The Problematic Legacy of Fr. Hesburgh

Standing in front of a famous 1964 photo of Father Theodore Hesburgh locking arms with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, honored Father Hesburgh at a party on Capitol Hill celebrating the retired president of the University of Notre Dame’s 96th birthday in late May.  During her celebratory remarks, Pelosi praised Father Hesburgh’s courageous record on civil rights and pointed to the photo, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery, taken at a rally just days after a vote on the Civil Rights Act.  Pelosi was joined at the party by dozens of congressional well-wishers—as well as Vice President Joe Biden—all paying tribute to the priest that Biden described as “the most powerful unelected official this nation has ever seen.”

Biden is correct.  Father Hesburgh has indeed exerted a powerful influence on our country, on our Church, and especially on our Catholic colleges and universities.  He has received 150 honorary degrees, the most ever awarded to one person, and has held 16 presidential appointments involving most of the major social issues in his time—including civil rights, nuclear disarmament, population, the environment, Third World development, and amnesty and immigration reform. In July 2000, President Clinton awarded Father Hesburgh the Congressional Gold Medal—making him the first person from higher education to be so honored.

Father Hesburgh has always viewed himself as a “citizen of the world” and his secular activities reflect that.  Father Hesburgh was the first priest ever elected to the Board of Directors at Harvard University and served two years as president of the Harvard Board.  He also served as a director of the Chase Manhattan Bank. A longtime champion of nuclear disarmament, Father Hesburgh has served on the board of the United States Institute of Peace and helped organize a meeting of scientists and representative leaders of six faith traditions who called for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

On many occasions, Father Hesburgh found himself the first Catholic priest to serve in a given leadership position on boards of secular organizations.  Much of his success can be viewed as stemming from his ability to distance himself from the authority of the Church.  Such was the case during the years he served as a trustee, and later, Chairman of the Board of the Rockefeller Foundation, a frequent funder of causes counter to Church teachings—including population control.

Some of Father Hesburgh’s activities are curiously missing from the Notre Dame website’s formal biography of their beloved president emeritus.  For example, in the early 1970s, Father Hesburgh became swept up into the “one world” cause and he gave a speech at Harvard University which called for an international agency to be created to grant people “world citizenship.”  Suggesting that this would help to break down the great dividers of people, Father Hesburgh affiliated with the United World Federalists, and in 1974 became a member of the Advisory Board of an organization called Planetary Citizens.  The mission of the now defunct organization was “to create, expose, and nurture positive change in the world.”  Their first objective was “to help people around the earth to cross the threshold of consciousness from a limited, local perspective to the inclusive and global view required in a planetary era.”  The business offices of Planetary Citizens were located directly across from the delegates’ entrance to the United Nations.  This was convenient for Father Hesburgh when he was appointed to serve as ambassador to the 1979 UN Conference on Science and Technology for Development—the first time a priest had served in a formal diplomatic role for the United States government.

Providing Cover for Catholic Pro-choice Politicians
Pelosi described the party for Father Hesburgh at the Capitol as “bipartisan,” intending to bring politicians and staffers from “both sides of the Capitol, both sides of the aisle and all sides of Pennsylvania Avenue”. The reality remains, however, that Father Hesburgh has always held a special place in the hearts of Catholic Democrats like Pelosi and Biden who want to be able to vote in favor of abortion rights yet still be perceived as being in the good graces of the Church.  Pro-choice Catholic politicians are grateful to Father Hesburgh because for the past 40 years he has been providing them with the kind of Catholic cover they have needed to continue voting to expand abortion. Faithful Catholics have been disappointed that the courage Father Hesburgh showed in advancing the cause of civil rights for African Americans and other underrepresented groups did not seem to extend to protecting the civil rights of the unborn.

This is not to say that Father Hesburgh himself is “pro-choice.”  It is clear from his writings that he abhors abortion; he once wrote that “it is difficult to explain how a moral America, so brilliantly successful in confronting racial injustice in the sixties, has the most permissive abortion laws of any Western country.” But faithful Catholics may well question how Father Hesburgh can object to abortion while at the same time promoting the Catholic politicians who have done everything they can to expand access to abortion.

In fact, Pelosi and Biden’s “personally opposed to abortion but unwilling to deny the right to an abortion to others” position was famously articulated on Father Hesburgh’s watch at Notre Dame on September 13, 1984, in a speech entitled “Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor’s Perspective,” given by Mario Cuomo, then the governor of New York.

Father Hesburgh and Father Richard McBrien, a longtime theology professor at Notre Dame, invited Governor Cuomo to the university to give a major speech clarifying his position on abortion.  At one point, Governor Cuomo appeared to be thinking out loud when he mused: “Must I agree with everything in the bishops’ pastoral letter on peace and fight to include it in party platforms? And will I have to do the same for the forthcoming pastoral economics? And, must I, having heard the Pope renew the Church’s ban on birth control devices, veto the funding of contraceptive programs for non-Catholics or dissenting Catholics in my State?  I accept the Church’s teaching on abortion. Must insist you do? By law? By denying you Medicaid funding? By a constitutional amendment?”  Governor Cuomo’s answer to all of these rhetorical questions was “No.”

In his written response to Governor Cuomo’s speech, Father Hesburgh seemed to agree.  Describing the Cuomo speech as “a brilliant talk on religion and politics” Father Hesburgh’s response can be read online today at the Notre Dame website.

Although Father Hesburgh used his response to the governor’s speech to encourage Catholics to support “a more restrictive abortion law,” he also acknowledged what he called the “political reality” and noted that “there is not a consensus in America for the absolute prohibition of abortion.” Saying he longed for the day when politicians would not be “forced” to support abortion, Father Hesburgh decried the need for abortion. Yet, the Notre Dame president seemed unable to see then—or now—that the Catholic pro-choice politicians he has promoted, like Governor Cuomo, and now Pelosi and Biden, are the same ones who are pushing and implementing the greatest expansion of abortion rights in the world.

In a 2001 review of Father Hesburgh’s role in promoting abortion, Msgr. George Kelly, a founder and, until his death, president emeritus of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, criticized Father Hesburgh for providing protection for pro-choice politicians and theologians.  Msgr. Kelly wrote that during his years as Notre Dame’s president, “Father Hesburgh’s ecclesiology became steadily more hostile to the hierarchy …  In 1972, when he was a delegate to the International Congress of Catholic Universities, at a meeting held on Vatican territory—within mere feet of the office of Pope Paul VI—he threatened to walk out and take the American delegation with him if Rome dared to impose norms for the conduct of American colleges.”

Msgr. Kelly acknowledged that “at times there is a sting to Father Hesburgh’s rhetoric,” and provided an example of that attitude in an incident that is well-known on the Notre Dame campus: “A prominent Notre Dame official went to Father Hesburgh as to a mentor, worrying that the implementation of the Vatican document Ex Corde Ecclesiae might bring the American bishops in to the governance of the university.  The retired president consoled his worried friend, ending his counsel with this message: ‘What is the worst thing that can happen to us?  John Paul II will tell the world that Notre Dame is not a Catholic university.  Who will believe him?’”

This story has become almost a legend at Notre Dame and beyond, and Father Hesburgh’s words are often repeated by faculty and administrators on other Catholic campuses in order to reassure themselves and others that compliance with Ex Corde Ecclesiae is not necessary. A decade later, the Notre Dame faculty obviously took Father Hesburgh’s reassurance to heart when the faculty senate voted unanimously to ignore the requirements of Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

Secularizing Catholic Higher Education
Msgr. Kelly acknowledged that Father Hesburgh played an important role in the secularization of Catholic higher education. Father Hesburgh’s 1994 book, The Challenge and Promise of a Catholic University, makes it clear he believes that in order for Catholic colleges and universities to be truly great, these schools must distance themselves from the Church and her teachings.  In his book, Father Hesburgh claimed that “there has not been in recent centuries a truly great Catholic university, recognized universally as such…one would have hoped that history would have been different when one considers the Church’s early role in the founding of the first great universities in the Middle Ages: Paris, Oxford, Cambridge, Bologna, and others.”

In Father Hesburgh’s opinion, the early European universities in the Middle Ages were great because they encouraged a culture of freedom and independence from the state as well as from the authority of the Catholic Church.  Claiming that unlike American Catholic universities, these early colleges provided “an atmosphere of free and often turbulent clashing of conflicting ideas, where a scholar with a new idea, theological, philosophical, legal, or scientific, had to defend it in the company of peers, without interference from the pressures and powers that neither create nor validate intellectual activities.”

Throughout Father Hesburgh’s book, the theme of independence from the “external authority” of the Church is clear.  For Hesburgh, “The best and only traditional authority in the university is intellectual competence… It was great wisdom in the medieval church to have university theologians judged solely by their theological peers in the university… A great Catholic university must begin by being a great university that is also Catholic.”  Few questioned this distancing from the Church because until recently, Father Hesburgh’s proclamations were simply accepted as fact because of his own high status in the academy and beyond.

The most significant event for the Church and the its relationship with Catholic colleges and universities occurred in 1967, when Father Hesburgh assembled a group of Catholic academic leaders at the Notre Dame Retreat Center in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin, where a crucial statement on the nature of the Catholic University emerged. The opening paragraph of the 1,500-word statement began: “To perform its teaching and research functions effectively the Catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.”

While liberal academics, such as Holy Cross College historian David O’Brien, nostalgically look back on the Land O’ Lakes gathering as a kind of “Catholic Woodstock” for professors and administrators anticipating independence from the authority of the Church, others disagree. Catholic historian Philip Gleason, in his book Contending with Modernity: Catholic Higher Education in the Twentieth Century, described the Land O’ Lakes statement as a “symbolic manifesto” which marked a new era in Catholic higher education.  As Father Hesburgh had envisioned, within the next few years most Catholic colleges moved to laicize their boards of trustees. Some colleges went even further.  Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart and Webster College publicly and officially declared themselves “no longer Catholic.” Manhattanville promptly dropped part of their name, deleting the now too-Catholic sounding “Sacred Heart.” Not only did Webster, under the direction of the Sisters of Loretto, become the first Catholic college to announce that it was relinquishing its Catholic identity, but its president, Sister Jacqueline Grennan, SL, renounced her religious vows and withdrew from her order to function as the lay president of the now secular institution.

Indeed, concerns about upward mobility were so high during the 60s and 70s that any hint of obedience to the authority of the Church became an embarrassment for the leaders of Catholic higher education.  And although many of the Jesuit colleges and, of course, Notre Dame, maintained that members of their founding religious orders would continue to hold the office of the president at what became increasingly secular institutions, many of those colleges that had been founded by women from religious congregations were more than eager to turn the leadership over to lay leaders as women’s colleges increasingly merged with men’s institutions and co-education became the norm. Having abandoned their earlier preoccupation with integrating the curriculum around a core of philosophy and theology, Catholic colleges—encouraged by Father Hesburgh’s vision for them—entered the final decades of the 20th century by devoting themselves to the pursuit of academic excellence, often at the cost of their religious identities.

On September 30, 2008, Father Hesburgh rejected more than 2,000 years of Church teachings when he told a Wall Street Journal reporter  that he had “no problem with females” as priests in the Catholic Church. And in 2009, Father Hesburgh defied Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend and supported the honoring of President Barack Obama at Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony.  Bishop D’Arcy, who died earlier this year, drew national attention when he protested the honoring of the pro-abortion President Obama; Father Hesburgh rejected his authority and publicly supported Notre Dame’s decision to invite the president.

Sociologist Randall Collins once suggested that “secularization is not a zeitgeist, but, rather a process of conflict.”  From this perspective, the current secularization of our most important institutions—especially many of our Catholic colleges and universities—is more the result of a contested revolutionary struggle than a natural evolutionary progression.   It is the achievement of specific individuals and groups—both within the Church and outside the Church—who intended to marginalize the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.  Even today, as pro-choice politicians both flout Church teachings and are honored by Catholic institutions, Father Hesburgh remains an important part of that process of secularization.

Editor’s note: This essay first appeared July 2, 2013 on the Catholic World Report website and is reprinted with permission. The above photo depicts Father Theodore Hesburgh, second from left, and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. participate in a June 21, 1964, rally at Chicago’s Soldier Field.  (CNS photo/National Portrait Gallery)

Anne Hendershott

By

Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; and The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    #1 This piece is proof positive that intelligent men can still be fools and sinners.

    #2 I wouldn’t send my dog to Notre Dame. And it seems that many faithful Catholics think similarly as seen in the rising popularity of orthodox Catholic colleges across the country.

    #3 Hesburgh’s left-leaning Democrat party politics has seen to it that African Americans were targeted to receive the lion-share of abortion promotion. His politics have resulted in the decimation of the African American population. A modern day lynching if ever there was one.

    #4 Soon, Teddy, the only One who matters will be weighing in on your legacy. Good luck.

    • Uuncle Max

      I’m with you on 1 thru 3 but at #4 – aren’t you getting a little bit above yourself?

      “He among you who is without sin – let him cast the first stone.”

      You are a Deacon and you should refrain from judging others in this fashion. If you wish to then you should not call yourself ‘Deacon Ed’.

      I am NOT condoning Fr. Hesburgh or praising his legacy. 50 years ago when I went there much of the student body was composed of the kids of 1st and 2nd generation immigrants whose parents sacrificed for them so that they could get a good start up the ladder with a good solid CATHOLIC education The education there is still top notch but the Catholic foundation is not.

      As far as I am concerned Notre Dame is CINO – Catholic In Name Only

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        Uncle Max, nowhere in what I have written will you find a judgment on my part. What I wrote was simply a reminder for Hesburgh, as well as for you and me, that Christ who does sit in the judgment seat awaits his arrival. I have no idea what that judgment will be for him only that it’s a certainty. So I think you owe me a retraction and an apology.

        • Uuncle Max

          As I said I agree with 1 thru 3.

          But #4 was not necessary, following 1-3 – it struck me as being very judgmental. You may not have intended it to but it did, and I stand by what I said.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            Thank you for the apology and retraction.

            • Uuncle Max

              ?

              (comments must have at ,least 2 characters)

              ?

          • Facile1

            Actually, GOD cannot love us any less for our sins.
            BUT Deacon Ed Peitler is correct is calling Hesburgh, himself, you and me to REPENTANCE (such a dirty word, I know — but don’t misconstrue the Deacon’s words for “judgment”.)
            Apologize when you’re ready (even though — clearly — the good Deacon has already forgiven.)
            I hope this helps.

      • Adam__Baum

        There’s no undue judgment here. Hesburgh’s record is long and clear. He may not be the subject of any public opprobrium, but he deserves it.

        I was once advised by a corporate attorney that “you can call a spade a spade, but for crying out loud, do you have to call it a “****ing shovel?”.

        My response was “yes, especially when that shovel is used in the stable”.

        So in the way that made the barrister cringe, try this on for size. Hesburgh has been as useful to Notre Dame as Jerry Sandusky was to Penn State.
        There is such a thing as rightous indignation, UM.

      • Alecto

        Judging actions doesn’t equate with Matthew 7:1 admonition not to judge people. It would be absurd not to evaluate whether behavior is moral or not. Our entire justice system is based on judgment of behavior against an objective standard or expectation.

    • Theorist

      Technically the African population isn’t decimated (which isn’t to say that blacks aren’t damaged by the sin of abortion). IMO, if anything the white population needs to be resuscitated since they are no longer replacing themselves and yet they are the carriers of Catholicism and the Catholic ethos in America. One might say that Latin Americans also carry Catholicism but they also lack the European-Aristotelian tradition which makes Catholicism sensible as opposed to something akin to an indian religion.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        I didn’t say that the African population was decimated. I said the African American population was decimated. I don’t have specific figures but A/A have a disproportionate number of their unborn murdered in the womb when compared to other racial groups.. This would not seem to be a problem for Hesburgh and his liberal Democrat friends like our first A/A president.

        • James1225

          Is their population decimated or are you just saying that because they have a high abortion rate?

          • John200

            Well, decimated means literally one of every ten.

            As black women abort at the rate of about 30-40% of all pregnancies, you may make the appropriate conclusion.

            • James1225

              That does not mean that the black population is decimated. It just means that there are less blacks than the would be if women did not have abortions. There is a difference.

              • Deacon Ed Peitler

                So if 30-40% of Blacks were lynched, their population would not be decimated?

                • William_JamesIi

                  If they were lynched, yes. Aborted, no.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Abortion. It’s the lynching of the chattering classes. Let’s not forget how their patroness Margaret Sanger expressly desired to rid us of the swarthy peoples and other “inferiors”

                    • James1225

                      I only support a woman’s right to have an abortion if that is what she chooses to do. It is entirely her choice.

                    • Bono95

                      Then why do so many women do it at the (sometimes quite aggressive) insistence or outright coercion of their parents, husbands, boyfriends, and peers? Why are Chinese women chased through rice paddies by family planning officials, and either beaten until they miscarry or dragged to a so-called “health-care” center and given large doses of abortion inducing drugs or a hasty operation at great risk to their lives? And what about unborn women, especially unborn Chinese, Korean, and Indian women? Don’t THEY get a choice? And might that choice be something besides being murdered simply because they were conceived with 2 X chromosomes?

              • John200

                Good grief, James, it certainly is dark in there. I will break off for a while. You have the thread in front of you, you might try again later.

          • Bono95

            More black babies are aborted than born in NYC.

    • Bill S

      “#4 Soon, Teddy, the only One who matters will be weighing in on your legacy. Good luck.”

      He should be proud of all his accomplishments. To imply that he has to worry about being judged for something he might have done that goes against Catholic Orthodoxy is just sour grapes.

      • Adam Baum

        So what are his “accomplishments” that you think worthy of pride. Hint, “accomplishments” are clear, specific and quantifiable. Bloviating in a way that tickles your fancy isn’t an accomplishment,

        • Bill S

          I only know what I have read in the article. It seems that he has lived an active and productive life. To downplay his achievements because of his independent spirit is typical of proponents of Catholic Orthodoxy in great institutions like Notre Dame and Boston College, where my son is attending law school.

          • Adam__Baum

            What part of “clear, specific and quantifiable” don’t you understand? You can’t even cite the “accomplishments” you claim are being “downplayed”.

            • James1225

              ” He has received 150 honorary degrees, the most ever awarded to one person, and has held 16 presidential appointments involving most of the major social issues in his time—including civil rights, nuclear disarmament, population, the environment, Third World development, and amnesty and immigration reform. In July 2000, President Clinton awarded Father Hesburgh the Congressional Gold Medal—making him the first person from higher education to be so honored.”

              • Gerard_Altermatt

                While all these accomplishments may be good things, perhaps even very good things, none of them really matter in the end. When we all die, I seriously doubt that our final judge is going to ask for a portfolio of awards and appointments given by men. Our Lord himself gave prestigious appointments that evidently (at least in the case of one) were neither an indication of personal sanctity nor meritorious of eternal life.
                Look at the lives of the saints. Why is it that we never speak of them in terms of numbers of awards, honorary degrees, or governmental appointments? In fact, it may be argued that for many of them, their personal sanctity was a reason they were not so honored by the secular state.

                • Adam__Baum

                  And many perished at the hands of the state.

                • James1225

                  “While all these accomplishments may be good things, perhaps even very good things, none of them really matter in the end.”

                  They matter if they made this world a little better place to live. They matter if they had a positive impact on even one person. Of course they matter.

                  • Facile1

                    Only GOD is good.

                    • James1225

                      I am good. And you probably are as well.

                      What is wrong about feeling good about yourself for doing good and being good?

                    • Deacon Ed Peitler

                      No one of us is good because WE say we are good. That judgment belongs to God alone.

                      Furthermore, noting how you words things, I sense the problem. Rather than your saying that you THINK yourself to be good which would be an exercise of judgment and relating to the mind, you base what you say on FEELINGS. Feelings are ephemeral at best and oftentimes very untrustworthy. Just saying…

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Define “good”.

                    • Facile1

                      I’m quoting the Bible when I wrote “Only GOD is good.” (Read Mark 10:17-31 The Rich Man.)

                      “Feeling good” is NOT a standard by which one can (or should) measure ‘goodness’. What can mere creatures know about “doing good and being good” except when we learn from loving GOD?

                    • James1225

                      Just so you know, I was Bill S before getting booted off the site. Trolling has become an obsessive compulsive disorder with me and I am going to try going cold turkey. I’ve enjoyed our conversations. You are good, regardless of what the Bible says. Peace.

                    • Facile1

                      Only GOD is good and GOD saw that all He created was good. I have no doubt at all about my ‘goodness’ (or yours). The Bible said as much. BUT my ‘goodness’ (and yours)emanates from GOD and dissipates due to sin.

                      Thank you for letting me know you were also known as ‘Bill S’. I did not like ‘Bill S’ and ‘James1225’ is not (will not be) an improvement. I will ignore the commentaries of both from this point forward.

                    • James1225

                      See my response to Adam below.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Get the help you so obviously need.

                    • James1225

                      You know the song that goes: “I fought the Law and the Law won?”

                      Mine would be: “I fought the ‘Truth’ and the ‘Truth’ won”.

                      You can’t fight City Hall and you can’t fight the “Truth”.

                      Let’s just leave it that the “Truth” is not the truth. From the Creation myth to the Resurrection to the Second Coming, it’s all so absconded into people like you, that to try to reason with these people is a fool’s mission. I end up looking like an ass. ID rather look like one than feel like one. But now I’m starting to feel like one. I’m making one of myself trying to get to the real truth. The one with the small t.

                    • James1225

                      Change “absconded” to “ensconced” or better still “ingrained”.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Obviously a case of narcissistic hypergraphia

                    • James1225

                      Very observant. A truth with a small t.

                  • Gerard_Altermatt

                    The accomplishments in question were honors, awards and appointments. They may or may not have anything to do with him making the world a better place to live. The Nobel Prize being awarded to President Obama was proof to the world that being honored isn’t necessarily tied to making the world a better place.

                    • James1225

                      For the most part, maybe not always, people are given awards and honors for their contribution to society in some way, shape or form. I don’t downplay their contribution if it isn’t solely for “saving souls”. Even a priest can improve people’s lives in this world.

                    • Facile1

                      Adolf Hitler was TIME’s ‘Man of the Year’ in 1938.

                    • James1225

                      That is not an honor or award. That just meant that he had the most impact (albeit negative) on the world that year.

              • poetcomic1

                Wow! Clinton (of cigar fame) gave him a medal! I hope he washed it off first.

              • Adam__Baum

                That would be an appropriate response if you were the person asked. Noting that it’s entirely secular and political tells me that this guy is a priest like Al Sharpton is a minister.

                • James1225

                  Al Sharpton is a minister.

                  • Deacon Ed Peitler

                    Ask Tawana Brawley if she thinks he was a minister.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Are you really that dense? Read before you respond.

              • Deacon Ed Peitler

                I would never had accepted any award given me by a man who upon leaving Easter Sunday services seduced a White House intern to fellate him in oval office. But then again, Hesburgh surrounded himself with Democrats who love aborting babies all his life. My mother used to tell me that you can tell a man’s character by the company he keeps.

                • James1225

                  “I would never had accepted any award given me by a man who upon leaving Easter Sunday services seduced a White House intern to fellate him in oval office.”

                  What the President did in private does nothing to diminish the honor of the award. You’ve probably received sacraments administered by men who have done much worse. Does that diminish their effect on you?

                  • Deacon Ed Peitler

                    Please do not insult your own dignity by comparing the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ with accepting an award from the hands of a man like Bill Clinton.

                    And by the way, being fellated by an White House intern in the White House by the president of the United States is NOT a private act. And, at the risk of giving any credibility to your foolish comment, I would add that it is no more of a private act than is a cleric abusing minors. Just because an act has no witnesses does not make it a “private” act.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        He will have his chance to explain his life to the One who does the judging. But if he is “proud” as you say he should be, my guess is that his pride would be first on the list of things to explain.

        • Bill S

          So, this 96 year old man should not be proud of his accomplishments? You see that as a problem? You think he is going to be punished for that kind of pride? You don’t seem to understand the whole concept of making the most of your time on this planet and dying with a sense of self-satisfaction.

          • WSquared

            And you don’t seem to understand the whole concept of making the most of one’s time on this planet in a manner that is fitting and pleasing to He Who made this planet, and also gave us our lives and our time here on earth, since we know neither the day nor the hour. The problem with what you’ve articulated is that it’s narrow. It doesn’t go far enough. It therefore sells people short. …and yes, giving Catholic “street cred” to the kinds of views espoused by Mr. Biden, Ms. Pelosi et al. is indeed selling people short. Rejecting Ex Corde Ecclesiae is selling people short: Catholic orthodoxy is just bigger— because faith operating in concert with Reason, whereby the two become better custodians of the other is just bigger.

            One can also have a whole slew of accomplishments that really don’t amount to much in the end, precisely because of one’s own pride. I know those temptations well, and I still wrestle with them. But in hindsight, I know that my accomplishments and my accolades would’ve borne better fruit in the service of others, not least my family, students, and colleagues, and I’d be a much better teacher (and parent and spouse), had I been more humble. If I’d grasped a lot earlier the fact that my abilities and talents are gifts from God, and are on loan from Him. In trying to be “competitive” in unhealthy ways, I missed that for most of my life: for if I do not have love, I have nothing. But God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy is giving me another chance.

            Catholic orthodoxy is a much bigger, more holistic way of looking at things; it’s also far more generous, and inspires more generosity toward others– and all of that is spoiled by our various sins (which is all the more reasons why Catholics need to go to Confession regularly). A sense of time and purpose that aims to give glory to God enlarges one’s sense of time and space, and what it means to use that time for what is worthwhile in the service of others: it says, “Lord, I am grateful for all that You’ve given me in abundance; please enable me, through Your grace, to bear good fruit.” It is bigger, because it also looks vertically and horizontally simultaneously.

            And of course, one person whose life as a scholar and priest in the service of the Lord articulates all of this in both word and deed far better than I can in words is Joseph Ratzinger. He’s “accomplished” much, also. So has retired Georgetown professor Fr. James Schall, SJ. The scholarly output of these men is tremendous. But the direction in which those accomplishments point do indeed matter: how both of them have stewarded those in their care matters. It’s how both have fit their careers and accomplishments– to use those terms– into their vocations as priests; as fathers and husbands in their own right.

            By the way, if I could ask everyone for their prayers for me and also for every Catholic undergraduate and graduate student, especially those who are at institutions that are not Catholic, I’d be most grateful.

            • James1225

              “One can also have a whole slew of accomplishments that really don’t amount to much in the end, precisely because of one’s own pride.”

              There is good pride and bad pride. With his accomplishments comes a good, healthy kind of pride. He can look back at his life with a sense of self-satisfaction.

              • John200

                Fr. Hesburgh can look at most of his negative, poorly conceived, anti-social accomplishments with regret and a sense that he has been basting himself in preparation for eternity. That is what pride and self-satisfaction will do for you.

                What, then, is an appropriate end? I don’t want him roasted; I want his trashy work reversed. I pray for him and I hope you will, too, that we might snatch his soul from the author of much of this activity. Even if we have to do it against his will.

                On the other hand, Fr. Hesburgh can do it all himself without our prayers, if he wakes up in time. Repent, hit the sacraments, and it all ends up OK. I hope Fr. Hesburgh has been left on earth long enough to repent.

                • James1225

                  “Fr. Hesburgh can look at most of his negative, poorly conceived, anti-social accomplishments with regret and a sense that he has been basting himself in preparation for eternity.”

                  You are saying this about a man who has accomplished more than you could probably ever dream of accomplishing. “Basting himself?” Really?

                  • John200

                    Really.

                    And you know it if you know Fr. Hesburgh’s record. To the general point: we are afflicted with “famous” and “accomplished” men whose works are inspired by the deceiver. We know that it is not too late for Fr. H. because he is still alive, but we know enough to pray for him.

                    There is nothing complex or sophisticated about this point. Normal comprehension of the Roman Catholic faith and the English language suffice to see it.

                    • James1225

                      “we are afflicted with “famous” and “accomplished” men whose works are inspired by the deceiver.”

                      Let’s not go overboard here. We are talking about a man who did many great things and didn’t do anything to hurt anyone. To insinuate that his works were “inspired by the deceiver” just because he somehow failed to measure up to your standards is a bit much, don’t you think?

                    • John200

                      I would go overboard to rescue you from drowning, but you resist with all your might.

                      You should not do that.

                      Your second paragraph, intended to be persuasive, does not reflect Fr. Hesburgh’s record, which is publicly available. You can read it and compare it to orthodox Roman Catholic faith, the deposit of which was completed 2000 years ago. This is not a hard assignment, but you pretend it is impossible. Then you pretend that Fr. Hesburgh “didn’t do anything to hurt anyone.”

                      You should not do that.

                    • James1225

                      “You can read it and compare it to orthodox Roman Catholic faith, the deposit of which was completed 2000 years ago.”

                      So if it is not consistent with orthodox Catholic faith, it is “inspired by the deceiver”? No good comes from anyone or anything that doesn’t conform to the dictates of Rome?

            • Facile1

              Thank you.

              When I was younger, I used to have a prayer (in jest really). My prayer was, “Dear Lord give it to me in cash.”

              Now that I’m older, I thank the Lord for everything (even the time He has given me to pray.) When I die, I want to be sure the first words out of my mouth when I meet HIM is “Thank you” (even if from there I would have to proceed to purgatory to have my sins cauterized.)

              I spent too much time getting my bearings that I doubt I have any time left to do much good. Nonetheless, I honestly believe none of the time I spent on prayer was ever wasted. And I’m thankful the Lord saw fit to give it to me in kind rather than in cash.

              I will pray for you and also for every Catholic undergraduate and graduate student who are still getting your bearings.

          • John200

            Making the most of your time on this planet means preparing to end up with God in heaven, not as fuel for a high temperature combustion experiment performed by a nasty red guy with horns and a trident tail, with a bad attitude, who never smiles…..

            Oh, it’s you again, Bill S. Got me that time. I give you credit — good joke, that.

            Carry on.

        • Bernard T. Hessley

          “Judge not, lest you be judged.” Matthew 7:1

          I suggest you master this basic tenant of Orthodox Catholic Theology before speculating further on Father Hesburgh’s final judgement.

          You have shown more pride (and spite) in one thread of posts, than Father Hesburgh has in all his life’s work. So concern yourself less about Father HEsburgh and get thee to an eye doctor and have him remove the plank from your eye before your final judgement.

          • Slainte

            Speaking Truth to power is an act of charity. Some bishops and many clerics have profoundly injured the Church and the laity for a very long time. Fr. Hesburgh, with his foundational alliances successfully managed to divest the Church of its presence within once Catholic universities like Notre Dame. Let us not forget how the present day cleric in charge of Notre Dame caused to be prosecuted pro-life protesters peacefully protesting on Our Lady’s campus in opposition to a pro-choice president’s address.

            We need many more strong Catholic men and women to stand in favor of the Church and fewer who go along to get along. Thank you Deacon for speaking in defense of the Faith.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            This isn’t worthy of a response.

            • John200

              Dear Deacon,

              I am late to the party, but I see you are on to Bernard T. Hessley.

              Good job. On this fine Saturday night there are a few more trolls around CrisisMag, but they will self-flush soon enough.

              • Deacon Ed Peitler

                Thanks, John200. After 40 years working in psychiatric hospitals and providing psychological counseling, there is little that surprises me about what can come out of people’s mouths. But one thing is for certain, I know myself to have limitless tolerance and patience for the mentally ill; it is suffering fools that I most struggle with.

          • Me

            What saddens me most about some of the more aggressive commentary is that this is what non-Catholic visitors to this site will see. The modern face of Catholicism is not pride and spite. It is a compassionate and smiling pope saying “Who am I to judge?”

            • Phil

              The Pope was speaking about eternal judgment, you goof-ball.
              Catholics and Christians are REQUIRED TO JUDGE SINS. Have you never read the second half of Matthew’s Judgment verses about helping one’s brother come to the knowledge of truth after taking the tree stump out of one’s own heart and soul through confession???
              Also: “Correct your brothers and sisters, admonish sinners, inform the ignorant.”
              If you remain silent about the sins of a brother or sister walking blindly toward the abyss, you are no friend of Christ.

          • Adam__Baum

            Let me get this straight, you get to judge the Deacon but he he doesn’t to judge any aspect of the heterodox priest.

  • JFB

    Hesburgh demonstrates what I refer to as “the great disconnect,” the unbridled support of the Democrat Party and its politicians by Catholics who turn a blind eye toward the gravest evils of history. What weak protests to anti-life policies Hesburgh has offered are mere lip service to Christ. His timidity suggests he is more Democrat than Catholic, more secular than religious, more anti-life than pro-life.

    To those given much, much is demanded. Hesburgh wielded tremendous influence. He had a clear choice and no matter how one tries to spin it, the fact remains: he has thrown his considerable weight to those who do Satan’s bidding.

    • Adam__Baum

      In some parts of Pennsylvania, voting (D) is believed to be the eighth Sacrament.

    • Bill S

      “he has thrown his considerable weight to those who do Satan’s bidding.”

      So those who oppose you politically “do Satan’s bidding”. Real mature.

      • Me

        Yes, it’s unfortunate that “Catholicism”and “morality” have been reduced to a handful of very extreme right-wing positions by some of the orthotoxic. These people are very keen on “obedience to the Magisterium”, but then go into a state of extreme cognitive dissonance when: 1) Anyone brings up Church teachings on social justice, and 2) Anyone suggests that government should be anything other than a theocracy based only on their (mis)understandings of Catholic teaching. Father Hesburgh is too smart to be that kind of Catholic. He may not be well understood here, but I doubt there are many serious Catholics who believe he was aiding and abetting the forces of Satan:-)

        • WSquared

          Nobody here is suggesting that the government be a theocracy and that Catholicism be adopted as the state religion, only that Catholic universities should think with the Church, and that the Church has a right to teach what she teaches.

          Furthermore, what a lot of people have with some ideas of “social justice” is that they’re too narrow for their exclusion of the divine, and therefore sell people short. People aren’t just matter or spirit; they are matter and spirit. Catholic orthodoxy attends to both simultaneously, and not either one or the other, whereby one often suffers at the expense of the other.

          That Jesus Christ is fully God, fully Man is what professed belief in the Incarnation every Sunday Mass implies. To call one’s self Catholic and to reduce Catholicism to all spirit and people primarily to material concerns is to essentially provide false witness about that professed belief, and also to sell others short by essentially truncating them as human persons: because that way of seeing things affects what it means to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. To not be in Communion with the fullness of the truth of the human person will most assuredly affect what we “do unto others.”

          • Me

            Your theological view is well expressed. Yes, while we don’t live in a theocracy, we do live out our political lives as Catholics. However, the way we express our Catholicism in public life is very different for each of us. Torquemada no doubt thought he was doing his duty as a Catholic when he had suspected nonbelievers tortured. Catholicism translates into supporting or opposing policies in a way that puts even the most devout Catholics out at opposite extremes of the political spectrum and into different “Big Tent” parties.

            For some, the provision of universal healthcare is the goal of their public expression of Catholicism, for others it might be the criminalization of abortion or homosexual behavior, and for others yet, it might be addressing environmental issues.

            Even a fairly uniform “Catholic view” does not translate into agreement about public policy. Two Catholics can think contraception is sinful, for example, while one wants to criminalize its use and the other doesn’t. Another example … let’s assume five equally sincere Catholics all share the same top priority, which for them is helping the hungry. In terms of public policy, one might promote more generous distribution of food stamps here in the US, another might promote a “tough love’ approach of denying benefits in the belief this will encourage greater effort, the third might focus on foreign aid to third world countries, the fourth might take a pro-environmental tack with the goal of reducing drought and other climate-related disasters that impact food production, and the fifth might push for greater spending on research into more efficient crop production.

            Not all Catholics agree as to what “Truth” is, not all prioritize shared beliefs in Catholic teachings in the same order, and not all believe in addressing even shared and deeply-held convictions through the same policies. It would be uncharitable, un-Catholic and intellectually lazy to accuse any of these people of aiding and abetting evil (or calling them “trolls”!-)) even if one disagrees with their approach. This is why I am uncomfortable with some of the condemnations I read here. It’s one thing to disagree about politics; it’s another to judge someone’s soul. Let’s be open to the possibility (not the certainty) that perhaps God favors Fr. Herburgh’s views over, say, Rick Santorum’s.

            • Gerard_Altermatt

              “Not all Catholics agree as to what ‘Truth’ is”. Truth cannot be two different things at once. If you are speaking of matters of prudential judgment, such as exactly what policies to pursue to help the poor, you are really speaking not of truth per se, but how we best live that truth. In that respect you are correct in most of what you say above.
              However, where Fr. H. went wrong is disagreeing with the Magisterium on the truth of faith and morals, not the application of those truths. For example when he professed that he had “no problem with females” becoming priests, he broke with the Magisterium’s infallible teaching on the nature of the priesthood (which is not a prudential judgment).
              We have no competence or right to judge Fr. H’s soul, but I don’t see how the same God who told the apostles (the first pope and bishops) “He who listens to you, listens to me; he who rejects you, rejects me”, can look favorably on the actions of Fr. H’s that are in question.

              • Phil

                Me, you sure are a confused feller about the Catholic Faith and it’s author.

            • slainte

              Please explain your understanding of Social Justice and how you believe it should be implemented and administered and by whom.
              Also, why do you believe “Equal Marriage” is compatible with Catholicism? Thanks.

            • Bono95

              Actually, there was less torturing under Torquemada than there was under any of the other Head Inquisitors, and even then the Catholic Spanish tortured and executed far less people than the Protestant English, Germans, Dutch, Swiss, etc.

              • John200

                The dissenters need their myths, Bono. They need their myths.

                Otherwise they will have to turn to orthodox Roman Catholic faith.

              • musicacre

                That’s true; one must read the whole history instead of taking details out of cultural context…to make them sound dramatic.

        • John200

          There are tens of millions in the US who understand Fr. Hesburgh, and more who would understand him if his treacherous actions were properly explained.

          Is that as many as you hoped to find?

      • Bono95

        JFB doesn’t oppose such people because they’re democrats. He opposes them because they support destroying families, killing babies, lying to women, oppressing men, brainwashing children, and neglecting old people to death. They just happened to be democrats. He would still oppose them and characterize them thusly if they were republicans or anything else.

        • James1225

          “destroying families, killing babies, lying to women, oppressing men, brainwashing children, and neglecting old people to death.”

          Who exactly are we talking about here?

          • Bono95

            Killing babies (abortion, certain forms of abortificient contraceptives), lying to women (feminism, abortion, contraception), oppressing men (feminism), brainwashing children (perverse sex “education”, access to birth control without parental knowledge or consent), neglecting old people to death (euthanasia), and destroying families (divorce and all of the other above evils) were originally and still are fiercely advocated by liberals. Unfortunately, some so-called “conservatives” advocate these things too, but not to the extent that liberals do.

            The things is, politics is not and never was the answer. Choices between parties and candidates (at least in this day and age) are very often not so much bad vs. good as they are bad vs. worse.

  • Disgusted in NH

    Excellent article that should be circulated to EVERY Catholic parish and high school. For far too long, donations have been solicited for colleges and universities such as ND, the Loyola’s, etc. that have been ad continue to be strongly secular and defiantly anti-Catholic. The only thing I would add to the article would be to say that a very few of the order run universities and colleges adhere or even support the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Two ‘lovely’ examples locally are Holly Cross and Boston University – both as militantly secular as ND. Hesburgh is far from alone in proactively acting to subvert and undermine Catholic orthodoxy for decades, with little apparent effort made to stop him by the Catholic hierarchy in America.’Nuns on the Bus’ with their we’ll support pro-abortionists anywhere, anytime campaign and Senator Shaheen (Pro-Abortion – D – NH) intimate buddies with Bishop McCormack also come to mind.

    Pope Francis can call for all the ‘renewal’ he wants but it resonates very little among those in the pews while and when nuns, clerics, bishops, cardinals, public ‘Catholics’ and ‘Catholic’ organizations (i.e. Catholic Charities, etc) continue uncorrected and unchallenged on their merry way mocking, distorting and misrepresenting the teachings of the Church.

    • Bill S

      “Two ‘lovely’ examples locally are Holly Cross and Boston University ”

      Try Holy Cross and Boston College, both fine institutions that are doing just fine without interference from Rome.

      • Alecto

        Bill, what do think it means to be “Roman” Catholic? It ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie, there is a connection between the two. I cannot dismiss their violation of their vows as nonchalantly as you do.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          Bill S is a Deist and was once an atheist- he just play acts Catholicism and only the Massachusetts version which long ago gave up on Roman.

      • WSquared

        By whose standards are they “doing just fine”?

        Think bigger.

      • Adam__Baum

        Then do fine. But drop the pretence of being Catholic, especially when their bursars’ offices have their grubby little mitts out. Perhaps your son can tell you about “fraud in the inducement”.

  • Alecto

    How was a single man able to pervert the teaching mission of the Church in America unchecked? He was provided cover from above, just as he provided cover to others.

    There remain some big problems originating with orders which form these “priests”. (Yes, Jesuits, that’s you at the top of the list!)

    • Adam__Baum

      One word : “celebrity”.

      • Alecto

        See, that’s what I don’t get. Catholicism is a religion of substance, not superficiality. That’s also what scares people about this “rock star” status applied to popes. It’s dangerous. What the heck happened in the 20-30 years after Vatican II? American clerics OD’d on secularism? They should have been sent to Catholic rehab (cloisers) and told to remain silent.

        • Adam__Baum

          “Catholicism is a religion of substance, not superficiality. That’s also what scares people about this “rock star” status applied to popes. ”

          But the world is not. We might lie to think that idolatry is quaint sin of antiquity or Exodus, but it is not. Aaron’s temple arts are now practiced on Madison Avenue, Wall Street but most especially, bucholic settings like Notre Dame and that truest den of iniquity -K Street.

          As an aside, I visited Notre Dame once, in the early 1990’s to see what football was like there when I still cared about football.

          The opponent was Northwestern. Everybody though the Wildcats were lambs being led to slaughter. Nobody anticipated Notre Dame’s defeat that day.

          Notre Dame is living off past glories on the gridiron and the classroom. If invading secularist or Islamist hordes some day remove “touchdown Jesus”, it will in large part be attributable to Hesburgh and his minions, who, while often bespecked and yellow, aren’t innocuous movie characters. They are more like the purple version.

        • WSquared

          Catholicism is a religion of substance, not superficiality.

          But Americanism and the pop culture it produces is exactly the opposite– a good deal of superficiality, and not a whole lot of substance; it also worships its own idols, as much as it is loath to admit it (and for all the “God bless America” one hears, there isn’t a whole lot of “Kyrie Eleison”– Lord, have mercy! Not that God shouldn’t bless America; it’s just that without repentance, it all rings rather shallow and hollow). As for “what happened in the 20-30 years after Vatican II,” we did a terrible job at reading both the Sign of the Times and Vatican II.

          The more we want to “fit in” for the sake of fitting in instead of being at peace, the more superficial we’ll be, because it hasn’t occurred to us to ask ourselves what we’re trying to fit into. Our “Christian” culture, which either goes along with the world or tries to shun it for a primitivist bubble of some sort, depending on the sect or denomination, has yet to figure out what it means to be in the world but not of it. And I suspect that it’s because it and its secularist flipside don’t know the proper relationship between matter and spirit, which leads to or stems from a denial of the Incarnation, either way. We have a “WWJD?” culture that even many Catholics accept uncritically, but which no Catholic should assume knows Who Jesus Is for all the Jesus-blather we tend to hear. And with good reason. This last election regarding the results and the bit about how Mitt Romney should tell us something.

          We’ve been given “Lumen Fidei.” We could probably follow it up with a refresher on “Lumen Gentium.”

          • slainte

            Or we could look at the totality of Catholic teachings nd tradition, including, but not limited to, the teachings of Vatican II.

            • WSquared

              Indeed, yes. That’s always true. I did not mean to give any impression to the contrary. I’ve plugged “Rerum Novarum,” “Pascendi Domenici Gregis,” and also “Divino Afflante Spiritu” and “Mit Brennender Sorge” in other instances, albeit admittedly not here. Yet.

              But given that “Lumen Fidei” just came out, and follows on the heels of Pope Benedict’s three encyclicals, and given the calls for the “New Evangelization,” “Lumen Gentium” is a good place to start: it prompts us to think about what we even mean by “Church.”

              • WSquared

                “Lumen Gentium” also prompts us to think about how the Church is meant to engage the modern world, as well she must: what does it mean to bring the Church out into the world, and not, well, bring the world into the Church?

                What does it mean to engage, and not hunker down; to go out there, while still maintaining our Catholic identity?

                …by the way, this is where I think ad orientem worship can help: if we say we want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and to share it with others, might it not help if we at least face Him? 😉

                • slainte

                  Catholicism for millenia, by its priests and religious sisters, has sent missions throughout the world to engage the cultures and to evangelize the peoples and spread the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ; it has built schools and universities and educated all who wished to attend; it has built hospitals worldwide and healed the sick; it has fed the hungry and clothed the poor worldwide …for almost its entire tradition it has engaged the world and performed these corporal works of mercy.
                  Based on the foregoing, how can anyone argue that the Catholic Church was a “Fortress” that needed to be opened to the world. It has been opened to the world for millenia; the mission of the Church did not begin in the 1960s.

                  • WSquared

                    I’m not saying that the Church hasn’t, and I’m not suggesting for a moment that the mission of the Church began in the 1960s. But “Lumen Gentium” also addresses the laity in terms of the Church and the Church’s mission. And many times, yeah: we lay folk are good at hunkering down, which is what happens when we keep our practice of the Catholic faith behind the four walls of the our parishes for one hour a week. It’s what happens when we rightly defend marriage as between one man and one woman, but forget that God is love, which is in turn easy to forget when we talk about marriage to engaged couples, but not a whole lot about what the witness of celibacy can teach them. The list goes on. But Fr. Robert Barron put it rather well: what does it mean to be that great Catholic doctor, lawyer, professor, politician, teacher, etc. (among other things) who isn’t just incidentally Catholic, but who sees the world as a Catholic?

                    “Lumen Gentium” isn’t some big “change”; it spells out what the Church has always taught at a time when it was needed.

          • Facile1

            Or we could LOVE GOD FIRST.
            All sin is idolatry.

        • Bill S

          “They should have been sent to Catholic rehab (cloisters) and told to remain silent.”

          Sure. Go ahead. Stifle some of the greatest minds in American education because they don’t see their Catholic faith the way you see THEIR Catholic Faith.

          • Alecto

            What “Catholic” faith do they see? One that averts its gaze on accepted doctrine on abortion, female ordination, or vows like obedience, poverty or chastity? You’re absolutely correct, they AREN’T me, and maybe they need to reacquaint themselves with the kind of humility set forth in others’ great works like Imitation of Christ. It’s about humility, not pride, Bill. God frankly doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about “great minds”.

            • WSquared

              Actually, Alecto, God does give more than a rat’s patootie about great minds. …else, He wouldn’t have sent His only Son. 🙂

              But what makes a mind truly great?

              A mind ordered to the fullness of the truth. …which only happens when the soul is in order, because the heart and the whole being of the person is oriented toward God. A great mind operating in accordance with God’s will is the result of a gift that is elevated and made lively by grace.

            • James1225

              “It’s about humility, not pride”

              There is such a thing as false humility. Some pride in oneself is a good thing.

              • John200

                Good grief, James, you might even believe what you say.

                If so, you do not understand Catholic faith.

                • James1225

                  What did I say that isn’t true? Is there no such thing as false humility? Is there something wrong in being proud of your accomplishments?

                  • John200

                    Q. E. D., I reckon. You do not understand Catholic faith.

                    I miscategorized you, I thought you knew the faith and its content.

                    Carry on.

          • WSquared

            It is not “my” Catholic faith, “our” Catholic faith, or “their” Catholic faith. It is the faith of the whole Church across time and space. It is given to us; it is handed on.

            “Look not on our sins, but on the faith of Your Church.” And yes, that’s right: it’s not “our” Church. She belongs to Christ.

    • James1225

      “How was a single man able to pervert the teaching mission of the Church in America unchecked?”

      Is that what this highly honored and respected man has done?

      • John200

        Yes.

        • James1225

          There are many who would beg to differ.

          • Adam__Baum

            So?

            • William_JamesIi

              Adam,

              I’ve been kicked off this site as Bill and as James. If I say anything else, I’ll get kicked off again. Nice conversing with you.

              • Adam__Baum

                Who are you?

                • William_JamesIi

                  Bill S

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Why the transient pseudonym… oh, never mind.

              • Crisiseditor

                James1225 has not been “kicked off,” unless he used the same URL as Bill S. Show some restraint and make a thoughtful contribution and you can stay. If you’re only interested in criticizing Catholic teaching, then it’s time to go.

                • William_JamesIi

                  Catholic teaching is above criticism?

                  • Crisiseditor

                    Don’t twist my words. I said, “If you’re ONLY interested in criticizing Catholic teaching, it’s time to go.” Our readers are fully capable of correcting your ignorance. But if you are willfully ignorant, then it’s quite a futile exercise isn’t it? On the other hand, if you are simply playing devil’s advocate, that’s an entirely different matter. At least you are seeking to learn from the exchange. But that does not appear to be the case. Especially since you don’t seem to have bothered to read the numerous articles already posted that respond to your objections. Crisis does not exist to give anti-Catholic critics a platform to attack the Church. Quite the opposite.

          • John200

            There are none who can differ and stay within the bounds of truth.

  • jpct50

    I am so sure that God will be duly impressed with all of Fr. Hesburgh’s honorary degrees and awards……..right?

  • poetcomic1

    I took down my copy of ‘The Imitation of Christ’ and couldn’t find the chapter on honorary degrees.

  • Pay

    I guess knowing how to pull the right academic chains, holding a relativistic ideology, and being in the right place at the right time one gets to be viewed as intelligent and relevant. Deep thinking, logic, being authentic, true scholarship, and faithfulness are no longer in vogue. Politics and ideology do not make us Catholic or bright.

    • WSquared

      Politics and ideology do not make us Catholic or bright.

      …and they do not make us wise, either. Yet, we cannot remain ignorant of either, just as we cannot be complacent or uncritical. Orthodoxy actually demands that kind of critical outlook and faculty: it’s one thing to “question authority.” But I find that those who claim to do so are often highly selective, and won’t question the authority they’ve claimed for themselves. The difference is that Catholicism has always known that everybody obeys and worships something or someone. The far more substantive question is whom or what. Someone a few posts up mentioned that we tend to think that idolatry is a quaint, ancient thing with very little relevance to our supposed enlightened age. Very good call.

      As for “relevance”: “relevant” to whom or to what, eh?

  • Peter Arnone

    A great article, though gut-wrenching. I’m more interested in what Cardinal Dolan and the Conference of Catholic Bishops are going to do about it.

    • Alecto

      You know the answer already.

  • W

    “a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of
    whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community
    itself.”

    That’s nice. But what those who tend to take this tack of “questioning authority” or claiming autonomy from it don’t seem to realize is that we all obey somebody and/or something.

    What that something or someone is, now that’s the far more interesting question.

  • JC

    Its pretty tough serving God and mammon and not doing a disservice to God. That, although, seems to be symptomatic throughout the Church since the late 60’s.

  • Pingback: Providing Cover | The Catholic Eye()

  • Adam__Baum

    Can we really get right to the point here? Hesburgh isn’t a heterodox, he’s a fraud. He levered his collar for temporal acclaim and what we can be sure was a fine income for his “duties” at Notre Dame, undermining Catholicism while plasting “Catholic” over every piece recruiting literature and fundraising appeal.

    Here’s the ugly secret about American “higher education”. They are businesses, (don’t let that 501(c)(3) letter and flowery mission statements fool you-filthy lucre motivates them too) and it’s a monoculture. In short it’s an industry ripe for disruptive innovation. Absent massive government subsidization and convention, this nonsense would have been deposed by now.

    When a politician tells you that he or she wants to “invest” in “higher education”, remind yourself that what is really happening is that this the government is subsidizing secular, statist indoctrination camps.

    • Alecto

      To that end, I used to drive through the picturesque town of Buckeystown, MD. It isn’t that far from Emmitsburg. Outside the town limits sat a lovely old mansion for sale surrounded by assorted out-buildings. It would have made a perfect private school campus, close to residential hubs. Lo and behold, the Baptists snapped it up and are renovating it. If that New Evangelization doesn’t include a separatist, purely privately funded educational push, there won’t be a future for Catholic education.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    It will be good when the Baby Boomer generation is gone and we can begin to repair our society from the damage done by the sexual revolution and priests like Fr. Hesburgh. I just fear that there won’t be a Church left in America to rebuild at the rate we’re going- maybe Pope Frances can send us some missionaries.

    • Maggie Goff

      They are coming. From Africa. To parishes everywhere. Good solid priests. This article was written in 2004 and they are still coming. We have one here in Bisbee, AZ. Wonderful young priest who has Truth in all his homilies. He actually uses the word Sin, horror of horrors.

      http://www.religionnewsblog.com/8551/3-new-priests-from-nigeria-reflect-us-catholic-trend

    • Alecto

      Hey! Here’s an idea, evangelize them. What an easy group that is to convert, especially now. Gee, they could call it “Justice for Baby Boomers”.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I’ve tried. Their political correctness is designed to end evangelization.

  • ColdStanding

    “To perform its teaching and research functions effectively the Catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.”

    I know logic is out of fashion and all, but, logically speaking, wouldn’t Jesus Christ have to be included in the set AUTHORITY EXTERNAL TO ACADEMIA{…}? “…of whatever kind” is an unequivocally categorical statement that sharply delineates who is in and who is out . Notice that he does not say that there should be no disregard of authority WITHIN academia.

    Sheesh! What a coupe this formula is! Recognize no authority external to academia, retain your authority and, voila!, academics are the only authorities. Now you can go about monetizing your authority.

  • George H. Morgan

    It was pointed out to me,, on the occasion of being admitted to Notre Dame for a summer session of education courses..by a Catholic Sister in the St. Benedict’s Convent down in Ferdinand, Indiana, back in 1962, that Notre Dame was not a Catholic University.
    George H. Morgan, Patent Agent, Evansville, Indiana

  • Viva CRISTO Rey!

    This man openly defies JP II & yet with every rebuke the traditional Catholics suffer by modernist elements many council passive acceptance. Meanwhile a priest like H takes us step by step to unitarianism.

  • windjammer

    Hesburgh is to Catholic Education as Cardinal Bernardin was to Catholic Orthodoxy. Unmitigated DISASTERS! The damage is irreparable and ongoing. With “Catholic Leaders” like these two, evil has nothing to fear.

    • Facile1

      Oh PLEASE! How can evil triumph over GOD?

      • windjammer

        That’s not what I said. Evidently, you missed the “quotation marks” and the sarcasm. The Church is infected with numerous Bernardin and Hesburgh mindset acolytes. Evil triumphs over souls not God, nor His Son’s Church. Both of these “Catholic Leaders” were unmitigated DISASTERS and the heterodxy they spewed still infects the Church and the faithful like a virus that has ruined untold souls to which the damage is irreparable and ongoing.

        • Facile1

          Sarcasm does not work in print.

  • GaudeteMan

    Dare we surmise that, ‘the road to Hell might also be paved with the skulls of Catholic university presidents’?

    • John200

      They are too few in number to build much of a road, but they are positioned to contribute in an unforgettable way.

  • slainte

    Father Hesburgh is a proponent of an Ideology that has taken root in the Catholic Church and in its missional institutions, including universities, charities, and hospitals.
    The Ideology is a rejection of authority, hierarchy, the Papacy, and Church tradition. It was made manifest by dissenting bishops and clergy who joined together in opposition to Pope Paul VI by openly rejecting Humanae Vitae (the “Winnipeg Statement”).
    It is also the catalyst that propels those who introduce novelties into the liturgy under the rubric of the “spirit” of Vatican II.
    To restore the Church, the Ideology must be purged.

    • Adam__Baum

      “The Ideology is a rejection of authority, hierarchy, the Papacy, and Church tradition.”

      Of or from? It seems to me that Hesburgh just believed in vesting authority in the academy and the state.

      • slainte

        When I reference “authority, hierarchy, papacy, and tradition”, I mean the Authority, Hierarchy, Papacy and Tradition of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
        Notre Dame was a university founded on Catholic principles and teachings, dedicated to Our Blessed Mother; it was summarily transformed from the inside out by clerics who dissented from the Authority, Hierarchy, Papacy, and Tradition of the Catholic Church in favor of worldly, materialistic ideals and standards. Financing for this endeavor was made available by secular foundations that made it very cost effective to do so.
        A Catholic university dedicated to the most High has become a university dedicated to the most mundane.

  • Me

    “We teach human dignity best by serving it where it is most likely to be disregarded, in the poor and abandoned.” … Father Hesburgh (1979).

    “The problem of human rights is so universal that it transcends all other problems that face humanity.” … Father Hesburgh (1974)

    “There are few sights more heartrending than human beings without food or drink. One understands, in seeing them, the premium the good Lord placed on feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.” … Father Hesburgh (1974)

    Fr. Hesburgh is the kind of Catholic I admire — compassionate, merciful, smart, nuanced, and motivated by his dedication to social justice. Happy birthday, Father Hesburgh!

    • slainte

      True Catholicism includes all the attributes you reference together with adherence to Rome’s Authority, the Papacy, the teachings of the Magisterium, the Tradition and the Dogma of the Catholic Church from the moment it was created by Our Lord Jesus Christ to the present day.
      Catholicism is not a cafeteria religion.

      • Me

        Conscience first; dogma second. As for being a cafeteria religion, many here seem to reject Church teachings on social justice out of hand (which would make them cafeteria Catholics,) while smugly questioning whether others are Catholic enough and suggesting they need to “repent.” It doesn’t make sense.

        • slainte

          A Catholic Conscience, according to Pope Paul VI, should be well formed by the Church’s teachings/dogma.

          “14….In the formation of their consciences, the Christian faithful ought carefully to attend to the sacred and certain doctrine of the Church.(35) For the Church is, by the will of Christ, the teacher of the truth. It is her duty to give utterance to, and authoritatively to teach, that truth which is Christ Himself, and also to declare and confirm by her authority those principles of the moral order which have their origins in human nature itself….” Dignitatis Humanae, Pope Paul VI, December 7, 1965.

          On the issue of whether a right of Conscience even exists, Pope Paul VI parted ways with his predecessor Popes Pius IX and Gregory XVI, each of whom, in their encyclicals, “Quanta Cura”, December 8, 1864, and “Mirari Vos”, August 15, 1832, rejected as an “insane idea” that all human beings were vested with liberty of Conscience.

          “….14. This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone…”Mirari Vos”,
          Pope Gregory XVI , August 15, 1832
          If indeed a right of Conscience does exist, then the Divine Law and the Church’s dogmatic interpretations and teachings are critical to its formation.
          One must consider also whether psychopaths and pagans have Consciences; if so, what value do we assign to the Conscience of someone like Hitler?
          On your second query….Those who reject the label “Social Justice” may do so because the term appears to have been hijacked and redefined by the Culture to mean State administered and public funded welfare and entitlement benefits, rather than Catholic individual works of Charity. Catholics may be more at ease with an older and traditional term “Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy” to describe their private, personal acts of Charity to assist others in needs.
          Language matters; many traditional Catholics do not want their faith and good works conflated with Socialist, statist endeavors.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            According to the Fourth Lateran Council, “He who acts against his conscience loses his soul.”

            The consensus of moral theologians, based on this teaching, is that conscience is ever to be obeyed whether it tells truly or erroneously, and that, whether the error is the fault of the person thus erring or not. Of course, if a man is culpable in being in error, which he might have escaped, had he been more in earnest, for that error he is answerable to God, but still he must act according to that error, while he is in it, because he in full sincerity thinks the error to be truth.

            As Bl John Henry Newman notes, “They say that this opinion is certain, and refer, as agreeing with them, to St. Thomas, St. Bonaventura, Caietan, Vasquez, Durandus, Navarrus, Corduba, Layman, Escobar, and fourteen others. Two of them even say this opinion is de fide.” This is hardly a novel teaching.

            • slainte

              Thank you for the clarification.

              The Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”) defines Moral Conscience as,
              “Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment…For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God…His conscience is man’s secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths. (CCC Article 6, Section 1776)

              In 1930, Reverend James M. Gillis, C.S.P expanded upon Cardinal Newman’s observation about Conscience,

              “……But let no one think that since a man is justified if he act in accordance with conscience, he is therefore excused from the duty of enlightening his conscience. It is quite possible to do an action in good conscience today and to do the same action in bad conscience tomorrow. Yesterday it was no sin. Today it
              is a sin. Between times a man may have had the chance to learn that his action was wrong. Once he has learned, he sins if he repeats the action. Paul, for example, persecuted the followers of Jesus. He was hounding them to death. But up to the moment of the dramatic episode on the road to Damascus, he committed
              no sin in killing Christians. After he had heard the voice of Jesus, it would have been murder. Of course a man may see the light, and yet turn his back upon it. King Agrippa, to whom in later, days Paul preached the Gospel, confessed “a little more and thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” If the king refused to go
              ahead with “the little more,” fearing that to adopt the Christian religion would involve unwelcome obligations, he may have been from that moment in bad faith, that is to say, in bad conscience. No man can be saved who knowingly turns his back upon truth and shuts his eyes to the light. Inculpable, invincible ignorance excuses from sin, but wilful ignorance is itself a sin and the cause
              of a thousand sins. Indeed the voluntary and permanent blinding of the eyes of the mind is the unpardonable sin. It is the duty of the individual not only to act in accordance with conscience, but, according to his opportunity, to develop and perfect his conscience. One who refuses to be enlightened or neglects the
              chance to be enlightened, and then alleges that he is acting “in good conscience,” is really acting in bad conscience”. http://www.catholicmatters.com/ml02.htm.

              http://www.newmanreader.org/works/anglicans/volume2/gladstone/section5.html

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                Newman gives a very pretty illustration. Cardinal della Somaglia told M Emory, the superior of the seminary of St Suplice and a noted moral theologian that he did not believe that he could, in conscience, attend Napoléon’s marriage to the Archduchess of Austria, given that the annulment of the Emperor’s previous marriage to Josephine had not been approved by the Holy See. M Emory told him that, if he was of that persuasion, he should on no account do so. It transpired that M Emory had told a number of the other cardinals, then in Paris, that he saw no objection to their attending. Cardinal Fesch wrote to M Emory, asking him to explain the apparent inconsistency. M Emory said that he thought Cardinal Somaglia’s scruples unfounded, but that he was bound to follow his own conscience, « même erronée » – Even if it was erroneous. In the event Cardinal Somaglia kept to his view, contrary to M. Emery, and did not attend the marriage ceremony. This is clearly a case where the Cardinal could not surrender his own judgment, even to so eminent a theologian as M Emory.

                • slainte

                  Does the Church, or Bl. Newman, recognize a “collective moral conscience”?
                  If so, can a collective conscience “surrender its own judgment” or is it presumed to be guided by the Church’s teachings ie, Catholic Social Justice? Thank you.

                  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                    The primary role of conscience is to direct conduct in individual concrete cases and with the application of principles to practice. Ons can seek advice, as Cardinal della Somaglia did, but ultimately, the decision is ours.

                    In the case of positive duties, particularly, regarding the Christian use of one’s time or one’s money, each person must try to arrive at a sincere judgment and general rules are, at best a guide.

                    • slainte

                      Consider for a moment the following exchange on another thread of Crisis Magazine how Conscience is used to support a position contrary to Church teaching.

                      Slainte

                      How do you reconcile “equal marriage” with Catholicism?

                      Me

                      1) “Who am I to judge?”

                      2) CCC 2358: The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

                      3) Primacy of conscience.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      But that is dealing with a general question of morality, which is not the proper office of conscience, which is concerned with the concrete and the particular

                    • Facile1

                      The proper office of DISCERNMENT (ie the use of our human senses and human reason) is “the concrete and the particular” (ie evidence in the material and ephemeral plane of existence.)

                      The proper office of CONSCIENCE (ie the use of self-examination) is SIN (ie evidence of self-interest and/or idolatry in the spiritual and eternal plane of existence.)

                      By necessity, discernment comes first and conscience may (or may not) follow.

                      Language is a human invention. The TRUTH (ie GOD) is NOT.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      “Conscience” comes from the Latin word “conscire,” from “scire” = “to know” and “con-“ = “together,” which means “to know together” or “to be privy to.” The word used in the Greek NT, “συειδος” is the same. When we read that Sallust was “Agrippinae interficiendi conscius,” it means that he was “in the know” about Agrippina’s murder.

                      Because the human mind is reflexive, we can speak of ourselves as being “privy to” our own thoughts, feelings and motives, hence Horace’s “Nil sibi conscius” – “I know nothing (against) myself” or Dr Johnson’s, “I am conscious to myself of many failings.” The “to myself” is essential. This is a knowledge that we share only with God, “unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom all secrets be hid.”

                      What you call “discernment” belongs, not to conscience, but to the practical intellect.

                    • Facile1

                      How does “practical intellect” differ from the human mind?

                      We agree otherwise(ie the human mind and “practical intellect” are one and the same, making discernment and conscience simply two separate functions of the same human mind.)

                      Knowledge of the TRUTH requires these two functions to be reconcilable. If not, any choice of words is meaningless at best and at worst a lie.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      The intellect is an activity; the mind is an hypostasisied abstraction.

                    • Facile1

                      Dear Mr. Paterson-Seymour,

                      How is the “intellect” an “activity”?

                      Assuming that by “hypostasisied” you mean ‘hypostatized’, a ‘hypostatized abstraction’ would be a contradiction of terms. Would not hypostatizing reverse the process of abstraction?

                      And finally, how does this response answer my original question? “How does ‘practical intellect’ differ from the human mind?”

                      Once again, our discussion is at an end here. We seem to be unable to establish the necessary protocols that make communication possible.

                      So I shall take my leave now. Expect no further responses from me. Good bye and God bless.

                    • Facile1

                      I took the liberty of replying to the posters, ME and Michael Paterson-Seymour, because I agree with you. I sent you this note just in case you might be interested in reading my reply. Please feel free to point out where we might be in disagreement.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      Vide supra

                    • slainte

                      Thank you, I will take a look.

    • WSquared

      Not to fault those specific quotes from Fr. Hesburgh, but they nonetheless raise some very interesting questions for all of us: don’t we have to have the fullness of the truth about the human person as both matter and spirit before we can talk about human rights, human dignity, human beings, and indeed human anything? If we don’t have that, how can we even meaningfully talk about “society”? If we do not talk about the metric of justice– i.e. the Truth– how does “social justice” not fall woefully short?

      What does anyone therefore mean by “social justice”? What do we even mean by “poor,” certainly when the last three popes have made it quite clear that poverty is also spiritual and not just material?

      Hence the reason why the Church talks about the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, neither of which can be divorced from the other.

    • Alecto

      The goal of Catholicism is not social justice, it’s salvation. The lessons I’ve learned from Christ and the saints are to bear injustices patiently in our own lives. Fr. Hesburgh’s misreading of the gospel make this impossible to teach or even say anymore because he taught generations that the more valid response is to demand others change, not ourselves. That was never, ever the example of Jesus Christ. I do not even consider Hesburgh an authentic Catholic. Perhaps the long live was to allow him enough time to repent?

      • WSquared

        Well actually, it’s social justice ordered to God and His promise of salvation– without which, there will ultimately be neither true society nor true justice.

        “Fr. Hesburgh’s misreading of the gospel make this impossible to teach or
        even say anymore because he taught generations that the more valid
        response is to demand others change, not ourselves.”

        Spot on. Furthermore, change has to have an end; a purpose. Change for the sake of change and without right direction is meaningless.

        • Alecto

          You know this is really a moot point to me and millions of Americans who have been hurt by the Catholic Church’s “social justice” like this:

          http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/index.shtml

          People who play with fire, get burned. And millions of Americans like me are holding the matches. Please, keep it up.

          • Gerard_Altermatt

            The Catholic Church teaching on social justice is not a moot point! If you believe it is, you are no better than the Catholics you are criticizing for not being authentic. Are those teachings always interpreted or applied correctly–even by bishops? Of course not. But that does not give you the option of ignoring the Church’s teachings on social justice. What we need are Catholics who can articulate and defend TRUE social justice, not throw it out the window.

            • Alecto

              Can’t have it both ways, Gerard. Either the Catholic Church is a religion, or it is a social welfare agency administering government funds. A religion is independent and rooted in the hereafter. A government agency is not. They will always be at war with each other because they serve different purposes.

              • Gerard_Altermatt

                I’m afraid you’ve misunderstood me. I’m not advocating that the Catholic Church become a welfare agency that marches to the drum of a secular gov’t because they use public funds. But that doesn’t mean that it has no obligation to social justice. Read the Epistle of James and see what the inspired word of God considers pure religion. True religion (that is, Catholicism) may be “rooted in the hereafter”, but how we live in this life determines the hereafter for us. The goal may be salvation, but salvation is for saints, and being a saint means living the gospel and cooperating with Grace. The Church is here to help us do that.

                In your original post you said, “The lessons I’ve learned from Christ and the saints are to bear injustices patiently in our own lives.”. I believe that is true with one major qualification: yes, we bear injustices with patience (humility), but that in no way means we don’t try to end or at least alleviate injustice. Christ gives us that example. When the blind man called to him to have mercy, he didn’t ignore him and give a sermon on how we should just bear injustices. When the money-changers were defiling the temple he certainly didn’t bear that injustice. The saints were no different. Read St. Patrick’s letter to Coroticus. Hardly an example of a saint bearing social injustice.
                I agree with you that government agencies and religion can be at war with each other, but it need not be that way. The reason they are often at odds is because gov’t has lost the concept that the Church and the State DO serve the same purpose: to get people to heaven. The means in which they do that are different. The Church focuses on the spiritual, but the state focuses on the temporal in a way that promotes the spiritual. In other words they both need to have the end in mind but operate in different spheres. Those spheres often overlap, and when they do, the State defers to the Church.
                Before you dismiss this as pie in the sky, it actually worked that way, albeit imperfectly, at the height of Christendom. In the area of social justice, the Church fed the poor and it was supported by the state. We need to regain a sense of this, but we won’t if we knee-jerk react to abuses in the name of social justice by saying that Church has no business with social justice.

                • slainte

                  What is the difference between “Social Justice” and the “Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy”?

                  • Gerard_Altermatt

                    I’m not sure of the point of your question, but social justice may include corporal or spiritual works of mercy.

                    • slainte

                      The term “Social Justice” conflates political and religious goals, and appears to include Statist initiatives supported by Catholic clergy and religious. Long term state-church partnerships have dulled the distinction, if any, between State social justice initiatives and those of Catholic social justice.
                      Should we assume that Catholic “Social Justice” means redistribition of income, equality of outcome, state financed “charitable” endeavors, class division, state sponsored healthcare? Is Catholic Social Justice really just another name for Socialism?
                      Or, from a lay Catholic perspective, does Social Justice mean personal works of Charity sponsored by parishes and dioceses delivered to local people in need? Does the term “Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy” more accurately descrbe what God has called lay Catholics to do based upon nearly 2000 years of tradition? Why did Vatican II introduce Social Justice when we already had the works of mercy?
                      Many are confused.

                    • Gerard_Altermatt

                      Unfortunately, the term “social justice” has been hijacked by many (including clergy and religious) in the ways you describe. But I maintain that is no reason to throw true social justice out the window anymore than to throw marriage out the window because it is being re-defined. That’s why we need strong, informed and articulate Catholic voices to defend ALL of the Church’s teachings.
                      Social justice cannot be narrowed to personal works of mercy and Vatican II certainly did not introduce social justice. To get a real picture of what it is, at least read Leo XIII’s encyclical, Rerum Novarum (1891) and Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno (1931).

                    • slainte

                      I dont want to discard social justice…I just want the Church to objectively define it once and for all. A single term which has so many different meanings and understandings has generated much confusion, ill will, and a great deal of division in the Church.
                      If we can’t reach a working definition of the term, how do we fulfill the Church’s mandate?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      You can’t objectively define it, especially “once and for all”. It’s something of a term of art.

                    • slainte

                      If the Church can’t or wont define Social Justice, then it’s not surprising the State did….and it’s called Socialism…and as you say, it is supported by the nuns on the bus who tell us it’s really Catholicism….and around and around we go.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      It isn’t just the state, it’s the state idolaters who would make a god of the state. And plasticizing words is hardly a new thing, it’s recorded in Genesis.

                    • Deacon Ed Peitler

                      The State idolaters happen to be hiding out at Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the staffers at the USCCB. Want proof? Canvass all who work at these agencies and ask them whom they voted for in the last presidential election. They are the foot soldiers for the Leftists in our country. They would also happen to be those most in favor of homosexuals trying to marry one another (I say trying because those of us still with a brain engaged know that this is physically impossible).

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      But a balance must be struck, as Pope Paul VI taught in Populorum Progressio, “ Individual initiative alone and the interplay of competition will not ensure satisfactory development. We cannot proceed to increase the wealth and power of the rich while we entrench the needy in their poverty and add to the woes of the oppressed. Organized programs are necessary for “directing, stimulating, coordinating, supplying and integrating” the work of individuals and intermediary organizations.

                      It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity. But they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.”

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity.”

                      Nonsense. State goals and plans,with prescribed methods aren’t governance, but tyranny, and you are either naive or an apostle of statism (and I stongly suspect the latter) to believe in the expertise and benevolence of the state.

                      There is disturbing belief among educated Catholics that the state mitigates human excess. It does not, it concentrates and empowers it.

                      The phrase you wrote above has been tried. It was tried in the “Final Solution”, the “Cultural Revolution”, forced Stalinist collectivization, Roe V. Wade, Executive Order 9066, Buck v. Bell, Kelo v. New London, The Fugitive Slave Act and a myriad of five year plans and lesser crimes against humanity.

                      Even when there isn’t the hard tyranny we seem to be slipping into, there is waste fraud and abuse, and no barrister’s casuistry can paper over a 17 Trillion dollar debt, abuses by the NSA, HHS and IRS or the decades long purposeful nuturing of dependency and the attempt to eradicate any and all mediating institutions (especially the family and the Church) by the state.

                      Elections aren’t some sort of civil Baptism that mitigate the effects of Original Sin and that most dangerous frailty- “animus dominandi”.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      They are a word-for-word quotation from para 35 of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Populorum Progressio” of 26 March 1967. The words “directing, stimulating, coordinating, supplying and integrating” are quoted by the pope from the Encyclical of his predecessor, Pope John XXIII, “Mater et Magistra”

                      Earlier (in para 23) he assigns the following task to the public authorities, “No one may appropriate surplus goods solely for his own private use when others lack the bare necessities of life. In short, “as the Fathers of the Church and other eminent theologians tell us, the right of private property may never be exercised to the detriment of the common good.” When “private gain and basic community needs conflict with one another,” it is for the public authorities “to seek a solution to these questions, with the active involvement of individual citizens and social groups.”” and in para 24, “If certain landed estates impede the general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation.” Obviously, these are tasks that cannot be performed by private individuals.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      You’ve just described the entire enterprise called the federal government.

                      “No one may appropriate surplus goods solely for his own private use when others lack the bare necessities of life.”

                      You mean like when Chief Executive whisks his family off on vacation after vacation costing tens of millions of dollars, being so audacious as to misuse a military aircraft to fly his dog to the latest destination.

                      That there are legitimate impairments on private property and their uses, is not a defense to the idea that all impairments are moral and licit, not is it a necessity that the “public authorities” is the state. Have you never heard of local government?

                      As for the “active involvement of individual citizens and social groups”, tell me how that is being done, when the force of law applied through documents that are as incomplete as they are long and exhausting-leaving much of not only the detail, but the substance to be issued by unaccountable judges and bureaucrats. And I might note, in recent times, especially with Dodd Frank and Obamacare, the law explicity insulates administrative bodies from even fiscal restraint by the legislature.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      Part of the problem is the lack of co-ordination at the international level. In “Populorum Progressio,” Pope Paul VI recalled his words to the United Nations General Assembly, “Your vocation is to bring not just some peoples but all peoples together as brothers. . . Who can fail to see the need and importance of thus gradually coming to the establishment of a world authority capable of taking effective action on the juridical and political planes?”

                    • Adam Baum

                      Why is it statists see the answer to everything as the investiture of greater authority in more remote and unaccountable bodies.

                      Don’t you know anything about the human lust for power, multiple peaked preferences and the socialist calculation problem?

                      You’ve had three and a half more decades observing the U.N. than the late Pope, do you see them bringing all people together as brothers?

                    • slainte

                      The Vatican views the United Nations as a prototype for the establishment of a Supranational Authority global in scope with universal jurisdiction and the formation of a global central bank. Sovereign nation states will be expected to voluntarily cede some sovereign powers to the Supranational Authority.

                      “…..On the way to creating a world political Authority, questions of governance (that is, a system of merely horizontal coordination without an authority super partes cannot be separated from those of a shared government (that is, a system which in addition to horizontal coordination establishes an authority super partes) which is functional and proportionate to the gradual development of a global political society. The establishment of a global political Authority cannot be achieved without an already functioning multilateralism, not only on a diplomatic level, but also and above all in relation to programs for sustainable development and peace. It is not possible to arrive at global Government without giving political expression to pre-existing forms of interdependence and cooperation……”

                      See, “TOWARDS REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND MONETARY SYSTEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC AUTHORITY” dated October 24, 2011

                      http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pontifical-council-for-justice-and-peace-on-the-global-economy

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      Alas, no. The high expectations of those times have been largely frustrated by commuitarianism, with ethnic and religious ties and allegiances overriding human solidarity. But the ideal proposed remains valid, for it is rooted in the Gospel

                    • slainte

                      “…. Who can fail to see the need and importance of thus gradually coming to the establishment of a world authority capable of taking effective action on the juridical and political planes?”….
                      Anyone who knows that absolute power concentrated in a single entity corrupts absolutely. History has shown this again and again. The Nazi and Stalinist regimes are just two of many examples of the murderous tyranny that ensues when one power assumes control.
                      Power must be disbursed and countered if the Common Good is to be safeguarded.

                    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                      The pope nowhere spoke of conferring absolute power on the world authority. However, as Lord Acton also notes, “Government must not be arbitrary, but it must be powerful enough to repress arbitrary action in others. If the supreme power is needlessly limited, the secondary powers will run riot and oppress.”

                    • slainte

                      When power is firmly vested in a single world authority, where in the world does one seek refuge when righteous dissent is required?

                    • John200

                      Dear Mrs. Slainte,

                      To your health in Gaelic. Social justice has a relatively clear technical meaning, but it takes a while to define it. It also takes some practice to develop a good understanding of the concept.

                      First and foremost, get collective leftism out of your way. It has nothing to do with social justice, other than to oppose it, violate it, hide behind it, and confuse those who would practice it. Lefty uses the term to hide what he means.

                      That accomplished, things get easier. The first key is to start with the virtue of justice, or giving to each his due. We preach justice because of the dignity of the human person. I’ll assume you get all that.

                      Now for the social part. It refers to people coming together rather than living in isolation. Man is a social animal. The main principles are the common good, subsidiarity, and solidarity.

                      From the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church,
                      “…the common good indicates “the sum total of social
                      conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily.” (paragraph 164; in fact, 164-170 explain the Catholic idea of common good). Ditto subsidiarity (paragraphs 185-188) and solidarity (paragraphs 192-196). *

                      You can apply these principles at levels from the family, to the local neighborhood, to the larger community, to the state.

                      The volume of literature behind my short note is huge, but you can at least see that social justice DOES mean something.

                      Lefty does not like you to know the meaning (sorry, lefties, I hate to do this to you. But you asked for it).

                      * References from the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” online at —
                      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

                      You can get a hard copy on Amazon for $15-20. The author is the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace (date is 2006). USCCB is the publisher. A shorter version exists. I don’t know how good it is.

                      I hope this helps. Don’t let lefty steal our good concepts and language.

                    • slainte

                      Thanks John for your your perspective. I will take a look at the sources that you provided.
                      As you converse with others, if and when the issue of social justice arises, it would make good sense to ask your interlocutor to explain his or her understanding of the term. I think you will glean that many understood it differently especially among fellow Catholics. You may inadvertently find yourself at cross purposes in a conversation because of this this lack of precision in thought and language.
                      It has contributed in large part to Catholic sisters embracing socialism and calling it Catholicism.

                    • John200

                      Yes, in my experience, misunderstanding of the concept is more prevalent than correct use and is often an intentional lefty tactic. Misuse fits with Alinsky-style tactics.

                      Just scroll through this and other similar discussions; very few can define it at all.

                      The sisters, good grief, are another sad example.

                    • slainte

                      I recall a long time ago someone describing the 1960s as a period of transition which rejected Thomas Aquinas’ Scholasticism, a tradition which demanded precision and accuracy in word and language usage. Scholasticism ensured accurate and enduring communication of the Word and the tenets of the Catholic Faith for the benefit of the common good.
                      In place of Scholasticism was purportedly substituted a tradition of “vagueness” which permitted a single word or term to be interpreted in a variety of ways. Thus, over time, vague words, terms, and language caused ideas to evolve in ways that contradict Christ’s message and the teachings of the Faith.
                      Not sure if this is what has occurred with the term “Social Justice” or the meaning of the word “Conscience”, but I am sure that many people are confused. This forum helps to clear away the cobwebs by forcing one to think. Thanks for contributing.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    The corporal works of mercy are intimate, personal and enhancing of human dignity. “Social Justice” as it is contemporarily interpreted, is remote, impersonal and diminishing of human dignity.

                    Picture a home for unwed mothers that existed in decades past and the present massive welfare bureaucracy.

                    • slainte

                      Thanks Adam.
                      Then is Catholic “Social Justice” merely an instruction by the Caholic Church to secular governments regarding how to achieve a just society?
                      What does Catholic Social Justice require of lay Catholics in their conduct?
                      I posed this same question to M. Paterson-Seymour above.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      The reason you can’t get an answer is that social justice is poorly defind because of misuse.

                      It’s like many of the musings of the secular left (“diversity”) that are nothing but indefinite ritual incantations designed to empower a small cadre of individuals to have power over others and their lives.

                      The corporal works of mercy are defined and enumerated (seven), whereas the term “social justice” has been appropriated to justify all sorts of government actions, largely those that are redistributive, (and largely ineffective or counterproductive).

                      Mother Theresa was the corporal works of mercy. The “nuns on the bus” would be argued as being “social justice”. Me, I see them as political props or worse, political prostitutes.

                    • slainte

                      You’re right and hence the reason why we are all going in circles on this issue. We are talking at each other.
                      Subjectively we all define the term “social justice” differently. There is no objective definition of the term which we can all agree upon for purposes of discussion.
                      I am not aware the Church can definitively set forth what it is and how it is expected to work.
                      The poster Me accuses us of ignoring “social justice” but I have no idea what her definition is. This experience is eye opening.
                      Thanks for your perspective.

                    • Deacon Ed Peitler

                      Well said, indeed. I am cutting and pasting this summary for future reference because it identifies concisely the fraud perpetrated by the protestant wing of the Catholic Church.

            • Me

              I agree, Gerard. One can’t condemn others for not accepting Church teachings while blatantly rejecting Church teachings. If you want to be a “cafeteria Catholic” and reject teaching you don’t like (like social justice) I would not presume to judge you. But perhaps in that case, you would seem more credible if you extended the same courtesy to others?

              • Gerard_Altermatt

                I seemed to have missed the beatitude that says, “Blessed are the courteous”. If I am a cafeteria Catholic, the last thing I want you to be is courteous. If I am in the wrong, I would expect you to practice a spiritual work of mercy by charitably correcting me (as opposed to judging me–a distinction too often lost in today’s culture!). To do otherwise is a sin against charity.

      • James1225

        “I do not even consider Hesburgh an authentic Catholic. Perhaps the long life God granted him was to allow him enough time to repent?”

        He seems to have been a great man. I don’t see what he would have to repent about. How about looking back at 96 years of life and feeling good about it?

        • Adam__Baum

          t looking back at 96 years of life and feeling good about it?

          Why?

          • James1225

            Because he can and he should. So what if he didn’t adhere to Catholic Orthodoxy like you do. He is still a good man. Are only those who do everything that Rome tells them to do entitled to feel good about themselves?

            • Adam__Baum

              “He can and he should.”

              A certain little corporal used that logic.

              How do you know he’s a good man? People routinely find out “good men” have sins. But he serves your agenda, so he’s good.

              What is your obsession with “feeling good about yourself”. If that’s all you want, get a precription for Paxil or Xanax. You’ll feel great. Your life might be squalorous and disorered, but you’ll feel great.
              I guess some people are more obsessed with emotion than others.

              • James1225

                I just think that a 96 year old man with multiple accomplishments has every right to feel good about himself and the life he has lived. People who would begrudge him of that need to worry about themselves and stop judging others.

                • Adam__Baum

                  If we stipulate that he is accomplished in the secular worldly sense, then I ask, so what? You are the one judging, telling us how we refuse to give him proper reverence for things we simply find transient and illusory.

                  My priest is constantly wandering the halls of the hospital where my wife works, and I respect that more-and no, it won’t get him a Presidential citation.

                  • James1225

                    “things we simply find transient and illusory.”

                    You are comparing this life to eternal life and saying that the things of this life are transient and illusory. Not all people, perhaps not even most people, or even a fair share of people, would agree with that. Yes. His impact has been on the here and now. For that you give him no credit at all. What is wrong with people who work on improving people’s lives (such as Notre Dame graduates) while letting others tend to spiritual matters, like parents? Do you think that parents send their children to a school like Notre Dame to learn Catholic orthodoxy?

                • Uuncle Max

                  “:People who would begrudge him of that need to worry about themselves and stop judging others.”

                  Point taken

                  But please consider this – If you see someone doing something that you think is wrong and which you consider might be harmful to that person’s immortal soul and that person is already 96 years old – shouldn’t you speak up to that person?

                  • James1225

                    If I were to meet a 96 year old priest with his accomplishments, I would show him the deepest respect. No. I would not be worried about his immortal soul being in peril because he did things his way. That would be silly.

    • Adam__Baum

      What vacant blither.

  • John Albertson

    Anyone deemed worthy of so many honors from academic institutions in our corrupt culture, should rigorously examine his conscience, especially if one is 96 years old.

    • Bill S

      At 96, he deserves to feel good about the life he has lived. He doesn’t need the negativity of those who would stifle his independent spirit. He lived life his way. Good for him.

      • Alecto

        Living his life his way? That, Bill, is not the mission either of a priest or a university president. How many souls did he bring to Christ? As many as the Fatima children, St. Therese the Little Flower, or Mother Teresa? How many souls is he personally responsible for losing? That’s the more important measure of success.

      • WSquared

        No-one’s life belongs only to himself, and our lives are not all about ourselves.

        Precisely because of the one who gave that life to us. We all have to render an account at the end of the day regarding the gifts that we’ve been given– and how we’ve used or abused them.

        • Bill S

          ” We all have to render an account at the end of the day regarding the gifts that we’ve been given– and how we’ve used or abused them.”

          We do the best we can and rest in peace. There is no answering to anyone when we die. We lose consciousness and that is it. Promises and threats to the contrary are just to control and manipulate us.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            So, you are not a Christian?

            • Bill S

              I’m Catholic.

              • Deacon Ed Peitler

                Really?

                • Bill S

                  Does it matter?

                  • John200

                    Only if you plan to live forever.

          • cestusdei

            And you know that how? You have great faith given you can’t prove it scientifically.

            I seem to remember that control and manipulation were the forte of 20th century atheists and dictators.

            • Bill S

              Consciousness is directly dependent on a functioning brain. When we die, the brain stops functioning and we permanently lose consciousness and that is it. Science bears it out.

              • Gerard_Altermatt

                Bill, the only thing science bears out is that the brain stops functioning. Science really can’t touch either the concept of “we” or “consciousness” because both are outside of its field. “We” are more than just physical matter. “We” do not quit existing after death–only our bodies do until the final judgement. God the father, God the Holy Spirit and angels do not have brains, yet they are more conscious than we are. If you don’t believe these things, maybe you, like Notre Dame, should consider if the term Catholic is applicable when describing yourself.

                • Bill S

                  “”We” do not quit existing after death–only our bodies do until the final judgement.”

                  This makes no sense from a strictly scientific standpoint. We have been told to believe this as part of our faith. I think it is just a way for the Church to control and manipulate us. I consider myself Catholic, but I pass on believing this.

                  • quisutDeusmpc

                    With all due respect to this ahistorical opinion, Plato, a pre-Christian Greek believed, from a philosophical standpoint in the immortality of the soul. There are plenty of things that “science”/empiricism cannot “prove” that exist nonetheless. Prove, scientifically, beauty, or even better, love. Prove scientifically why a fireman or a police officer or a soldier will risk his life/death, for the good of someone trapped in a burning building, to free hostages, or to rescue his comrades in arms from capture or defeat. Prove scientifically, the love of a mother for her newborn child, the sense of awe and wonder at the summit of a climb for the vista that lays before us, the sublime reading of a poem, the courage of a Charles Martel or a Jan III Sobieski or the Christian Roman martyrs. Science cannot disprove the existence of the human soul.

                    • Bill S

                      The human brain is an incredibly complex organ which developed over millions of years of human evolution. Our whole awareness of ourselves depends on this very complex organ functioning nearly flawlessly. While we live, whatever happens to the brain has drastic effects on how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. If the brain were to stop working, we would lose consciousness. If it were not revived, that would be it. We would no longer exist. What kind of consciousness can we experience without the brain? None.

                    • John200

                      Dear Bill S,

                      You consider yourself a Catholic, so you really should know that “We would no longer exist.” is entirely false; a whopper. Father Hesburgh himself, if he retains his Catholic faith, would tell you the same.

                      RCIA, Bill, and then go toward the light; not away from it.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      How do you know consciousness doesn’t have a quantum component?

                    • James1225

                      Why can’t consciousness just be what it is? Why would it need a quantum component other than to allow it to conform to ancient religious beliefs?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      It doesn’t have to have a quantum component, it might, it might not and it might very well be something even more fantastic. What it is, how it works, are all exercises in epistimology.

                    • James1225

                      “it might very well be something even more fantastic.”

                      What is more fantastic than the human brain? Without it we are nothing.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      What is more fantastic than the human brain?
                      The human soul.

                  • Gerard_Altermatt

                    People like you puzzle me. Wouldn’t you rather be a good atheist rather than a bad Catholic?

              • Adam__Baum

                Man there’s a lot of unconscious people out there.

              • cestusdei

                Yet that doesn’t prove scientifically that there is no life after death.

      • Adam__Baum

        At 96, nobody should be complacent.

  • cestusdei

    He helped kill the Catholic university system. That will be his legacy.

  • Bernard T. Hessley

    Hmm, how do we get people to pay attention to us? Oh, attack the most loved, respected, and well known Catholic this side of Pope John Paul II. Fail. I think Aquinas/Crisis would be better off using the magazine staff to field a football team to compete with Notre Dame. It certainly would be more interesting and get them the attention they so badly crave.

    You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

    — Exodus 20:17

    Next…

    • Adam__Baum

      “Oh, attack the most loved, respected, and well known Catholic this side of Pope John Paul II.”

      Not even close to no. 2.

  • Bernard T. Hessley

    Hmm, how do we get people to pay attention to us? Oh, attack the most loved, respected, and well known Catholic this side of Pope John Paul II. Fail. I think Aquinas/Crisis would be better off using the magazine staff to field a football team to compete with Notre Dame. It certainly would be more interesting and get them the attention they so badly crave.

    You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
    — Exodus 20:17

    Next…

    • slainte

      You are mistaken Mr. Hessley. Crisis Magazine has merely told the story of a priest, Father Hesburgh, and his secular legacy, the University of Notre Dame.
      Had Crisis Magazine wanted to “get attention”, it might have told the story of another priest, 80 year old Father Norman Weslin, who was arrested and jailed for defending Life at Our Lady’s campus. Father Weslin’s most vocal supporter in opposition to his arrest was a Protestant pastor.
      The Video below demonstrates how Father Hesburgh’s policies have yielded dividends over time.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiz4tfjSuPc

      • Adam__Baum

        Somehow, as a CPA, I would hesitate classifying Hesburgh’s policies as yielding dividends. Incurring liabilities sounds more like it.

    • John200

      No one covets what Fr. Hesburgh has, and more to the point, no one covets the rewards that attach to his activities. I hope that, at age 96, he is thinking ahead.

    • Anne Hendershott

      Mr. Hessley: Notre Dame is blessed to have such a supportive graduate – you received a wonderful education that prepared you for great things in politics and the law. And, you are right, Fr. Hesburgh is indeed loved and respected by many of the graduates of your alma mater. But, he has also done great damage to Catholic higher education – he gave tacit permission to other Catholic college presidents to abandon their commitment to the Truth. You could do a great service to Notre Dame if you helped them recover their Catholic identity. I do not think you realize what has been happening there over the past few decades. Fr. Hesburgh opened that door.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Catholic teaching has never limited Social Justice, (or distributive justice, as the older theologians called it), to works of mercy. It has always taught that rulers, in imposing burdens, such as taxes and military service and other public burdens, or in distributing benefits, such as offices, rewards, honours and grants of public land or in imposing penalties and disabilities, are obliged to observe the measure of justice.

    • slainte

      Social Justice, then, is a teaching that describes the duties of rulers and governments to society? If so, upon what authority do you rely?
      What, if anything, does Social Justice require of the individual lay Catholic?

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Not the whole of it, of course, but distributive justice has always formed a part of the Church’s teaching.

        The duty of obedience and submission to legitimate civil authority is sometimes referred to as “legal justice,” but it forms a part of the same teaching. Pope Leo XIII’s 1885 Encyclical, “Immortale Dei,” whilst principally concerned with Church/State relations, contains an outline of the mutual duties of rulers and ruled.

        • Adam__Baum

          Interesting. Is there any “legitimate” civil authority left? We all know about the NSA snooping, but whoever considers that the police officer hiding at the bottom of a hill because he is attempting to maximize fine revenue isn’t the same thing as a cruiser parked conspicuously to prevent people from exceeding the speed limit or committing other moving violations.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Recall that when St Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to higher powers” and “He that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation” and St Peter wrote, “honour the king,” they were referring to the government of Nero.

            • Adam__Baum

              Well then let’s just surrender, because to you “higher powers” must the modern civil state (that is far more powerful and less accountable with it’s writs and codes and databases than than those experiences by SS. Peter and Paul, who were merely dealing with decrees and cenuses.) and not ecclesial governance.

              “Honour” is not to blindly submit, as you propose, no more than a young girl would “honour” her father by submitting to his incestous advances or participating in a theft with him.

              The direct implication of how you construe those phrases would require Catholics in any state to blindly submit to temporal authorities. Surrender would be the only option for Catholics in England in the 1500’s, and those in 1930’s Germany according to your curious view of temporal authority.

              If every soul IS subject to higher powers, that includes those of the duplicitous. vain and covetous occupants of higher office. If there must be a supreme temporal power, you would place it in the hands of a few, and morally bind the people as subjects.
              There is another view, although I’m sure it’s anathema to your statist impulses. Sovereignty lies with the people (and make no mistake the state is doing everything it can to divide, confuse and exhaust the people, so it’s minions can return us to feudalism) and the state is accountable to the people, not the other way around.

              Stop peddling blind obedience (justified by the disingenuous use of quotations) to the state as Catholic dogma. Statism isn’t willful obedience to legitimate authority, it’s idolatry.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                We should remember, too, what Pope Leo XIII wrote in Immortale Dei, “But, if those who are in authority rule unjustly, if they govern overbearingly or arrogantly, and if their measures prove hurtful to the people, they must remember that the Almighty will one day bring them to account, the more strictly in proportion to the sacredness of their office and preeminence of their dignity. “The mighty shall be mightily tormented.” (Wis 6:2)” The Catholic Church has ever taught the duty of rulers, as well as that of subjects.

                • Adam__Baum

                  “But, if those who are in authority rule unjustly, if they govern overbearingly or arrogantly, and if their measures prove hurtful to the people, they must remember that the Almighty will one day bring them to account.”

                  Any duly skeptical student of government with the benefit of the experiences unavailable to Leo XIII, would never say “If” but “when”. I don’t contest that evil magistrates imperil their soul, but that doesn’t address their disposition on earth. They can go to hell after they are stripped for their offices and powers. There’s nothing in that phrase that requires the people to endure the evil rulers without recourse.

                  In Centuries past, the Church had to endure hereditary monarchs, just as it had to endure streets filled with sewage. There was simply no alternative. I will absolutely oppose any attempt by you or anyone else to assert that I should endure tyranny, of either the hard or soft variety. Your allegience to the state isn’t noble, reasonable or thoughful. Your insistence on my allegiance makes you an accessory to idolatry.

                  It’s useful to remember just how fast the concupiscience of temporal rulers can erupt into a reign of terror. Long before he executed St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher and so many others , Henry was afforded the the title “Fidei Defensor” for offering a defense of the Seven Sacraments, ironically against another great statist, Martin Luther, who spread his new creed through the state and made marriage the property of the state.

                  • slainte

                    God is the Sovereign, not the people.
                    When voluntary subordination to God is absent from any government, tyranny and anarchy necessarily follows. It does not matter whether a government is headed by a monarch, an oligarch, or the people. All are imperfect; all are subject to corruption; all seek power and reject humility…such is the state of our fallen human nature still impacted by the temporal effects of Original Sin. As God is marginalized and rejected by society, chaos fills the vacuum; the Light becomes dulled and darkness replaces it. The atrocities of the 20th century all occurred under Godless regimes.
                    Our energies as a society must be directed to finding new ways to reintroduce God back into our lives from the bottom up…as individuals, families, workers, professionals, politicians, even clergy. If we can do this, especially in America, where religion is still so important to many, we may be able to turn around our culture.
                    Material and/or remote cooperation with evil is repugnant to me also, Adam, to be avoided as much as we are able.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      I think we agree, obviously God is sovereign, however the word has a temporal meaning. I would add that while the people disregarded God, the state is accelerating the process.

                      After you work in government for a while, you realize the state seeks to rule, not to govern, and ruling is so much easier when there are no allegiances by the people to anything else but the state.

                      As the state grows power and size, it grows in ambition and it will drive out anything that allows people to order their lives or have recourse outside the state. Family, independent associations, the Church and God must go, so that the individual stands alone with only the state as a buffer against the vicissitudes of fortune.

                • slainte

                  Perhaps the underlying principle relied upon by the Popes through history has been Our Lord’s lesson to us as well…..avoid doing evil in response to evil.

    • Adam__Baum

      “It has always taught that rulers, in imposing burdens…are obliged to observe the measure of justice.”

      That might be an authentic reading of the concept, but as it’s practiced, “social justice’ amounts to the conscription of one person’s work and it’s rewards to serve another’s wants with the principal beneficiary being the ruler.

  • Paul Primavera

    Chase Manhattan Bank, eh? Oh what concern for the poor this man had! Fr. Hesburgh was in violation of Canons 3 and 7 of the Council of Chalcedon held in AD 451:

    Canon 3: It has come to [the knowledge of] the holy Synod that certain of those who are enrolled among the clergy have, through lust of gain, become hirers of other men’s possessions, and make contracts pertaining to secular affairs, lightly esteeming the service of God, and slip into the houses of secular persons, whose property they undertake through covetousness to manage. Wherefore the great and holy Synod decrees that henceforth no bishop, clergyman, nor monk shall hire possessions, or engage in business, or occupy himself in worldly engagements, unless he shall be called by the law to the guardianship of minors, from which there is no escape; or unless the bishop of the city shall commit to him the care of ecclesiastical business, or of unprovided orphans or widows and of persons who stand especially in need of the Church’s help, through the fear of God. And if any one shall hereafter transgress these decrees, he shall be subjected to ecclesiastical penalties.

    Canon 7: We have decreed that those who have once been enrolled among the clergy, or have been made monks, shall accept neither a military charge nor any secular dignity; and if they shall presume to do so and not repent in such wise as to turn again to that which they had first chosen for the love of God, they shall be anathematized.

  • Bono95

    “World Citizenship”

    Stupid me, I thought one was automatically a world citizen by virtue of having been born here. Or maybe the purpose of the United World Federalists was to keep earth from being overrun by illegal lunar and martian immigrants. No illegal aliens. 😀

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Oh Dear! Being born in stable does not make one a horse.

      Being born in France, for example, does not make one a citizen. . The French citizen is defined in law as “a person who is born on French soil, shares the cultural heritage of the country and gives evidence of loyalty to the French commonwealth.” Populations of alien stock or culture who are born or living on French soil are either potential Frenchmen or else they are aliens by resolution; but they are neither aliens nor Frenchmen by birth alone.

      So it is with the world community.

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