Archdiocese of Washington Speaks Out Against Georgetown

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Msgr. Pope linked to this editorial from the Catholic Standard.  It condemns Georgetown’s decision to invite Kathleen Sebelius to speak at a commencement, and does so in unequivocal terms.  Here’s one key graph:

Founded in 1789 by John Carroll, a Jesuit priest, Georgetown University has, historically speaking, religious roots. So, too, do Harvard, Princeton and Brown. Over time, though, as has happened with these Ivy League institutions, Georgetown has undergone a secularization, due in no small part to the fact that much of its leadership and faculty find their inspiration in sources other than the Gospel and Catholic teaching. Many are quite clear that they reflect the values of the secular culture of our age. Thus the selection of Secretary Sebelius for special recognition, while disappointing, is not surprising.

And then this:

With all of the people struggling so hard to preserve freedom of religion, and with all that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has said in defense of this important value, Georgetown’s choice of the architect of the radical challenge of such freedom for special recognition can only be seen as a statement of where the university stands – certainly not with the Catholic bishops.

The editorial is not mincing words.  It is plainly stating that Georgetown is, for all intents and purposes, no longer a Catholic university.  As Msgr. Pope notes, these words come from the Archdiocese’s official newspaper, and therefore had to be signed off on by the Cardinal’s senior staff.

There’s much more, and Msgr. Pope also adds his own take on the editorial.

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  1. I think it was a wise conclusion made by the pope it is still none the less such a shame that Goergetown is filled with such dissent. Please take a look at the comments I posted on the article called “Hard Truths for Grads”.

  2. The story doesn’t make something clear. Is the Secretary being given an honorary doctorate or similar honor as well as being invited to deliver the Commencement address? If not, then is she not the exact type of person you would want to speak before the best and the brightest at a time when these State/Church debates about such fundamental issues have come to the fore?

    Absolutely, Georgetown should not honor her with an award. But if the fruits of 4+ years of Catholic education is insufficient to sustain graduates from losing their Catholic convictions after hearing one speech ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ so to speak, God help our Catholic faith in North America north of the Rio Grande.

    If Kissinger, at the time of the Vietnam War, were to give such a commencement address, would have been wrong to listen to him lest he corrupt Catholic teaching obliging us to be artisans of peace? Or would be seen as a Catholic institution of learning’s role to facilitate a full and frank exchange debate of such fundamental issues as confront the American Church head-on, with confidence in our hearts of the rightness of our cause.

    As a Canadian, I’m not entirely sure regarding the nuances and customs as to how such commencements are organized in colleges south of the 49th and it is required to bestow such an honor to any invited speakers. If so, that would be a shame for Mme. Secretary should never have been invited. But as Catholic I have sufficient confidence that if Georgetown graduates, armed with faith and knowledge to able to benefit from the exchange, believe she most certainly should be allowed to speak. After all, were we not told to be as wise as the children of this world? How can we do so if we only hear from the one voice? Preaching to the choir exclusively is a poor preparation for life. Mature Catholics need to hear all voices if they intend to live out their faith through a long life, successfully defending the faith in the Public Square.

    Fr. Tim Moyle

  3. Fr. Moyle, I disagree with you for several reasons. Secretary Sebelius is, in fact
    being given an honor by Georgetown– the honor of addressing the graduates of one
    of its schools at their commencement. That is very different from being invited to be
    one of several persons participating in a symposium or a debate. She is, in effect,
    being presented by Georgetown to the students as someone who embodies what the
    university seeks to instill in its graduates.

    This won’t be an academic exercise where Madame Secretary’s views will be examined
    and discussed. She will not be taking questions from the assembly. While that would
    be a true exercise of academic freedom, I don’t imagine such a symposium holds much
    interest for her.

    If, as you say, mature Catholics need to hear all voices, would you then have any
    objection if next year Georgetown invited a Klansman or the president of NAMBLA
    to give a commencement address? If so, please explain how theirs are voices that
    should not be given a pulpit at a Catholic college, yet Sebelius’ is.

  4. Clinton: All good points. However there is a difference between inviting Mme. Sebelius and the KKK or NAMBLA representative is that the former is someone who is shepherding a revolutionary change in your society whereas the latter two are criminals and/or thugs. One leads your government. The others are dedicated to overthrowing your inclusive government and replacing it with a white-only body (KKK) or proposing the wholesale sexual abuse of children by adults. There is clearly a qualitative difference between them.

    Please do not misunderstand me. I am not au courant as to academic traditions in your country, nor am I up to speed as to all the nuances of your struggles in the health care debate. It only seemed to me that given her role at the center of this debate, she seemed an ideal candidate to address a convocation.

    Fr. Tim

  5. Clinton: Sorry for the typo. The 2nd sentence should read: “Mme. Sebelius and the KKK or NAMBLA representative IN that the former is someone…” I guess I shouldn’t start typing away before I’ve had my morning coffee…especially on a Monday morning. I miss my own spelling and grammar errors.

    Fr. Tim

  6. “Georgetown’s choice of the architect of the radical challenge of such freedom for special recognition can only be seen as a statement of where the university stands – certainly not with the Catholic bishops” …and certainly not for FREEDOM.

  7. Fr. Moyle, I appreciate your thoughtful response. I brought up the hypothetical
    Klansman/NAMBLA characters to demonstrate that there are in fact voices that
    mature Catholics don’t need to hear– at least, not in the capacity of commencement
    speakers, an honor which implies the endorsement of the hosting college.

    It would be entirely reasonable to invite the woman to Georgetown to participate in
    a public discussion of the HHS mandate. That would be a legitimate exercise of
    academic freedom, and I would agree that sensible Catholics would be interested to
    hear Secretary Sebelius defending her position in a civil discussion with her critics.

    Such a discussion is not what Georgetown is proposing. Secretary Sebelius is being
    given the honor (and implied endorsement) of an invitation to give a commencement
    address. She will not be fielding questions, there will be no opportunity for rebuttal.
    This is nothing less than a deliberate thumb in the eye of the bishops by the admin-
    istration of Georgetown.

  8. “However there is a difference between inviting Mme. Sebelius and the KKK or NAMBLA representative in that the former is someone who is shepherding a revolutionary change in your society whereas the latter two are criminals and/or thugs.”

    With all respect, Father, I see no difference between the criminal activity of Mme. Sebelius in supporting and advocating the murder of the unborn, and the criminal activity of the KKK in its murderous racism, or the criminal activity of NAMBLA in paedophilia. That the immoral “laws” in the United States make Mme. Sebelius position of infanticide “legal” is no different than immoral laws in Germany which made the genocide of Jews before and during WW II not only legal but a matter of government policy.

    Mme. Sebelius, her boss (President Barack Hussein Obama), and the members of the current Administration are criminals, thugs and gangsters. Again, while the details are not relevant to the discussion of this post, the behavior of the Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a case in point:

    Therefore, not only should Mme. Sebelius be barred from speaking at any Catholic institution, but the example of St. Paul in dealing with both Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20, and the man living with his father’s mother in 1st Corinthians chapter 5 should and must be emulated by our Bishops. These people are as utterly evil as King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, and they must therefore be (in St. Paul’s own words in 1st Corinthians 5:5) delivered “to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that [their] spirit[s] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

  9. There is no doubt that, as an institution, Georgetown is no longer Catholic (and probably as not been for a long time). While the strongly worded editorial is welcome, is there something more official that can be done? Is there a way to revoke the ability of Georgetown to officially present itself as a Catholic institution?

  10. Mary: Clearly Mme. Sebeluis would be in inappropriate choice to give the benediction at the event. Is that not the time in the service when God’s Holy Spirit is called down upon the gathered assembly? Does that necessarily invalidate her in addressing the convocation assembly with an address?

    Please understand: I am not saying that she is the best choice for the event. I can think of dozens of others who would do a better job. I’d vote for George Weigel for he is probably the preeminent American voice addressing these same important issues. Even Cardinal Dolan would have been an inspired choice. If I had the opportunity to attend, I’d much rather listen to them than Mme. Sebelius. I am only asking whether it’s actually inappropriate for a Catholic university to prove an opportunity for students/graduates to hear from a voice advocating a different position than is taught by the Church.

    Perhaps an organized debate or symposium would be a better forum than a convocation, but I suspect there would be as much concern about anyone from the current administration speaking on a Catholic campus. It would be a tragedy if I am correct, for it seems to demonstrate a belief that Catholic teaching cannot stand against counter opinions. Clearly, this is NOT the case. I guess I just see this as a question of confidence in the Church and not in the stark political terms that grips your nation these days.

    Do we as Catholics see the ‘other side’ in these debates as enemies instead of opponents? Could it be that the passion of the times is overwhelming the reason of our faith leading to closing ourselves off against voices we see as hostile? I fear this is the case. It does not seem to me that such a position can be squared with the example that Jesus, Paul, and the early Church Fathers offered. They actively engaged the world to argue for the proposition of the new covenant of salvation through the ‘folly of the cross’. Yes, if the audience could not accept the message they moved on to others who would and did not waste time debating with those closed to the salvific truth of the cross. But they tried. They listened, thought, prayed and responded. They engaged. They were not afraid to do so. We shouldn’t be afraid either.

    It is unbecoming for a people called to be evangelists of the gospel to the world for them to shy away from doing the same as those who passed on the faith to us. To quote Fr. RJN, it’s the ‘challenge of embracing orthodoxy and bringing to the world.’ We can’t do that if we don’t interact with the world in the first place.

    Hope this helps to put my earlier comments into a fuller perspective for you. As I’ve said, I suffer from not being directly involved in current American issues and speak as an outsider. I hope I’m humble enough to be open to correction by you and others who are living through these events. It’s just that there is truth in the maxim: ‘When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your objective is to drain the swamp.’ Perhaps an outside voice can offer a different perspective. I thank you for the chance to offer such a perspective.

    Fr. Tim

  11. “Do we as Catholics see the ‘other side’ in these debates as enemies instead of opponents?”

    Yes, especially when they mandate that Christian institutions must pay for abortifacients and contraceptives contrary to religious conscience. Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Dennis Kucinich, Patrick Kennedy, Andrew Cuomo, et al., are self-professed Roman Catholics who publicly support the infanticide of the unborn, the sanctification of the filth of homosexual sodomy, the distribution and use of contraceptives, and the cohabitative life style of adultery and fornication. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

    “It does not seem to me that such a position can be squared with the example that Jesus, Paul, and the early Church Fathers offered. They actively engaged the world…”

    Jesus was beaten and whipped half to death when He stood before and engaged Pontius Pilate. St. Paul was in chains when he stood before and engaged Felix, Festus and Herod Agrippa. St. Ignatius of Antioch engaged the Roman tyrants by willingly going to the lions. These testimonies are in stark contrast to the elevation of apostasy and heresy being given to Kathleen Sebelius. That elevation isn’t a witness to the world. It’s the same kind of disgrace that Jesus identified when He said to Simon Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan.”

    “It is unbecoming for a people called to be evangelists of the gospel to the world for them to shy away from doing the same as those who passed on the faith to us.”

    I agree. jesus whipped the money changers out of the Temple. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus told the crippled man he cured who was carrying around his mat, “Stop sinning lest worse happen to you.” Jesus put the Pharisees and Sadducees in their place on multiple occasions. St. Peter confronted Anannias and Sapphira for lying and the Holy Spirit dropped them dead where they stood. We’ve already discussed how St. Paul dealt with the sex pervert in 1st Corinthians 5 and with the blasphemers in 1st Timothy 1:19-20. St. John wrote sternly about that Jezebel in Revelation 2:20-23, how Jesus was going to put her onto a sick bed and strike her children of adultery dead.

    The only dialogue to be given Sebelius, and the heretics and apostates like her, is what is written in verse 9 of the Epistle of St. Jude:

    “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.'”

    A Christian doesn’t dialogue with the devil or his minions.

  12. While the strongly worded editorial is welcome, is there something more official that can be done? Is there a way to revoke the ability of Georgetown to officially present itself as a Catholic institution?

    I’m unaware of how the process plays out exactly, but Msgr. Pope suggests that it is a rather complicated procedure that would certainly entail something more involved than the Cardinal making a simple declaration. So while many of us would like to see Georgetown rebuked in a much sterner fashion, it is not as easy as we would like.

  13. As was so tremendously posited in a previous post, if a Catholic institution wishes to offer a perspective for fair consideration other than the Church’s own teachings, why settle for half-measures?

    Just have Satan himself give the commencement speech. It’s one thing to “interact” with the world, but something else entirely to give it voice so that we then become corrupted.

    “In the world but not of it,” I believe is the phrase that pays. Slicing Ms. Sibelius to bits in an honest, open and fairly-moderated debate would be perfectly acceptable. Legitimizing her views at an ostensibly Catholic institution, in contradiction to Church teaching and without rebuttal or deliberation, is slow suicide.

  14. WK, Paul: I bow to your assessment of your own situation. Again, as a Canadian I do not understand your concerns about what you call ‘socialized medicine’. It’s something that we proudest of as a mark of our civilization as a society. I do not presume to claim that I know for certain that the Mme. Secretary is an appropriate speaker at such an event.

    However, as a believer I cannot reconcile labeling other people in such demonic contexts. It implies a judgment of character and soul that I am incapable of making, blinded as I am by the plank in my own eye. I will defend and debate as forcefully and vociferously as I can for the propositions of the Church. Injecting such confusion between one’s opinions and the character and standing of others before God will serve to do no more than impede the chances of having our propositions being heard or accepted by those who we need as allies if we hope to change the course of our respective societies and nations.

    PLEASE… do not take what I offer as a rebuke or refutation of what you state regarding the immorality of what Mme. Secretary supports and promotes. I simply believe that minds formed with Catholic values would only benefit from hearing directly from the person tasked by government to make and implement public policy. I admit that perhaps a graduation ceremony may not be the appropriate forum for such an exchange and apologize if I’ve offended anyone who believes that I think them wrong for believing and expressing a different opinion. No offense or insult was never my intention, nor do I wish to walk where it is not my place to be.

    Thank you for your understanding.

    Fr. Tim

  15. “It implies a judgment of character and soul that I am incapable of making, blinded as I am by the plank in my own eye.”

    Jesus told us to take the plank out of our own eyes, not leave it in. I am NOT suggesting, Father, that YOU are leaving the plank in your own eye. Rather, I am suggesting that we take Jesus at his word: let us remove the plank from our own eyes so that we can see clearly enough to remove the offending splinter from another’s eye. Regardless of plank or splinter, to fail to take Jesus at His word leaves everyone blinded.

    Ezekiel 34:1-10 places an even greater responsibility on the cleric (for which reason I am grateful to God that I do not have your job, Father). You have to fight the wolves, and one of the them is Kathleen Sebelius.

    As for national health care, it is NOT the job of Caesar Augustus to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, care for the sick, clothe the naked, etc. That is our job as members of the Body of Christ, and everytime we abdicate our responsibility and evade our accountability to do that, then we sacrifice on the altar of political expediency our freedom as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven and our adoption as children of that great King. Why is it that so many of us want government to take care of the needy instead of ourselves? Since when has Caesar ever been more capable than God’s own children? Are we afraid to get our own hands dirty, as it were? Yet under the threat of having to provide abortifacients and contraceptives, even that avenue of serving the least and lowliest will be cut off from Catholic medical institutions in these United States. The same is true in your own Canada, Father. A government that mandates that abortion of the unborn and euthaniasia of the aged and infirm are health care is a government which cannot be entrusted with health care under any circumstances. A people too busy to help the least and lowliest – so busy that they have to shove the responsibility onto nanny government – is a people that deserves neither health care nor good government. Since when are politicians to be trusted?

    Lastly, the example of John chapter 6 rings loudly and clearly. Jesus fed the 5000 with the loaves and fishes, and then with His disciples went to Capernaum on the other side of the lake. The “peepul” awoke the next day and finding him missing, went themselves to the other side of the lake. They asked Jesus why he left. Jesus responded that they sought him not because of the signs and miracles, or because of the preaching, but because their bellies were filled. Jesus told them not to seek the bread that perishes, but the Bread of Eternal Life. Many left Him that day.

    The Gospel isn’t one of social justice and the common good (yes, those are important, but the goal is Heaven). Rather, the Gospel is one of conversion and repentance. Do we want health, safety, and prosperity? Then we need to stop coddling demonic women like Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius (and yes, they are demonic – but their fruits ye shall know them). We need to start repenting and right now. 2nd Chronicles 7:14 speaks to us:

    “…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

    All the machinations of government sponsored health care plans cannot save us when we murder over 1 million unborn babies every single year. As a priest of the living God, you, dear Father, have the awesome and frightening responsibility to preach this.

  16. “I am only asking whether it’s actually inappropriate for a Catholic university to provide an opportunity for students/graduates to hear from a voice advocating a different position than is taught by the Church. ” HELL, YES.

  17. Some of us opine: it isn’t charity if you do it with someone else’s money.

    Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Mme. Sibelius, et al are among a long (not unbroken) line of social justice Christians beginning in the days when Jesus was with us.

    I think (I could be wring!) I discovered the first social justice fanatic in St. John’s Gospel. See John 12: 1 – 8.

    Like their forebear, these people do not care about the poor and sick. They do it because they crave power and they are pure evil.

  18. Paul: On your points regarding the essential task of defending the Church’s teaching on life, we are in 100% lockstep and agreement. I joined with others from my and surrounding parishes who last week boarded buses and traveled for 6 hours on the highway so we could participate in our annual National March for Life in Ottawa. I regularly preach on the subject of promoting the culture of life over the current aegis of the culture of death. I write letters to editor, politicians, and hospital administrators and health care professional to make the case for life. I write about the issue regularly on my own blog. Catholics, irrespective of their convictions imperil their souls if they ignore the Church’s teaching on life. This is BLUE LETTER LAW and we have no right to violate the right to life and still.

    If having a member of the Obama administration is a clear and present threat to the belief of the graduates, then she should not be allowed to speak. I would hope, that as Peggy Noonan (another excellent choice that Georgetown could have made) did in a similar situation of controversy when Obama was previously honored by Notre Dame and graciously decline the invitation so as to quell any troubles for those who invited her in the first place. But that too is perhaps too Canadian an attitude to become caché in your country. Up here we have no need to cast opponents in such deadly terms. We don’t see each other as a threat. Given your nation’s belief that God intended you to have free access to guns, you’ve formed a societal reality where one would certainly tend to nurture a more reticent view of an opponent I suspect this comes from our different revolution/evolution paths to statehood: your being born of blood… ours being born by compromise and accommodation.

    Fr. Tim

  19. Thank you Fr. Tim. We mostly agree. With respect to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution (i.e., “Given your nation’s belief that God intended you to have free access to guns…”), Luke 22:36-38 does say:

    36* He [ Jesus ] said to them [the disciples ], “But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one. 37* For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was reckoned with transgressors’; for what is written about me has its fulfilment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

    I fully agree, however, that those who live by the sword (or the gun) will perish by the sword (or the gun). Nevertheless, in these terrible times as the US Government emulates the freedom-restricting policies of the German government of the 1930s (just look at what Sebelius is doing in requiring Catholic institutions to pay for abortifacients and contraceptives – soon we’ll be force to officiate homosexual weddings!), Jesus’ admonition to buy a sword applies as well to buying a gun. Indeed, one of the first things that dictators like Hitler and Stalin outlaw are individual possession of firearms. Thus, the lesson of 1st Maccabees chapter 2, or better yet, 2nd Maccabees chapters 6 and 7, cannot be forgotten. That said, I do NOT advocate the initiation of force. But just as Democracy is two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner, so also is freedom (or liberty) a well armed sheep contesting the vote.

    I shall pray for your ministry, Father, and that God may send us more holy priests who do what you do.

  20. Paul: Thank you for your gracious words. The conversation with you enjoys the benefit of having been educational and pleasurable. I look forward to talking with you again.

    Fr. Tim

  21. – these people do not care about the poor and sick. They do it because they crave power and they are pure evil. –

    & accolades of the graduates and parents who will be cemented in confusion of power and glamor where the ‘good’ jobs are.
    & money from donors who need their nods
    & protection from the edge of the cliff where supporters are partying
    & exemptions galore from the jokes and those they incite …
    What’s worse is that these self-righteous exemplaries don’t even understand what Judas the Iscariot did – the value of the money in the bag which he held.
    12:5 “why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?”
    12:6 “He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.”

    This not so sober administration has No Budget yet; only demoralizing distractions, promises to world leaders, drones, and fund-raisers.

  22. PM I don’t think they can be pure evil since any evil is evil because it is lacking good and so if they were pure evil we would not have to worry about them. They are simply twisted and tempted by the devil.

  23. My family has several graduates of Georgetown University. Thank heavens they have gone to their eternal reward and not see how far the school has fallen.

    I am ashamed that Georgetown University chooses unwisely in its choice of speakers, programs that attack the beliefs of our Roman Catholic faith.

    Where are the Jesuits? What are they doing? Who is running the school? Has everyone taken leave of their senses?

    There are fine Catholic men and ladies who are of substance and thought, who keep the Church teachings that are qualified to speak to a graduating class. Choose one of them.

    I always admired Georgetown University. I was heartbroken to be rejected for under graduate work and for the law school. I always respected the school as the best of Roman Catholic education. I went to another Catholic institution for undergraduate work and a secular law school. My rejection by Georgetown may have been a blessing.

  24. “I am only asking whether it’s actually inappropriate for a Catholic university to provide an opportunity for students/graduates to hear from a voice advocating a different position than is taught by the Church. ” HELL, YES.
    To rephrase my response. Since the Bishops in America have instructed Catholics (all) to refuse platforms to evildoers, Georgetown is in direct violation of the bishops’ authority, unless you Father Tim, judge Sebelius’ advocation of abortion, violation of conscience and enslavement of America’s soul as a good. The Honorable Mary Ann Glendon, law professor at Harvard, former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, and pro-life advocate did indeed turn down an honorary degree from Georgetown, but I had not heard of Peggy Noonan. I had heard that Peggy Noonan had slipped below the waves of the pro-life movement and i was grieved as she was a product of Ronald Reagan’s generation.
    Again, the graduating students at the Political Policy Center of Georgetown are not equiped, nor ar they commissioned by their Sacrament of Confirmation to go forth to do exorcisms, as only the bishops can commission exorcists, in the first place, and Georgetown has already dumped the Bishops and their decree to avoid abortion advocates and those who would deny us our God-given freedom of conscience. Sebelius, Obama, Georgetown and the like need exorcism…and all your kind words in their defense cannot save them. Better to pray unceasingly Father Tim, as you have promised at ordination, and always the ROSARY.

  25. Let’s see. Judas Iscariot: “Would have been better had he not been born” Jesus “Throwing money changers out of the temple”, Mary Magdelene, ” Go and sin no more” Sebilius has been been asked “not to present” for Holy Communion. I was taught, The Holy Father is infallible in matter of “faith and morals”. KKK killing innocent blacks, SS killing millions of innocent Jews and anyone who got in their way. U.S. Supreme Court Jan 22, 1973 abortion on demand has killed 4,000 unborn a day all day long every day since. We have had no guidance, no leadership, no direction. Just a lot of warm fuzzy gobbledegook. Infantacide and euthansia, and suicide rampant. I go to Mass for the Sacraments. I will never leave this Church but I do feel the Church left me. If I would have raised kids the way the Church has so called passed on the faith, I doubt that there would be one of them left in it. I feel like I am in a really bad dream that I can’t wake up from. We have been infiltrated and now what’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right.

  26. Mary & Jeanne: My apologies if my comments have led you to despair but I can assure you it is without reason.

    1) I freely admit that I have a 2nd hand understanding of the American political system. As a Canadian I see events from a different perspective – that as a from a neighbor, not from within the family as it were. There are details of your health care and government systems seem arcane (or at least not very comprehensible) from one who has lived his entire life benefiting from womb to tomb medical coverage without cost thanks to what you might describe as ‘socialized medicine’. For us, if a hospital owner/board doesn’t want to provide a particular procedure, it doesn’t have to as their will always be a public hospital or clinic where a patient could access the desired service. Catholic hospitals do not need to pay or provide abortions or procedures that contravene their beliefs.

    2) I as a solid a pro-life priest as you can know. I’m one of the first members of Priests for Life Canada. I participate in every pro-life initiative I can from Life Chains to letter campaigns. I preach on our Catholic obligation to promote the Culture of Life every chance I get. I post and write about the subject on my own blog and in national newspapers.

    3) I have been a regularly pray-er of the rosary and other forms of prayer all my life. I was ordained on 13 May 1989. I revel in having Mary as my spiritual mother as I was taught to do at my mother’s knee as a child.

    PLEASE do not despair for the state of the Church or the priesthood because of what I write here. I promote no agenda other than the Catholic proposition of faith as an answer to the world’s issues and am not fighting for the forces that oppose her. I framed this entire discussion in the form of an inquiry, a question. I would feel terrible if what I have asked or raised leads you in any way to lessen your faith in the Church or her priests.

    Know this: I am not unusual in any way among the majority of priests. Most of us do our best to faithfully fulfill all of our obligations as both Christians and priests. There are a few among us who have scattered the flock with their predations. There are others who lack the courage to embrace what RJN called the ‘wonderful challenge of orthodoxy’. But almost all of us are trying to the best of our abilities. We are wounded all the further when we realize that our human failings to meet the standard set by the eternal priest has wounded the faith in others.

    PLEASE pray for us. Don’t use the internet to calumniate or wound us. Far more of us than you may believe deserve the benefit of your doubt. Pray for holy priests. We need the support and grace prayer brings to us when we face well intentioned dragons who unnecessarily slag us when we poke out heads out in the public square.

    It may be quintessentially Canadian, but I believe that we will win more souls for God with encouragement, not condemnation. The Kingdom of God will be all the more present when we strive to win the hearts of others, not close their mind to what we have to offer by packaging it with insult and accusations. I sincerely believe that you may be doing more harm than good for the communion of believers if you are unwilling to appreciate the good in others simply because they don’t match the purity of your convictions.

    Fr. Tim

  27. Sorry for the typo’s. I don’t have the needed time to do your thoughts justice. I pray it’s clear enough for you to appreciate the points I am respectfully offering.

    Fr. Tim

  28. While I may not agree with Fr. Tim regarding the virtues of socialized medicine, I am united with him when he writes, “Pray for holy priests. We need the support and grace prayer brings to us when we face well intentioned dragons who unnecessarily slag us when we poke out heads out in the public square.” Regardless of our differences with respect to Caesar providing social services, we all face the roaring lion of rampant secularism, atheistic humanism, sexual immorality and the infanticide of the unborn gone wild. We can differ on what’s the best means to provide social justice and serve the common good; but we cannot differ when it comes to the Gospel of conversion and repentance, righteousness and holiness.

    OK, now that that rare moment of mental lucidity and sanity has passed, I shall return to being the incorrigible reactionary conservative to the right of Attila the Hun. 😉

  29. Father – I understand that you’re just asking a question, not defending the choice of commencement speaker or the positions that she’s taken. And I agree with you that overheated rhetoric doesn’t help anyone.

    I think you need to make a stronger distinction between having someone participate in a debate and having someone speak at a graduation. The former involves intellectual engagement. The latter implies an endorsement. No institution would have a Bernie Madoff or a Joe Shmoe speak at a graduation. To choose a person as a speaker implies that he has something of value to say, that he’s a person to be looked up to. The person in this case has been forbidden from receiving Communion due to her public defiance of Church teaching; the main thing she’s known for is her public defiance of Church teaching.

    The first thing every commencement speaker says is “it’s an honor to be here” – and it is. The speaker is chosen to receive the honor of addressing the graduates. The speaker gives the final words that a student hears as a student. The role is that of a keystone. There’s simply no way that a person who would be asked to give a commencement address would look upon it as anything other than a sign of respect.

  30. Paul W. Primavera: ““Pray for holy priests. We need the support and grace prayer brings to us when we face well intentioned dragons who unnecessarily slag us when we poke out heads out in the public square.” “well intentioned dragons who unnecessarily slag(y) us when we poke out heads out in the public square.” are us, the defenders of the Faith, apologists and the bloggers on this blog.

  31. Mary: 1) Just click on my name. I’ve linked to my own blog (which contains a short biography ) when I registered on this site. If the link doesn’t work, the URL is You can also read articles published by the National Post in the online edition’s religion blog, The Holy Post. You can find out all you want about me via those sites.

    2) The version of the Jesus prayer that I usually find being chanted in my head and heart is: Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe that this daily focus of occupying my mind with this prayer suffices to achieve what you suggest with yours.

    3) Why are you so angry? Even as a child I knew that a faith that makes you feel sad or mad… definitely NOT glad… was bad. Jesus wants that his joy should fill you. What did you do with yours? I have offered no insult or injury yet you feel the need to attack, chastise and belittle me? Why are you so mad and sad? That’s not how a disciple of Jesus is to live and act.

    Fr. Tim

  32. Dear Father, The thing is I do not despair of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church for I know that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against Her”. I too am an original member of the Wi Right to Life before there was a National. For fourty years I have taken six kids with me to meetings and rallies all over this country. I have taught religious education for eighteen years and been horrified at the “lessons” we were presented with to “educate our children in the faith”. They don’t know the truths of the faith. They don’t know their commandmants, and they are confirmed without the slightest knowledge of what this committment means. I have watched as countless numbers of them have never stepped foot in a Catholic Church again. I took it upon myself with the Catechism to do the best I could with every class I was given responsibilty for. When speaking about the “sins of the flesh” they were taught what the church teaches. I always told them, “This is what the Church teaches. You can never say when you are standing before the Lord on judgement day that you never heard or knew any of this.” You will see my face and remember my words”. My teachers in Catholic as well as public school were tough. Did I like hearing the truth? heck no! But I wouldn’t trade my soul for eternal damnation. My students also learned that “the sins of the flesh” were not the most damning of sins, but those of greed. When we will pass laws and rules and regulations putting money before all forms of human life destined for the Kingdom we have to be ready to die for our faith. Also what about the latest DePaul speaking scandal? Don’t the monies that are collected here in the states at various times of the year go for our colleges and universities. I would like to know that.

  33. Mary: Have you ever read the book “Well Intentioned Dragons”? It’s a standard among evangelical pastors and has great resonance for Catholic clergy as well. It was not an insult. It was a reference that I hoped might act as a nexus with others who are familiar with the book… kind of a short-hand metric to place my comment in its proper perspective. Clearly you have never read the book or you would not have taken such offense. My apologies if you thought I was insulting you. If there’s one thing that you should know about me is that if I intend to insult you – you will know it. I think of myself as being a patient person who strives to always find the best way to interpret what is hurled at me but I am after all born of Ottawa Valley Irish and Northern Ontario French stock – two of the most tenacious peoples in the land. A enclave of English refusing to learn to speak the majority French of the rest of Quebec and a group of francophones who refuse to give up their language in the midst of English Ontario. I’ve learned well the lessons of my ancestors and can acquaint myself well everywhere from the bar room to the board room and from pulpits large or small. I can dish it out as well as I can take it, although I always leave it to others to set the tone of the conversation.

    Fr. Tim

  34. Father Thomas Mannion, a dear friend of mine from County Cork Ireland, used to tell the kids this story. “How many airliners take off througout the world every day? Hundreds! The only time they are reported on is when one crashes. So it is with the priesthood. There are thousands of good and holy priests but you don’t hear about them only the ones who bring shame and scandal to our dear Church”. We know that, and pray daily for our priests and for vocations. I also have had the priviledge of serving under Raymond Burke who has been harrassed as no other for his strong and firm stand. Will not Our Father be firm with us? even though He is all merciful and all loving? That’s all I am getting at. If we are lukewarm He would just as soon vomit us our of His mouth. Peace

  35. To the teflon don: Tim Moyle: Why do you profess to be a Catholic Priest and agitate for Georgetown to disobey their bishops directives to avoid giving a platform to scandalous abortion advocates? Why did you not say the small exorcism prayer you were asked to say in humility? Sugar does not melt in your mouth as you go about sowing seeds of doubt, despair, disobedience and outright heresy against the Catholic Church. If you love Sebelius so much you ought to quietly pray for her soul and not campaign for her canonization as the heroine of Georgetown and martyr of political correctness, as you have for you own soul with academic credentials. Do not tell me that you are wonderful Catholic priest and then applaud Sebelius and Georgetown for their heretical dissent from Church teaching. It does not wash.
    “I am only asking whether it’s actually inappropriate for a Catholic university to provide an opportunity for students/graduates to hear from a voice advocating a different position than is taught by the Church. ” HELL, YES. The serpentine tongue asked Eve “I am only asking whether its actually inappropriate for you to disobey the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church.”
    “Suffer the little children to come to ME” Sebelius will not follow Jesus Christ and Tim Moyle follows Sebelius.

  36. Alright, this back and forth between Mary De Voe and Father Tim Moyle is getting tiresome and way too personal. I am shutting comments down on this thread, and reminding all commenters to stick to commenting on the posts here at TAC.

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