Pursuing the parochial truth: Dominican University (River Forest, IL)…


“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.”

That’s the tagline for the Dominican University (River Forest, Illinois) website for this Dominican institution of higher education which advertises its mission using the following descriptor:

As a Sinsinawa Dominican-sponsored institution, Dominican University prepares students to pursue truth, to give compassionate service and to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world.

Notice the word “Catholic” by its absence in that descriptor.




Just what might that mission mean in actual practice?

Consider the “New Faces, New Voices, New Ways of Being Church” conference scheduled for October 24. The conference’s subtitle is noteworthy: “An exploration of the American Catholic Church going forward.”


The description of the conference is even more noteworthy:

[The National Catholic Reporters’ (NCR)] founders were journalists whose first priorities were holding authorities accountable and being a platform for a free, open discussion of ideas. Solidly founded in an American culture, NCR has been a chronicler of society and the Catholic Church for 50 years. Through this uniquely American and Catholic lens, the conference will explore what might be on the horizon for the American Catholic church.

Putting some flesh on those bones, conference speakers include:

  • Maria Pilar Aquino: A Catholic feminist theologian who teaches liberation theology, is pro-abortion, and supports the ordination of women. “We feminist Catholic theologians profoundly disagree with the intractable position of official Roman Catholicism regarding reproductive rights and women’s human rights,” Aquino has said. Of the pontificate of St. John Paul II, Aquino noted that it exhibited “strong signs of theological intolerance and of rigidity in the exercise of power….[The] mode of Church promoted by John Paul II was widely characterized by authoritarianism, centralism, conservatism, imperialism, and by monoculturalism, and is consistent with the patterns of dominant male-centered Western European Christianity.” In her talk, Aquino will explore the contribution of the deep voices from the Global South to those processes.
  • Reverend Bryan Massingale, STD: A priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and professor at Marquette University, Father Massingale spoke at an event on Capitol Hill on behalf of Equally Blessed, a homosexual activist coalition which counts among its number Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry. At the event, Massingale advocated “full equality” for homosexuals. Afterwards, Massingale was asked whether he agreed with the teaching found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that “homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law” and “[under] no circumstances can they be approved,” Massingale evaded the question. In his talk, Father Massingale will explore how this moment challenges the Catholic faith community to face the “unresolved racism” in its own life, as well as the opportunities for more engaged social reflection and justice ministry.
  • Jamie Manson: A National Catholic Reporter columnist, Manson covers the so-called “homosexual marriage” and and feminist ideology beat. A critic of Pope Francis for upholding the complementarity of the two genders, Manson accuses the Pope of denegrating both homosexuals and women. Defending legal recognition of so-called “homosexual marriage,” Manson has argued: “How sad that church leaders refuse to see that same-sex couples have as much potential to be visible signs of God’s ‘masterwork’ as heterosexual relationships.” She also calls Church leaders to “have the courage and humility to see that God can be as fully present in the relationships of same-sex couples as God can be in opposite-sex couples and that God can be as sacramentally present through the body of a woman priest as God can be sacramentally present in the body of a male priest.” In her presentation, Manson will explore some of the new models of church that have been emerging among marginalized faith communities and consider what forms of church may be meaningful and relevant to new generations of Catholics.
  • Sister Joan Chittister, OSB: The “counter Mother Angelica” founder of Benetvision–an organization that promotes “contemporary spirituality” with the aim of awakening the “Divine Feminine” within each woman–Sr. Chittister is arguably most noted for her dissent against Church teachings concerning abortion (claiming it denies women a basic “freedom”) and female ordination as well as her critique of the Council of Trent, saying that it “plunged Catholicism into the Dark Ages.” Sr. Chittister will consider a way forward that is rooted in the prophetic message of the gospel which demands that we seek a new way of being church.

While the Dominican University website advertises that “All are welcome,” all of the invited speakers align themselves squarely with the NCR’s radical stance toward the Roman Catholic Church and whose shared desire is to shape the Church in their “American Catholic” image, as that’s defined by the contents of their lectures.

While those who are convening the event may “welcome” others to listen, they certainly aren’t welcome to speak. How open and inclusive of a diversity of thought! Tres catholique!

This conference isn’t an “academic” conference and, given topic’s parochial treatment, certainly won’t prepare any Dominican University students in attendance to pursue the truth.

“Inspired minds. Amazing possibilities.” That’s what it means to be Dominican University (with no mention of the word Catholic). And, all for only $40 per ticket (or $20 for students).

St. Thomas Aquinas must be scratching his head in disbelief.




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  1. I really have to wonder why these speakers want to retain the label “Catholic”‘? What does it mean to them? Do they profess to speak for the church? From whom do they receive their authority? This line up of speakers at a “Catholic” institution breaks my heart!

  2. . This is why Popes should be administrators in our day and age instead of writers like the last several. These people flourish because Popes for the last 35 years have been principally writers and St. JPII as additionally …traveler speaker. We actually need the opposite: Popes who stop writing, stop talking and fire people for their own good. That’s an all year, 365 day a year job. It has not been done and won’t be because the Cardinals elect as Popes…writers to impress the world press, impress European lapsed Catholics and all media image outlets. Here’s a prophecy. Nothing will change and you can write this same essay four decades from now if no administrative Pope ( no writing) is not elected in your lifetime. All these type of problems are Pope problems at root. They discipline someone ( Curran, Hans Kung) at a rate of 1% of what should be happening….because they’re busy writing. These people metastisized while e.g. Benedict was writing the series on the Fathers…..which was read by 1% of Catholics…maybe. All long lived heresy problems are Pope administrative negligence problems. For their own good, pro abortion thinkers need excommunication which is now possible more so with section 62 of Evangelium Vitae which gives the condemnation the clearly manifest status required by canon 749/c(3).

  3. Ah, the Sinsinawa Dominicans. That is the congregation of sisters that includes Sr.
    Donna Quinn, who in 2009 was revealed to have worked for at least six years as an
    escort at a Chicago-area abortion clinic. Her fellow sisters knew of her moonlighting
    and supported it. When the scandal broke, Sr. Donna was given a stern talking-to,
    but remains a Sinsinawa Dominican sister in good standing to this day.
    In other news, the demolition of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate continues…

  4. These folks are “Pope problems”. Just as Ronald Reagan famously said, “personnel is policy.” However, I don’t give Pope Francis a pass because he writes and travels too much. He’s found plenty of time to appoint people to high positions with the same heretical views as these nuns. We aren’t talking about a few outliers. This truly is a “Pope problem”.

  5. I’m sorry, however, I can’t see how anyone teaching this type of unBiblical doctrine are “Christians.” why have these people not been dealt with at the local parish level–long ago?

  6. It makes me sad and angry to read that so many people and schools call themselves Catholic that disagree with Catholic teaching. These people and schools are really protestant.

  7. I read somewhere else that Bishop Cupich was going to be in attendance at this scandalous event also, and offering Mass for everyone. Lovely. He’ll apparently fit right in.

  8. If you are a closet-Thomist, River Forest in the 50’s up, until some event in the mid-60’s, had a marvelous Catholic press that turned out book after book on Thomistic studies (as well as lives of the saints, esp. the Dominican saints) at accessible prices, all in great binding meant to last and excllent print-type. Those editions that escaped the Bonfires of the Insanities of the 60′ are still floating around e-bay and dusty used book stores even today.

    Now, only about 50 years later…oxymoronically-named Maria Aquino, Massengale, Manson(don’t call me Charles!), and Chitty-chitty-bang-bang. From gold to clay in a few decades.

  9. T. Shaw: “socialist fool?”

    perhaps best said by the chief devil:

    “Useful idiots.” — “V.I. Lenin”

  10. @Steve Phoenix: So true. My Mom went there back when it was still called Rosary College in the early 50’s. Many years later, as a new Catholic and quite naive, I was thrilled to get a job there. Being a new Catholic, I assumed that Dominican University would be a wonderful, faith-filled employer. Boy was I in for a jolt; a much-needed dose of current Catholic reality. I lasted there only about 2 years and when I finally took my leave, wrote a respectful, truthful but scathing letter to the President and a few others of my observations of their supposed “Catholic identity” and how utterly depressing their university is for anyone who actually takes their Faith seriously. Obviously nothing has changed since then; probably gotten worse, if possible. The Sinsinawa “nuns” are notorious.

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