A “Call Out” and “Two Thumbs Up” to Professor Patrick Deneen

Sunday, January 29, AD 2012

What’s a tenured associate professor of government teaching at a Catholic university to do when he believes the institution isn’t really Catholic?

It’s pretty easy to say “Give up your tenure and go where you will find what you are looking for.”  Sometimes, witness to one’s faith entails suffering.

Agreed.  But, making that decision isn’t so simple when other considerations—like those of family, financial obligations (a mortgage, for example), and the like—must also be factored into the equation.

The situation presents an authentic ethical dilemma, one that confronted a former Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, Patrick Deneen.

In a letter published at Front Porch Republic, Deneen said with regard to Georgetown University:

…Georgetown increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to Truth. Its Catholic identity, which should inform every activity of the community, from curriculum to dorm life to faculty hiring, has increasingly been cordoned off to optional activities of Campus Ministry.

Describing his experience, Deneen wrote:

In the seven years since I joined the faculty at Georgetown, I have found myself often at odds with the trajectory and many decisions of the university.  In 2006 I founded The Tocqueville Forum as a campus organization that would offer a different perspective, one centered on the moral underpinnings of liberal learning that are a precondition for the continued existence of liberal democracy, and one that would draw upon the deep wisdom contained in the Catholic humanistic tradition.  I have been heartened and overjoyed to witness the great enthusiasm among a myriad of students for the programming and activities of the Forum.  However, the program was not supported or recognized by the institution, and that seemed unlikely to change.  While I did not seek that approval, I had hoped over the years that the program would be attractive to colleagues across disciplines on the faculty, and would be a rallying-point for those interested in reviving and defending classical liberal learning on campus.  The Tocqueville Forum fostered a strong community of inquiry among a sizeable number of students, but I did not find that there was any such community formed around its mission, nor the likely prospect of one, among the more permanent members of the university. I have felt isolated and often lonely at the institution where I have devoted so many of my hours and my passion.

So, where is Professor Deneen headed?

The University of Notre Dame (UND).

However, Deneen appears not to be headed to South Bend blinded by all of the UND hype.  He wrote:

I don’t doubt that there will be many battles at Our Lady’s University.  But, there are at least some comrades-in-arms to share in the effort.

UND hired Deneen, he wrote, because they regard him as “someone who can be a significant contributor to its mission and identity, particularly the Catholic identity of the institution.”

Although considerations like these are not typically a criterion for hiring at Georgetown as Deneen noted, The Motley Monk would humbly suggest that even in those institutions where they are, there’s quite a distance between espousing those ideals and translating them to pedagogical lessons in every classroom, dorm, and student activity.

For Professor Deneen’s willingness to witness to the importance of an institution’s Catholic identity in name and in fact, The Motley Monk offers a “call out” and “both thumb up.”

To read Professor Deneen’s letter, click on the following link:
http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2012/01/why-i-am-leaving-georgetown/

To follow The Motley Monk’s daily blog, click on the following link:
http://themotleymonk.blogspot.com/

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9 Responses to A “Call Out” and “Two Thumbs Up” to Professor Patrick Deneen

  • Two old sayings come to mind. “Never say die.” and “Out of the fire, into the frying pan.”

  • My impression — and it is only that — is that Notre Dame accepts its Catholic identity and is genuinely proud of it, even if it all too often misunderstands it; while Georgetown cannot quite decide if it should accept its Catholicity or be embarrassed by it. I could be wrong.

  • The rise of the gay pride organisation at Georgetown with its lavender graduation was coerced by the Supreme Court in view of a D.C. law and presages the recent arising health insurance dilemna facing the Church:

    from their history of their rise….
    1980

    “GPGU petitions GU for recognition again and is denied for the third time; GPGU and the Gay Rights Coalition (GU Law Center) sue GU for recognition under the DC Human Rights Act. In Gay Rights Coalition v. Georgetown University, the Supreme Court rules that Georgetown University has violated the D.C. Human Rights Law by refusing to recognize its LGBTQ organization.”

    see their history with their frequent infiltrations of campus tours for new students:

    http://studentorgs.georgetown.edu/pride/?Action=About

    In a 1988 settlement, GU ends up indirectly funding them:
    “After 8 years of litigation and 199 years after its founding, GU settles with GPGU , agreeing to fund the group through a secondary body as to not violate Catholic teaching regarding homosexuality. This led to the creation of the Student Activities Commission (SAC). ”

    So the question is….would Christ fund a sodomy group through a secondary body. No…I think He would close the school and move it to another area. My cousin is gay and I’ve prayed for her for decades and will pray until her death as I prayed for her partner who died and was a divorced Catholic who turned gay after divorce. She, when alive and thinking I would agree, denounced to me certain relatives who objected but then was fiercely mad at me for agreeing with them and saying to her face that
    Scripture is crystal clear in Romans 1 that it is deadly sin for both genders.

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  • I have a couple of questions regarding this and maybe it is because I am in search of, on a conquest for my own authentic masculinity. Do we stay and fight in a situation like this…or is the can kicked so far down the road that return to Catholic University status at G’Town is slim to none? Can more of an effective fight be waged at ND which needs to be more authentically Catholic (at least what I can see from the news the last few years).

  • As an ND alum, I cannot speak for Georgetown, but I say without reservation that there is hope for Notre Dame, and the last thing that the oft-beleaguered faithful among the students and faculty at ND need is to be written off as a lost cause by the rest of the Church. Here is a good place to start:

    http://www.projectsycamore.com/

  • Michael,
    I think that folks should fight the good fight from whereever they sit. I see no reason, or really any practical ability, to engage in our unfortunate culture war on just certain fronts or battlegrounds. Catholics who care about Georgetown or who are in a position to be influential there should direct their energies there, just as Catholics with ND relationships should fight the good fight there. That is just my 2 cents.

  • In case it was not clear, my last comment was in response to MJP’s.
    I agree completely with MB’s post.

  • “conquest”

    “fight”

    “fight”

    “war”

    “battleground”

    “fight”

    “fight”

    I love it when you guys comment thusly.

    Let them also “admonish”, “counsel”, “instruct”, and “pray for.”

The Dignity and Worth of Every Person

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

The Lying Worthless Poltical Hack, a\k\a Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, tells Priests and Bishops to speak out on immigration from the pulpit based upon a biblical concern for “the dignity and worth of every person”.

The respect that the Lying Worthless Political Hack has “for the dignity and worth” of the smallest and most helpless among us was well demonstrated by this quote from Naral Pro-Choice America in 2007 after Pelosi became speaker of the House:

“Americans who value freedom and privacy have many reasons to celebrate as Nancy Pelosi takes the Speaker’s gavel to make this historic move forward for our country.  For her nearly 20 years in office, Speaker Pelosi has been an effective advocate for women’s health and has championed her pro-choice values by consistently voting to protect a woman’s right to choose.  In November, voters across this country endorsed Speaker Pelosi’s call for a change and new direction by electing 23 new pro-choice members to the U.S. House of Representatives.  Today, we celebrate as Speaker Pelosi takes the reins; under her leadership Americans can expect a new focus on commonsense solutions, not the divisive attacks that marred the previous Congresses.”

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8 Responses to The Dignity and Worth of Every Person

  • Problem is that many U.S. bishops don’t need Nip Tuck Nancy to egg them on in using their good offices as a feather to tickle their ideological fancies on this issue. I mean you have both Cdl. Roger Mahony and Abp. Timothy Dolan engaging in New York Slimes-style smear tactics to disparage the good people of Arizona who are exercising their God-given right to protect themselves from the ravages of open borders malfeaseance.

  • Is it dignified to die of exposure in the desert?

    Do we celebrate the worth of those who are suffocated in unventilated containers snuck across the border by ‘coyotes’?

    Or the women trafficked … or raped … crossing the border?

    Or the drug violence? Or gang crime? Kidnapping? Murder. Mayhem. Is that all dignified?

    Anyone who supports the current border situation, or would cause a stampede by offering ‘amnesty’ … has a share of all this blood on their hands. Not very dignified to my way of thinking.

  • Or it could be because of the bishop’s longstanding support of immigrants, mainly because the US Catholic Church was built on the backs of poor, outcast immigrants.

    http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-090.shtml
    http://www.faithfulcitizenship.org/

    Despite the Speaker’s horrid theology on abortion, she’s right that more clergy should speak out on a just immigration policy. How can we say we respect all life when we spit on the poor and needy who come to us looking for a living (in a legal way)?

  • “How can we say we respect all life when we spit on the poor and needy who come to us looking for a living (in a legal way)?”

    Deporting illegal aliens is not spitting on them. No one of course is proposing that legal immigrants do not have every right to be here, so I do not understand the (in a legal way) that ended your sentence.

    In any case this post isn’t about the debate over immigration, but rather at the deafness the Lying Worthless Political Hack has to an essential teaching of her Church and her willingness to attempt to enlist the Church, with language the irony of which I am certain eludes her, when it becomes politically expedient for her to do so.

  • Mr Smith:

    Immigration is not the issue. It’s about illegal aliens storming across our borders and the attendent dangerous criminal activity. For the bishops to accuse those who take a differing view from that of the open borders crowd od being anti-immigration when they know it is nothing of the sort is reprehensible, to say nothing of being unbecoming the office of bishop.

    USCCB “pastoral” letters on these type issues are more ideological than pastoral and are not worth the paper they are written on esecially that “Faithful Citizenship” one.

  • Again we get to the claim that immigrants have a right to immigrate – which they do according to Catholic Social teaching. But Catholic Social teaching also notes that states have a right to regulate immigration. I suspect the Church understood that when it developed this teaching that there would be some poor immigrants who were cut off. Catholic Social teaching is not about achieving utopia in the here and now. It is about applying moral principles in a fallen world.

  • If the Demonrats were not assured of getting the votes of the illegals, do you think they would be fighting so hard for getting them in to the county AND giving them “defacto” votes (via ACORN, et al)?

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