AMAC Exclusive – David P.Deavel
The recent leak of the opinion written by Judge Alito quashing Roe v. Wade not only exposed the emptiness of the US Democratic Party’s alleged commitment to “standards” (Joe Biden won’t even condemn the leaking or doxing of judges’ home addresses) and “democracy” (Roe’s end means that proponents of abortion actually need to explain to voters why the killing of innocent human life in the womb should be allowed). He also exposed once again how, although Catholic teaching on this subject – which follows current science – has not changed, the situation New York Times columnist Ross Douthat called it a “truce” still in effect in American Catholic life. For the sake of Catholic life and American life, this truce must end at some point.
What is this truce? Douthat described it in a 2016 essay as a sort of tacit, unofficial agreement by Catholic bishops to continue to officially uphold Catholic doctrines and natural law in public while often tolerating “disagreement, relativism, and dissent.” in “the daily life of Catholicism”. “This situation, which has lasted since the late 1960s, means that while there are many thriving and vibrant Catholic parishes, even some ordinary parishes bear the marks of fashionable social thinking. Far worse, many Catholic educational and charitable institutions operate effectively as secular liberal strongholds. Besides a few excellent and successful colleges and universities such as the University of Dallas, the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Belmont Abbey College and the University of Mary in North Dakota, Catholic institutions of higher learning are on the whole de facto secular and even anti-Catholic even though they sprinkle some Catholic language about “human dignity” and the “common good” on their products and have “institutional mission offices” on campus.
In an article in the Jesuit periodical America Asking if colleges and universities that no longer have members of the religious orders that founded them are even present, a mission vice president of a small college founded by Dominican sisters reflects on the questions at the heart of “the expression of the mission and of the Dominican Catholic Church”. the identity of the establishment. “What does it mean to work with faculty to center justice, anti-racism, and culturally appropriate education? What does it mean to center a quorum-wide, culturally sensitive ministry? What does it mean to be an inclusive college environment that welcomes and serves all students, especially historically underrepresented students? »
Nothing about Jesus. Nothing about his Church or his teachings on faith and morals that are meant to illuminate human existence. The notion of “Dominican Catholic identity” of this university bureaucrat has nothing to do with Saint Dominic or with Catholic tradition. It’s pretty much the same as every other race-theory-influenced critical mission in secular colleges.
And you can bet that “justice” and “inclusiveness” don’t reach children of any color in the womb. A search of this university’s website finds only one reference to “pro-life” in a news article about an athlete who was part of her high school‘s pro-life club.
You would think that the Catholic universities and the orders that founded them would say something about the possibility that the youngest humans would now be protected by law. But almost all the biggest and most of the little ones have nothing to say about it. They are happy to pontificate about race and “gender,” but not about the harms of abortion. Probably because most of their own administration and faculty don’t think it’s a bad thing.
Georgetown University, founded by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the United States, for many years claimed the title of Catholic, although it now largely operates as a leftist citadel whose professors can publicly wish for the violent deaths of Brett Kavanaugh supporters and express a desire to castrate the corpses and feed them to pigs with little repercussion. A search of his website and his law school’s social media feeds turns up no word on this momentous leak. On May 2, the day the opinion was leaked, the Georgetown Twitter feed highlighted the lavender diploma ceremony for “LGBTQ and allied undergraduate and graduate students”.
The Jesuits themselves, an order of priests who woke up long ago and exploded in numbers, have said nothing on their websites or social media feeds. One bright spot, however, is that a young Jesuit priest named Sam Sawyer published an article in America celebrating the decision and unambiguously affirming the justice of protecting unborn human life. While the article isn’t perfect (its “explanation” of why abortion-supporting Americans might be wary of the decision is filled with a slew of one-sided left-wing political talking points) , he at least affirms the truth about abortion.
Could the order itself (which allowed pro-abortion Massachusetts congressman Robert Drinan to stay in the order despite his voting record) or any of its 28 colleges come to this.
However, it is not just the Jesuits or their institutions. These are a large number of Catholic institutions, from universities to primary schools to charities, in which being pro-life (amongst other Catholics) is simply tolerated and not celebrated since those who are in charge of things are often not themselves pro-life.
The Catholic bishops have by and large abdicated their duties to politicians who vote again and again for pro-abortion policies (among other things taught as grave evils by the Church). They could be forgiven for not doing more since Pope Francis seems reluctant to hold politicians accountable for their behavior. But as far as the Catholic institutions themselves are concerned, they have the ability to end the truce. When purportedly Catholic institutions lack the integrity to make hiring and policy decisions that reflect a truly Catholic institution, bishops can deny them the right to call themselves Catholic.
I became a Catholic twenty-five years ago this month, and I’ve found that many American Christians, even if they don’t agree enough with Catholics to become one, respect the Catholic Church for her consistent teaching and testimony and look to her for partnership and even leadership in promoting the kind of society in which they want to live.
When the Catholic institutional march does not match the Catholic moral discourse, they are less likely to join it in worshiping Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. They are also saddened that America is losing a mighty force to make this country great. They don’t want the Church to make a truce. They want her and all her institutions to fight for what is right and good.
David P. Deavel is editor of Logos: a journal of Catholic thought and culture, co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and visiting professor at the University of St. Thomas (MN). He is the co-host of Deep Things Podcast. Follow him on GETTR @davidpdeavel.
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