The Catholic Thing
Status Quo at USF: Another Outrage Print E-mail
By Matthew Hanley   
Thursday, 20 September 2012

Editor’s Note:
George Marlin’s series on the Catholic vote in key swing states continues today at our other site Complete Catholicism with an analysis of Florida. You can also find there his previously posted studies of Wisconsin and Ohio. – Robert Royal

Save the date! On November 9th, the University of San Francisco School of Law will be hosting an award ceremony. USF is a Jesuit institution with a “tradition” to uphold. They can’t just stand idly by and let Georgetown do all the heavy lifting. The ball is now in their court – the ante raised – after Georgetown saw fit to invite HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to address its graduates earlier this year.

You get my drift: yet another outrage is on tap. Diametrically opposing basic Church teaching in the pursuit of avant-gardism remains a relentlessly self-congratulatory exercise in some Catholic quarters.         

Sometimes we greet opportunities for indignation with a certain pleasure because it feeds our own sense of righteousness and, even if only temporarily, offers the illusion of covering a multitude of sins. Whenever untempered pride or anger predominates, we should see red flags.  

Yet real outrages and falsehoods should spur us on to productive action. Michael Jordan is legendary for inflating in his own mind merely perceived slights; adding fuel to the fire this way was a manufactured technique, but he put it to good use.  

USF’s “award ceremony,” explicitly intended to bestow an honor – not to have an earnest exchange of ideas or, say, a light-hearted exercise in “civility” – doesn’t fit neatly into either one of these categories. It is something that must be absorbed in silent stupefaction, as there is very little we can do about it. It is just dispiriting, even creepy.

In years past (this event dates back to 2004), USF’s honorees have had an uncanny tendency to actively support that fashionable oxy-moron: “same-sex marriage.”  It has been such a recurring theme you might conclude that university officials don’t just have a peculiarly abiding interest in “same-sex marriage,” but are deeply invested in advancing the cause. This disturbing, chronological overview points to more than you’d ordinarily care to know – except how such persistently flagrant abuses are persistently tolerated in the first place.

So who better for USF to honor this year than David Boies, the nationally recognized attorney who led the fight to overturn, in court, the successful passage of California’s proposition 8, which reiterated that marriage is inherently heterosexual.  

If this were an inconsequential and unintended blunder, we might laugh it off like those guys who present NFL highlights on ESPN: “Come on, Man!” is what they exclaim to rib players who make boneheaded errors that cost their team dearly.

Seriously, if you tried to pull a similar stunt in the world of sports or the workforce, you’d be off the team or out of a job in a heartbeat. I mean, talk about actually hijacking one’s own religion – jihadists only allegedly do so – to say nothing of being radically intolerant of nature itself.

            Archbishop Niederauer celebrates Mass in San Francisco, 2011 

Thank goodness the Church is far more patient and merciful than institutions that operate in other spheres of life. The grace by which she exists and the grace she exists to dispense is amazing because it saves us undeserving wretches;  “when we were lost and could not find the way to you,” one Eucharistic liturgy reminds us, “you loved us more than ever.”

But leniency in the face of ongoing abuse is not mercy; deferring obviously needed discipline is not grace. How easily a healthy insistence upon patience and dialogue, when exalted in isolation, mutates into a kind of sentimentalism or paralytic non-judgmentalism – itself a step away from a cocoon of cowardice.

When retiring SF Archbishop George Niederauer has taken clear stands – by denying permission for a homosexualist propaganda play to be performed or for an unorthodox Australian bishop to speak in the diocese – USF openly defied him and hosted both these events anyway.

Such puerile egotism is never an attractive quality, but it seems especially incongruent with freely chosen religious life.   

This situation is not so sticky or intractable that it needs to be indefinitely countenanced. Canon law is clear that the local bishop has many options at his disposal. Even though the school belongs to the Jesuits, the relevant canons make it plain that the diocesan bishop has the authority to take the matter into his own hands, assuming the religious superior is unresponsive after having been warned (canon 683).

Niederauer could remove the president of USF from his diocese (and/or whomever is obstinately implicated), after informing the provincial. See in particular canon 806 and 679. If sufficient cause exists, he could even evict the entire order from the diocese altogether (which would be a pity for faithful Jesuits). Thereare precedents.

The matter in question involves an element of judgment. But C’mon Man! – John the Baptist lost his head testifying about whom one could rightly marry. Even Herod found his truth-telling attractive. Why should any cleric feel entitled to preside impudently over a little fiefdom where gay marriage is held sacrosanct?

Judging from Niederauer’s approach with Nancy Pelosi – whatever came of their meeting years ago? – reticence or inaction in this sphere of ecclesial life appears to be his modus operandi. I’m sure he has his reasons. It doesn’t seem to be his strong suit, but perhaps he is acting with prudence and wisdom that outsiders lack.

Presuming, as I do, that he is motivated by charity, he might nonetheless consider initiating the type of disciplinary action he might be personally disinclined to take – out of charity for his brother bishop, Salvador Cordileone, who is set to replace him in October. Known for his vigor in defending marriage, Cordileone admits to very understandable frustration: “I wish I didn’t have to expend so much time and energy on something that should be self-evident.”

Niederauer knows better than anyone the kinds of stresses and conflict that come with the territory. So why not lighten his successor’s load? Cordileone will be a much bigger bull’s-eye, and his opponents will be loaded for bear. That the Church doesn’t rush things is generally wise, but there’s always time for just such a bold – and charitable – gesture.  

Matthew Hanley is, with Jokin de Irala, M.D., the author of Affirming Love, Avoiding AIDS: What Africa Can Teach the West, which recently won a best-book award from the Catholic Press Association. His latest report, The Catholic Church & The Global AIDS Crisis is now available from the Catholic Truth Society, publisher to the Holy See in the U.K.
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (13)Add Comment
written by ib, September 20, 2012
I'm not sure that Bishop Cordileone would appreciate being handed an open-ended feud with USF as a parting gift from Archbishop Niederauer. He will probably want to size-up the situation himself prior to taking any action. Wouldn't you, if you were the incoming Archbishop?

Archbishop Niederauer has been very slow to do anything that might split the faithful in the San Francisco archdiocese. He has been a very lenient avuncular figure, unwilling to challenge those who are fringe dwellers in the Roman Catholic Church. It is probably time to do a little more to call the Church back to its Apostolic core. Throwiing the Jesuits out would be a good place to start, I think, but I do hope that Bishop Cordileone will proceed wisely ...
written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, September 20, 2012
The Jesuits seem to have changed little, since the 18th century, when most of the Catholic powers, France, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Naples and Parma banished them from their dominions as “an intolerable pest.”
written by Manfred, September 20, 2012
Katherine Sebelius at Georgetown, pro-abortion Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg and Cdl Dolan at the DNC, David Boies at USF, Obama invited to the Al Smith Dinner-do we see a pattern here? The Church in the US is flaccid,silly and feckless. Its schools and churches should be bulldozed and the fraud ended. One need look no further than the picture accompanying this article of Cdl Niederauer saying Mass: there are no females in the sanctuary of a truly CATHOLIC CHURCH. That is why the FSSP, the SSPX and the Institute of Christ the King exist.They serve as the small communities of FAITH which Abp. Ratzinger described as the future of the Church in "Faith and the Future" in 1969, four years after Vatican II!
written by Richard A, September 20, 2012
Unfortunately, in the 18th century the Jesuits were intolerably pestilential to the secular powers that be. Today, they are intolerably comfortable with the secular powers and pestilential toward ecclesial authority.
written by Grump, September 20, 2012
It's San Francisco. What else would you expect in the nation's Queer Capital?
written by Thomas C. Coleman, Jr., September 20, 2012
It's not just in San Francisco, Grump. It's all over the US. There are secular humanists wearing habits and crosses all over this country calling themselves the "true catholics" while denying nearly every tenet of the Catholic faith. While this mass apostasy might not be centered on sodomy, the promotion of that vice under the guise of "justice' is the most common element in every strong hold of dissent, even more common than hatred of the US mlitary and free enterprise laced with praise for Islam. Now every time Abp Codileone says anything you can bet that they'll scream "DUI! DUI!"
written by Howard Kainz, September 20, 2012
This is just a slightly more dramatic example of the results of the rejection of Humanae vitae by massive numbers of Catholic laypersons and priests. They are patiently waiting for an inevitable reversal by a more "enlightened" pope. In the meantime, Obama, Sebelius, et al are providing the leadership for disenters.
written by Grump, September 20, 2012
@Tom, I happen to live in a conservative part of the country, but will concede you are right. As you all know, I am agnostic but side with true Catholics on social issues. There's hope for me yet, I suppose.
written by kristinajohannes, September 20, 2012
Matthew, your statement, "Even though the school belongs to the Jesuits..." may not be correct. The northwest province recently filed for bankruptcy (2009) and one of their arguments was that none of the Jesuit schools belonged to them but were separate entities.

Does that change the picture a bit? In that case I would think the school is directly under the bishop of the diocese. Here's a quote from our local paper up here on the subject back in 2011:
"A big question when the bankruptcy proceedings began was whether the assets of local Jesuit schools, including Seattle University, Gonzaga University, Seattle Preparatory School, Bellarmine Preparatory School and Gonzaga Preparatory School, belonged to the province. Attorneys for the victims had initially argued that they did and therefore could be used to pay creditors. The province and schools said they are separate from each other."

written by Mack Hall, September 20, 2012
Perhaps they are celebrating the fall of Rome to equally fashionable and equally fraudulent and equally deathly progressives on this sad day in 1870.
written by ponerology, September 20, 2012
Just keep in mind folks; if you think it's bad now--we ain't seen nuthin yet. Next it's the normalization of pederasts/pedophilia--as homosexuality was removed from the list of psychiatric disorders in 1973. Why, for the last 40 years, did only openly homosexual men or those men who agreed it is a "life-style" choice, were permitted entrance into Catholic seminaries?
Excerpts from a World Net Daily article Aug. 28, 2011 by Michal Brown, author of A Queer Thing Happened in America: Consider, for example, this statement from the late John Hopkins professor John Money: “Pedophilia and ephebophilia (referring to sexual attraction felt by an adult toward an adolescent) are no more a matter of voluntary choice than are left-handedness or color blindness. There is no known method of treatment by which they may be effectively and permanently altered, suppressed, or replaced. Punishment is useless. There is no satisfactory hypothesis, evolutionary or otherwise, as to why they exist in nature’s overall scheme of things. One must simply accept the fact that they do exist, and then, with optimum enlightenment, formulate a policy of what to do about it.”
In point of fact, all the principle arguments commonly used to normalize homosexuality have been used to normalize pedophilia and pederasty, as I documented in painstaking (and painful) detail in “A Queer Thing Happened to America,” where I also made clear that I was not equating homosexuality with pedophilia but was instead comparing the arguments used to normalize both.

Here are the eight principle arguments, all of which (in modified form) are commonly used in support of homosexuality:

1) Pedophilia is innate and immutable.

2) Pederasty is richly attested in many different cultures throughout history.

3) The claim that adult-child sexual relationships cause harm is greatly overstated and often completely inaccurate.

4) Consensual adult-child sex can actually be beneficial to the child.

5) Pederasty should not be classified as a mental disorder, since it does not cause distress to the pederast to have these desires and since the pederast can function as a normal, contributing member of society.

6) Many of the illustrious homosexuals of the past were actually pedophiles.

7) People are against intergenerational intimacy because of antiquated social standards and puritanical sexual phobias.

8) This is all about love and equality and liberation.

But none of these arguments should surprise us. After all, the age of increasing sexual anarchy in which we live is a fruit of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and the seeds of sexual anarchy were sown already by Alfred Kinsey in the late 1940s, as professor Judith Reisman has tirelessly documented. And it was Kinsey, after all, who relied on the research of pedophiles to document the sexual responses of infants and children.

written by Graham Combs, September 21, 2012
Maybe it's living a few miles north of a dying city (Detroit) whose main response to any problem is to have the law department draft a legal brief or maybe it's a year of joblessness in a state in permanent decline (Michigan) but I've been feeling pessimistic about the Church in America. God bless and God aid the Archbishop of New York but he did say a prayer after what was a 3-day abortion rally in all but name. Meanwhile the Archbishop of Detroit collects old guns in a summer in which nearly a hundred city residents were murdered. An epidemic across urban America in fact. Perhaps I'm overreactng because a priest looked away and hesitated to shake my hand after mass... But when you're unemployed, when you're worried about the future, when you watch helplessly as everthing good and decent about this country is attacked and every public institution compromised it would it be nice to know the Church is one place where you're welcome even though you may be the worst possible thing a Catholic can be -- a social and constitutional conservative.
written by In, September 22, 2012
Graham, you are welcome at Church! It's Jesus who welcomes you and feeds you with his body and blood. The poor fellow of a priest who acts in persona Christi at the Eucharist may or may not be capable of human warmth. Someday he'll have to answer to his maker for that. But always remember that Jesus is ever waiting for you to come to Mass. He loves you and wants you to be there.

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