Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Does Catholic University's Choice for New President Represent a Step Backwards for Orthodoxy and Authentic Catholic Identity?

Catholic Culture has a profile of Catholic University's newly appointed President, John H. Garvey, current dean of Boston College Law School:
... Commenting on academic freedom and Catholic identity in a 2002 letter, Mr. Garvey wrote:
On several occasions I have heard people express concern that the Catholic identity of Boston College and the Law School will require a certain orthodoxy, or suppress unorthodox opinions, among its faculty and students. No school that regulates ideas can justly call itself a university. Indeed, it is precisely because we are committed to the search for truth in an atmosphere of academic freedom that the Law School can render a useful service to the Church and the cause of justice. It is natural that we should have a particular interest in the intersection of law and religion. (Though this is not our only focus.) But when people address that subject here they do not speak for (or against) the church hierarchy. They follow where their inquiries lead them.
In 2007, Mr. Garvey was criticized by the Cardinal Newman Society when the law school awarded an honorary degree to Rep. Edward J. Markey, an abortion proponent with a 100% 'pro-choice' voting record. “Congressman Ed Markey is one of the most distinguished graduates of Boston College Law School, whose career of public service reflects the very best values and traditions of the School,” said Mr. Garvey. “I don't believe Boston College has ever had a better friend in the United States Congress than Ed Markey.”

In awarding an honorary degree to Rep. Markey, Boston College Law School failed to heed the 2004 US bishops’ document “Catholics in Political Life,” which stated, “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.”


According to federal election records, Mr. Garvey made three donations to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, whose support for abortion led 14 bishops to state during the 2004 presidential campaign that they would deny him Holy Communion. In June 2002, Mr. Garvey donated $250 to the Kerry Committee; in March 2003, he donated $1,000 to John Kerry for President, Inc.; and in April 2004, he donated $500 to John Kerry for President, Inc...

Whatever Mr. Garvey's past inclinations at BC might have been, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit, who chairs Catholic University's board of trustees and led the nine-month search, has made clear where he thinks the priorities of the university's new president should lie:
... Vigneron said the university board expects Garvey to continue [former president and newly appointed Bishop of Trenton, N.J., David M.] O'Connell's work to reclaim a Catholic identity for the Northeast Washington campus. O'Connell raised the share of students and faculty who self-identified as Catholics and hosted Pope Benedict XVI in a 2008 visit...
My Comments:
I suppose we'll just have to wait and see how that works out.

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At 6/15/2010 3:11 PM, Blogger Paul Zummo said...

I will be sure to keep an eye on my graduate alma mater.


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