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Are Catholic Colleges Still Catholic?

June 11, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

A few weeks ago I wrote (once again) about free speech on college campuses, this time in connection with a report by the University of California at Berkeley which found that conservatives themselves were responsible for the sometimes violent campus protests against conservative speakers. (If that doesn’t make sense, go back and reread my May 24 column.)
In that column there was a discussion of the bias against conservative speakers and groups, including the banning of Turning Point USA by several colleges, the discrimination against the Federalist Society on others, and the refusal of a Catholic school, Providence College, to protect a student who dared to speak on behalf of the Church’s view of marriage.
At the end of that column I mused rhetorically about the number of conservative commencement speakers which would be invited during the upcoming graduation season. Since the liberal orthodoxy is now the rule, I thought I would look into the matter, concentrating on what was happening on Catholic campuses, since, of course, you could expect Catholic colleges to uphold their Catholicism.
Well, maybe. Let’s look first at some of our Jesuit institutions as reported by the Cardinal Newman Society:
In New York Fordham University chose Dennis Walcott to be commencement speaker and awarded him the President’s Medal. Walcott had been the New York City schools chancellor, where he introduced a mandatory sex-education program, including abortion and contraception, for children as early as sixth grade.
Fordham also gave an honorary degree to Patricia Clarkson, an actress and an advocate for abortion and same-sex marriage who ridiculed Christians for “small-mindedness” over their concept of marriage.
Georgetown University also chose an abortion and same-sex advocate for its law school graduation, District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Homes Norton. Most recently she opposed a bill that would protect the religious freedom of those who support traditional marriage.
Chicago’s Loyola University gave an honorary degree to Sr. Simone Campbell, a dissident activist who was reprimanded by the Vatican in 2012 for her views on women priests and who serves as executive director of NETWORK, a social justice lobby that supported Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, while the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed it because of its favorable treatment of abortion. Although Sr. Simone claims to be pro-life, she says it wouldn’t be a good idea to outlaw abortion.
Loyola Chicago also chose Beverly Malone as speaker for the nursing school. Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing, advocates greater availability for the “morning after pill” and over-the-counter emergency contraception.
Loyola’s speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences was Julia Stasch, abortion supporter and promoter of the abortion pill RU 486.
Me thinks Loyola hit the trifecta this year!
Seattle University chose Sally Jewell, a former secretary of the Interior who is active in the promotion of same-sex marriage.
Other Catholic colleges did about as well. A sampling:
St. John’s University in Minnesota selected former Obama Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough. McDonough called Barack Obama “our most Catholic of Presidents,” despite his pro-abort activism and other stands in opposition to Church teaching. McDonough was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, John Podesta’s leftist lobbying group that was exposed in leaked emails to have attempted to undermine the Catholic Church.
St. Michael’s College in Vermont chose another same-sex marriage supporter, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, to address graduates. Landrieu opposed a law that would protect religious organizations that defended true marriage for which he was honored by Lambda Legal, a LGBT legal advocacy organization.
Of course not all choices were like these. Many Catholic colleges chose distinguished speakers, including numerous bishops and archbishops, who uphold the Church’s teaching on life and marriage. Additionally, many noted laymen were invited: Justice Clarence Thomas at Christendom College; George Weigel at Ave Maria Law School; FOCUS founder Curtis Martin at Benedictine College, and Joseph Pearce of the Cardinal Newman Society at Wyoming Catholic College.
But looking at the above sampling, you might ask yourself: What is going on at too many Catholic campuses these days? And to what end?
Well, we’ve already taken some prominent Catholic schools to task in other columns, so let’s find a new example and see what it tells us. Take Chicago’s DePaul University, a Vincentian school (think St. Vincent DePaul) which claims to be the largest Catholic university in the United States. It recently hosted a couple of events that in the most charitable sense couldn’t even be considered liberal Catholic; for that they even topped the Jesuits!
The first was an event supporting the decriminalization of prostitution which hosted several “sex workers,” one of whom, according to Campus Reform, is training to be a professional dominatrix. The event, hosted by the university Women’s Center and School of Design, was titled “The Truth about SESTA, Sex Work, and Decriminalization.”
SESTA is the acronym for the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” which President Trump signed into law April 11. It sought to clarify sex trafficking laws and closed down certain websites that specialized in escort services, and the like, which served as gateways for illicit paid-for sexual encounters and trafficking.
The argument of the sex-worker presenters was that SESTA did nothing to help stop sex trafficking and made the sex workers the true victims. It was a plot, one argued, of the “prison-industrial complex.”
If that wasn’t enough to disturb even the liberal Catholic conscience, the second event was sponsored by DePaul’s LGBTQA (don’t ask, I can’t keep up with all the initials) Resource Center. It was billed as a dialogue on open relationships and polyamory, and was conducted by a person who spoke of being averse to the concept of monogamy.
Polyamory is described as a type of “open dating” similar to an “open marriage.” In other words you have a primary partner and secondary ones. A bit creepy to see promoted on a Catholic campus, but then again, today almost anything goes.
On another front, Notre Dame recently elected a new trustee who had donated $10,000 to a PAC tied to the pro-abort EMILY’s List. When the Sycamore Trust, committed to restoring the school’s Catholic identity, sent a letter to ND President Fr. John Jenkins criticizing the choice, it received only a perfunctory reply that did not address the issue.
Also, Notre Dame delayed invoking the exemption from the Obamacare mandate offered last year by the Trump administration.
The Sycamore Trust further explained on May 29, 2018:
“The university has now disclosed the unsettling details of its contraception program. Coverage will include drugs that cause abortions; they will be prescribed and provided through the campus wellness center; and abortifacients will be provided free for several more months and cut-rate until the end of the year. The program is described in three online sources: FAQs for employees, FAQs for students, and a formulary of drugs and devices to be covered. This distressing episode becomes worse as the program unfolds.”
For more background and information on this, see:https://sycamoretrust.org/bulletins/
Bottom-line question: Are we losing our Catholic: identity on Catholic campuses? And if so, who is to blame? And how do we correct it?
Or do we simply stand back and let the secular concepts of political correctness and academic freedoms juxtapose themselves to our religious sensibilities? I don’t have a quick answer. But I do know that we can’t sweep this under the rug. We do need to speak up; whether that will do any good in the immediate future may be questionable. But I do know that silence on our part will surely end in defeat.
You can contact Mike at DeaconMike@q.com.

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