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This is a story of fighting for truth. On two fronts: Providence College and Ireland.
When you have no argument, you do other things. You bully. You shout slogans. You attribute evil motives. You deflect attention from what is said. You do everything except address the actual point, which in Dominic’s case is whether marriage is what nature and God show it to be.
So wrote Anthony Esolen three days ago at Crisis Magazine in a story titled Providence College Bullies Its Faithful Students.
He writes of a young man, a Resident Advisor (RA) for one of the dormitories, who posted material on a bulletin board affirming the truth, beauty, and goodness of marriage according to nature and from Christ and His Church. The reaction and response to this affirmation of truth from his fellow students and some in the administration of this Catholic College is a disgrace, and one that one might expect from a progressive secular institution, not a Catholic College.
This incident has affected Mr. Esolen so deeply that he has a second piece up today on “the most recent debacle” at his old place of work, Providence College.
A young man has been harassed (crowds outside of his room several nights in a row, so that he couldn’t brush his teeth in peace; campus-wide condemnation; a demonstration approved by the school’s authorities) and threatened with anal rape (in an obscene cartoon on his bathroom mirror, which met with a shrug from the authorities), for affirming on a bulletin board the truth and beauty of marriage according to nature, the Church, and Jesus Christ. The administration, far from protecting him, has given aid and comfort to the wolves.
On their home page, Providence College asks the question: What does it mean to be a Catholic and Dominican College. Mr. Esolen wonders that as well:
They have all bowed down with awful reverence prone before the sexual revolution. And the administrators of the college, peeking up and glancing at a crucifix dangling crooked on a wall, now ask how they can “go forward” in charity from the controversy, welcoming into their midst people of all manner of sexual self-identifications, affirming those identifications, yet somehow managing to keep their Catholic identity.
Lots of luck with that. Belial too is a jealous god.
Yet thankfully, some Providence College faculty have voiced their opinion and attempt to answer the question on what it means to be a Catholic College:
- The bulletin board posted by Michael Smalanskas faithfully and thoughtfully represents the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage.
- We reject the notion that the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, or its teaching on homosexuality, is bigoted or homophobic, or that these teachings present a threat to the wellbeing of homosexual persons. Rather, those teachings, which some of us address in our courses, are rooted in two millennia of reflection on the Gospel and on human nature and aim at the flourishing of all persons.
- An academic institution must foster authentic academic freedom. This includes the freedom to present the view that marriage between one man and one woman is natural and divinely instituted. A Catholic college, in particular, has the responsibility to create an environment in which the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and sexuality can be openly presented, debated, and defended.
The bishop of Providence, Thomas J. Tobin has written a letter to Mr. Smalanskas (the RA) asking the question whether Providence College will “maintain, proudly, unapologetically and unambiguously, its Catholic heritage by preaching, teaching and living the Catholic Faith in all its beauty and richness? Or, like so many other institutions today, will it succumb to modernist trends and become just one more progressive, secular bastion of political correctness”.
And this is a question I continually ask of the Church herself in this age of Pope Francis. To be fair, Pope Francis has affirmed the Church’s teaching on marriage (man, that is a low bar for a pope) and has spoken against the evil of gender identity. Yet the confusion that results from Amoris Laetitia remains the elephant in the room. Will the Church continue to be that sign of contradiction in the world?
The Church is under attack. The sexual revolution of those on the pelvic left has produced rotten fruit. Yet we have no choice but to continue to batter the gates of hell with the truth the Church teaches. We must not fight for any half measures in hopes of a truce or for some less unholy ground. We must fight for the fullness of truth. That is our duty.
And the man who can carry that fight agains the gates of hell: Pope Francis.
As Fr. Regis Scanlon writes at Homiletic and Pastoral Review: Pope Francis faces a dilemma.
By now everyone — especially Catholics — should know that the 2018 World Meeting of Families, sponsored by the Vatican Congregation of Marriage and Family Life, will gather in Dublin, Ireland this August.
In recent months, stories about the gathering have multiplied. Videos have been made about the scheduled participants. Organizers have been interviewed. The program’s title has been explained that “Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World,” is inspired by Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.1
What is less obvious is that this meeting presents a serious problem for Pope Francis and the Church.
Why? Because the themes of the interviews and stories are clear: This meeting is a “full court press” attempt to pressure Pope Francis into welcoming the LGBT into the Church as a legitimate type of family.
The most blatant example is the recent statement of Katherine Zappone, the Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, who has a dual American and Irish citizenship, and was educated at the Catholic University of America. She was legally married to her lesbian partner, Anne Louise Gilligan, until Gilligan’s death last year.2
Not only is Zappone a prominent advocate for homosexual rights in Ireland and the U.S., but she recently took it upon herself to actually demand how the Catholic Church should present its own World Meeting of Families: “There should be a welcome for all,” she said. “And never again should public statements or remarks which seek to isolate certain families be tolerated.” Zappone continued her “intolerance” manifesto to say that she hopes that the world meeting will “not be used as a platform for remarks which exclude, isolate, or hurt any family.” “The eyes of the world will be on Dublin,” she continued. “The World Meeting of Families is a unique opportunity to confront such inequality, discrimination, and hate. It can provide global leadership on inclusion.”
She concluded, “Pope Francis has given hope to many.”3
Well, we shall see.
Few events could be more significant today than a world-wide gathering of families “that would help to strengthen the bonds between families, and bear witness to the crucial importance of marriage and the family to all of society.” This was John Paul II’s goal for the First World Meeting of Families in 1994.4
However, the message of St John Paul II, made 24 years ago about marriage and the family, has been completely overrun in our times by the enthusiasm, even inside the Church, for furthering gay rights.
The gates of hell stand here in Ireland. What was once the most Catholic of nations will host a gathering where the rebellion against God will have a most prominent platform. As Fr. Scanlon writes:
(T)his also represents a great opportunity for the Church, and for Pope Francis, to bear witness to the true nature of marriage and family, and to proclaim the truth in Ireland, a country which tragically has taken the lead in “social change” with laws that favor abortion rights, homosexual marriage, and stifling the teaching authority of the Church.
I have been a consistent critic of Pope Francis, but I join Fr. Scanlon in his conclusion:
To proclaim this truth in 21st century Ireland, with a hostile world watching and waiting to tear him to pieces, will require great courage from the Pope. But he can take heart from the words of his predecessor, St. John Paul II: “Be not afraid!”
Ireland: tear down those gates, be not afraid.
O most poweful patriarch, Saint Joseph, patron of that universal Church which has always invoked thee in anxieties and tribulations; from the lofty seat of thy glory lovingly regard the Catholic world. Let it move thy paternal heart to see the mystical spouse of Christ and His vicar weakened by sorrow and persecuted by powerful enemies. We beseech thee, by the most bitter suffering thou didst experience on earth, to wipe away in mercy the tears of the revered pontiff, to defend and liberate him, and to intercede with the Giver of peace and charity, that every hostile power being overcome and every error being destroyed, the whole Church may serve the God of all blessings in perfect liberty. Amen.
Christ have mercy.
Holy Mary, intercede for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
St. Peter, pray for us.
St. Patrick, pray for us.