the stuff in “health class”– understanding one’s own body is rather important.

  • Foxfier,

    My apologies. Need to adjust my glasses better. Thanks for receiving my comment in the spirit I meant t. I was afraid people reading would think rhythm and NFP were forms of contraception which, of course, they are not. Thanks again.

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  • While the rhythm method and NFP may not technically be contraception, they are typically presented as “Catholic Birth Control.” Thus, promotion of NFP methods lead too many to assume that since NFP is okay then it is ok to use artificial BC because it is being used for the same end as (typically) NFP. After decades of promoting NFP to engaged couples, it is no wonder why so many dismiss RC morals and values as mere technicalities that are trumped by personal choice. Unfortunately, despite good intentions, many parishes have inadvertently “caused their brother to stumble” [Rom 14:21] by pushing Catholic Birth Control.

  • Botolph-
    Blame it on getting so mad your eyes cross; heaven knows it has that effect on me at times.
    On the upside, if they thought they were right, they wouldn’t cheat!

    I’d kind of like to see these parishes that push it… up until recently, I never even heard opposition to abortion at Mass.

  • Rather fittingly, this was in my email just now:

    Study controlled for other factors like age when first married, etc, and found that while “Christians” aren’t protected from divorce, active Christians are. (They used weekly attendance.)

    That makes sense, since the majority of the American population is Christian, so unless you’ve got a group of marry-and-divorce-daily non-Christians, the average is going to track.
    Unfortunately, we also have a large population of “Uh… Christian” whose faith isn’t fed and cared for, it’s more of a cultural background.

  • (Note: the “Uh… Christian” is not a “I’m dumb” type “uh,” it’s an “I’m thinking about it, give me a moment…guess I’d say I’m Christian” type answer. This is the internet, figured I’d mention that.)

  • red,
    NFP is not unqualifiedly good and can be used wrongly. The reason for this is subtle and needs to be stated carefully, because there is a popular, although erroneous, belief among some Catholic couples that NFP is “second best,” and that if a couple is seriously Catholic, they will not self-consciously plan the children they conceive, but simply “let God send them.” I do not mean to offend anyone’s practices, but this “come what may” attitude is found nowhere in Catholic teaching on procreation in the last 150 years. There is no decision more serious to a Catholic couple than whether or not to participate with God in bringing a new human person into existence. The more serious a decision, the more it is due prayer, discussion and discernment. God has a plan for every married couple; that the plan includes how many children they should have; and therefore if a couple is concerned about doing Jesus’ will, they should try to discover whether Jesus wishes them to have more children. They should have all the children that Jesus wants them to have, no less, and no more. Therefore, whenever they are conscious that they might become pregnant, they should discuss and pray over the question: “Does Jesus want us to have another child?” The idea that this question is intrinsically tainted with selfish motives is rigoristic and should be rejected. Every potentially fertile couple, as well as infertile couples capable of adopting, has the responsibility to ask it.

  • Victor R. Claveau, MJ: “and no different than what takes place in a barnyard.”
    Sorry, barnyard animals, all animals are innocent and plot not to avoid the offspring. It is in plotting to avoid the offspring that the sin of selfishness occurs. Natural Family Planning, if accomplished with the intent to accept joyfully any children who beget, is not only within God’s design but with God’s blessing. Children are an expression of God’s glory. The sex act, devoid of charity, is a sin and a lie against the vows taken at Matrimony, the vow “til death do us part.”
    Every heresy is a half-truth. the untrue half accepted as truth, is a lie, a lie that is used against the truth. Every human soul has come into the world because of procreation and through procreation.

  • Victor R. Claveau, MJ: fRED means “peace”. thought I would mention.

  • Would Sister Jane become the next principal of the school?

  • I just finished an argument over contraception with a liberal Catholic and a Protestant Pentecostal. Nothing I pointed out from Sacred Scripture or Papal Encyclicals or the early Church Fathers (e.g., Lactantius) made any difference. These women are convinced that contraception is the responsible thing to do. Except for God’s grace, we have lost these people. They will sterilize themselves out of existence and I told them so.

  • @Victor Clavieau:

    It is very easy for a couple to decide that their want is God’s want. Easy proof of this is when they decide that God wants them to have another child, but none is forthcoming. Of course if they decide God doesn’t want them to have a child, and none comes because they avoid the fertile period, it is exceedingly easy to use that as an affirmation of God’s will. The deck is stacked in this case against having more children.

    Now suppose that a couple decides that they will simply accept the children who come? Not that everyone should do that, but there are some couples who make this decision. Under the contraceptive mentality masquerading as “Catholic” teaching, this couple should be chastised for their charity. It’s a strange Catholicism that would condemn this. I say this as a man who didn’t think he should have more children at particular times in my life but instead found wonderful blessings who changed my life. God will make God’s decisions and man will make man’s decisions. Don’t confuse one for the other. To do so is to baptize the hardness of heart that won’t accept children as somehow Catholic and call it charity.

  • The bottom line is that all sexual intercourse should take place in a marital relationship and be open to life. If, for a serious reason, a couple should decide that another child would be a overwhelming burden at a particular time, they should abstain from the marital act during the fertile period. That’s where NFP comes into play. NFP is not meant to be a means to circumvent God’s will and prevent conception. It is a means to responsibly regulate the size of a family.

  • Absolutely correct. But what is problematic is when its use becomes a mandate. That’s my real concern. When people argue that people are breeding irresponsibly they usually have no idea what they are talking about.

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  • Victor R Claveau MJ’s remark about the barnyard is singularly misplaced.
    As a peasant, I can assure him that most female mammals, (except humans) are sexually receptive only during œstrus, when ovulation occurs and conception can take place.

  • This morning during my Bible reading, the Holy Spirit (apparently) showed me that the opinion I expressed yesterday (above) regarding my recommendations for the bishop and the high school were rather over the top. Likely, several of you observed my weakness but were too kind to mention it at the time – in the spirit of Rom 14:1 “Welcome those who are weak in faith but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions.” [NRSV]

    It appears that the bishop/dioceses is trying to practice Rom 14:1 via the parental meeting scheduled for Wednesday. Hopefully, grace and truth [Jn1:14c] will prevail. Undoubtedly, it will in some cases-Acts 13-14 demonstrates that.

    Rom 14:19 seems like good advice for all parties: ” Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” [KJV] Oh, may it be so.

  • Sex in the barnyard is done instinctively. Sexual intercourse between humans has been designed by God to be unifying. When God is removed from the equation, by artificial contraception, the unifying aspect is absent. Deliberate sterilization destroys it altogether. I have spoken to a good number of men who after sterilization, stated, in almost the same words, “Now when I make love to my wife, I can’t get close enough to her. Something is missing.” There is always a consequence to defying God’s will.

  • This reminds of a quote from an ad/trailer for the “Blue Ray” DVD of the latest “Hobbit” movie. A female elf asks, “When did we allow evil to become stronger than good?” Or, it was something to that effect.

  • Victor R Claveau MJ wrote, “Sexual intercourse between humans has been designed by God to be unifying” Indeed. Its purpose is, to unite the gametes of two individuals, thereby ensuring genetic diversity within the species: a purpose not confined to humans, but common to all forms of sexual reproduction.

  • Michael,
    I suppose I should have said “spiritually unifying”, however I was under the impression that my response would have been understood. Marital relations are God’s way of unifying a couple in the most intimate way. Two become one. Why is it that a marriage is not considered to be legal or canonically binding until it is consummated?
    Sexual intercourse outside of marriage and contraception within marriage is a mortal sin. When a couple contracepts, those involved separate themselves from God and the sanctifying grace that comes with the worthy reception of the sacraments. Married life can be difficult at times and we need all the help from God that we can get. I have spoken to a number of divorcees that said that the beginning of the downward slope of their marriage was when they began contracepting.
    Cutting ourselves off from the sacraments is not the way to strengthen a relationship. Finally, and most importantly, immortal souls are in jeopardy.

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  • If we reduce human gender, sexuality and marital issues to the merely ‘biological’, ‘what we have in common with the animals, especially mammals, we are really going off track-is this not what the secularist world does, reducing everything to the biological and ‘mechanics’ of the thing?

    Paul VI in Humanae Vitae gave as the first attribute of ‘conjugal charity’ as that it was ‘human’. In my younger and far less experienced years, I poo pooed this as being an unnecessary statement. “Of course it is ‘human'”, I thought. [I accepted the teaching of HV from the time it was issued] And then I watched the category five hurricane called the sexual revolution hit America and the rest of the West.

    We are human and not animals, even primates. We are who we are because we are created in the ‘image of God’, we have ‘dominion over all the animals’, we are not just one more species of animal [although we certainly share many things in common with them; but then again we do with the angels as well] . Ethics (the good) is proceeds from the truth of being.
    We will never get our morality right if we do not get our ‘(Christian) anthropology’ right.

    To be human means to be destined, called to communion with God. No other material creature has that dignity. This means that we are embodied spirits, or incarnate souls. Everything that we do, including ‘sex’ is on a totally different plane, and level of existence.
    Even the secularist world recognizes this instinctively when they/we use the term ‘making love’. Animals have instinctual sex; human beings ‘make love’: choose to love. No matter how passionate and reckless a human being is in ‘making love’, they are still using their free will and are certainly not acting on pure instinct and hormones alone. That’s why it has a moral dimension.

    Conjugal Charity involves [requires’] 1) the appeal of body and instinct 2) the power of feeling and affectivity 3) the aspirations of the human spirit and will. All of these aim toward a union beyond flesh, to a union of heart and soul as well. This mutual self-giving demands 1) indissolubility 2) faithfulness and 3) openness to children see Catechism of the Catholic Church 1643

  • Botolph.

  • It’s clear that sending your child to a regular diocese Catholic Schools does not guarantee they will leave with the correct understanding of Catholic teaching or proper formation. Although, some schools are better than others to varying degrees.

    I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised by this?

    Catholic schools today admit students from families that do not even practice their Faith, and are not questioned why they don’t do the basics like attending Sunday Mass. They also admit students of non-Catholic faiths if their quotas of baptized Catholics are not met.

    So it’s pretty obvious to assume that Catholics schools have students from divorced families, even families with same-sex family members.

    Knowing the obvious, why would you then plonk a good orthodox Catholic nun at these non-orthodox schools to give a talk about the evils of homosexuality and single parent and divorced families and be shocked when there is public outcry? She was inadvertently criticizing the children from these families- of course they will defend their families, whether right or wrong. Sinful or not. Most people would.

    Unfortunately, If you want your children to have good Catholic formation, you have to swim against the tide, and teach them yourself. Don’t expect today’s Catholic diocese schools to do the job. Its out of touch with reality to be shocked that the culture at the Catholic school isn’t fully Catholic.

  • EZ

    I agree with two of your points. Education really takes place at home and cannot be passed off to the ‘professionals’ no matter how good or (as in this case) how orthodox they are. I also agree that Catholic Schools are ‘catholic’. They see as their mission to educate in and with the Catholic vision of the marriage of faith and reason. The problem comes when those enrolling their children want no part of ‘the faith’. Catholic schools while pretty much being better than public schools must keep their identity and mission clear for themselves and all who come to them. These are Catholic Schools. They are going to teach Catholic teaching in faith and morality

    I remember a big rowe in my parish when a CCD parent got all hot and bothered that their child was being taught the necessity of Sunday by Mass by the catechist. While of course they didn’t get anywhere with their complaint they did cause a big ‘noise’ about it. I often wonder if people like this ever really think.

  • Botolph I hear you.

    We are in an age where it’s forbidden to teach young children about the devil in Religious education classes because it may frighten them. Or like you said, tell them that Sunday Mass is obligatory to our Faith as a weekly minimum, because it will cause them to question their parents lack of attendance.

    Our Cardinal George Pell, soon to leave to take up a major post at the Vatican, was asked once by a Catholic parent which is the best Catholic schools he would recommend to send his children to in Sydney. He didn’t even bother naming a Catholic diocese school, of which he presides over (note that the Cardinal was having a hard time putting through reforms to tidy up the Catholic system).

    Instead, He gave the names of two Independent schools run by Opus Dei (not under the Catholic Archdiocese). I went to the girls school growing up, and although not all perfect (no school is), there is one thing you are guaranteed to have once you leave- good Catholic Formation.

    I think the weak Catholic diocese schools of today have a weak Priest. I also think it all stems from the liberal streak that infiltrated the Formation of Priests decades ago. Many would get cranky if you took Holy Communion on your tongue. They insisted you take it in your hand, by instilling the fear of the evil eye and the deliberate slamming it on the tongue (of which used to happen when my mother would go up to receive Communion on her tongue- I used to tow the line of receiving it in my hand until I switched schools at the age of 8).

    I was told, with great confidence that the new generation of Priests coming through are being scrutinized more closely, to ensure that they are formed in a more orthodox manner. So I’m hopeful for the new generation of Priests and Parishioners.

  • Whilst I do not disagree with Victor R. Claveau, MJ and Botolph about the human dimension of marriage, I would argue that we do need to lay greater stress than we commonly do on the vertical dimension, which is related to our social nature.
    As the Roman jurist, Paulus wrote “pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1] Marriage ensures that the legal, biological and social realities of paternity coincide. It ensures, in St Augustine’s words, that “the child is accepted in love, is nurtured in affection, is brought up in religion.”

  • EZ

    I see now you are an Aussie 😉 While things are far from golden here in the States, I get a sense that things are far more liberal in the Church and related institutions such as schools-in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and now I see “down under”. A real Catholic vision is neither liberal nor conservative because it is never ‘either/or’ but ‘both/and’. In the meantime we all can pray and work in the new evangelization toward that ‘golden mean’

  • MJS

    You almost never can go wrong with Saint Augustine

  • And Botolph, I totally agree that these dim parents, who kick up a stink that their children are taught Catholic teaching at a Catholic school, do not think. AT. ALL.

  • “A real Catholic vision is neither liberal nor conservative because it is never ‘either/or’ but ‘both/and’. In the meantime we all can pray and work in the new evangelization toward that ‘golden mean’”


  • What a disaster it is that we are in a position where we can no longer trust Catholic schools to teach our children the Faith. Perhaps it would be more honest for a diocese and/or parish to give up the ghost if so many of the students are non-catholics and RC Faith is not being emphasized.

    The reasons for the failure of RC education are likely legion. Several reasons spring to mind: lack of qualified teachers and cost of tuition. By qualified teachers, I mean spiritually qualified (as well as competent in their specific field). Post-V2 there has been a mass exodus of nuns (and priests) from the teaching ministry. In their place are secular teachers of all types, who require more financial resources for compensation. A Catholic education is a stretch for many middle class families. So it is heartbreaking to realize that these parents who trusted the RC church to teach their children the Faith have double crossed them. (I know-someone is going to chime in that education begins at home. It does. Hence, home schooling for some; but many do not have this option – and the Common Core curriculum that is being foisted on us will make it even more difficult to home school).

    This failure has been going on for some time: decades. 15 years ago we looked at sending our son to the local RC school but chose not to after attending an open house where almost nothing was said about spiritual/religious formation and class prayer was at the OPTION of the teacher. My wife’s aunt is a RC nun who taught elementary school for years. She recently retired and there is no longer any clergy teaching at her “RC” school. It’s no wonder so many are choosing to home school rather than pay exorbitant tuition for a pseudo RC education.

    Finally, it is imperative (for the salvation of many souls) that parishioners speak boldly for immediate action by our shepherds to get the ship back on course. And not sometime in the future. A complacent clergy is a key reason for many families to try to take the initiative. This adds to the chaos as it appears that everyone is left to their own tent. Of course, the Prophets warned of this and it is still valid.

  • fRED,

    Whence the need for “re-evangelization”

  • The Church in the western world has to decide on a fundamental question. Do you present the entire teaching on human sexuality or not? What would happen if parish priests were required to announce at EVERY mass that those who were contracepting were in an objective state of mortal sin and should not come forward to receive communion? Since 90 percent of Catholics of child bearing age contracept, my guess is you would have an awful lot of Church closings. Because of the evil American constitution, people have a veritable cornucopia of religions to choose from. My guess is that the vast majority would take advantage of that “freedom” and the Church would become very small indeed.

  • Tom M

    You present a very important as well as interesting point. The Church does indeed need to present her entire teaching on human sexuality, however while it includes such ‘prohibitions’ as contraception, it cannot be reduced to it by a long shot. If I could use this phrase to summarize all the moral teachings in the area of human sexuality-we need to keep and teach all the “don’ts” but the People of God still need more than this. They need to come to believe and understand the underlying ‘vision of man’ that leads to and gives us these ‘don’ts’ and then learn to grow in the “do’s” [commonly called chaste love]

    We have been called into communion with the Triune God. Coming to know all the “don’ts” is only half the battle [avoid sin]. The rest is growth in virtue and coming to love, a love that has been perfected through the Paschal Mystery and affective conversion.

  • Should the Catholic Church ever decide consciously teach on the unpopular issues of Homosexuality, Abortion, and Birth Control, it would find itself no longer the Catholic Church. The church is obligated to teach the deposit of faith in full.

    It should also be noted that judging and rebuking are not the same. This is a most misunderstood teaching. These young people and parents crying out about “bigotry” are not open to the scripture and teaching in general. If they were rebuked as Our Lord proposed in Luke 17:3 would lead these ignorant people to repentance and forgiveness. Instead, they walk around blind and deaf, probably have never broken open a Bible or a Catechism to ponder what the word means, and thus persist in sin; reveling with as many other as they can who also persist in sin.

    Much prayer and fasting will be needed.

  • I sent a supporting email to Fr. Reid – his response was:

    Thank you for your support, Mary. Please pray for the chaplain of the high school, Fr. Matthew Kauth, as he is the one bearing the brunt of this situation.

  • Praying for Fr. Matthew Kauth. May he stay strong in the face of this evil attack and not apologize or back down. It’s terribly sad that these young people are so unaware of Catholic teaching that they don’t recognize truth.

  • Diocese spokesman David Hains acknowledged after the meeting that the Rev. Matthew Kauth, the school’s chaplain, apologized to the parents for a March 21 speech by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel that was not the one he expected her to give.

    Ach. Capons everywhere.

  • Yeah, my reaction too — but in fairness (i) Father Kauth probably did have a pretty imperfect understanding of Sister Jane’s expected presentation and (ii) some of the stuff she is alleged to have said, if true, is pretty kooky (and he probably would never have approved of them). That said, the tragic fact is that the vitriolic response was in no way limited to the handful of kooky statements; instead they reveal a rather wholesale rejection of Church teaching on matters of marriage and sex.

  • “…some of the stuff she is alleged to have said, if true, is pretty kooky…”

    I don’t have the text of the talk and only know what I’ve read online. What is kooky?

  • I only know what I’ve read online too (which means it is unreliable though could be a fair indicator of what students thought they heard, as opposed to what was said). That said, two examples are her assertions that (i) gays and lesbians are not born with same-sex attractions and (ii) children in single-parent homes have a greater chance of becoming homosexual. While the cause or causes of same sex attraction are not remotely scientifically resolved, the weight of the evidence thus far favors some genetic predisposition. In any case the Church has no position on the cause of such predilections, but simply says that acting on them is sinful. The second assertion can only be charitably regarded as oddly eccentric. She also allegedly suggested that homosexuality was the product of parental shortcomings, another somewhat idiosyncratic belief that has nothing to do with Church teaching.

    One can reasonably argue that these beliefs, even if not widely shared by experts, are not in and of themselves kooky. But what is undeniably kooky is conflating them with Catholic teaching.

    All that said, the angry responses from students and parents are not remotely limited to the kooky. They plainly take exception to basic Church teaching, and quite arrogantly so.

  • One aspect of this ‘controversy’ remains unclear to me. How well was this ‘assembly’ communicated to students and parents [parents (even parents who want only an alternative education to public education and have no desire for Catholic teaching) have a right to discern what they want their children to hear, especially in terms of sexuality. Parents after all are the prime educators and know their children best (or at least should). If this suddenly was ‘thrurst’ on the students and then along with genuine Catholic teaching some more ideosyncratic things were presented, such as Mike Petrik relayed above, then what you have is a perfect storm: several potential issues all coming together at a particular time, which probably would not have happened if the even had been well communicated, the role of Catholic teaching in Catholic education was well understood by all, and the speaker stuck only to actual Catholic teaching and not ideosyncratic ideas and theories.

  • “While the cause or causes of same sex attraction are not remotely scientifically resolved, the weight of the evidence thus far favors some genetic predisposition.”

    Actually the evidence for genetic dispostion is very scant. The thought is it must be given rates for identical twins, but this does not rule-out an environmental cause.

    “children in single-parent homes have a greater chance of becoming homosexual.”

    I am not sure of the date on this. Clearly children in single parent homes have more problems and some studies have associated the lack of a male figure with increased same-sex attraction. In fact, reparative therapy in homosexuals primarily focuses on studies which show that there is not a genetic, but familial causation.

    Anyway, the data is mixed with clear evidence supporting a non-genetic, familial role. Far from kooky.

  • While the cause or causes of same sex attraction are not remotely scientifically resolved, the weight of the evidence thus far favors some genetic predisposition.

    Not so. Antecedents and correlates may have heritable components. It is understood that homosexuality itself is not genetic, which is why people pushing biological causation have shifted ground to examining perinatal phenomena.

  • If only people, when teaching Catholic teaching would stick with what the Church teaches we would all be much better off. For example, concerning homosexuality [see CCC 2357-2359].
    The Church very carefully states this: “It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained….”

  • I agree Boltoph.

    Fair enough, Art. But the prenatal phenomena to which you refer are actually pretty promising in terms of explaining why these appetites are not merely environmental or decisional.

    Phillip, what is kooky is presenting very speculative psychological/sociological theories as Catholic teaching to high schoolers.

  • Fair enough. But its not clear she did.

  • But the prenatal phenomena to which you refer are actually pretty promising in terms of explaining why these appetites are not merely environmental or decisional.

    They publish literature reviews of embryology, sociology, and psychology in law journals?

  • Phillip, what is kooky is presenting very speculative psychological/sociological theories as Catholic teaching to high schoolers.

    Who says it is speculative, and who says she presented it as ‘Church teaching’ rather than referring to in the course of presenting Church teaching? There’s reams of research on the sociology of sexual behavior. The number of academic journals covering sociology and anthropology is in the three digits. What set of literature reviews did you get hold of which (1) denied that any literature showed a correlation between single-parent origin and sexual behavior or (2) demonstrated all such research was methodologically flawed?

  • Art, you know very well her putative theories are quite speculative and not related to Catholic teaching, and it is possible that she carefully distinguished her shared speculations with such teaching, but I’ll wager 20 to 1 she didn’t. Take me up on it? And if she did so distinguish then I’d further wager that her speculations were not germane to her advertised presentation. As Boltoph said, she should have stuck to Catholic teaching.

    That said, as I’ve emphasized before many of the parental reactions transcend Sister Jane’s controversial speculations, but instead express hostility to settled Catholic teaching. A statement from the Diocese that consistent with that would have been appropriate.

  • So we’ve gone from “some of the stuff she is alleged to have said, if true, is pretty kooky” to “well, she shouldn’t have claimed it was Church teaching, and I’d just bet she didn’t say it wasn’t!”
    She didn’t go along with the “born that way” claim, just like she didn’t go along with the “gay is OK” claim; that’s the actual problem folks had. Not possibly stating the best evidenced theory of homosexuality in a manner insufficiently differentiated from official teaching.

  • I am shocked that a Catholic Nun would want to speak the Truth of the Catholic Doctrine to a group at a Catholic school. Why would you want to be in the Catholic Church if you do not believe in the truth of it’s doctrine. Sister Jane has nothing to apologize for.

  • Art, you know very well her putative theories are quite speculative

    I know nothing of the kind. I do not know that she was speculating. I do not know they are her theories. I do not know that they are properly termed theories rather than hypotheses or models. I do not know what literature reviews she was making use of, what studies she consulted, or what methodology she was using. Do you honestly think it never occurred to some sociologist to do a panel study or a longitudinal study or a cross-sectional study to ascertain the association between single-parent upbringing and homosexuality controlling for who knows how many other variables?

    I am familiar with lay summaries of twin studies, and unless someone can discredit the studies (or show me that the summaries were misreported), the notion that homosexual dispositions are some sort of recessive trait heritable like green eyes is hogwash.

  • Are the sheep to be masters of the shepherd? It’s past time for Church leaders to call the bluff of bad Catholics who threaten to leave the Church if they cannot control the dogma. Let them go. Assist them out the door even. The Church will be infinitely better off without them.

  • Its about time someone spoke catholic truth from the housetops .we sure aren’t getting it from rome .we’ve had nothing but fluff for 50 years coming out of rome. instead of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ we’ve had the humanist social gospel being preached. Jesus Christ has been lowered and pride of man has replaced him. you can’t even find our lord in the churches anymore. but you can surely spot the presider’s chair. God help the Catholic church. Bella Dodd was right the communist infiltration will remake the church so that you meaning the people living in the 40’s 50’s won’t recognise it They have pretty well usurped the faith which was their goal all along.

  • Well said Timothy Sullivan. Time to call a spade a shovel. Time to recognise the malignant, orchestrated masonic conspiracy to destroy the Church from within, starting at the top. The True Catholic Faith will not be found in a novus ordo sect environment. Sedevacantism is the only home for a true Catholic today.

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  • Where do I sign the petition in support of Sister Jane?

Whither Notre Dame?

Wednesday, March 26, AD 2014

Fathers Miscamble and Barron



Tom O’Toole has an interesting post up at Renew America on the future of Notre Dame:



After a stellar version of the standard salad, chicken and potatoes lunch, Fr. Miscamble began his talk, entitled, “What is the Future for Notre Dame?” Indeed, it was a sad tale I’ve both heard and written about many times before, yet there was something poignant about hearing it in person from the person perhaps most responsible for the University’s counter-reformation. Although I’m sure Miscamble realized that for the most part he was singing to the choir that day, he warned the rest that, “[i]f you’ve come to hear some carefully prepared PR fluff, you’ve come to the wrong place.”

Father began his lecture going from the general to the specific, noting that Notre Dame was part of an amazing push in the nineteenth and early twentieth century in which the Church built a massive Catholic culture of dioceses, schools and hospitals, “all at a time when Catholics had neither the wealth nor education they do today.” After that ironic statement, Father flashed forward to the subtly diabolical 1967 “Land O’Lakes” document, which promoted scholarly dialogue at the expense of magisterial obedience. “After a series of seemingly insignificant decisions, Notre Dame found itself both confused and lacking confidence in its Catholic identity,” so much that Notre Dame president, Fr. John Jenkins, and the ND Board of Trustees. could go against the directives of the bishops and forsake Truth for prestige by honoring the radically pro-abortion Obama.

While not denying that Notre Dame is at the crossroads of returning to its Catholic roots or becoming another Vanderbilt or Duke, former religious universities that are now almost completely secular, Miscamble, after acknowledging some positive steps the University has taken since the Obama disaster (not the least of these being “Notre Dame’s suing of the Obama Administration over clauses in the Affordable Heath Care Act”) offered four practical ways to return from Land O’Lakes to Ex Corde Ecclesiae, John Paul II’s “Magna Carta” on how a Catholic university should operate.

Although my one through four list of ways to save Notre Dame all involve naming Fr. Miscamble as Notre Dame’s president (an online petition, anyone?), barring that miracle, Father’s outline is the way to reform. First, Miscamble says you need a clear articulation of your mission statement. Noting that Notre Dame’s is actually pretty good, Father adds that a mission statement is “meaningless unless it shapes the University,” as was clearly not the case with honoring Obama and allowing annual campus performances of The Vagina Monologues, which, in Fr. Jenkins’ own words, includes “graphic descriptions of homosexual, extramarital…and auto-erotic [sex, including] the seduction of a sixteen year old girl by an adult woman,” or as Miscamble would add “reduces women to their body parts.”

Second, the Catholicity of the faculty is of utmost importance. Indeed, the hiring of faculty both “ambivalent” and “openly hostile” to Notre Dame’s mission may be the University’s gravest mistake to date. On the other hand, the hiring done during Miscamble’s brief five-year term as Chair of the History Department show it is far from impossible to turn a faculty around.

Thirdly, the curriculum must be re-examined. Of course, Father acknowledges that curriculum is intimately tied to the faculty, because even the finest selection of Catholic core courses (I myself am pushing Notre Dame to add one on the novels of Ralph McInerny) unless taught by the right teachers, could do students more harm than good.

Finally, Notre Dame needs to re-explore its choices regarding student life. While praising the great availability of the sacraments at Notre Dame, including daily Masses in all the dorms, Father says Notre Dame must do more to distance itself from the partying, hook-up culture of secular universities, and providing entertainment choices such as The Vagina Monologues, or bands such as the one that ended their concert my freshman year with a rousing rendition of “Let’s Get Drunk and Screw,” just isn’t cutting it.

After a  heartfelt round of applause, Miscamble gave way to his colleague, Fr. Robert Barron, narrator of the fine Catholicism TV documentaries and rector of Mundelein Seminary. Barron echoed many of Miscamble’s warnings, noting that between the “dumbed down, banners and balloons religion being taught in Catholic grade and high schools, and the Land O’Lakes Catholicism offered at many Catholic universities, Christ became just one of many options to follow, and Catholic theology was no longer at the center.” But “when Christ is no longer at the center, a center in which all other subjects find their meaning,” Barron noted that “something else will take His place.” Indeed, dialogue became god, and laws at many Catholic universities were no longer dictated by the Church but by the faculty or even the state, as Obama’s honorary degree of Law from Notre Dame sadly indicates.

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20 Responses to Whither Notre Dame?

  • I unfortunately never knew Fr. Miscamble at Notre Dame (I’m too old). But, I would not attribute the History Department’s orthodoxy entirely to him. Back when I was a History major at ND the History Department was probably the most conservative academic department at the University. In the 50’s and 60’s you had Monsignor Phillip Hughes (Popular History of the Catholic Church) who taught and is buried on campus. When I was there in the 70’s one of his students Father Marvin O’Connell (close associate of Ralph McInerney) headed up the History Department and in his classes on the Reformation and England I learned more about the Catholic faith and its teachings than I ever learned in any Theology class. Many of his lectures were like mini sermons and his classrooms were always large and packed. If I ever contribute to my alma mater it will be a contribution restricted to the History Department.

  • Before an addict can receive healing they must first admit that they have a problem. They must recognize the addiction and ponder the damaging effects of the addiction on themselves and upon the community since both have suffered much.
    I hope N.D. is in this first phase of healing. I will dedicate Thurs. mornings Holy Hour for it’s break from secular kool-aid addiction.

  • “Any attempt to make Catholic colleges and universities Catholic again in this country has to start with the basic premise that contemporary liberalism is an aggressive, intolerant ideology and unremittingly hostile to Catholicism.”

    Liberalism is a Sin:

  • Our English word ‘bishop’ comes from a word meaning ‘overseer’. Who were the Church’s overseers of all things Catholic in South Bend, Indiana while Our Lady’s great Catholic university was left to dry-rot?

  • Bishop Rhoades, Ft. Wayne / South Bend diocese, was at the helm while N.D. danced to the drummer of Vagina Dialogues and Queer film festivals.
    No problem then to honor Obama, after all he fits the image of N.D. An image sculpted not from traditional catholicism, God forbid, but one crafted in liberal fashion. When the silence from the Bishops is overwhelmingly deafening, attach yourself to a humble orthodox church within your diocese and thank God. Thank him for the Priests that still teach sound Catholic doctrine unafraid of political correctness. Unafraid of the State.
    Pastors that are truly Jesus’ very own. Worthy to be called Catholic Priests.
    N.D. has a long way back, but it can and will happen. A return to holiness.

  • This is a quote from Father Sorin the founder of Notre Dame, after a fire in 1879 destroyed the one building that really was most of the university:

    “I came here as a young man and dreamed of building a great university in honor of Our Lady,” he said. “But I built it too small, and she had to burn it to the ground to make the point. So, tomorrow, as soon as the bricks cool, we will rebuild it, bigger and better than ever.”

    I hope Fr Sorin is in a position now to intercede through Mary for Notre Dame, that it may come back better than before. The evangelistic mission of Catholic education seems more important than ever.

  • “Any attempt to make Catholic colleges and universities Catholic again in this country has to start with the basic premise that contemporary liberalism is an aggressive, intolerant ideology and unremittingly hostile to Catholicism.”

    And these liberals run most of our Catholic grammar and high schools as well, let alone many a diocese and university. In my last teaching assignment at a Catholic High School I felt like the “mole” in hiding. I didn’t hide too well and while I was victim of the mindless policy, “last in first out,” (as student numbers deservedly faded) the motivation included fear of somebody who actually believed in what the Church, dare I say Magisterium, taught. (Meanwhile, religion teachers who sided with the liberal agenda and did not see the need to attend Sunday mass regularly, as well as another gay teacher, and others remained happily there.) And I should make it clear that I did not confront people, was popular with teachers and staff, wildly popular with the students to whom I never shied in teaching the truth to. My point is, liberalism acts without courage and behind a mask, never wanting to show its hand. Sadly, I even discussed the situation with the pastor who agree with all I said but merely responded, “What can I do? They barely talk to me. I think she (a nun) hates me.”

    We need to infiltrate our supposed Catholic schools again with faithful Catholics and charitably fight the good fight. As of yet, I am sorry to say I don’t see it happening anywhere around here.

  • Kevin.

    Your living in this time for good reason, and you shall give great witness when the holy spirit opens the door “wide open”. It will happen and faithful Christians will help the blind to see clearly.
    The storm is far from being over.
    We are just now seeing the dark clouds gather overhead.

  • Anzlyne, interesting you should post on Fr. Sorin– Fr. Sorin is being “celebrated” by ND right now, but sadly many right there on campus are taking the words “Our Lady” out of his quote, and emphasizing the “great university” portion. I too pray Fr. Sorin and Our Lady intercede for ND, and our Country.

    When I first saw this video of Fr. Weslin being arrested at ND I felt like I was punched in the stomach– how one “priest” could order this done to another Priest is more than frightening– it is unadultered evil. Fr. Weslin has now passed, and I often pray to him for help in saving the soul of ND and our country (Fr. Weslin was also in the military, you should read his bio, what a remarkable, genuine life he lived!)

    I have always wanted to contact the woman in the video that is saying “God Bless you Fr. Weslin” as he is being arrested and laid on the ground. If anyone knows who it is can you post it please? (The video’s producer did not know.)

  • Philip, I believe you are being unfair to Bishop Rhoades. In the first place,
    he was not the Bishop of Fort Bend when ND chose to fluff Obama– that was
    Bishop D’Arcy. Bishop Rhoades was appointed to head the diocese the next
    year, upon Bishop D’Arcy’s retirement.
    Notre Dame acted badly then, and I’m not sure how Bishop D’Arcy could have
    handled it differently. ND deliberately blindsided the bishop with the news of
    its honor to Obama, telling the chancery just hours before releasing the news
    to the press– even though the university had been working for months to make
    Obama’s appearance at ND possible. ND president Fr. Jenkins claimed he’d run
    the idea past a crew of theologians to make sure honoring a militantly pro-
    abortion politician was hunkey-dory. As Bishop D’Arcy publicly pointed out in
    response, no one from Notre Dame had bothered to ask HIM what he thought
    about it. In the end, of course, Bishop D’Arcy chose to boycott the graduation,
    and good for him.
    Notre Dame has consistently made it clear that it doesn’t give a fig what any
    bishop thinks, and has precisely zero regard for any sort of oversight. I’m not
    sure what recourse under Canon Law any bishop has faced with such a faux-
    catholic university in his diocese. I presume he could forbid the public
    celebration of the Mass and the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in college
    chapels. He could revoke the incardination of various priests, and I suppose he
    could even order that whatever congregation responsible for the school pack up
    and get out of the diocese. I assume that dropping those kind of hammers on
    a school would require certain conditions to be met under Canon Law. But other
    than these drastic steps, what ammo does a bishop have dealing with duplicitous
    college boards like that of Notre Dame?
    I’d like to see our bishops fight to regain some oversight over Catholic colleges.
    After all, these colleges are claiming to speak for the Church outside their gates.
    They are forming hundreds of thousands of future citizens, members of the
    Church. It is outrageous that the bishops have allowed themselves to be
    sidelined from what is clearly part of their duty as shepherds. Land-O’-Lakes
    must go, for the good of the Church in this country. It breaks my heart to think
    how much better off this country would be if our supposedly Catholic colleges
    had actually been doing their job these past 40 or 50 years, instead of turning
    out so many expensively-educated pagans.

  • Vile! How vile to arrest a priest protesting the murder of innocents in order that the pro abort emperor feel welcomed on this Catholic campus. Almost like viewing a Passion play. Was federal money really that important?

  • Clinton

    Perhaps, one avenue of approach would be through the trust deeds?

    I have not read them, but, if they refer to the Catholic character of the university, the loss of that would deprive them of the right to the endowment.

    In the leading Scottish case of Bannatyne v Overtoun, a dissenting minority of the Free Church (the “Wee Frees”) successfully claimed the whole property of the Church, on the grounds that the majority had departed from the Church’s founding principles.
    The Lord Chancellor (Halsbury LC) allowed “the right of any man or any collection of men, to change their religious beliefs according to their own consciences” but he insisted that “when men subscribe money for a particular object, and leave it behind them for the promotion of that object, their successors have no right to change the object endowed,” for “there is nothing in calling an associated body a Church [or a university?] that exempts it from the legal obligations of insisting that money given for one purpose shall not be devoted to another.”
    The same reasoning would apply to a university.

  • Michael PS, that is an interesting suggestion. I suspect that here in the States
    there are as many legal arrangements re:endowments and trust deeds as there
    are Catholic colleges and congregations in charge. But perhaps the idea that an
    Ordinary was willing to cause a straying catholic college the PR headache of
    taking it to court to cut off funds would make a few straighten up and fly right…

  • Bishops do have oversight of the Catholic schools, colleges and universities operating in their sees. A religious order needs permission for an ordinary to set up shop.

  • Penguins Fan wrote, “Bishops do have oversight of the Catholic schools, colleges and universities operating in their sees”
    There are exceptions, for example when a university is erected into a Pontifical Athenaeum, which is immediately dependent on the Holy See.

  • Cam: “Vile! How vile to arrest a priest protesting the murder of innocents in order that the pro abort emperor feel welcomed on this Catholic campus. Almost like viewing a Passion play. Was federal money really that important?”
    A public place like the university belongs to the “public”. That the priest was arrested for trespassing on his own property tells us of a gulag, a usurpation of freedom and the destruction of the dignity of the sovereign person as a citizen. Time to sue for false arrest. The government does not own Notre Dame, nor the priest.

  • Mary De Voe, ND is a privately-owned institution. The administrators
    of that once-Catholic university chose to have all prolife protesters
    arrested for tresspass, even though they were well away from the graduation
    ceremony/Obama celebration. It was the legal right of the Notre Dame
    administration to have the prolife protestors arrested– but their decision to
    do so proves just how very far that formerly Catholic university has fallen.
    If ND was a state school or otherwise a publicly-owned institution, I believe
    the matter could be very different. But, since ND is essentially private property,
    like any other privately-owned business, it is able to have people charged
    with criminal trespass. It is staggering that a supposedly Catholic institution
    would choose to press charges on prolife demonstrators. Staggering, but
    completely legal.
    Any time you encounter people who try to defend ND, who insist that it is still a
    rock-solid Catholic university, remind them of this decision by its administration.

  • Mary: “That the priest was arrested for trespassing on his own property tells us of a gulag, a usurpation of freedom and the destruction of the dignity of the sovereign person as a citizen. Time to sue for false arrest. The government does not own Notre Dame, nor the priest.”

    Unfortunately Fr. Weslin is no longer on this earth to sue. I read his bio. He overcame many obstacles and accomplished much in his long life. He was profoundly pro-life before and after his later in life ordination. He had Alzheimers at the end, but I believe that he protested that day not because he had it, but in spite of it. He was a man called to action throughout his life.
    True, the government does not own Notre Dame; however, if it had not been for the U.S. Navy establishing a training program during WWII, the university would probably would not exist. The payback for that is the annual Navy- UND football contest. Notre Dame receives federal money. One example of federal largess: since 1999 its faculty has received more National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships than any other university in this country. There are always strings attached to federal money. I see the order for the arrest of Fr. Weslin and fellow pro-life protestors that day as a marker being called by the Administration.
    We sang “Immaculate Mary” at the Feast of the Annunciation Mass. Next time we sing that hymn I won’t be remembering May Processions on the tarmac at St. Thomas More School, I’ll be remembering and praying for Fr. Weslin and aborted babies.

  • Penguins Fan, you are correct– a religious order needs the permission of an
    Ordinary to ‘set up shop’ in a diocese. As I mentioned earlier, one of the nuclear
    options available to a bishop is to demand that a congregation pack up and take
    their business elsewhere. I have absolutely no idea what requirements must be
    met under Canon Law before a bishop may legally do such a thing, but it is

    Years ago, Cardinal O’Connell of Boston expelled the Sulpicians from his diocese.
    Not only did he toss them all out, but he also ordered them to “take your dead
    with you”– they had to dig up the members of their congregation buried in
    their local cemetery, and remove them also. Ouch.

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Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

Sunday, June 3, AD 2012

 I would like some help in identifying the most active, passionate, orthodox American Catholic Bishops currently serving. It is a cultural thing that we seem to love rating everything- not a bad thing- and I have a personal interest in this topic because I want to offer my services to a Bishop who needs someone who gets the following Big Three Realities that I have been focusing on in my last three postings here at American Catholic.


1. The Obama Administration is threat #1 to the continuance of our Hierarchical Catholic Church- here in America and since we are a Superpower in worldly terms this could damage a big chunk of Christendom. I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican. My realization about the Obama threat emerged slowly after being absorbed in a national Catholic Democrats listserve with some of the real heavyweights- like FOB (Friend of Barack) Vicki Kennedy. It was clear to me that Kennedy with her fellow travelers in Catholic universities, and liberal Catholic political organizations, have been intent on much much more than just getting more traction in American policies and legislation for a few political issues often neglected by the conservative-Right. There is blood in the water for the Church Hierarchy due to the notorious Minor Abuse Scandals. These prominent Catholic Dems seem intent on using whatever power they can muster to force changes in the Church to cut the Hierarchydown to size- replace the Teaching Authority with liberal Catholic college professors and liberal political activists who will “save” the Church from irrelevance among the youth. We have seen that President Obama has been systematically assisting in this process- not openly- but consider his choice of Joe Biden as VP with his pro-choice, pro-gay marriage beliefs, and Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary who is pushing contraceptives down everyone’s throats, and I suspect we’ll see that Justice Sotomayor is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage eventually. The threat to religious liberties will hit the Catholic Church Hierarchy first, with the contraceptives mandates and then gay marriage will turn the Catholic Church Catechism into Hate Literature and every orthodox Catholic into a bigot along the lines of the old school racists back in the 60’s. No one wants to be a racist- so I’m sure that Vicki Kennedy et al are counting on most American Catholics to simply abandon their Bishops’ leadership and embrace her brand of progressive Catholicism which is Obama-cool. So- me thinks the Bishops need a few folks around who see this danger and are willing to stand with the Bishops and the Catechism. I’m here to help.  Here’s a link to my piece on the Catholic Dems/Obama “conspiracy”-


2. Having this information about the Obama-Catholic Dem elite battleplan is useful- but I am also interested in assisting a good Bishop at the parish level with practical steps- all perfectly legal- for assisting the process of cultivating a new breed of orthodox Catholic political leaders. Pope B teaches us to free ourselves from ideologies in his last encyclical- the social doctrine of the Church is the stuff we need more of in America- the reason we keep swinging wildly from Republican to Democrat in the races for political power is that at the gut level most people get that each Party has got some things right and some things wrong. There is no Party of God- even if right now the mainstream Democratic Party represents the greater threat to the Church/Christ- we are still talking about lesser evils. The Catholic social doctrine is about building civilizations of love- this is the positive vision that is the corrective of narrow ideologies which feed on anger for the most part. The way to bring Christ’s Way into the marketplace of ideas in American political thought and debate is for more fully informed and inspired Catholic voices to emerge and assume the responsibilities of leadership at every level of our society. There is so much that we could do in every parish and school-  here is my POA (Plan of Action) which I would love to bring into a parish in a diocese where the Bishop is aware and involved to guide the development- I’m not interested in being a lone ranger or riding against the wishes of the local Bishop.  Here’s the Plan-


3.  Finally, my long experience in the trenches of Catholic high schools has left me with many thoughts on how to inculcate a genuine Catholic identity which has a chance of being transmitted to our very distracted youth. I would love to be part of an orthodox Bishop’s team to help select passionately orthodox Catholic administrators/teachers/staff to be in place to give life witness, along with instructional guidance, to budding disciples of Christ. You can’t give what you don’t have- so if we want Catholic students to come out the other side in love, or more in love with Christ and His Church- then you don’t load up the schools with adults who are full of dissenting views from the Catechetical teachings of the Church. I’m not saying everyone has to be some kind of a stepford-wife cheerleader type of Catholic- we all have our personalities- but if you are an adult working in a Catholic school you should be someone who is thirsty to know what the Church teaches and why- especially if it pertains to your particular discipline or area of responsibility. I get into a lot more detail beyond just the staffing issue in my article below.  I am open to returning to the teaching field or entering new territory in administration under the right Bishop in a diocese that really wants to play it straight-up as a passionately Catholic institution -without being satisfied with a PR-level Catholic Identity which produces nice dog and pony shows for visiting bishops and parents- but scratch the surface and where is the love for the Church? If you fall in love with the Church you will just want to know more and more and to share more and more with the youth and everyone you meet- am I right?  Here’s the last link-


OK- if you are still with me- here is how you can help- write out up to 10 names(and email addresses if you have them!) of Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops here in America- with the name of their Diocese.  You can order them according to your own rating system. I want to follow the science here and the shortest distance between two points is a straight line- I want to begin a new mission in using whatever talents I possess for the sake of Christ and His Church- I have tried to use these talents to produce something helpful to preserve and protect the Hierarchical nature of our Catholic Church- If Christ didn’t desire a Hierarchy why bother with Apostles- He could have just had disciples with no leadership inherent in the Church- but He didn’t- evidence from Scripture, history and logic all persuaded me in my Truth Quest. I don’t want to just apply for jobs blind to the leadership in a given Diocese. Leadership matters, that’s why leaders get targeted all the time, and why assassinations are so unfortunately common throughout human history. I want a meaningful mission within the Church and short of that I will do whatever I can do to provide for my wife and four young children- this is my story and why I need our Reader’s Input. Brother (Sister) can you spare a moment and share what you know? God Bless you.

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22 Responses to Need Reader Input: Who Are The Top 10 Dynamically Orthodox Catholic Bishops?

  • Perhaps we should remember the wise words of Abbé Henri Brémond, whose life (1865-1933) spanned the Jules Ferry laws of 1882 and 1886 laicising public education, the law of 1901 suppressing many religious orders and the law of 1905 on the separation of Church and State, which vested all church buildings and other property in the nation.

    “No law can affect those who believe, those who pray; prayer is silent, prayer offends no one, prayer attacks no one.” – [La prière est silencieuse, la prière n’offense personne, la prière n’agresse personne]

    His response to the Anti-Clericalism of his time were his essays, “Prière et Poésie”[ Prayer and Poetry] and “Introduction a la Philosophie de la Prière”[Introduction to the Philosophy of Prayer] His monumental work “Histoire litteraire du sentiment religieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu’a nos jours” [A Literary History of Religious Sentiment in France from the end of the Wars of Rekigion to our own day] published between 1913 and 1936 in 11 volumes, was based on his unrivalled knowledge of mystical writings and devotional works. His writings on poetry, symbolism and romanticism earned him election to the Académie française in 1923 and a eulogy from the French Symbolist poet, Paul Valéry.

    His influence was incalculable.

  • The current head of the USCCB, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of NY and his I-95 brother (my Archbishop) in Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles J Chaput. (Lori of Baltimore and Aquila of Denver deserve mention as well in my VERY short list.)

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist. (I recall one discussion I was having with another Catholic, who pulled the death penalty vs abortion thing– even offering a letter from the man who would become Pope saying there was a valid variety of views didn’t sway him.)

    I do love the idea of equipping people to find out what the Church teaches for themselves, and enthusiastically endorse the answer-religious-questions-kids-as/thirsty-for-theology thing. That would have made my youth a lot more interesting, and might have kept several friends from falling away from the Church. (it would also have meant I could find a babysitter from the Parish– but that’s another rant!)

    If there was a group for something like “Catholic Q&A- Last Wednesday Of The Month Snack and Chat” I’d do it. If I thought I could pull it off, I’d start one myself. (Wed because it’s the middle of the week; schedule it about 6pm. It would have to be sort of small to start with, and a computer with one of those books-on-CD collection EWTN sells would be wise; has soup to nuts of decrees, etc.)

    … Dang it, now I’ve got a post bubbling in my head for designing theology groups. Thank you.

  • Bishop Ronald Gainer of Lexington KY: not as high profile as Dolan etc, but methodically rebuilding an orthodox and dynamic diocese. Yesterday ordained 23 deacons: 3 transtional and 20 permanent.

  • Bruskewitz, Finn, Olmstead, Morlino, Aquila, Sample, Cordlione, Nienstadt, Slattery, Chaput

  • My only input is cautionary; the plan of action is a good idea, BUT I’d give it about a week before it’s taken over by the same folks who use “social justice” to promote abortion, theft, etc. At the absolute least, it would claim binding teachings where they don’t exist.

    I would go a step further Foxfier – or backward actually. I think the other side has already been doing this for many decades. The chanceries and USCCB were chock full dissenting activists with a socialist agenda who were either supported or tolerated by their bishop. I would venture to guess that even with ascension of a large number of orthodox bishops, there are still a large number of these folks in important and influential positions. Even when an orthodox bishop takes over a troubled see, he doesn’t do a housecleaning so to speak. He pushes his agenda of reform with the people he has and tries to lead the chancery operatives to fulfill his mission. The bishops have to lead, but that doesn’t mean all will follow – and many of those people still have power and influence enough to do damage.

  • Sounds good, Tim. I would echo both MichaelP71’s and Jim’s lists, adding only three more solid bishops with whom I’ve had contact: 1) Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa, CA (and formerly of Baker, Oregon); 2) Bishop Kevin Vann of Ft. Worth, TX; and 3) Arch-bishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta. There are undoubtedly many other good, solid bishops and auxiliaries around in the US, but they simply don’t have as high of a public profile as do these aforementioned bishops.

  • Oops! One glaring omission did just come to mind (how could we forget?) Cardinal George of Chicago, of course!

  • First of all I think Masculinity has been beat down passive aggressively both in the American Church as well as society, so if we are not willing to reject bad laws and smash the Serpents head to mush than we are bound to lose with the communist attitudes of Obama and other democratic leaders.

  • The dioceses of Wilmington Delaware seam to be getting somewhat more Orthodox but still need improving and the general public of Delaware seems very secular and the cops tend to act like gangsters in their attitudes.

  • By lose I meant lose temporarily.

  • Possibly the most important philosophical law is that because God is all knowing, all powerful, and all good we should take what he tells us seriously rather than throwing his words around like protestants who use his words to justify whatever they fancy.

  • If worst comes to worst there is just war but it would be much better if it did not have to come down to that.

  • One. I’m curious, why did it have to come to your being a Democrat “insider” before you realized your choice of political party clashed with your Catholic religion? I knew it for me when the Democrat Party officially supported and acted to make abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land.

    Two. When are people like you going to start showing some “love” your talking about to those of us who have been battling people you have been electing to keep abortion-on-demand the law-of-the-land? And, now, thanks to Catholics like you, we have to fight to keep marriage the institution it has always been since God enacted it at the beginning of man-kind. And thanks to the 54% of Catholics like you, the U.S. bishops (equally responsible for what has continued for almost 4 decades) have to sue the President and his Administration they helped put in office just to keep our First Amendment Rights. How about showing some love to Catholics like me for realizing straight on that any organization that supports and defends the murder of innocent human beings, especially infants in the protection of their mother’s womb, could never be serious about “caring for others,” especially the “little guy?”

    Three. How about finding out why almost all the U.S. bishops adopted Cardinal Bernardin’s proposal to change the definition of “prolife,” a word coined by prolifers to counter the pro-aborts calling themselves “pro-choice?” And then, contacting those bishops still alive who voted against that change, to get their recommendations on who should be on that list of bishops you want to put together. While doing that, you ought to read the 1989 favorable biography called “Cardinal Bernardin – Easing conflicts -and battling for the soul of American Catholicism” by the cardinal’s long time friend (30 years) Eugene Kennedy. You’ll learn that that name change was a lot more political than it was spiritual. This is a quote of Bernardin’s motivation for expanding the definition to include prudential judgment issues so-call “social justice.” Page 243,244: “Not only would this move gain greater support from Catholics and others but it would keep the prolife movement from falling completely under the control of the right wing conservatives who were becoming it dominant sponsors.” How about that?! I don’t know where in the Catechism of the Catholic Church the “good” cardinal found that some how being a “right wing conservative” was evil. Maybe you know where that is?

    Anyway – how about showing some “love” for the millions of us who have removed ourselves from the sin of being in the Democrat Party, the main organization responsible for denying the right to life of God’s greatest creation – a human right by the way; and maybe perhaps an apology as well for making people like us have to fight people like you for so long?

  • Stilbelieve:

    Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. “Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.” (Mt 20:14)

  • Stilbelieve:

    I’m with you!

    Nd, those people need to stop employing presumed moral superiority to advance evil and to start supporting Church teachings.

  • My own Bishop Leonard P. Blair of Toledo should be on that list. He is the bishop who conducted the recent investigation of the women religious. He is an outstanding and holy and orthodox bishop, and I am shocked, frankly, that he hasn’t been picked in the last few years to lead a higher-profile diocese. The fact that he was chosen to lead the investigation of the women religious indicates that he is at least on someone’s radar in the Vatican.

    Were it not for the fact that Bishop Blair was the Bishop of Toledo, I doubt I would have moved my family to this part of Ohio almost 7 years ago.

  • @Escolonn

    “Hold on, friend. There’s a parable about that. ‘Take what is yours, and go your way: I will also give to this last even as to you.’ (Mt 20:14)” The text in bible has the last sentence of 20:14 reading: “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?”

    First of all, I’m not looking for “reward.” I’m looking for evidence that this author has obtained wisdom from his experience to be of help to any bishop. The question was raised in my mind soon into reading his article. He says this in the 4th sentence:
    “I do not speak as an Obama-basher with Republican talking point tie-ins- I was a lifelong Democrat who only recently gave it up to become an Independent, not Republican.”

    Talking in a dismissive way about the only major organization that has been trying to save the babies, protect our country militarily and economically, fight for our right to pick our own doctors and make our own decisions on our medical care, defend marriage as God created it, and now have to save our First Amendment Rights to freedom of religion isn’t being a “Obama-baser” using “Republican talking point tie-ins.” It’s being an American who has “eyes to see and ears to here.”

    Second, you would think that someone who contributed with their decision-making and votes all this time to prolonging the evil of abortion-on-demand remaining the law-of-the-land, and to these newer attacks on our safety and freedoms, would be a little more contrite and humble towards those who were wise enough to see the sin of remaining in the Democrat Party much sooner in their lives then he did.

    Third, I think the verse you chose is a parable better suited for the rights of ownership to do with one’s property as one chooses and pay the wages as agreed. Verse 15 completes that thought saying: “[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?”

  • Jay, it just so happens that my own bishop, Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. is assisting with that investigation as well. He too is known for his orthodoxy and has been on the Vatican-watchers’ radar for some time, so he probably won’t be here forever!

  • Stillbelieve- I can defend my previous Democratic party membership on the grounds that I was quite active as a pro-life candidate and leader in Dems for Life- the fact is that until the 80’s the Dems were more pro-life than the Repubs- I was a Democrat long before I was Catholic- being drawn into politics at the age of 13 by the first Jimmy Carter campaign- and then basically became a believing secular liberal in my 20’s. My introduction and conversion to Catholicism came as I neared 30- in becoming Catholic I gave up previous beliefs on abortion et al- but there has always been two thoughts in my mind- first- the Republican establishment has always been like shifting sand on the issue of abortion since Reagan – lukewarm belief is never attractive as Jesus indicated in Revelation- and second- there has long been the hope that Catholic pro-life Democrats could lead the charge within the Democratic party to restore traditional moral beliefs on social issues- I took up that challenge since I figured I was well-placed as a lifelong Dem who became a Catholic convert- but identified more or less along the FDR-Democratic coalition lines- recall that American Catholics as a community tended the Democratic party way before social issues and the sexual revolution began destroying the Dems from within. Reagan was an FDR Democrat but said that the party moved away from him not the other way around.

    So- in any case- I never publicly supported any pro-choice candidates- and typically voted for third party/populist no-bodies to get around my conscience- and our hierarchy instructed us that we could not vote for a candidate because of his/her pro-choice position on abortion- but it was left open to conscience if there were other compelling reasons to vote for someone who was unfortunately pro-choice- since we are not to be single-issue voters. So- if one supposed that voting for a Republican candidate would bring on potentially nation-ending war or economic ruin and thus render the legal abortion question (in effect) moot in such an environment since no movement focused on a social issue would gain any traction during crisis times- well that would be a paradigm of thought whereupon someone with a Catholic conscience may have voted for a Democrat in some paticular national office like president.

    My own experience with being exposed to the really influential Catholic Democrats was one where I tried my best to evangelize for the orthodox teachings of the Church- to follow the Magisterium and the Bishops on all fronts and not to continue in a heterodox direction- but alas I was confronted by the truly powerful forces that drive those who have actual weight in Democratic party power politics these days- and I was asked to depart from my place of opinion sharing- and at that stage I openly left the Party and my role as a leader for florida Dems for Life- and became a NPA- non-party-affiliation- as Archbishop Chaput did according to what I read in his great book- Render Unto Caesar. So- stillbelieve- I don’t know what to apologize to you about- I think my personal history explains why I chose the paths I took- if the Church had clearly indicated that working from within the Democratic party to try to reform the party on social issues was an immoral choice- then I would have abandoned the effort years ago- I have given up on that front- but I have many good Catholic and Christian friends who are still battling from within and taking the abuse from the dominant sexual revolutionaries – I’m not of a mind to join you in heaping more abuse their way- but if this is how you interpret WWJD in your time on stage blogging then it is something that Jesus Christ will have to determine at the time of our personal judgments- and I look forward to my time with Him so that I can see where I missed His cues and promptings, or just was blind- so that I can apologize to anyone or any group of persons that I did wrong by. I am trying to “live clean” and I have been trying to follow the orthodox directives from Christ’s Church- my wish now is that the American Bishops will now make perfectly clear to all of us that taking public positions opposed to granting the right to life for the unborn, and protecting traditional marriage definitions, and respecting religious liberties- all make any candidate unfit for any Catholic to vote for or support in any capacity- and political leaders who call themselves Catholics who vote for any of the Big Three will have to forego reception of Holy Communion due to the scandal they are producing among law-abiding American citizens. That, I think, would clear up any confusion about the morality of our political choices- given the unusual extremity of our times. I still hope to be of service to our Church and to serve a strong Bishop and take guidance from him- but if you are correct and the Holy Spirit agrees then I will accept another role in my life’s work- at the end of the day I just want to be one of those ‘unprofitable servants’ in the eyes of the Lord- if digging ditches is my true talent then so be it- I will carry a shovel for Christ- that’s my heart-that is something I can know even if many who know little about me doubt it- those in my home know me and from them I draw the human consolation that helps keep one’s spirit from being taken away by the naysayers always to be found.

  • It is important to realise that, for professional politicians, party labels are largely a sham.

    In any democracy, they inevitably group themselves into two parties (or coalitions), the friends of corruption and the sowers of sedition; those who seek to profit from existing abuses and those who seek to profit from the disaffection those abuses naturally produce.

    The policies either faction espouses, primarily to attract funding, but also as a sop to the rabble, is a matter of chance and circumstance.

  • I don’t have much experience with bishops, but I would suggest two: Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, CO and Archbishop Charles Chaput, currently Archbishop of Philadelphia (formerly of Denver, CO). Both have been a strong voice for authentic Catholic teaching and activism.

Pope Benedict Asks for Forgiveness

Friday, September 2, AD 2011

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI told the annual gathering of his “Study Group” (some of his former students) to ask God’s forgiveness on behalf of generations of “cradle Catholics” who have failed to transmit the faith to others.

No doubt, evangelizing others is an important dimension of Catholic life, as Pope Paul VI reminded the Church in his 1975 apostolic exhortation, Evangelii nuntiandi:

…what matters is to evangelize man’s culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots), in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium et spes, always taking the person as one’s starting-point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God. (#20)

Where evangelization first takes place is in the home as parents evangelize their children in the Roman Catholic faith and its practice.  Today, the most-often heard lament is that Roman Catholic parents, in general, are not evangelizing their children and, of those who do, they are not evangelizing their children in the Roman Catholic faith and its practice but in some generic form of Christianity that emphasizes democratic values and aspirations.

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7 Responses to Pope Benedict Asks for Forgiveness

  • Mama, who pays for Neighbors A to go to school?

    Well, daddy pays for some of it in property taxes.

    Mama, who pays for Neighbors B to go to school?

    Well, daddy pays for some of it in the church tithe.

    Mama, who pays for our school?

    Daddy does.

    The Catholic homeschooler who belongs to a parish with a school gets triple taxed.

  • It seems to me that the Catholic Church needs to address the major cause for the mass exodus of the children of the Baby Boomers, the failure of the Church to give good catechesis in their formative years. I was born in 1947 and was the last child in my family to receive formation in the Baltimore Catechism. After me, the catechism was rejected in favor of whiffly, nondoctrinal, feel-good fluff. None of my younger siblings are practicing Catholics. They don’t even know what Catholicism is!
    I remained a faithful Catholic through all the storms of Humanae Vitae and pseudo Vatican II “reforms” largely because I had good formation, and hung around with others who had likewise. By God’s grace, I married a man who also knew his faith, and we have a large family of 10 children who have all maintained their Catholic identity, some even with religious vocations. When asked by other heartbroken friends how this happened, I tell them I think it is largely because when my husband went to his first Catholic school experience for parents to involve them in their child’s first sacraments, what he heard there so horrified him that he began to teach the children the Baltimore Catechism at home. It can be found online, and I know grandparents who quietly teach it to their grandchildren on visits.
    But noone can estimate the damage done by generations of no catechisis by a Church that used to take that role very seriously. Even homilies can be mostly “fluffy” instead of dealing with Church teaching on tough issues.
    THAT should be what the pope apologizes for, and for which the Church is responsible. Nevermind the colleges, bring those Catholic parochial schools up to speed! Where is their “oath of allegiance”?

  • But noone can estimate the damage done by generations of no catechisis by a Church that used to take that role very seriously.

    Check your Catechism of the Catholic Church. Parents have primary responsibility for the catechesis of their children.

    I’m of the opinion that the institutional church’s takeover of that parental role, however well-intended its motives were, was a grievous mistake that over time has done great harm to the Body of Christ that is His Church – as your personal testimony illustrates.

    The institutional church must humbly recognize that its role is to be an assistant to parents in their role of chief catechist to their children, not an usurper of that role. I believe this will require that formal, classroom catechesis through the Church be aimed primarily at adults, not children. And adult catechesis must be understood by the faithful as a commitment to lifelong learning.

    There’s a push in many dioceses for more “youth ministry.” Some hope that will be a fix for the poor catechesis of children in prior years. I’m doubtful about that.

  • Micha, I have run your response by one of my adult children , and he agrees that it is the enthusiasm for the Faith that parents communicate which makes the difference for growing children.
    On further thought, I also tend to generalize our experiences here in our diocese regarding Catholic education. We are in a liberal area, and experimentation, beginning in the 70’s and continuing until recently, has left our faithful quite scarred.
    The children were the most harmed, since they were the least protected by a sense of how the Church had been historically. “Bring a new Church into being” is one of the songs we still sing here, and incapsulates the attitude that remains here.
    I agree with you that evangelizing the parents is the key. Pope John Paul II said that evangelization has to proceed catechizing, for there to be an authentic renewal of the whole person. My husband read your remarks and remembers back to his Irish small town experience of the Faith. His parents distributed the local Catholic paper, went to devotions regularly, put up brothers who were evangelizing in their house, read Catholic literature, went to St. Vincent to Paul meetings and helped distribute food and clothing to the needy.
    Needless to say he has always had a vibrant faithlife. But he also had a warm family life, without the incredible stressors of addiction, violence, or divorce. My awareness is that the family lifestyle is also critical to an understanding of Who God Is. For better or worse, the father image of alot of us leaves much to be desired.
    Luckily, God works with each of us as we are, and gives familes the tools they need for them to play a part in His plan. And only He knows what has been given and what is expected.
    Thanks for your thoughtful answer.
    ps I have one child involved with ministry to youth, for two years on a college campus (FOCUS) and now in a parish. She finds the Holy Spirit is very active in converting these young people and making them in turn apostles and evangelizers. Apparently the Holy Spirit is alive and well and able to bridge the gap left gaping by family or schools!

  • The majority of Catholic parents send their children to government schools where practical atheism is the norm. Many times I’ve heard governmetnt school Catholics, particularly those who work there, chide the Faith for failure to adopt modern secular norms. As long as most Catholilc parents prefer to save tuition money and send their children to be schooled among atheists, we’ll not evangelize society.

  • One of the little known parts of the health care act are the sections that deal with the adult formation of children.

    Title V of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), as amended by sections 2951 and 2952(c), is amended by adding at the end the following:

    It is as a result of this law that children’s upbringing now belongs to the State.

    From the health care act:

    `(C) ADULTHOOD PREPARATION SUBJECTS- The adulthood preparation subjects described in this subparagraph are the following:
    `(i) Healthy relationships, such as positive self-esteem and relationship dynamics, friendships, dating, romantic involvement, marriage, and family interactions.
    `(ii) Adolescent development, such as the development of healthy attitudes and values about adolescent growth and development, body image, racial and ethnic diversity, and other related subjects.
    `(iii) Financial literacy.
    `(iv) Parent-child communication.
    `(v) Educational and career success, such as developing skills for employment preparation, job seeking, independent living, financial self-sufficiency, and workplace productivity.
    `(vi) Healthy life skills, such as goal-setting, decision making, negotiation, communication and interpersonal skills, and stress management.

    This is a secular/atheistic government that does not recognize inalieanable rights as endowed by a Supreme Being (God) and will be teaching children a world view devoid of Chrisitan/Catholic spirituality.

    The government embracing a UN perspective regarding the ‘rights of a child’ to sexual activity is especially frightening. It is also a perspective in which parents have no rights.

    Santorum makes an interesting point in this video clip (about 28 secs in):

    He states that those who hold certain faith beliefs will be identified as “bigots” and then those identified as ‘bigots’ will not be allowed professional licenses. I believe it was Dr. Jane Orient who, after reading the act expressed concern that if drs don’t participate in Obamacare they will also have their licenses pulled. Here is another article that she wrote that addresses various concerns related to licensing. Excellent article:

    What to me is particularly sad is just how many Catholics supported this abominable evil (there is so much more in this law that I am not addressing here….particularly as it relates to unlimited authorization of medical, biological, social, behavioral, psychological (etc) research according to guidelines established by a government that does not recognize God nor the sanctity of life). It is no accident that the law was passed connected to the education law. Thru curriculum regulation you will see Catholic preschool, grade school, high schools closed,and universities lose their ability for students to get student loans to attend their programs. And despite Sr. Keegans believes, yes, Catholic hospitals, and clinics will be forced to shut thier doors — unless they embrace the atheistic/secularism world view.

    “Evangalism” regarding correct Catholic doctrine is critical. It needs to be an evangalism based on true Catholic doctrine where Life is sacred and man is the steward of the earth, not the servant of the earth. A world view where God created the earth for man, and not a world view where man is expendable and subservient to the earth.

Faithful Catholic college faces lawsuit over refusal to provide contraception

Sunday, August 16, AD 2009

The president of a small Catholic college said Friday he would rather close the school’s doors than violate the church’s teachings on contraception — Ben Conery of the Washington Times has the story:

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has determined that Belmont Abbey College violated discrimination laws because the school’s employee health insurance plan does not cover contraception, according to a letter the EEOC sent to the school.

“I hope it would never get this far,” college President William K. Thierfelder told The Washington Times, “but if it came down to it we would close the college before we ever provided that.”

The factual conclusion reached by the EEOC could be a precursor to the commission filing a federal discrimination lawsuit against the college. (More).

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7 Responses to Faithful Catholic college faces lawsuit over refusal to provide contraception

  • Rod Dreher posted this too, and he got some really vicious responses, many of them accusing Catholics of trying to “impose their religion” on others, including the employees of Belmont Abbey College. Reactions like this seem to typify the growing group of self-identified ex-Catholics who feel the need to strike back at some long-dead nun who clunked them with her rosary beads for daydreaming at mass. I have a sense that the Obama administration is providing employment for many of these people.

  • Beliefnet, where Dreher blogs, has always been a hangout site for a great many anti-Catholics. What this case amply demonstrates is the folly of Catholic colleges giving employment to people bitterly opposed to what the Church teaches.

  • Was the employee in question someone tasked to find a job at the institution so some grouplet of the public interest bar would have standing to sue?

  • I just heard about this … I think its terrible what is happening there!!

  • I am following this case, hoping that the college will go the distance on this one. To lose is to give the Govt (with Obama’s blessing) even more ammo to come after us for carrying out our mission, which they find so disagreeable.

  • Two issues: one, they’d be better off eschewing federal financial aid, like Christendom, TAC, and Hillsdale; second: eight faculty involved in this complaint… if they hired genuine Catholic faculty, this would never happen. The Benedictines of Belmont Abbey, who run this college, also run Benedictine High School in Richmond, Va, where two of my sons have attended. I’ve noticed that while the monks are usually personally orthodox, they are far too indifferent about what kind of teachers they hire for their “Catholic” school.

    Perhaps those chickens are coming home to roost.

  • Donald,

    What this case amply demonstrates is the folly of Catholic colleges giving employment to people bitterly opposed to what the Church teaches.

    What would become of the Notre Dame Theology Dept. if they were let go? Imagine the number of openings at SFU, BU, Georgetown, etc. etc.


    you’re right on. Time to cut the government loose. This is another point about the excess of government, imagine if ALL of our health funding was controlled by the government.

Clout and Catholic Education

Thursday, July 23, AD 2009

Too often, Catholic education, particularly at the high school level, seems to be valued not so much for its moral and religious content as for its prestige in the community, or for its ability to produce graduates who get into the “right” colleges and get higher-paying jobs later on.

In my experience, Catholic high schools tend to be known in their communities as 1) schools rich kids attend, 2) a way to escape poor-quality public schools, 3) athletic powerhouses, or 4) institutions whose graduates enjoy disproportionate wealth and influence — the quality Chicagoans famously call “clout.”

Just today, in fact, I heard someone refer to alumni of a local Catholic high school as a “Catholic mafia” that allegedly dominates local business and politics. Although this characterization is probably not entirely justified, many alums of this particular school do seem to end up in positions of influence in the community.

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19 Responses to Clout and Catholic Education

  • I wonder if it’s also because so many Illinois politicians exercising their clout are Catholic (Quinn, Durbin, Madigan, Daley, Emil Jones, the Strogers, etc.) so their social network, including the people they exercise influence on behalf of, is made up disproportionately of well-to-do Catholics. My downstate, public high school had 1 person, while the local Catholic school also had one.

  • I serve on the board of two Catholic high schools — my alma mater in Chicago (a south side school not mentioned in any of the Trib articles that I read) and my children’s alma mater in Atlanta. For the most part I agree with Elaine’s observations. That said, I would mention that in my experien the board leaders tend to be very serious about the school’s Catholicity and spiritual environment. Parents, however, are a mixed bag, and it is true that many have misplaced priorities (like most Americans). These schools operate in very competitive environments and must compete for students and teachers, and these constituencies often have imperfect priorities as well. The Chicago school is all boys and could not recruit students successfully without emphasizing athletics. Period. Just a fact of Chicago’s south side. The school’s president and the board view this emphasis as a tactic to attract boys so that we have an opportunity to educate and mold them into genuinely Catholic young gentlemen. The broader community may see us as athletics focused, but the board fully understands the distinction between means and ends. The co-ed school in Atlanta does not need to emphasize athletics quite as much, but does have to spend inordinately on unnecessary resources (in my view) in order to attract students and teachers. Private high schools in Atlanta (mostly non-Catholic) are much better endowed than us and have more attractive facilities. Both schools struggle mightily with keeping tuition as low as possible while balancing difficult budgets. Both schools are aware that a good percentage of students come from Catholic in name only families who are attracted to the educational value (good education at a bargain price compared to competitors). Overall, they do a pretty good job of imparting the faith in what is virtually a quasi-evangelical environment. I serve on many non-profit boards (Salvation Army, United Way, etc), but none are more challenged than the Catholic high schools.

    Finally, I am not as offended at “clout” as some others. I am more offended at the faith-oriented shortcomings of Catholic schools. I’m happy if Catholic kids get to attend U of I, even if assisted by a call or two. I just want them to have a sufficiently well-formed faith that they won’t lose as soon as they leave home.

  • ability to produce graduates who get into the “right” colleges and get higher-paying jobs later on

    You speak as if this is a bad thing. It’s as bad as holding a dance and asking if a church should have offered a Bible study instead. If the schools are deficient in morality training or religious education, it is fine to complain. To act as if they are values opposed to achievement in industry after graduation or the school’s prestige is just wrong.

  • Might the “clout” list include a lot of higher-income schools and Catholic schools because they have a better education results, and it’s unlikely that folks on those lists just suddenly got backing now, and have instead had backing to get into the “good” schools the entire time?

  • M.Z., I never said it was inherently “bad” for Catholic school graduates to get into good colleges or get good jobs. My concern is that when Catholic schools come to be known ONLY or primarily for those things, they may lose some of their potential to be “salt and light” to a fallen world. Just as there’s nothing wrong with a church sponsoring dances, bingo, or other social events, but when that’s ALL a church is known for doing, maybe they need to reexamine their priorities.

    Also, I’m not complaining about the quality of Catholic education so much as the perception that Catholic schools are only for the wealthy and powerful, or are dependent upon them for their survival. Any religious institution that depends upon the wealthy and powerful to survive has to take extra care not to lose sight of its mission.

  • Fox, I’m sure that kids from higher income schools (private or public) have always had a certain amount of “clout” or “pull” in the college admissions process. In the case of the U of I, however, it appears to have become much more blatant in the last few years. Plus since U of I admission has become highly competitive, anyone who gets in based on clout is more likely to deprive an equally or more qualified middle- or working-class student of admission.

  • M.Z.,

    I didn’t really understand Elaine as suggesting that worldly achievement or its facilitation is inimical to Catholic values, but that it should be subordinated to faith formation in terms of prioritization. I agree with her that many Catholic families are attracted to Catholic schools for the wrong reasons, and Catholic schools are often tempted to reorient their priorities accordingly. When that happens, “morality training or religious education” suffers. A number of years ago there was quite a public kerfuffle at a very affluent Catholic school when parents accused the school of being “too Catholic,” because the school administration was trying to beef up its religion courses and requirements. Eventually, many of these parents left when as a consequence. The irony is that the high school now sends an inordinate number of grads to Ivy League and other prestigious schools due to the efficacy of its “classical” education.

    The bottom line is that most graduates of Catholic schools are terribly catechized, and that is partly the result of the schools’ understanding that such catechises is not a primary value of most parents. The schools feel pressure to respond to the marketplace by replacing Catholicism with something called “in the Catholic tradition.”

    Finally, I do sense things are getting better. The schools that I serve are very conscious of their Catholic identity, and it is not watered down, even though I suspect (just suspect) that catechesis could be more rigorous. That said, I think high schools struggle with catechesis in part because most Catholic grade schools send students who are largely uncatechized. Most cannot name the seven sacraments or the ten commandments; and very few can explain the types or meanings of grace.

  • Elaine-
    I’m suggesting that the high school selections are part of the same process as the college, not that the selections themselves are “good.”

    If the kids got into “good” high schools in the same way as colleges, the same objections would exist– moreso for public schools than private, but it’d exist.

  • MZ — no one said, as far as I can tell, that morality is opposed to achievement. The post was about people who prioritize achievement (and not even real achievement but positions purchased by clout) over moral training. Do you have anything to say about that?

  • First, you are not going to find too many poor minority schools on the “clout list” because they have their own form of “clout list”, i.e. affirmative action, but it is too un-PC to mention in the public debate on this matter. I see these two forms of clout balancing each other out. As always it is the great majority of Americans in the middle that get s****ed.

    Of course, private universities have their own clout lists. When my daughter was accepted at Notre Dame they made it quite clear that she was admitted during the early admissions process because I was an alumni (she had a near perfect SAT and a 4.0 GPA but alot of ND applicants do). Should public universities be more egalitarian and fair in their admissions process because they are public . . . dream on.

    Secondly, I totally agree that Catholic Schools K-12 & universities have totally lost their initial mission, i.e., to educate Catholic children while keeping them strong in the faith. That is why I have never wasted my money on Catholic Schools for my kids (including my daughter who eventually accepted a full ride academic scholarship to a state school and got nothing from ND). It is also why my parents never spent a dime on Catholic education except my sisters and me except for CCD and when the nuns stopped teaching that in the late 1960’s they even stopped sending us to CCD. [We were poor enough where they didn’t have to pay for me to go to ND – I lived at home, worked and got enough in state scholarship funds to cover the rest.]

    Catholicism as taught in Catholic High Schools consists of call men with Roman collars “Father” and work in soup kitchens on weekends. I’d be shocked to learn of a current Catholic high school graduate who could define “transubstantiation” or discuss the notion of “baptismal regeneration” or list the 7 sacraments. This is why Cathoic Home schooling is growing in some communities – a notion unheard of 40 years ago except in communities without Catholic schools.

    Finally, a couple of years ago Bishop D’Arcy of the South Bend/Fort Wayne, IN Diocese ordered the dismissal of a popular teacher and coach at St. Joseph High School in South Bend because he had married a divorcee and had left the Church to become a Baptist. Parents and staff and faculty members of course were outraged. So, I also agree that Catholic High Schools are just supplying what the public wants – a good secular education with a thin religous veneer. Of course, the religous attitudes of most of these parents have also been shaped by the piss poor religous teaching that they have received from Catholic Schools and Cathoic pulpits during the past 40 years.

  • I think that Ms. Krewer’s argument is poorly drawn. Her concern is on a. perception of the school by outsiders and b. the desire of parents at a few Catholic schools to get their children into a good college. I don’t see anything about the students themselves!

    The schools can talk about a need for “public relations” work, but the reality is that the school has very little ability to change a perception that “its a sports school” or “its a rich kids’ school.” Such statements, in my experience, are always made by people with no real world exposure to the school, so how much credibility or concern can you put on such statements?

    Whether the parents want their children to go to a good college doesn’t seem to really be connected with whether the high school is a good Catholic school or not. I just don’t see the connection in her argument.

    That’s not to say that every Catholic high school is successful, either academically or spiritually. All Catholic high schools (that existed before Vatican II) were built around a clerical teaching staff. The decline in vocations has resulted in a largely lay teaching staff today. Does that make them less Catholic? Maybe, maybe not, depending on who got hired to replace those priests, nuns and brothers. I am a proud alum of a Catholic high school, which my children also attended. It was also all boys in my day and almost all clerical teachers. Now it’s co-ed and has only a handful of clergy. In my opinion, it is a much better school today, spiritually, academically and socially. This is a school where a survey found that seniors are more likely to attend Mass on Sunday than freshmen. The students have a choice on Friday between getting a jump on homework so they won’t have to do it on the weekend or going to Mass. Over two-thirds of the students choose Mass, including many of the people of other faiths.
    In my book, that’s a school that is religiously successful. But it has a reputation in the community as being only for athletes and only for rich kids.

    I would like to hear discussion about people of other faiths attending “Catholic” schools. Should “non-Catholics” be allowed to attend? How large a portion of the student body should be Catholic? Perhaps one can think about what the mission of the school is. Is it to teach Catholic kids so they will continue as Catholics? Is it to help raise the future of the students who otherwise face a bleak future, regardless of their religious faith? I’d point to the parallel of Catholic hospitals. Are they Catholic enough? How do you decide what ‘Catholic enough’ means?

  • If opposition between secular achievement and religious instruction was not being attempted, the comparison shouldn’t have been made. I remember talking to a Jewish graduate of Marquette High School. He felt he understood the Catholic faith adequately. He went to that school in part because of the hockey program. Was this a bad thing?

    I have nothing against trying to improve religious education. Serving on two school boards, Mr. Petrik is probably well aware that the parents that send their children to these schools for prestige and/or academics are the same parents that write large checks. These parents are given the deference they are given, because politicians (and the best pastors are good politicians) are willing to work with what they have in order to improve rather than tear what’s working down and create unnecessary animus. As seen from the Notre Dame saga, the one thing you couldn’t say about Notre Dame was that it was a pauper. (Yes, I know blessed are the poor, and I’ve embraced that more than I cared to have.) There have been more than a few start ups that have attempted to embrace the faith alone and ignore things like achievement or money only to find themselves tits up.

    Finally, I agree with Mr. Petrik that things are improving at a lot of schools. Certainly there is nothing wrong with encouraging that improvement.

  • would like to hear discussion about people of other faiths attending “Catholic” schools. Should “non-Catholics” be allowed to attend?

    I rather like the idea of non-Catholics in Catholic schools– partly because of the witnessing opportunity, partly because I have seen what it results in– a lady friend who recently passed went to a Catholic school when she was a kid, because it was the “best” school and that’s all her parents cared about. Sixty years later, though still a (highly irascible) vague Christian, she would jump down the throat of anyone who tried to spread the usual “Catholics worship Mary” type BS. She was better at defending the Church than most Catholics I know!

    I’d point to the parallel of Catholic hospitals. Are they Catholic enough? How do you decide what ‘Catholic enough’ means?

    My book? They follow Catholic teachings as related to their work, and allow or support the action on those teachings that aren’t related to their work. (don’t want to get mission bloat, it would make them not as good as hospitals)

  • I have no problem at all with non-Catholics attending Catholic schools, but would not want any Catholic kids displaced by non-Catholics without good reason. In general, a Catholic school’s primary mission is to serve the Catholic community by educating its children in a manner that is consonant with our faith.

    To MZ’s earlier point, quite frankly some of the most ardent Catholic parents are also the most generous, though that certainly is not always the case. The idea that somehow the financially successful are not as good Catholics as those of more modest means (which is not at all what MZ said) is just a silly conceit. I have observed little correlation. Many of our wealthier families are quite devout, and also quite generous, but certainly not all.

  • If opposition between secular achievement and religious instruction was not being attempted, the comparison shouldn’t have been made.

    You certainly have a point . . . CS Lewis notes somewhere, maybe in a letter, that readers are often like witless sheep who will take the first detour possible, even if it wasn’t intended.

  • I too have no problem with non-Catholics attending Catholic schools; in fact some of the first Catholic schools were set up in predominantly non-Christian areas as “mission schools”.

    To some extent a Catholic school cannot fully control how OTHERS in the community, who aren’t associated with the school, perceive it. But I’m sure there are other times when taking a look at oneself “from the outside” is helpful and a needed corrective.

    A big part of the problem with Catholic education as it exists today is that very few if any schools can survive on tuition alone — charging every parent the full cost of their child’s education would put it out of reach of all but the most wealthy — so a lot of time and effort has to be spent on fundraising and on extracurricular activities such as sports that make money for the school. Which usually translates into 1) hitting up wealthy alumni and business people for donations, 2) holding a lot of fundraising events (bingo, carnivals, auctions, dinner/dances, etc.), and 3) recruiting the best athletes.

    Now again, these things are not inherently evil or wrong in themselves, but they CAN become a diversion from the schools main mission if its administration isn’t careful. What to do about that?

    Perhaps the most radical approach has been taken by the Diocese of Wichita, Kans., where ALL Catholic schools are funded completely by tithing and NO tuition is charged to any Catholic student. This is done through a comprehensive stewardship program that emphasizes giving of “time, talent, and treasure” as a way of life. As a result, its schools are thriving (as are its priestly vocations) and other dioceses have taken interest in this approach. Whether it can be successfully transplanted to large urban dioceses, particularly those with large numbers of recent immigrants, remains to be seen; but I think it is worth looking at.

  • Elaine, I like the comments about funding. My pastor is the oldest of five boys in the family. His parents moved to a house down the street from the Catholic church. His non-Catholic parents went there and asked how much it would cost to send their children there. The answer was $500 a year (This would be back in the ’50s) if they were not Catholic and free if they were Catholic. “So we became Catholic!”
    Parishes in our archdiocese are limited to a certain percentage of their budget that can be devoted to the parish school (if any.) The rest of the cost has to come from the parents. I think there are good arguments for at least some funding to come from parents. First, you do not value anything that is free. You have no “skin in the game.” Second, parents have to be responsible for their children and that includes their education. The entire parish should not have to pay the family’s expenses. I’m sensitive to those parishioners who do not have children in the parish school. I guess the parallel is public education, where the general public pays the whole bill and they do so in a grudging fashion.

    There are also Catholic schools that would not exist if tuition were the only source of their income. I am familiar with a “Nativity” middle school locally, that only admits children whose families can’t pay (although they do charge $20 a month, for the first reason I mentioned above.) Their student body are from low income homes, almost all minority, almost all not Catholic, some are immigrants. They typically come to 6th grade with reading and math skills at the 2nd or 3rd grade level.

    My point is that there simply isn’t enough money to have a school like that if you only look at the neighborhood community. Their ability to raise funds from the Catholic community in our city is all that stands between these children and life on the streets. So does it make a difference if most of the students are Catholic?

    You posit that fund raising should not be a diversion from the school’s main mission. On the face of it, I agree. I just have a hard time analyzing how I would know, at a specific school, if it is a diversion.

    There is a Catholic high school in our city that puts the students to work to pay for the cost of running the school. The students have jobs in the community, one day a week, that covers their tuition. As I understand it, they have classroom work four days a week and they work the fifth. These students and their families do not have the economic means to pay tuition on their own. The kicker is that the work part makes their classroom work meaningful. “I need to learn how to write better because that’s what it takes at work.” (And that lack of understanding of why studying is meaningful is one of the biggest problems in public education, in my opinion, as a former school board member.) So you can paint their school as exploiting the students or you can paint it as giving them a meaningful education that they couldn’t otherwise obtain.

  • Any funding mechanism, within reason and morality, that keeps Catholic schools from becoming accessible only to the wealthy, or dependent entirely or almost entirely on wealthy people to keep them running, is OK by me. Charging a small or sliding amount of tuition to insure that families have “skin in the game” is fine, but again, the idea should always be to insure that Catholic education is accessible to all income levels.

    The Catholic high school you mention that has students work to earn their tuition one day a week — that sounds like a great idea to me, because it enables the students to gain real life job experience. I wouldn’t consider it “exploiting” them at all, unless the jobs in question were exceptionally dangerous or exhausting.

    Should parishioners who don’t have children be responsible for supporting a parish or diocesan school? Well, it depends on how you look at it. Is the school an integral part of the Church’s mission to which ALL Catholics have some obligation to contribute (in line with the Fifth Precept of the Church)? Or, is it a purely voluntary/optional service which only those who participate in it are obligated to support, like a sodality or men’s/women’s club?

    When does fundraising become a diversion for the school’s main mission? I would say the line is crossed if the school comes under pressure to compromise or downplay Catholic teachings or other practices (e.g. dress codes, rules against teachers being married or cohabiting outside the Church), or to look the other way at obviously immoral or egregious practices of a major donor, in order to avoid losing the funds upon which it is dependent for its survival.

    I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this matter, and hopefully it will get everyone thinking about how best to support Catholic education. I didn’t mean to be excessively hard on Catholic schools but simply to point out a potential stumbling block to their mission.

  • Eric called my attention to this entry last week, shortly after it had been posted, and in the chaos that was last week as one of my best friends got married, I left this open on my computer all week, not getting to it until this evening. I know the discussion has died down days ago, but if others are still interested in continuing the discussion, I find the Wichita approach very interesting. In response to the statement that what is free is not valued as much, I would like to call the attention back to the priest whose parents converted for the free education–their son had a vocation! That priest valued what he received so much that he ended up giving his life to God to continue to serve the same cause!

    I live in Houston, which is a large city with a number of immigrants (many of whom are Catholic), as well as many other “higher end” Catholics. It is interested that some parishes tend to serve either one end of the spectrum or another, based on location or other factors, but there are also parishes that are more “mixed”. I can’t speak for all parishes, but of these latter, I have seen a dichotomy within the parishes, where some kids can afford to go to the parochial school and others, no matter how devout of a home they come from, simply cannot afford it. They are then put through the public school system supplemented by a sub-standard Sunday catechesis, and we wonder why we have so many teens having pre-marital sex and a breakdown in families, especially in this lower-end demographic.

    It is because we have not taken it on as our responsibility as the Church to provide for the needs of our young people, all of them! One of the saddest things that has happened in the past half a century or so, at least in my opinion (which I believe can also contain an objective moral point), is the loss of the importance of the parochial school. I have been reading the history of a Franciscan religious order, which simultaneously tells the story of the development of Catholic schools in America. They were founded to further instill morals and an understanding of the Church teachings in all young people-immigrants, orphans, the poor, and yes, non-Catholics.

    Of course, the schools were easier to fund when they were run mostly by nuns. We didn’t have to pay competitive wages to lay men and women who have to take care of their families, and since we do rely on these people, we cannot cease to pay them now. But we can’t lose the mission to educate just because someone can’t afford the price tag of a solid Catholic education.

    In Wichita, I am sure that for this to function, many parents are aware of the cost of their child’s education, even if they aren’t the ones paying it in full. And if this is indeed working successfully, I am sure that there are parents who can afford it that write rather large checks as part of the lifestyle of stewardship. But to answer the question above, I do think that it is also appropriate that others who do not currently have children in the parochial school (or may never have children in it) to support it in some way or another. It is a vital ministry that ensures the future of the Church as it provides a place of the seeds of vocations to be nourished.

    I am curious if anyone knows more about other dioceses that are looking into this Wichita method and any studies being done, especially concerning the more urban areas.