Skip to comments.Archdiocese of Washington speaks out over choice of Kathleen Sebelius as Speaker at...
Posted on 05/13/2012 7:00:06 PM PDT by markomalley
The Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Washington, Bishop Barry Knestout forwarded the following editorial from the Catholic Standard, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese. He asked the we priests share it in any way we deem appropriate with the people of the Archdiocese. In this matter.
Many of you write me and ask when and if the Archdiocese will speak out on this or that matter. In this matter, I am able to report that it has. And frankly the editorial pull no punches, as you will see. The original text is below in bold black italics. My comments are in plain red text. The original article is here: Cathstan.org and a PDF of it is here: Disappointed but Not Surprised
Late last Friday, Georgetown University announced that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is the featured speaker for an awards ceremony at the Universitys Public Policy Institute. This news is a disappointment but not a surprise.As is well known, Secretary Sebelius is the architect of the HHS mandate, now federal law, which requires all employers including religious institutions to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraceptives for its employees and redefines religious ministry to exclude Catholic social services, hospitals and universities if they serve or employ non-Catholics. Given her position, it is disappointing that she would be the person that Georgetown University would choose to honor.Founded in 1789 by John Carroll, a Jesuit priest, Georgetown University has, historically speaking, religious roots. So, too, do Harvard, Princeton and Brown. Over time, though, as has happened with these Ivy League institutions, Georgetown has undergone a secularization, due in no small part to the fact that much of its leadership and faculty find their inspiration in sources other than the Gospel and Catholic teaching. Many are quite clear that they reflect the values of the secular culture of our age. Thus the selection of Secretary Sebelius for special recognition, while disappointing, is not surprising.Pay close attention to this paragraph. The editorial, while not using canonical language, in effect sets forth the view that Georgetown has largely become a secular University, along the line of Harvard, Yale et al. It goes even further, stating that the primary source of inspiration at Georgetown is not the Gospel or Catholic teaching, but instead, is other unnamed sources.To be clear, there are surely some very fine teachers and students on campus. I know at least several who are striving to maintain some semblance of Catholic identity there. It remains true that Mass is still offered on campus, but that is true of Secular universities as well.So, what is Catholic about Georgetown? Very little, it would seem by the editorials assessment. This assessment, I know, many of you will share, in the wake of one discouragement after another emanating from the campus of Georgetown.Blessed John Paul II, in his 1990 apostolic constitution on Catholic Universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, invites Catholic universities into a relationship of faith and excellence. He calls them to share in the Churchs task of bringing the Gospel and Christian values into the culture of our day.He reminds us that a Catholic university is a living institutional witness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism Moreover, all the basic academic activities of a Catholic University are connected with and in harmony with the evangelizing mission of the Church, among them, dialogue with culture that makes the faith better understood (ECE I: B.4.49).Basic Catholic Mission stuff here. Sadly Georgetown and many other Catholic Universities are not clear on Job 1.One can only wonder how the selection of Secretary Sebelius for such a prominent role as a featured speaker can be reconciled with the stated Catholic mission and identity of Georgetown University. Secretary Sebelius vision on what constitutes faith-based institutions presents the most direct challenge to religious freedom in recent history.Yes, I wonder if Georgetown and others who think like this, have any idea where intrusive government will end? It does not take a prophet to see that if the Federal Government can intrude on a matter like this (Catholic sexual and life teachings) which many at Georgetown sniff at, that the same Government will be back with more demands.And these demands, the faculty and administration at Georgetown may be less sanguine about. Who is to say and more conservative administration could not demand that Georgetown teach, facilitate, and fund abstinence based programs as part of a healthcare mandate, or perhaps that they require all students and employees to contribute to and pay for a pro-life crisis pregnancy center to help bring babies to term, and that they fund an adoption agency on campus to encourage single moms to adopt their children to intact families. What if all this was in a future health care mandate that sought to preserve and foster the lives of infants and Georgetown was required to pay for all this?I doubt Georgetown faculty and staff would be so sanguine about this, and say, Well of course Government knows best, and if Government calls this women, infant and childrens healthcare, who are we to say no? No, I rather doubt Georgetown would be inviting the HHS Secretary from a conservative administration proposing this. If they did, the protests would be so thick, that he or she couldnt even get on campus.But wake up Georgetown! You celebrate a woman who is helping to gut religious liberty. But your religious liberty is just as much on the line as any one elses. Uncle Sam will be back, and you might not be so pleased the next time. Time for sobriety Georgetown.On the same weekend that the Georgetown announcement was made, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the importance of Catholic education and the intellectual and cultural challenges of the New Evangelization in the context of contemporary American society. The Holy Father recalled that during his pastoral visit to America in April 2008, in his homily at the Mass at Nationals Stadium, he called on the Church in America to cultivate a mindset, an intellectual culture which is genuinely Catholic. Last weekend he reiterated the need for American Catholic institutions of higher learning to commit to building a society ever more solidly grounded in an authentic humanism inspired by the Gospel and faithful to the highest values of Americas civic and cultural heritage.With all of the people struggling so hard to preserve freedom of religion, and with all that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has said in defense of this important value, Georgetowns choice of the architect of the radical challenge of such freedom for special recognition can only be seen as a statement of where the university stands certainly not with the Catholic bishops. Clear and unambiguousGeorgetown Universitys response to the commencement speaker decision is disappointing, but not surprising. When the vision guiding university choices does not clearly reflect the light of the Gospel and authentic Catholic teaching, there are, of course, disappointing results.In other words, the fruit does not fall far from the tree. And the editorial could not be more clear, the vision at Georgetown is not the Gospel and it is not Catholic teaching.
So who wrote this? The editorial is unsigned. But the Catholic Standard is the official paper of the Archdiocese of Washington. As such it is a recognized voice of the Archdiocese and editorials like this are not published without review by the Cardinals senior staff.
I hope you will agree that the editorial lays out a very serious need for soul searching at Georgetown. And, while some of you may wish that universities like Georgetown would have long ago been censured and/or had their Catholic identity officially removed, that involves extensive and careful canonical procedures. I have no knowledge that any such actions are underway or have ever been tried in the past. And such matters are wholly left to the pastoral discretion of the bishops. I think we ought to allow the bishops their rightful prudential judgements in these sorts of matters and not be too hypercritical of them. They know a lot more than we ever will, and they have a bigger picture in mind as well, as they try to hold everyone as close to Christ as possible.
In your comments please consider charity, and remain prayerful about this matter, as I know most of you do.
The Editorial does nothing but say they are dissappointed.
It doesn’t MEAN anything. It’s the Same Old same Old.
Put some teeth into it. Stop calling it a catholic University, it is obvious that it isn’t. Let the Bishops come out with a pronouncement saying that Georgetown will no longer be recognised as a Catholic University.Remove the Priests from there and send them somewhere that they will be useful.
Actions speak louder than words, Cardinal Archbishop.
As the authorative ordinary, will you formally direct Georgetown to dis-invite Sebelius, or stop with this “strongly worded letter” expressing your “disappointment”.
Cardinal Archbishop, you may not have noticed, but we are at War. There are souls at stake. Now is not the time for letters of “disappointment”, but strong action.
Will you take it?
about time ping
I know Georgetown quite well, and I am certain their administration and most of their faculty don’t really care. They have long ago traded a “Catholic Identity” for the identity of being the a premier, elitist, modern university in the capital of the Empire. The temptation was really too strong.
The significance of this is that this is, as long as I can remember, the first time ANYTHING negative has publicly been said about Georgetown by the Archdiocese. That is, in of itself, profound.
Yes, I would like to see them take a bolder first step. But a first step has been taken. And that is a lot more than I have seen.
Seems to me the real problem is that Sebelius is supposedly Catholic and living and working in DC diocese, and the editorial don’t mention this. She was told not to take Communion in Kansas until she repents of her pro-abortion views, what about the nation’s capital? Did I miss it or something?
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Supposedly, Cardinal Wuerl's position is that he will support the position of the person's Ordinary (in the place of domicile). See here.
Unfortunately, such a ban does not specifically include speaking at a non-liturgical event.
Excellent! At this rate they will be on double secret probation by the time Georgetown starts offing free abortions with enrollment.
This is a good first step toward eventually declaring Georgetown un-Catholic and not recognized by the church — and a warning across the bow to get into shape or lose any ability to officially claim Catholic identity.
Regretably, the Jesuit order is sick, and probably dying. There are still some fine Jesuits, but they are the exception.
All of the Jesuit universities have been compromised, but Georgetown is undoubtedly the worst.
Just think back to the honors they showered on Bill Clinton after he got into the White House. They boasted that he was their most distinguished graduate, ever.
Georgetown is also EXTREMELY expensive. I’m not sure if it still has the highest tuition rates in the country, but it has in the recent past. They have been very successful selling themselves as a top college, rather than a religious college, so they are unlikely to return to their roots.
No profile in courage here. Certainly no profile.
I am embarrassed for the Church in America. Is there a Bishop anywhere in North America who would even bother to throw the money changers from the temple?
When they are not avoiding their obligation to define sin and evil entirely, the poor souls content themselves with mingling in the presence of glaring examples of sin and apostasy, choosing to boldly “strut and fret their hour upon the stage and then are heard no more”, endlessly observing, diagnosing, and declaring. Never but a peep of consequence or penance in sight for anyone.
I’m sorry, but it’s as if a large number of the American Bishops are quite satisfied to be “neither hot nor cold” for the faith, and would be actually prefer that the People of God would just quiet down and be the same.
The term in Sacred Scripture describes those who are
“neither hot nor cold”, that they shall be spewed forth from the mouth of God. This means to projectile vomit.
Lord have Mercy.
**They will no longer get my support**
A lot of people stopped their alumni payments at Notre Dame. An article finally appeared about it, but unfortunately Father Jenkins did not change his tune in allowing Obama to speak there.
In 1966 Fordham Univ was one of 5 NY schools to be awarded a state grant to attract a major educator. Fordham used its award to employ Marshal McLuhan. Before he could take up residence, the stat AG, Louis Lefkowitz, ruled that as a Catholic school Fordham could not receive the state’s money. The school used its own dollars to keep McCluhan, but began the process to transform itself into a secular school. It established a new Board of Trustees with a lay majority. It changed some curriculum and made relgious services much less a part of the student life. Georgetown and BC soon followed Fordham’s direction. Other Catholic schools like St. Johns and St Francis maintained their Catholic identity. 46 years later it is not surprising that G’town is where it is. Without govt awards and grants it would never have become the school it is now. But given the cost in principles, one may wonder if they should have listened to Ignatius’s caution to Francis.”Francis, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his soul.”
I am sorry. This must be especially painful as a Catholic university graduate, and you have my sympathy.
Seems ND and GEORGETOWN are begging, on bended knee, to be cut loose from the “shackles” of the Church they despise, but apparently the arduous and long process of cutting them loose is just too much for the good Bishops.
What with all the possible financial fallout from doing so, they will drag their feet until warm places freeze over. Rather, it is they who will have to be drug kicking and screaming with their fingers tightly pressed into the door facing.
Lord have Mercy.
Cardinal Wuerl needs to be reported to the Vatican. This guy tries to play safe with the Washington establishment and is an utter disgrace. He is the root reason for the spineless statements that keep getting issued.
How about the Catholic Archbishop excommunicates Sebellius, good buddy of Tiller the Baby Killer, because she’s so far past Catholic dogma, they couldn’t find her with a Saturn 5 booster.
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