Fighting for Truth on Two Fronts

 

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.

There are 27 comments.

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  1. Dorrk Member
    Dorrk
    @Dorrk

    “…the pelvic left…”

    LOL.

    • #1
  2. Dorrk Member
    Dorrk
    @Dorrk

    Double post deleted. A lot of those around here lately. Posting on mobile is like an Amish luxury vehicle: buggy.

    • #2
  3. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    The Dominicans will have to make a decision about this school. Either they remove the students that feel they can intimidate their faithful fellow students, or they shut the institution down, and sell the property. I prefer the former, but if it has to be the latter then so be it.

    The Catholic Church has been around far longer than Providence College, it’s alumni might miss it, although If attended this school I’m not sure at this point that I would tell anyone that is was my Alma Mater.

    • #3
  4. Painter Jean Member
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Do either of you – Doug and Scott – know if the designation of the college as “Catholic” is something that can be stripped by the local bishop? 

    These are trying times for Catholics, to be sure. There’s a winnowing going on, with the cultural winds blowing the chaff away from the wheat.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    From Anthony Esolen on C.S. Lewis, also at Crisis:

    What is pretty plain, Lewis continues, is the fact that “as the State grows more like a hive or an ant-hill it needs an increasing number of workers who can be treated as neuters,” and in his view this trend toward an androgynous culture is what drives calls for female clergy.

    Dennis Prager has been saying this for years — the LGBT agenda is about erasing the distinctions between male and female. Hopefully Pope Francis et al will see through the effort to corrupt God’s natural order. It’s quite apparent Katherine Zappone doesn’t.

    This thing about Pope Francis giving “hope” to the outsiders? I’ve seen the reverse happen, too. [redacted by author]

    Once clear violations of the moral law only require pastoral “accompaniment,” why should other, (lesser) strictures be observed [edit]? It’s all Jesus and me now. What’s the need for the Church?

    This is the AL effect.

    • #5
  6. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Do either of you – Doug and Scott – know if the designation of the college as “Catholic” is something that can be stripped by the local bishop?

    These are trying times for Catholics, to be sure. There’s a winnowing going on, with the cultural winds blowing the chaff away from the wheat.

    It’s a complex issue. There are sanctions that are available. The bishop in the South Bend area refused to attend graduation ceremonies for a time at Notre Dame. Some of the Jesuit schools have dissident alumni groups that have withheld donations, and publish their own alumni bulletins.

    On occasion the Vatican will revoke a theologians credentials to teach Catholic theology at Catholic schools:

    Hans Küng (pronounced [ˈhans ˈkʏŋ]; born 19 March 1928) is a Swiss Catholic priest, theologian, and author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic (Stiftung Weltethos). He is notable for his rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility. Although Küng is not officially allowed to teach Catholic theology, his priestly faculties have not been revoked. In 1979, he had to leave the Catholic faculty, but remained at the University of Tübingen as a professor of ecumenical theology, serving as an emeritus professor since 1996.

    Bishops have far more control over Catholic hospitals.

    • #6
  7. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    For any parents that want their children to receive a classical Catholic education, to include colleges and universities that are orthodox,  The Cardinal Newman Society website is a good source for information.

    • #7
  8. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Do either of you – Doug and Scott – know if the designation of the college as “Catholic” is something that can be stripped by the local bishop? 

    We find this in Ex Corde Ecclessia (the Apostolic Constitution of Pope John Paul II on Catholic Universities):

    Article 3. The Establishment of a Catholic University

    § 1. A Catholic University may be established or approved by the Holy See, by an Episcopal Conference or another Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy, or by a diocesan Bishop.

    § 2. With the consent of the diocesan Bishop, a Catholic University may also be established by a Religious Institute or other public juridical person.

    Article 5. The Catholic University within the Church

    § 1. Every Catholic University is to maintain communion with the universal Church and the Holy See; it is to be in close communion with the local Church and in particular with the diocesan Bishops of the region or nation in which it is located. In ways consistent with its nature as a University, a Catholic University will contribute to the Church’s work of evangelization.

    § 2. Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character. If problems should arise concerning this Catholic character, the local Bishop is to take the initiatives necessary to resolve the matter, working with the competent university authorities in accordance with established procedures(52) and, if necessary, with the help of the Holy See.

    § 3. Periodically, each Catholic University, to which Article 3, 1 and 2 refers, is to communicate relevant information about the University and its activities to the competent ecclesiastical Authority. Other Catholic Universities are to communicate this information to the Bishop of the diocese in which the principal seat of the Institution is located.

    Canon law is also applicable:

    Can. 808 Even if it is in fact Catholic, no university is to bear the title or name of Catholic university without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

    So, it would seem to me, that the local bishop could strip the designation as Catholic based on Canon Law and Ex Corde Ecclesia. Canons 810 and 812 would appear to also allow the bishop to remove teachers who waver on Church doctrine.

    • #8
  9. Whistle Pig Member
    Whistle Pig
    @

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Do either of you – Doug and Scott – know if the designation of the college as “Catholic” is something that can be stripped by the local bishop?

    These are trying times for Catholics, to be sure. There’s a winnowing going on, with the cultural winds blowing the chaff away from the wheat.

    I think the local ordinary has that authority – I saw that a few years ago in the context of another “catholic” school, but I’m not sure what the story is when the School is associated with an order.  The Provincial may have the authority, or it may be a dual authority.  In other words, both the ordinary and the provincial may have the authority to address this situation.  I think I read where the ordinary’s power is limited to requiring the school to stop identifying as a Catholic College.  The Provincial would have the ability to discipline the errant priests, starting with Shanley, and perhaps to designate a new President, though one would need to look at corporate documents to be sure.

    • #9
  10. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Whistle Pig (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Do either of you – Doug and Scott – know if the designation of the college as “Catholic” is something that can be stripped by the local bishop?

    These are trying times for Catholics, to be sure. There’s a winnowing going on, with the cultural winds blowing the chaff away from the wheat.

    I think the local ordinary has that authority – I saw that a few years ago in the context of another “catholic” school, but I’m not sure what the story is when the School is associated with an order. The Provincial may have the authority, or it may be a dual authority. In other words, both the ordinary and the provincial may have the authority to address this situation. I think I read where the ordinary’s power is limited to requiring the school to stop identifying as a Catholic College. The Provincial would have the ability to discipline the errant priests, starting with Shanley, and perhaps to designate a new President, though one would need to look at corporate documents to be sure.

    One should remember that in many of these troubled institutions there are faculty and students that are fighting to maintain their Catholic faith. They do not generate as much publicity as those that are not orthodox.

    • #10
  11. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    One should remember that in many of these troubled institutions there are faculty and students that are fighting to maintain their Catholic faith.

    This is the most shameful aspect. That Anthony Esolen finds himself unwelcome at such “catholic” institutions is disgusting. And that students are persecuted for keeping the faith? Sickening. The serpent is in the sanctuary.

    • #11
  12. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    It seems this story is a microcosm of the bigger picture of the loss of Christianity across the world, and attacks stepping up. Yes, it is the fault of the Pope and all of the people under him for being so lax, as well as the other Christian denominations – it is now a crisis – a crisis of faith and when the world’s most outspoken Atheist is cheering it, you know it’s bad. Even Harvard Divinity School has embraced the progressive mindset to the point that it is shocking what is being taught. The demise of the traditional family is the beginning of the end said Sister Lucia, the visionary, and she appears to be right. The true faith is not being passed on.

    • #12
  13. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    As I Lutheran, I pray the Pope remains steadfast. 

    • #13
  14. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    I recently discovered Anthony Esolen, and he is an excellent thinker/writer.  I heard him first on Issues, Etc. 

    I got to Crisis Mag online and find lots of good commentary.

    • #14
  15. TheSockMonkey Coolidge
    TheSockMonkey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    As I Lutheran, I pray the Pope remains steadfast.

    Being neither Lutheran nor Catholic, I concur.

    • #15
  16. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Steve Skojec interviews Michael Smalanskas and Dr. James Keating on the 1P5 podcast.

    EDIT: The podcast is very good – and the story Michael tells is horrific. If you are interested in these issues I highly recommend it.

    According to Dr. Keating, the school does not operate under Ex Corde Ecclesia, and hence the professors are not required to maintain a mandatum to teach. Hence, all the squishes.

    • #16
  17. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Do either of you – Doug and Scott – know if the designation of the college as “Catholic” is something that can be stripped by the local bishop?

     

    So, it would seem to me, that the local bishop could strip the designation as Catholic based on Canon Law and Ex Corde Ecclesia. Canons 810 and 812 would appear to also allow the bishop to remove teachers who waver on Church doctrine.

    I’m curious though, anyone know how cannon law intersects with secular law on this point?  What if a bishop stripped the designation and a college persisted in using it, what then? 

    The bishop could impose an interdict on the campus and start excommunicating the faculty, but could he get a court order to actually force them to stop marketing themselves as “Catholic?”  Do the bishops have an enforceable trademark on the use of the term “Catholic” under U.S. law?

     

    • #17
  18. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):
    I’m curious though, anyone know how cannon law intersects with secular law on this point? What if a bishop stripped the designation and a college persisted in using it, what then? 

    According to canon law, the designation Catholic only comes about through the appropriate ecclesiastical authority, so one would hope that if that authority removed the designation, the school would comply. I would hope secular law and a lawsuit would not be necessary.

    Can. 808 Even if it is in fact Catholic, no university is to bear the title or name of Catholic university without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.

    • #18
  19. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    I would hope secular law and a lawsuit would not be necessary.

    I would hope so, too, but one never knows these days…

    • #19
  20. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    I would hope secular law and a lawsuit would not be necessary.

    I would hope so, too, but one never knows these days…

    Indeed.

    • #20
  21. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    Katherine Zappone may as well be called Minister for Social Engineering or perhaps Minister for Born Children.  She scraped into our Parliament (Oireachtas) by the skin of her teeth and through a series of circumstances involved in the formation of a minority government ended up as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.This radical feminist is a leading pro-abortion campaigner and frequently appears in public wearing her “Repeal” jumper in support of the abolition of our pro-life constitutional provision Article 40.3.3 (also known as the 8th Amendment). This will be voted upon in a referendum on the 25th May and it’s fair to say that the Government is dancing completely to the Pro-Choice tune. 

    At least Zappone can claim to have been consistent- unlike the legion of  politicians who have evolved from staunch Pro-Life positions to radical pro-abortion ones in the blink of an eye. 

    Those of you interested in life issues should watch this space. 

    • #21
  22. Pelicano Member
    Pelicano
    @Pelicano

    The problem with asserting authority over Catholic colleges is cimpmex, involving both church and state law as mentioned above.

    Under church law, a local bishop can end the church’s relationship with a college. He could also prevent celebration of the sacraments on campus. Problem is, those are both nuclear options, which bishop’s are loathe to employ since it would mean losing the college, probably for good. 

    The preferred option is moral susaion, though it seems to have limited effect.

    The bishop has greater authority over theology faculty. Note: theology faculty only, not anyone teaching any other discipline. Theology faculty are suppose to affirm publicly their intention to reach according to the magesterium of the church, but many ignore the requirement without penalty. It’s a problem.

    Legally, Catholic colleges are not owned by the church or the orders associated with them. Several are diocesan, which may be different. Anyway, legally they are corporations who agree to be run according to church law and have clergy on the board of trustees. 

    Several Catholic colleges are no longer affiliated with the church, by mutual agreement with the local bishop. It is a an interesting question what would happened if a school persisted in calling itself Catholic after a bishop removed his association. No answer there.

    Finally, I should mention that the Providence situation is remarkable because until recently it was one of the good ones. A serious Western Civ program. Robust defense of Catholic intellectual tradition on website. Required faith statement in hiring process. Not sure what happened.

    • #22
  23. Quake Voter Member
    Quake Voter
    @QuakeVoter

    Pelicano (View Comment):
    Finally, I should mention that the Providence situation is remarkable because until recently it was one of the good ones. A serious Western Civ program. Robust defense of Catholic intellectual tradition on website. Required faith statement in hiring process. Not sure what happened.

    Here’s the report from the college’s most gifted, and now ostracized, scholar.

    This paragraph really hits hard and deep with full truth:

    I notice also, on that same Diversity page, that we are supposed to commit ourselves to welcoming the alphabet soup of cheered-on sexual proclivities. For some reason that does not include F, for Fornicators, or S, for swingers, or P, for pornographers, or W, for sex-workers, formerly called harlots, or A, for adulterers. No political lobby for those? Now, we either affirm, as an institution, that the Church has a real and powerful and urgent message she must bring to the world, a message of harsh truth and genuine healing, or we do not. If we do believe it, then we cannot believe that a disordered inclination towards any sin, sexual or otherwise, can be constitutive of any human being. We may say that John is a liar, because John tells lies all the time, but the true John who is half-smothered by his sins is not a liar; as the true Mary Magdalene was not a whore, and the true David was not an adulterer and murderer. We might then welcome Steven who is deeply disturbed about sexuality and who has, unfortunately, put his disturbance into the form of tentacle-rooting action, but we welcome him as Steven the sinner, hoping to see from him Steven the repentant. Steven as the sinner has nothing to bring to us; we as the Church have the truth to bring to him, to set him free from that sin, whatever it may be.

     

    • #23
  24. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Quake Voter (View Comment):
    Here’s the report from the college’s most gifted, and now ostracized, scholar.

    I wonder if Providence College mourns the loss of Mr. Esolen? Probably not, because he was asking a year ago what the College has answered with a definitive “No” in her treatment of Mr. Smalanskas. From the article:

    “Is it permitted for a Catholic, at a college that advertises itself as Catholic, to affirm a Catholic view of sex and the family?”

    • #24
  25. Whistle Pig Member
    Whistle Pig
    @

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):
    Do the bishops have an enforceable trademark on the use of the term “Catholic” under U.S. law?

    I doubt it.  If they did they would surely have shut down these jokers as well as these jokers

    • #25
  26. TheSockMonkey Coolidge
    TheSockMonkey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Wouldn’t it be hard to try to enforce a trademark on a word that just means “universal” or “all-embracing”? It’s not exactly a term the Church of Rome has an exclusive claim on.

    Has it been tried before?

    • #26
  27. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    TheSockMonkey (View Comment):

    Wouldn’t it be hard to try to enforce a trademark on a word that just means “universal” or “all-embracing”? It’s not exactly a term the Church of Rome has an exclusive claim on.

    Has it been tried before?

    I think trademark law takes into account context and intent to deceive consumers.  For instance, Amazon doesn’t have an exclusive claim on the word “Amazon,” they can’t sue you for publishing a travel article on the Amazon rainforest or a paper about the Amazons in Greek mythology.  But try to launch a online shopping site called Amazon and you’ll get a cease-and-desist letter before you can blink.

     

    • #27

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