Archdiocese of Washington Issues a Third Statement Regarding Georgetown University.

Yesterday, Saturday May 19th, the Archdiocese of Washington issued another statement in the form of an on-line Editorial in the Catholic Standard, the official paper of record, for the Archdiocese. The office of the Vicar General has encouraged priests and other leaders to share it.

The editorial was written in response to the an editorial in the Washington Post which alleged, among other things that the Archdiocese was interfering with academic freedom and suggest that a Catholic university should be something more than a voice of the Church.

As with these unsigned editorials in the Catholic Standard in the past, the exact author is unknown, but it is surely written and/or approved by the Cardinal’s senior staff and, as such is an official statement of the Archdiocese.

Since we have followed the events at Georgetown closely, I want to print excerpts of the editorial, by way of keeping us up to date. As is usual I will print the editorial in Bold Black italics and include comments of my own in red normal face type. These are excerpts, the full editorial is here: Catholic Standard On-Line

The Washington Post editorial (May 16, 2012)….missed the point….What this discussion is all about is not academic freedom, university autonomy or disinviting speakers…

When it was announced that Secretary Sebelius was invited to speak at Georgetown University, a Catholic university sponsored by the Society of Jesus, the university stated that [she] was among those “who will provide inspiration for our students as they envision more clearly the impact they can make in the world.”

It is one thing for a Catholic University to permit a vigorous discussion of issues, even permitting those who oppose the Church’s teaching or have different views. This is sometimes an understandable vehicle in the Academic setting to air differences and to engage in the “free exchange of ideas.”

Of course the essential goal, it would seem, on a Catholic campus would be for the Catholic position in such debates to be clearly and vigorously presented in such debates. Indeed, to provide motives of credibility and an encouragement to the students as to why Catholic teaching is both reasonable and superior to various errors of the day.

Georgetown however, speaks of Mrs. Sebelius as an “inspiration” to the students. She is not an inspiration and no Catholic university should speak of her in such a way. She is an unrepentant cheerleader for abortion. As Governor of Kansas she vetoed numerous bills passed by the legislature to secure reasonable limits to abortion, including parental notification, and even modest restrictions on late term abortions. Bishop Joseph Naumann in Kansas suggested she refrain from receiving communion.

She had also been close to the infamous George Tiller, known as Tiller, the baby killer, since he probably killed more that 60,000 babies, most of them late term. She has accepted more than $12,000 in campaign contributions from him and had him as a guest at the Governor’s Mansion.

Now as HHS Secretary, she has chosen to wage war against religious liberty, and is the architect of the HHS mandate currently being opposed by the Bishops and the Church, and credibly described as the greatest threat to religious liberty of our time.

She is no inspiration to anyone, other than fellow enemies of the Church and the unborn. If she has made an impact it cannot be described as good in any Catholic or Christian sense. Georgetown’s boosterism of her is shameful.

There was considerable negative reaction to this decision. [And] when the controversy surfaced, the Archdiocese chose to refrain from any comment until Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, personally could meet with the Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus and separately with the president of the university.After hearing both parties, the archdiocese requested only one thing. It asked that since the university presents itself as both Jesuit and Catholic, that the leadership of the Society of Jesus and the president of the university simply state publicly that Secretary Sebelius’ positions do not represent the views and values of Georgetown University.

Many of you alleged that the Cardinal was “doing nothing.” Others demanded he take to the pulpit or at least a podium and denounce Georgetown. Still others demanded swift and sweeping action against the University.

All of this is emotionally understandable, and I share in the anger most of you experience about Georgetown.

That said, the Church seldom addresses inner conflicts in such public ways. The Cardinal, especially, is a careful and methodical man, keenly aware of the powers and limits that Canon Law sets forth for an ordinary.

Georgetown University is not an Archdiocesan organization. It is owned and run by the Jesuits and has its own governing boards. As can be seen here, the Cardinal has currently met with the Provincial Superior and the lay president of the University. What was said in those meetings is not public, but surely among the things the Cardinal insisted on must be what this editorial sets forth. Namely that, in the future, Georgetown University refrain from affirming such figures, and when they do speak, issue that Georgetown issue a clear disclaimer that such speakers do NOT represent the views of the University.

This amounts to a kind of truth in advertising. For the free exchange of ideas can have a place, even on Catholic Campuses, but the position of a Catholic Campus cannot be neutral or equivocal when it comes to matters of faith and morals.

I understand that this is not nearly enough for some of you who read this blog regularly. Many of you have a preference for swift and sweeping action to include: immediate removal of Catholic identity, insistence that leaders at Georgetown be immediately removed and replaced, interdict, etc.

However, as I have stated, this is not usually the way the Church proceeds. Canon Law is very methodical and carefully delineates the rights of all parties, not just bishops. And bishops who do act in such swift and sweeping manners do not usually prevail when things are appealed.

The Cardinal is a careful and a thoughtful man, with deep respect for Canon Law. He is also, certainly, no media hog. He prefers quiet, persistent, and behind the scenes actions that follow proper procedures.

There are some of you who have opined that souls are being lost. Perhaps, but it is possible that many souls would  also be lost if swift and sweeping were the Church’s normal mode. As I tried to show in a post last week (HERE), there are different scriptural traditions about Church discipline, and great prudence is required as to when and how to proceed in uprooting sin and error from the Church scene.

But the point here is to note that discussions are on-going, behind the scene. We get only a glimpse of them here in the editorial, but it is false to say the Cardinal is doing “nothing.” He is proceeding with care, but he is moving the ball, and call the issue.

The archdiocese never asked Georgetown to rescind its invitation. All that the archdiocese proposed – and did not require – was a statement, by those who represent to the public and to the Church both the Jesuit and Catholic character of the university, that the commencement event speaker does not speak for or represent the values of Georgetown University.

To those wanting swift and sweeping action, this aspect of the editorial will likely infuriate. But here again, Georgetown University is owned and run by the Jesuits. And, while they do have responsibilities to the Archbishop, final conflicts, where they exist between the Jesuits and the Cardinal, are adjudicated in Rome.

Some years ago, Cardinal James Hickey finally referred a conflict to Rome wherein Georgetown had approved and funded a pro-abortion student group. This took place presumably (I do not recall the full sequence of events) after conversations with the University leadership. And when the proper results were not obtained the matter was taken to the Jesuit superior in Rome and to several Roman congregations. Together they ruled that Georgetown must remove the status and funding from the group.

Perhaps, this will happen here if troubles continue. I am no prophet, but Cardinal, careful and methodical man that he is, is clearly working the steps necessary, from the standpoint of subsidiarity,  and, if troubles continue, I have little doubt it will go to the next necessary level.

It is the responsibility of the archbishop to relate to both the provincial superior and the president of the university in matters that affect the life of the Church in this archdiocese. While the archbishop does not engage in the internal affairs of governance of the Society of Jesus or Georgetown University, in Church teaching and law he is obliged to relate to both communities as they exercise public ministry as a part of the life of the Catholic Church. [And] Georgetown University as a Catholic university does have a relationship and a responsibility to the archbishop. This is true because it exercises its activities in the context of the overall mission of the Catholic Church.

Here too we see illustrated both subsidiarity and responsibility. While the Cardinal rightfully refrains from micro-managing Georgetown University (subsidiarity) he does expect Georgetown to maintain and fulfill its relationship to him as the local ordinary (responsibility).

While diplomatically stated it seems clear to me that the Cardinal does not expect in the future to read about such controversial invitations with significant impact on the “overall mission of the Catholic Church” in the newspaper.

Admittedly, ecclesial relationships that respect and deal with various levels of responsibility and autonomy in the Church are not always readily understood by secular media.And, I would add, many of us Catholics who struggle to see the Church differently from a political or civic entity.

Finally, just a personal word from me about the Canon “lawsuit” that has been brought by William Peter Blatty, who graduated from Georgetown in 1950 and is author of The Exorcist.  I am personally in favor of anyone turning up the heat on the Georgetown administration. I also know several good students and faculty over there at Georgetown who welcome the overture.  And, while no expert in Canon Law myself, I presume Mr. Blatty has availed himself of good counsel and thinks he is able to bring such a suit and prevail. I have great respect for the  Cardinal Newman Society, that, among others is assisting him in this matter.

Time will tell of the specifics of his case. But here too, I think expecting quick results may be unrealistic of readers. Church Tribunals, as I have said, are “methodical.” But what Mr. Blatty will hopefully illustrate, is that Catholic Laity have power too. Not only can they bring formal grievances, and canonical suits in certain circumstances, but they can also hit what they consider  “Catholic in Name Only” institutions (not only colleges) hard through reaching out to alumni, donors and other interested parties.

I do think however, one must remember that even places like Georgetown are not wholly bad. They still do have faculty and students highly dedicated to God and the Church. Groups like the Cardinal Newman Society are careful in their analysis, and when there is an rare error in a report of theirs, they correct it and publicize the correction. So, while Catholics are free to engage in advocacy for their concerns, Charity and justice are an important element.

With that in mind, comments are open (Caritas!)

In this video, I am amazed that though the singers look so young, their voices are very mature. The deep bass is especially amazing since the deep and rich bass voice does not usually develop in a man until much later in life. Younger basses usually can hit the notes, but have a kind of “buzzing” sound on the lower notes. Not so here! A deep rich sound.

52 Replies to “Archdiocese of Washington Issues a Third Statement Regarding Georgetown University.”

  1. It is with great joy knowing our beloved Catholic Church is acting to address these grevious issues. That is all most of us want, is to KNOW something is being done to protect our Church. Problem is, communication would be better if Bishops and Archbishops responded more. Please understand we (your flock) KNOW you are busy, but please understand so are we. We are trying to provide for our families, donate time and treasure to our church, that we love, find time for our kids, wives, praying with and for others, AND spending time with God. We do understand busy yet we still find time to contact Church leadership to defend your and our Faith.
    Thank you for explaining and communicating

  2. But what did Sabelius say to the children at the commencement address? Did she promote abortion and disobedience or did she warn of the pending loss of religious freedom in our country and inspire the students to take on the mission to fight for religious freedom?

    1. I ask this question not in support of Sebelius’s evil public policies but in curiosity about how and why a person who should have integrity might act in an evil way while in a position of great responsibility but teach a more moral path when at a university which requires that moral path.

      In truth, what she says informally at the university has no bearing on anything if her formal position states the opposite.

      Question to the Jesuits: In the name of “academic freedom,” would you also invite Satan to speak on the virtues of being obedient when Satan’s formal position is that all should be disobedient?

    2. Yes, she promoted disobedience and moral relativism. In her actual speech, Sebelius defiantly sought to impose a wedge between students at a Catholic university and the Catholic faith. She told students to “follow your own moral compass” rather than consider the moral guidance of the Church and for them to not allow that “religious body . . . to impose its will directly or indirectly” on them.

      From her speech — “Kennedy talked about his vision of religion and the public square and said he believed in an America, and I quote, ‘where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials — and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against us all.’ . . . Contributing to these debates will require more than just the quantitative skills you have learned at Georgetown. It will also require the ethical skills you have honed – the ability to weigh different views, see issues from other points of view, and in the end, follow your own moral compass.”

      1. And, by the way, these were not children that she was speaking to, unless by “children” you mean people of immature minds. They were graduate students in their 20s and older.

        1. They are still children in my view – still a bit “green” and impressionable.

          1. I must be a curmudgeon at 46, because those under 30 look like children to me

      2. Well then, if the students were told to follow their “own moral compass,” then my hope is that their “own moral compass” will turn to bolster Freedom of Religion and freedom from tyranny and freedom from the “dictatorship of relativism” about which our beloved Pope Benedict XVI has warned us.

        1. The “children” were following their “own moral compass” when they made their choice of Sebelius as speaker precisely because of her stance in contravention to the Church.

          1. Aah! I see. Then have we failed our children in not helping them develop a sound moral compass? What can we do better starting now? What can be said in the pulpit that is not being said now? What can be taught in CCD that is not being taught in CCD now? What can be said during pre-Cana marriage counseling that is not being said now? How can we protect our children from soft pornography now? I can go on and on… I think we do too little now to set a proper example (I’m talking to parents and government leaders).

  3. In this fight I would put my money on Georgetown.

    Face it Georgetown has been mocking the faith for decades and they will continue to do it for as long as they want to.

  4. “The archdiocese never asked Georgetown to rescind its invitation.”

    I am absolutely stunned and flabbergasted by this admission. To learn that Georgetown was not even asked to disinvite Ms. Sebelius, but was essentially given the “green light” so long as they issued a statement that her views are not its views is so shocking and troubling that I don’t even know what to say, really. This approach pretty much gives free rein for any “Catholic” university to invite any commencement speaker they want: “Satan’s views are not necessarily our views, but his life and works provide inspriation to our students.” Wow. I mean, just, wow. The weren’t even asked.

    1. Simmer down a little Don. Stay the course, and follow the trajectory. Consider the whole statement. My impression is that you just bailed out at this line. As a lawyer you ought to have some appreciation for careful legal procedure. Things are proceeding nicely if you ask me. Step by step. Charlie Chan say, “Sometimes longest way, shortest path to destination.” 🙂
      Stay a little longer in the conversation, flabbergastery generally produces wild and flaying actions that do not get the boat to its destination and loose in the arena of Canon Law and its careful, methodical and subsidiarity-based insistence .

    2. Don, I agree with you…shocking to not even ask Georgetown to rescind.

  5. Msgr:
    You spend a great amount of red ink excusing the glacial pace of even minor challenges to the apostasy that is staring the bishops (collectively) in the face. You seem overly cautious about applying canonical penalties, why? It might be helpful here to re-read “The Charitable Anathema” by Dietrich von Hildebrand.


    1. You ask, why. Dispositionally I am wired for quick action as you desire. But the answer to your “why” is canon law and the overall tenor of the Church, which I spent a little of the “red ink” you despise trying to describe. No need to reiterate here.

      As a liturgical parallel, consider that the new translation was 25 years in the making. While a first year Latin Student could have translated the missal in six months, that is just not the way the Church operates. Slow, methodical, careful, inclusive, subsidiarity (each Bishops conference involved), revamping of ICEL and norms, drafts, revisions, re-revisions, theological review, consistency checks, musician input, etc et al. And, what began shortly after 1974, and then more formally in 1985 finally saw the light of day in 2012 with not a small amount of fur still flying by liturgical liberals.

      In the world as it “ought to be” things move quickly and the Church responds with lightening speed to every issue. In the world as it is, things are more slow paced and methodical. And who are impatient people like you and me to say that this is not perhaps the best way in the long run. I’ll take the Church’s 2000 years of wisdom and practice over my 50 years of mostly impatient urgency. The Church has outlived all of her opponents, Kathy Sebelius and her like will come and go. 100 years from now the people will say “who?” if her name is mentioned and the Church will still be here, persistently and consistently proclaiming the news of victory through the Cross of Christ.

  6. Your “perhaps” word about souls that may be lost is a sad commentary made public by you that shows empathy toward this issue. Let me remind you. Ms. Sebellius is a woman who basically put all Catholic Institutions in jeopardy by her HHS office. She was invited to speak at a Catholic University to loud applause by the students and you clerics, whose primary job is to act in persona Christi, use cavalier verbiage like “perhaps” some will be lost because of this and do nothing to stop it it?

    Sorry. But I don’t buy the bag. I looked at canon laws and I Al Capone gave soup kitchens during the Depression. see them as very clear not nebulous as you do, Msgr. Pope. I think you should feel Shane that a lay person like Mr. Blatty is doing your work for you. The job of saving and guarding souls above church politic.

    Robert Sledz
    Of The Diocese of Rockford, IL

    1. My point is that “perhaps” we cannot be sure if many more souls would be lost if the Church came down hard on every conflict in the Church. I say perhaps because we cannot really be sure of the numbers of souls that are lost due to action or inaction. It’s hard to say. Jesus who spoke of excommunication in some instances also cautioned not to simply tear out the weeds since the wheat might be harmed.

      Someday Robert you may need a little patience and mercy for yourself. And I pray you’ll get it. As for now, you show yourself harsh, and critical of a priest you have never met calling him (and everyone who does not tow your hang em high mentality) cavalier and of not caring for souls. But time will prove where wisdom lies.

      1. I think people are giving too much credit to Sebellius when talking about souls lost.

        It’s hard to believe that she has such an impact on free will that souls are lost on her account. A lot of Catholics that I know are out in spiritual left field because they never took the personal responsibility to actually learn and understand the Doctrines of the Church by reviewing the Catechism…same for learning Sacred Scripture.

        I think they’re in left field because of a post confirmation lifetime of willful ignorance and not some political/theological event or issue. There’s a huge amount of lack of personal responsibility at play here.

  7. Msgr, you imply that if we who are not “in the know” will simply be patient then at some point, perhaps years from now, we will see the fruits of an apparetly super-secret long term strategy that is being implemented slowly but inexorably. I so hope and pray that this is accurate.

    However, I cannot help but reassert my shock and dismay that Georgetown was not even asked to withdraw the invitation. This latest editorial seems more concerned with refuting the accusation that the Archdiocese interfered with “academic freedom” at Georgetown. What better way to prove there was no such “inteference” than by publicly declaring that “We never asked.”

    1. You’ll get over your shock, you be on to the next hot news item before you know it, probably shocked and angry again about whatever the latest thing is you think has been poorly handled. I can’t do the inside work for you, but running around in shock and being flabbergasted are generally poor dispositions in terms of ultimate productivity. Spreading the word and shining light on places like Georgetown and Notre Dame like the Cardinal Newman Society does is usually a better way to manage your anger. CNS is also good, and has a better strategy about praising good steps in the right direction by both Clergy and laity, not just saying “its never enough.”

      And meanwhile the Church will continue in her careful methods to draw the faithful back into deeper unity. Our enemies will also help to unite us, Jesus is still head of the Body the Church, we his members. Somehow it will be alright. We have the bishops Jesus has permitted. And if he wants Bishops that will tow the line as you see fit, he’ll see that they are appointed as we go forward.

  8. Msgr. –

    I do understand the argument for a slow, methodical approach where appropriate. You have invited debate about whether it is appropriate here. I say “It could be, but it sure is hard to tell what that strategy is and how it might work.” I promise this will be my last post on the Georgetown controversy. I’ll have to find a new issue to be shocked and flabbergasted about. 😉 Most importantly, Msgr, we agree about how this all will ultimately end. Jesus Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his Kingdom will have no end.


  9. Anna Maria College in the Diocese of Worcester recently had a similar situation. The bishop asked them to uninvite Vickie Kennedy, or he would not be showing up to give his benediction. They pulled the invitation, (but then also did not invite any outsiders, including the bishop…) Same thing a few years ago at Holy Cross College, which invited Hardball host Chris Matthews, an alum. Bishop boycotted that year because HC (Jesuits again) refused to uninvite Mr. Matthews.

    The bishops should all just instruct their diocesan catholic highschools to refuse to send transcripts to colleges not on the Ex Corde Ecclesiae list. Don’t allow them to recruit, don’t write recommendation letters, don’t send SAT scores. These highschools all come under the bishops, and feed lots of students to these colleges. These renegade colleges won’t listed to God’s representatives, but they will listen to money, which is apparently now their god.

    I hope I am not being uncharitable. I am an alum of Holy Cross, and am so disgusted with the place.

    1. Yes, there is good news here. I know too that this lawsuit has been months in the making and has been carefully prepared. There was some hope that the Administration would back down early on, but since that did not materialize the preparation of the legal case continued. The Cardinal had briefed us priests on this a couple of months ago, that it was coming if the administration would not move. The Archdiocese of Washington is one of the 43 dioceses in the suit.

  10. Msgr Pope often has mentioned prudence while discussing this and similar issues.

    A demand that Georgetown withdraw the invitation to Sibelius would have resulted in a confrontation from which no one could have emerged a winner. At best the university and the archdiocese would have looked like two eight-year-olds on the playground, daring each other to cross a line. Even had Georgetown repented of its decision to extend the invitation, it may not have been in a position to withdraw it by the time the *bleep* hit the fan.

    The Archdiocese’s suggestion of a disclaimer was entirely appropriate.

  11. Msgr. Pope, there is no need for you to get defensive. (I don’t think Matthew “despises” your red ink.) Patience, mercy, slow paced, methodical–yes, the Church needs to exhibit these characteristics. But you should not accuse those who champion something a bit faster than a “glacial pace” in terms of Church reaction to (what amounts to) open defience of Her teachings, as being impatient and acting with “wild and flaying” actions. The Church (especially in this day in age) has to have more than two “speed” settings, i.e. more than just “glacial vs. unthoughtful lightening.”

    No one who reads your blog would want the Church to go off half-cocked when defending Her position on any issue. But by the same token, not every issue that the Church needs (and must) respond to requires that every syllable of every word be parsed before a suitable reply can be made.

    1. I was responding to words like “flabbergasted” (his word not mine). I said such attitudes encourage wild flaying actions not that those in fact have taken place. So don’t you get too defensive either okay? If the shoe fits wear it, if not, let it pass over you.

      1. Peace be with you, Msgr. Pope! We are on the same side. I did not mean to sound defensive or give offense by my posting. May the Holy Spirit guide you always…and keep blogging!

  12. I listened to the video once. I didn’t even hear the bass. I’ll try to listen to it again.

    There were probably other controversial speakers at other Catholic colleges over the weekend.–but possibly there weren’t any. One surprisingly positive thing I realized is that I don’t know of any other controversial/inappropriate speakers at any other Catholic college.

    1. Yes, I guess it might be that I have bose system with a subwoofer. I do know that at St Vincent De Paul in Chicago a controversial speaker was featured. I forget the details but St. Vincent De Paul makes Georgetown seem Catholic.

  13. My compliments and admiration for the articulate posters here, whose gift for expressing the outright mourning the laity is endlessly experiencing for the lack of address and the general disinterest, among the priesthood and the Bishops, to defend the faith. The laity is not separated from the universal Church, the Body of Christ, but appears rather to be the only real and remaining line of defense for her left in the United States. The pain among the faithful of having to observe the inaction, and also the ” glatial pace” of token action, by the heirarchy is nearly as acute as the initial assault itself, now being undertaken against the Church. Georgetown
    is screaming to be cut loose.

  14. Thank you for the thoughtful teaching. What came to my mind is a question of how would we know. It seems that the bishops in the US have failed to act to address abuses not just of children but of the teahcings of the Church by colleges, religious and priests. I truly believe that we have many new bishops and maybe some waking up to their responsibilities. The unfortunate thing is in the early days of the methodical, canonical approach that the Church follows will look a lot like the when the bishops failed to act because it is not dramatic and visible. A couple of ex-communcation would make it clear to everyone what direction the leadership is going but would have the potential downsides of rash judgement you outlined here and your previous post. It is challening in the extreme to place faith (small f) in the bishops to act against these colleges etc based on the track record but we do have different bishops like Cardinal Dolan speaking out. If the cardinal tried to go toe to toe with G’town it would only fuel the media headlines. The actions of the Archdiocese are in the right direction but are not going to make good headlines for those that attack the Church. The pain we feel at the wrongs done to Christ’s Church is almost too much to bear but we can take refuge in the steps we do see with some additional education from blogs like yours to keep the faith and the Faith.

    1. Steve M, at least here in NYC the media already hate us…the New York Times regularly runs Op/Ed pieces that bash the Catholic church…case in point Maureen Dowd’s attack in this past Sunday’s New York Times. The 200 plus comments were chilling in their condemnation of Catholic beliefs. It is open season on the faithful and we need, desperately, a unified consistent leadership.

      1. Have to be honest; I could go with a couple of excommunications of a couple of people but trying to learn from what Msgr has written. I have come ot believe that an ex-communicated Sebelius would be a “martyr” for abortion. As long as the bishops act in a measured and loving way the Church bashes look like rabid dogs. I just hope they keep acting albeit slowly and steady. I will say a prayer for Ms. Dowd and you Anne. May the Peace of the Lord be with you both for different reasons.

  15. Not commenting on Georgetown, but instead on the choral ensemble singing Ubi Caritas in the video at the bottom of the blog. That is a school choir from my old highschool, Magee, in Vancouver, BC. I am pleasantly impressed to see a public school choir, and their director, putting their effort and skill into such a beautiful liturgical piece.

  16. The US Jesuits epitomize the maxim “Corruptio optimi pessima. (Corruption of the best is the worst.) The US Jesuits are enemy central. Their main war-room is Georgetown. Their tactics involve humiliating bishops and laity faithful to the Holy See. They lionize leftists. Their purpose is subversive. They serve the interests of the secularists in government and in education. They seek power and prestige in this world; not truth, not sanctification, not humility. Their evil members rise to positions of stature. Their few remaining holy members they have exiled.

    Von Balthasar held to his position on universal salvation only because he had never encountered a Georgetown Jesuit.

  17. Amidst all the furore over Georgetown’s invite to Secretary Sebelius, it is worth remembering – and pondering – that she is representative of many, many Catholics. She shares very similar views on access to abortion and birth control as do many Catholics who believe that public policy and Church law can differ. Rather than castigate Secretary Sebelius (as many do – I am not suggesting you do, Msgr), we should consider (i) why she seemed such a good choice for Georgetown and (ii) why neither students nor faculty were up in arms about it.

    1. Dear Jamie – I think that you have missed the point of the HHS mandate – whereby a Catholic (who has NO authority to represent other Catholics, but who, by her secular authority, is positioned to create scandal) is mandating that her own Church condone and financially contribute to the very things which her Church’s supreme authority has explicitly defined against. While it is true that public policy can differ from Church teachings, it should never be true in America that the Church must deny well-established, peace-loving religious truths in order to comply with a mandate which is a) politically partisan, b) lacking in any true merit and c) questionable at best. Should we also support a mandate which limits the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to only be said outside of the city limits because it is offensive to atheists or Protestants who live inside the city limits? If you support the HHS mandate, then you open yourself to further attacks on well-established, peaceful religious norms and laws.

      1. I may have misread Jamie but I believe the intent was not to defend Sec’y Sebelius or the invitation but that we should keep it in the forefront that her views are shared by many many people who claim to be Catholic. Sec’y Sebelius may be a canker that sticks out and holds a position of high responsibility but she is not alone or even an anomaly. The questions Jamie poses at the end are quite terrifying and point to the size of the problem. It would be my guess as well that the Cardinal saw this same point and this helped to form his actions. If everyone in the room believes they are right, you will have a hard time shouting them down. A quiet and measured call to the Truth will have more chance than strident shouts.

        1. Steve M interprets my comments correctly, Taylor. I do not agree with Secretary Sebelius’s actions on the HHS mandate; and, to the extent I can discern from those actions and her public statements, her personal views of her faith. My simple point is that many Catholics do not share the Archdiocese’s disapproval of her positions or actions.

  18. Msgr. Pope,
    I can’t possibly be the only person who sees this, but why would Cardinal Wuerl ask GU to lie? If he had requested them to say that her views do not represent the Catholic Church or the diocese that would be true, but they DO represent the views of Georgetown University, clearly, as evidenced by their asking her to speak. Can you please help me in your patient way to see why this is somehow helpful to request them to state something that isn’t true?

    1. Oh I suspect the Cardinal was calling the question. IOW it force GU to either admit this is not really about academic freedom as they claim, or if it is, then they would surey be pleased to indicate that Mrs S s views are not theirs.

      1. Of course. GU does not work for the Cardinal. He can’t just “fire” them. This approach really forces them to stop lying about academic freedom and admit that they are heretical. My guess is that as a group they have too much of the weasel in them to be honest with themselves and with the Church. Unfortunately this is like “check” in a long game and checkmate will be very hard to achieve. The closest thing to victory would be for an official renunciation of their false claim of being Catholic. Th emiracle home run would be a renewal of the Faith at GU.

        Jesus, Mary and Joseph we love you, save their souls.

  19. Dear Msgr. Pope,
    I really enjoy your daily blogs. My son graduated from Gtown 2 years ago. It was not a Catholic campus. The school endorsed and promoted lesbian and gay clubs and socials. The Jesuit priest during the commenment ceremony did not make the sign of the cross before or after prayer. I am not at all shocked at the school behavior, it covered the crucifixes when Pres. Obama visited. and they also took the crucifix out of the classrooms a few years ago.

  20. Msgr. Pope,
    That the bishop in Kansas “suggested” to Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from receiving communion is completely indicative of the overall problem. I’m glad for your blog, because I was searching for answers in the authority gaps that exist and now I have them. But I disagree with a process that is so slow and so randomly applied that it allows heresy to continue. This infusion of secular values into our “so called” Catholic institutions has been going on for years. While it continues, more and more young minds are being formed in defiance of infallible teaching. I’m glad to see William Blatty sue Georgetown. But he shouldn’t have to. Unfortunately, some people never “get” anything except consequence. Our bishops need step up to the plate and find ways to discipline. P.S. I loved the Ubi Caritas video.

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