Saturday, May 1, 2010

Interesting Stuff...

From Fr. Z, who I normally am rather irked by. But these are interesting.

The first is about Notre Dame and the legal proceedings against the protesters last year, which Fr. Jenkins has recently tried to justify in another contemptible move. The fact that this man is still head of that University and that the bishops have done nothing to punish him or the administration there, and that the protesters are actually going to face legal action still, is just despicable. And yet I think Catholics are just going to sit back and complain and grumble to each other while waiting for initiative from the top down, from men chosen exactly for their lack of such initiative.

The second is about Bishop Brandt who has taken the step of forbidding any religious communities that officially supported the health care bill from using any diocesan resources to promote themselves or seek new vocations. Now, I don't actually buy the logic that supporting the Senate health care bill meant supporting abortion. There was very real disagreement not about the evil of abortion in principle, nor even about the question of federally funding it, but actually about whether the Senate language did, in fact, federally fund abortion in any substantial way more than the House language. Some people even read it as being more restrictive. These communities didn't think that the bill did, in fact, federally fund abortion according to their legal experts' reading of it, which is a prudential question about a matter of concrete facts.

But, nevertheless, the case is interesting as it shows that bishops can act punitively and decisively when they want to do so, and have weapons at their disposal for doing so. You have to wonder, if they could do this, why couldn't they do a lot more? Like excommunicating the politicians who actually do support abortion objectively and explicitly in principle and in practice?!? Seems like a reversal of priorities...


sortacatholic said...

The Obama at ND scandal is just a proxy war for Catholic education and the intra-Catholic culture wars. Now it's reached the level of navel-gazing.

I got my BA from Fordham and loved it. Now I've heard neocon Catholics trashing Fordham, BC, ND, Georgetown, etc as "not Catholic". At Fordham, prochoice politicians often show up for a few minutes at graduation (in Fordham's case NY senator Chuck Schumer and NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg.) Is it right for Catholic schools to have prochoice pols put in a plug? No. Actually political stumping at graduations is wrong anyway regardless of abortion convictions. Fordham should ditch the practice for multiple reasons. Is it fair, however, to trash the big names in Catholic higher ed. over these incidences? It really pisses me off when people on WDTPRS and similar blogs trash my undergrad school while knowing nothing about it. Does it make people feel superior when they trash other peoples' degrees? Whatever.

I suspect that a lot of school trashing is related to the rise of conservative Catholic colleges along the evangelical mold. There's definitely a consensus among some neocon Catholics that the old Catholic schools are hopelessly heterodox. Not true -- many of the Fordham Jesuits were quite orthodox TLM priests, but in a quiet, non-obnoxious way. Must Catholic academics trumpet their Catholicism before their research? Fr. Z's obsession about the Obama/ND incident appears to point in this direction.

A Sinner said...

I definitely don't like the trashing of the Universities as a whole, but the fact is they have some serious problems at many of these places and need total Administrative overhaul, at least.

Honoring a pro-abortion politician with a doctorate in LAW of all like giving (insert warmongering dictator here) the Nobel Peace Prize.

The fact that the administration went ahead with it even given widespread outrage among Catholics and common bishops, to the point of having protesters dragged away...does raise serious questions.

It upsets me because I do want to see the big old Catholic universities saved...because, as I've mentioned here, the "evangelical model" small Catholic colleges (like Wyoming Catholic College) which Fr Z and his ilk seem to be promoting...creep the hell out of me.

There is a fine line between intellectual freedom and open discourse (which I totally support) and honoring someone who has the blood of innocents on his hands. Academia is not amoral.

sortacatholic said...

I agree that honoring Obama was a gravely wrong choice. These controversies shouldn't be used to subvert entire faculties however.

One of the risks of ex corde ecclesiae is the closure of open theological and ecclesiastical discourse in Catholic universities. I once went on an grad school interview at Catholic Univ. in Washington DC. I was told quite openly that I would not be able to question Catholic dogma, doctrine, or pose provocative questions. I had no desire to go to seminary. At my secular university I am free to write a rather provocative diss. that advances non-Christian origins for certain supplications and rhetorical styles in the Missale Romanum. I would not be able to do this at an ex corde ecclesiae Catholic university.

Catholic "bible colleges" along evangelical lines don't creep me out. Rather, their closure to any questions outside the Church teaching. Conservative Catholics should critique curriculum and publication rather than use commencement politics to cut down Catholic institutions that don't follow papal mandata.

A Sinner said...

Yeah, I agree that it is going way to far to shame Notre Dame as a whole instead of just Jenkins and the other administration behind the decision. I mean, many of the protesters were ALSO associated with the University.

I don't know about letting professors question Catholic dogma publicly. Someone purporting to teach Catholic theology should not be a heretic or giving scandal to impressionable young undergrads. But, your example about the Missale doesn't sound like a case of heresy. "Provocative" or outside-the-box thinking is one thing, and I agree conservative Catholics need to stop being so obsessed about the current party line. But that's one thing, heresy is another. I know what you mean, though. A lot of the schools conservatives seem to imagine would be ideal probably wouldn't let me say a lot of the things i say. I probably couldn't question mandatory celibacy even though that isn't a dogma, and probably wouldn't let me argue for the State tolerating the availability of condoms for fornicators...even though that is a prudential question, not a heresy.

There is an intellectual dishonesty to that, and an authoritarianism. And such schools do creep me out when they do things like...not let their students have cell-phone or internet.