Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Catholic College Leaders Lobby Bishops to Withdraw 2004 Policy Banning Pro-Abortion Speakers [UPDATED]

(Hat tip: Catholic Online)

LifeSiteNews reports:
June 17, 2009 ( - In the wake of the Notre Dame commencement scandal, Catholic college leaders representing some of the worst violators of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 ban on honoring public opponents of fundamental Catholic teachings are lobbying the bishops to withdraw their policy.

Yesterday the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), which represents more than 200 Catholic institutions, released its summer 2009 newsletter, including a report on the ACCU’s board of directors meeting last week. The ACCU directors concluded “that it would be desirable for the [U.S. bishops] to withdraw” their 2004 policy, according to the newsletter.
[ED.: Since we can no longer get away with twisting the policy beyond recognition now that the Bishops have called us on the carpet, it would be desirable for the policy to be rescinded altogether so that we can get back to the business of toasting our pro-abort buddies without all the discomfort of episcopal scrutiny.]

The policy in question is found in the U.S. bishops’ 2004 statement “Catholics in Political Life,” which reads in part:

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

The bishops gather today in San Antonio, Texas, for their biannual meeting.

“Why is it so hard for Catholic college leaders to understand that a Catholic institution does great harm when it honors or gives speaking platforms to those who work against core Catholic values?” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“The more than 367,000 people who signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s online petition and the scores of American bishops who publicly criticized Notre Dame’s honor for pro-abortion President Barack Obama clearly recognize that such actions by Catholic colleges are scandalous.”

The ACCU leadership suggests moreover “that juridical expressions of bishops’ or universities’ responsibilities should be kept to a minimum” in order to maintain a good relationship between the bishops and educators.
[ED.: The chutzpah of these charlatans posing as "Catholic" educators to tell the Bishops in no uncertain terms that they should mind their own business and quit telling these institutions how to be Catholic.]

Reilly surmised that, in other words, Catholic colleges and universities would prefer that there are no clear rules to govern their conduct. He also pointed out that the statement implies that the educators believe that the bishops, and not college leaders, are responsible for tensions arising from scandalous activities on Catholic campuses.

“Catholic colleges and universities would like all of the privileges of being Catholic, but none of the responsibilities of being high-profile witnesses for the fullness of the Catholic faith,” Reilly said.
[ED.: Exactly.]

Allowing for the possibility that the bishops might not agree to simply eliminate the 2004 ban, but might instead draft a new policy concerning Catholic honors and platforms, the ACCU’s directors proposed that the policy “should acknowledge more clearly the differing roles of campus authorities and bishops.” [ED.: Again, Bishops, you do your job, which, apparently, doesn't include enforcing Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and let us "Catholic" educators do our jobs, which, apparently, doesn't include doing anything particularly Catholic that might distinguish us from any other secular institution.] Reilly said that this phrase appears to be an attempt to get bishops to refrain from commenting on internal decisions at lay-controlled Catholic institutions.

In May, ACCU President Richard Yanikoski told the South Bend Tribune that he saw a “degree of ambiguity” in the bishops’ 2004 policy. He claimed that the Church’s canon lawyers disagree whether the policy applies to speakers or honorees who are not Catholic, regardless of whether those individuals oppose Catholic teaching. Several bishops strongly rejected that same argument when it was made by Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., to defend his decision to honor President Obama.
(emphasis and editorial commentary added)

Meanwhile, Archbishop Burke is working in the opposite direction to prevent a repeat of the Notre Dame scandal:
VATICAN CITY, June 17, 2009 ( – Archbishop Raymond Burke, the highest ranking American prelate in the Vatican has given an interview in a Catholic magazine, in which he says that Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama was not only “profoundly shocking,” but also underscores a grave situation requiring action to ensure the incident is never repeated.

Burke is the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court of appeal in the Church next to the Pope, and an outspoken advocate for life and family values. He has made headlines repeatedly for his insistence that ministers of communion should deny the sacrament to publicly and obstinantely pro-abortion individuals, especially politicians. He told the Catholic periodical, Inside the Vatican, that a number of lessons must be taken from Notre Dame’s high-profile conferral of an honorary doctorate on Obama, the most aggressive pro-abortion president in American history.

Burke said that the “betrayal of the Catholic identity of Notre Dame University” grew out of the danger of “pursuing a kind of prestige in the secular world, which leads to a betrayal of the sacred aspect of its work, namely the fidelity to Christ and His teaching.”
[ED.: In other words, exactly what the Catholic educators above are seeking more autonomy from the Bishops in order to do more.]

“So I think everybody now realizes the gravity of the situation. Also I believe that the whole situation has sensitized more people with regard to the gravity of the practice of procured abortion in our nation, that is, they realize even more how far we have gone away from God’s will for human life,” continued Burke.

“That the premiere Catholic university in the United States would give an honorary doctorate of law to one of the most aggressive pro-abortion politicians in our history is profoundly shocking.”

“Now, we cannot forget what has happened at Notre Dame,” said Burke. “We need to take the measures that are necessary so that this is not repeated in other places.
[ED.: Amen. Hopefully, the U.S. Bishops will come away from their meeting with a policy that has even more teeth in it, contrary to the hopes and dreams of the prestige-seeking "Catholic" educators who would like this whole issue to just go away.] If it could happen at Notre Dame, where else could it happen?”

(emphasis and editorial commentary added)

UPDATE (18 June)
At First Thoughts, Ryan Sayre Patrico puts it even more succinctly:
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities to USCCB: “Stop telling us what to do.”

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At 6/17/2009 9:58 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Why shouldn't the bishops rescind the policy? What consequences will the Notre Dame administration suffer for violating it?

Either the bishops govern the church, or they don't. And ultimately, it will be the bishops who choose.

But make no mistake, the colleges are ready take over that role. And President Obama would like nothing better.


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