Saturday, February 09, 2008

Newman puts on the old man

As Catholic as the pope
[P]ut on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. —Colossians 3:10
Hillsdale College famously prides itself on a particularly old-fashioned and conservative Protestant ethic. Some Catholics think Hillsdale has the right idea: They'd like Catholic colleges and universities to turn their backs on new-fangled intellectual pursuits and narrow their focus to conform to the teachings of Rome. Or else.

Hey, if it was good enough for Galileo...

The Cardinal Newman Society has set itself the task of purging America's Catholic colleges of heresy. The organization recently sent out a fundraising letter that underscored the magnitude of the emergency. The letter offered these scary bullet points:
  • A recent survey shows that at least 46 Catholic colleges and universities recognize homosexual clubs that promote and glorify homosexual “culture.”
  • Some Catholic colleges are allowing opposite-sex students to spend the night together in school dormitories—in direct violation of the Church's teachings on chastity and marriage.
  • A sexually explicit play called The Vagina Monologues, in which vulgarity and LESBIAN EROTICA are lauded, is being performed annually at Catholic institutions.
  • Advocates of abortion, stem-cell research, and physician-assisted suicide, homosexual marriage and women's ordination are being invited to give commencement speeches and accept honorary degrees by Catholic colleges in clear defiance of the U.S. Bishops' mandate to do otherwise.

It's all pretty shocking. However, the Cardinal Newman Society won't stop till you're gasping in horror:
But wait, sadly there is more...

In 2006 a Georgetown University dean ran for office on a PRO-ABORTION platform.

Last year, for the 6th year running, nearly one of every ten Catholic colleges and universities—including Boston College, Marquette University, the University of Detroit Mercy, and 19 others—hosted performances of the sexually explicit, anti-Catholic, anti-woman play, The Vagina Monologues, which celebrates the seduction and rape of a minor girl by a lesbian adult as the girl's “salvation”!

Santa Clara University openly and actively refers its students to Planned Parenthood for contraception.

DePaul University offers students a new minor degree program in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual. Transgender and Queer Studies—which by its very nature undermines Catholic Teaching on homosexuality.
Was that more? Well, more of the same, anyway. The Cardinal Newman Society decided to plump up its bill of particulars by repeating everything and tossing in a few names. Of course, it's easy to characterize The Vagina Monologues as an “anti-woman play” if you get to define what a woman should be. (Hint: She's a kind of inferior man. But not to worry: The Church offers nunneries and marriage as remedies for woman's weakness.)

I'm fascinated by the statement that DePaul's queer studies degree undermines “Catholic Teaching”—capitalization run amok there!—“by its very nature.” You want to study queers? Then go to hell, since that's where they're all going! (But maybe not those poor priests who were tempted by those naughty little lace-clad altar boys. The errant clerics got shriven and reassigned to new parishes!)

The Cardinal Newman Society takes as its brief the implementation of John Paul II's Ex corde Ecclesiae, the late pope's 1990 directive on norms for Catholic colleges. The society's members are volunteer thought police and heretic hunters who plaster their website with their trophies: Trinity University dares to honor Nancy Pelosi (she's an alumna) by such egregious acts as issuing a press release on the congresswoman's election as Speaker of the House and awarding her an honorary doctorate in 2003 when she became House minority leader.

You can also refer to the society's list of Catholic colleges where performances of the V-Monologues are held. (The society balks at spelling out the dreaded V-word on its home page.)

The Catholic Church, of course, gets to make its own rules and therefore can insist on the standards to which its institutions of higher education must conform. The Church is therefore also free to deputize the Cardinal Newman Society to function as its enforcement wing. That, however, doesn't make it wise. If the society's campaign is successful, Catholic institutions of higher learning will cease to be liberal arts institutions and become schools of narrow parochialism. Either that, or some schools will decide that their nominal Catholic affiliation has become a straitjacket and will throw it off. Will the Vatican be happy to see them go?

The crack-down on Catholic colleges and universities smacks of the ultramontane regime of Pope Pius X, who was actually canonized as a saint despite his febrile attacks on what he termed “modernism.” Would you support notions as crazy as “the emancipation of science, which must traverse every field of investigation without fear of conflict with the Church; the emancipation of the State, which should never be hampered by religious authority”? Once you embrace those radical notions, there goes your theocracy!

And I say “Amen.”

6 comments:

terrence said...

Re: ...undermines “Catholic Teaching”—capitalization run amok there!—“by its...

Around here we just call it crazy-case, since it seems to be a reliable predictor for that very condition.

melior said...

Contraception?! Every sperm is sacred, you know.

We absolutely can't have these college kids putting little rubber sleeves on their John Thomases just so they can run around having intercourse whenever they want, now can we?

Artho said...

...new-fangled intellectual pursuits? Like Naziism, facism and communisim? Bash the traditional Catholics all you want but when you make Truth, Beauty and Good relative, you no longer have a conscience and are simply a good government pupil at a beautiful government school where they teach you government truths. Without a classical education grounded in Judeo-Christian tradition, you will most often mistake license for liberty.

It seems the Newman Society http://www.newmanreader.org/
is calling on those schools who wear the Catholic name to be more Catholic and less "new-fangled".

Zeno said...

Without a classical education grounded in Judeo-Christian tradition, you will most often mistake license for liberty.

And that's based on what, Artho? An education in a parochial school that tells you your education is stunted unless it's religion-based?

Bash the traditional Catholics all you want...

Thank you. I will.

Karen said...

Sigh. I clearly grew up Catholic during the most liberal days of the church. I left it long before I abandoned theism altogether, since the theology was clearly silly; but since then it's gotten sillier and sillier by the year. My Catholic church was big on peace, love, and charity. Today's church seems to be big on hell, pedophilia, and thought control.

terrence said...

Re Artho: "...but when you make Truth, Beauty and Good relative..."

Ah! More crazy-case. And can you even define what Truth, Beauty, and Good are so that we can discuss how "relative" they may or may not be?