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When Counterculture At Georgetown Becomes Counterfeit

October 31, 2017 Frontpage No Comments

By SHAUN KENNEY

Georgetown University is perhaps an unofficial rival of The Catholic University of America. Of course, we were always keen upon hearing of a stray Hoya to ask them rather pointedly, “Why didn’t you go to a real Catholic university?” before laughing it off.
Back when I was a lowly freshman at CUA, our crucifixes were thankfully going back up after many years of absence, while at Georgetown they were reportedly all coming down in the name of diversity and for fear of offending a soul.
Of course, that’s what the cross is supposed to be — offensive, a crux. Christ crucified; a stumbling block (1 Cor. 1:23). That’s the whole point.
Apparently, some stumbling blocks are more equal than others at Georgetown University, as Catholicism takes a back seat to the new, more fashionable faith of the postmodern era — social justice.
Catholic News Agency reported last week that a pro-marriage Catholic student group on campus called Love Saxa is being hauled before a tribunal for the shocking and appalling crime of upholding Catholic values at the flagship Jesuit university.
Their faithcrime? Well…no one really knows as of yet. Which isn’t quite true, because we already know what their faithcrime was. Simply put, they practiced their Catholic faith on a Catholic campus. At Georgetown. Where Jesuits exist. In numbers.
Other Georgetown student organizations have rallied to the defense of Love Saxa, including the conservative publication The Georgetown Review and the Georgetown chapter of the Knights of Columbus.
Hunter Estes, the president of the Georgetown Knights of Columbus, stated very plainly the reality on the ground: “I fear the day, which is actively coming into fruition, where I am unable to practice my Catholic faith on a Catholic campus, without being called hateful, because my opinion defies the orthodoxy of the student body.”
Now obviously there is a simple retort from the sort of administrators who love to do finger pushups. Georgetown is a university, and like all universities they must encourage an environment of free inquiry and free speech because after all, the Deposit of Truth and Faith has nothing to fear from error and doubt…and in order to foster an environment of learning, we have to abandon outmoded rigidities in favor of being open to wherever the Holy Spirit chooses to lead.
Thanks for your time, don’t forget to take a wills and bequests pamphlet with you. Next customer, please?
Once upon a time, the Jesuits enjoyed the reputation of being known as God’s Marines. Open-minded and imbued with the Ignatian spirit, there was a rubric and a confidence that came with knowing that God, SJ, leaned just a little on the side of the Men in Black.
For one reason or another, this reputation has slipped even after Pope St. John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae specifically for the purposes of ensuring that Catholic colleges and universities (particularly in the United States) performed the radical and unexpected task of actually producing educated Catholic men and women from her own institutions.
Instead, we have Catholic colleges and universities who are Catholic in name only. The Cardinal Newman Society continues to bear witness to fresh outrages almost daily, and yet nothing is done. Alumni are told things will change, and every year things get a little bit worse. Georgetown itself proclaims loudly and proudly the month of OUTober, though one suspects that if Pope Francis were coming to town during that month, a different tune might be sung.
Every pew-sitting Catholic knows that bureaucrats willing to negotiate and bargain with our faith have taken over the institutions. Some Catholic organizations dole out contraceptives and no one blinks. Catholic colleges and universities produce nothing different than what you’d find at any ordinary school, and no one cares. Formerly Catholic hospitals make referrals for abortions, and the administration shrugs.
Little Sisters of the Poor were forced to pay for contraceptives they didn’t need, and Catholics tilt their head five degrees before turning the next page.
Catholics are told to give to defend life and family, while lobbyists punt on the babies and play the access game.
Personnel is policy, or so the old saying goes. A fog of bureaucracy interposes itself between the laity and our bishops, and that fog is thick indeed. Jobs and salaries — not souls — are at stake for many of these individuals, all jeopardized if we adhered to what we actually believe as Catholics.
Whatever is going on at Georgetown University, one really has to feel genuine sorrow for the students who expected a Jesuit education and are receiving instead a tyranny of the undereducated mob whose feelings and federally subsidized tuitions triumph over the purpose of the institution itself. They aren’t alone.
Perhaps there is hope. Some bishops have certainly done their best to restore the identity of Catholic University, and change can happen over a generation or even a few years. After all, the only thing worse than a cafeteria Catholicism is a counterfeit Catholicism: a cross-less Christ or a Christ-less cross.
Stumble as you will.

+ + +

Fr. M writes to me regarding an article he penned back in 2012 about what happens when our true “First Teachers” are absent. What follows is a story about African elephants who, in order to thin out the herd, are transported to another wildlife preserve — only it’s just the mothers and children, not the larger male bull elephants too heavy for transport.
You can only imagine what ensues. Elephants being surprisingly social animals, the younger male elephants begin behaving badly — and not in a humorous way. Rhinos are found mutilated and torn, their horns left intact and indicating that the work was not that of poachers. Sure enough, without the presence of fathers, the pachyderms simply didn’t have a hierarchy to teach the younger generation.
Demographers will tell you that the best promise for the success of a child is dependent entirely on three key indicators: 1) being raised by your biological parents inside a single household, 2) obtaining a high school education, and 3) getting married and not divorcing. Perform these three simple life choices? You will not subsist in poverty.
Break any part of this chain and your children will unfortunately have to pick up the slack. In today’s world with its multitude of distractions and lack of social institutions, that is no easy task. Young men find it far easier to remain permanent adolescents; rhinos taking the forms of MMA, video games, sports or anything (or anyone) else deemed consequence free.
Less wildlife. More preserve.

+ + +

Of course, I am succeeding (but not replacing) the inestimable Mr. James K. Fitzpatrick for the First Teachers column. Please feel free to send any correspondence for First Teachers to Shaun Kenney, c/o First Teachers, 5289 Venable Road, Kents Store, VA 23084 — or if it is easier, simply send me an e-mail with First Teachers in the subject line to: svk2cr@virginia.edu.

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