Via Media

Via Media


Stop picking on us

posted by awelborn

A Boston Globe piece on the Cardinal Newman Society, especially apropros, since the Society recently called Boston College on the carpet for its high concentration of purported heretics.

Yet it’s difficult to independently verify some of the society’s claims of influence. For example, a recent society document included this contention: ”Recently a Catholic bishop contacted Patrick Reilly to discuss how he could put the screws to a wayward Catholic college in his diocese, including ways of encouraging the removal of dissident theology faculty." Reilly said the bishop spoke confidentially.

Although the group does not speak for or represent the church, its listing among other Catholic groups has raised questions about whether its policies are in accordance with the church itself.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops referred questions about the society to the Diocese of Arlington, Va. In a statement, diocese spokesman Soren Johnson said the church ”has established procedures for investigating allegations of heresy."

Beal said a charge of heresy — officially defined as ”the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith" — is rare.

Also, earlier this year, the society claimed credit for stripping Marymount Manhattan College of its Catholic identity after contending that the school’s commencement speaker, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, supported abortion rights. The college said at the time, however, that it had previously shed its Catholic identity.

The society has targeted three Boston College faculty members — law professors Milton Heifetz and Charles Baron and theology professor the Rev. John Paris — because they signed a legal brief filed on behalf of those wishing to remove Schiavo’s feeding tube.

The Society’s webpage

What’s most unfortunate about this article is that it is filled with voices of critics, but the only supporter quoted is the group’s President, Patrick Reilly. Attempts were made to get statements from the USCCB, the Diocese of Arlington and Archbishop O’Malley (who is one of several bishops to serve as an "Ecclesiastical Advisor" to the group), but none had much of a comment. It would be a far more helpful piece if there were other voices present to really focus on the question of Catholic identity and the Catholic university, how the Church has traditionally enforced those lines, how it does or doesn’t today, and what vacuum the Society is attempting to fill.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(31)
post a comment
tcreek

posted August 28, 2005 at 6:43 pm


Here are the Ecclesiastical Advisors listed on their website. Some will say, “the ususal (conservative) suspects”.
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz
Diocese of Lincoln, NE
Archbishop Raymond Burke
Archdiocese of Saint Louis, MO
Archbishop John Donoghue
Archdiocese of Atlanta, GA
Bishop Thomas Doran
Diocese of Rockford, IL
Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty
Diocese of Scranton, PA
Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez, OFM
Archdiocese of San Juan, PR
Archbishop Alfred Hughes
Archdiocese of New Orleans, LA
Bishop Joseph Martino
Diocese of Scranton, PA
Archbishop John Meyers
Archdiocese of Newark, NJ
Archbishop Sean O’Malley, OFMCap
Archdiocese of Boston, MA



report abuse
 

Liam

posted August 28, 2005 at 7:00 pm


Well, BC is a bank. A Catholic mini-version of Harvard in that. And like many other universities these days, nay, most in the US. Banking, tenuring, credentialling for our Wonderful Purpose-Driven Meritocracy(TM). Maybe some real education thrown in for students thirsting enough for it.
And don’t get me started on the New England Province. There are some wonderful Jesuits doing fine work, outside the media glare, not just in education. But the Province strikes me as terribly corporatist in its own way, just like the Archdiocese of Boston that has jealously eyed it with suspicion for many many years.
It’s a formulaic piece from the Globe, which tends to view BC with adoration unless it too is not toeing the Party Line.
(O my darlin, o my darlin, o my darlin party line: I never will desert you for I love this life of mine.)
End of rant.



report abuse
 

Rich Leonardi

posted August 28, 2005 at 7:24 pm


”There is something terribly indicative here of the degree of contentiousness in the United States Roman Catholic Church today,” Keenan said about the Cardinal Newman Society. ”Hopefully, someday our bishops will call us to end this awful conduct, which hurts not only those of us targeted, but more importantly, the unity of the church itself.”
Here, here. Let’s end this “awful conduct” by placing the USCCB’s next attempt to implement Ex Corde Ecclesia in the hands of, say, Chaput instead of Pilarczyk.



report abuse
 

Jason

posted August 28, 2005 at 7:36 pm


Is it the job of a group like the Newman society to go heresy hunting and call people out? I can see a public disagreement with people, and a challenge to heed the Church’s teaching, but it seems that action like this confuses the role of laymen. The Bishops are charged with authority and punishment.



report abuse
 

Rich Leonardi

posted August 28, 2005 at 8:03 pm


Is it the job of a group like the Newman society to go heresy hunting and call people out?
“Since, in our own times, new problems are arising and very serious errors are circulating which tend to undermine the foundations of religion, the moral order, and human society itself, this sacred synod earnestly exhorts laymen — each according to his own gifts of intelligence and learning — to be more diligent in doing what they can to explain, defend, and properly apply Christian principles to the problems of our era in accordance with the mind of the Church.” — Apostolicam Actuousitatem, 2:6
The Bishops are charged with authority and punishment.
CNS does not deny anyone access to the sacraments; it offers correction, not “punishment.”



report abuse
 

Jason

posted August 28, 2005 at 8:17 pm


Yes, I realize that as laymen, we have a duty to fraternal correction. But the attitude of heresy hunting just rubs me the wrong way. In correcting a brother, we need to remember we are not their superior, and our tone should reflect that. Our obedience to Christ and his Church is always humble and docile. We strive to live by it, and to help (and challenge)others do so, but we are not the teachers or the rulers of the Catholic Church. “Demanding” that this or that happen at Catholic colleges is a perfect example. It would be better, IMO, to honestly discuss, as Amy does, the issue of Catholic identity, and show how the Church’s faith and discipline can be more perfectly lived throughout the Church. But leave it to the Bishops to “demand” this and that. That’s just how I feel, anyway. I have no grudges against the CNS.



report abuse
 

Charles Coudert

posted August 28, 2005 at 8:55 pm


On June 2, 2003 the four Massachusetts ordinaries issued a signed statement condemning Father James Keenan for his unauthorized teaching that a proposed constitutional amendment ourlawing same-sex marriage was contrary to Catholic doctrine. Therefore Father Keenan should take his complaint up with the four bishops, rather than with the Cardinal Newman Society which, after all, was merely the messinger.



report abuse
 

Charles Coudert

posted August 28, 2005 at 8:57 pm


On June 2, 2003 the four Massachusetts ordinaries issued a signed statement condemning Father James Keenan for his unauthorized teaching that a proposed constitutional amendment ourlawing same-sex marriage was contrary to Catholic doctrine. Therefore Father Keenan should take his complaint up with the four bishops, rather than with the Cardinal Newman Society which, after all, was merely the messinger.



report abuse
 

Gregg

posted August 28, 2005 at 9:04 pm


“attitude of heresy hunting”
The BC faculty are widely published and quoted, so it doesn’t seem like much of a hunt. I’m not sure what a good analogy would be, but maybe something like hunting a cow in a stockyard.



report abuse
 

Colleen

posted August 28, 2005 at 9:48 pm


I guess if CNS did anything less it wouldn’t make the papers which is where most of us get all the information we need to know. ;-) Only too bad the article wasn’t fairer/fuller to CNS.
Not that I think it’ll make a bit of difference but I am glad BC is publicly being questioned… I used to recruit at BC back in the 80s for a (the old) ‘Big 8′ accounting firm and BC is really no more Catholic than any state school. I guess I was a rube because I was shocked at that and here I live in the land of the Paulist Center. Some of the recent stuff that has come from some BC faculty has been shocking in a Catholic sense so it is good to present authentic Catholic teaching to counter it, even if it is from CNS and not the bishops… at least it made the papers. Tons of people I know get so confused (true for years) at the stuff that comes from the ordained or even lay Catholic college professors because there is a silence from the hierarchy.
Peter Kreeft is a prof at BC but one of their wonderful (orthodox = right teaching and not conservative or liberal) prof priests recently left for Ave Maria.
BUT… a lot of the CEO’s from NE have close ties with BC (alumni or their kids go there) and so the BC name opens doors and the $$$ tuition keeps out the riff raff. So this dust-up won’t matter in a practical sense or an Ex Corde Ecclesiae sense.



report abuse
 

Dave J

posted August 28, 2005 at 11:25 pm


“a charge of heresy is rare”- yes, but unfortunately, by the above definition, heresy itself is not. The Card. Newman Society is involved with confirming Catholic students in their faith on campuses across the country. Who is in a better position to blow the whistle when theoretically Catholic theologians are undermining the faith of the students at our theoretically Catholic schools?



report abuse
 

Jacques

posted August 29, 2005 at 2:05 am


The tone of the web site of the Newman Society is spiteful and mean. I am shocked that Christians would approve of this and scandalized that so many bishops are willing to be listed as advisors.



report abuse
 

RP Burke

posted August 29, 2005 at 7:15 am


This is all about Reilly’s ego, the right wing’s super cop.
How ironic that this agent of the new ultramontanists claims as his avatar Cardinal Newman, who fought for years with Manning and other old ultramontanists.



report abuse
 

Donald R. McClarey

posted August 29, 2005 at 7:51 am


“How ironic that this agent of the new ultramontanists claims as his avatar Cardinal Newman, who fought for years with Manning and other old ultramontanists.”
Not at all! The idea that Cardinal Newman would be anything but appalled by the anti-Catholic positions espoused by some faculty at many Catholic universities in this country is preposterous. In this case the term ultramontane is simply used as an attempted pejorative and lacks any meaning. This has nothing to do with alleged excessive deference to the Vatican and everything to do with basic Catholic teachings under assault at Catholic universities, all too often with a wink and a nod by the administrations. Bravo for the Newman society!



report abuse
 

Papabile

posted August 29, 2005 at 8:11 am


Having personally known Pat for over ten years, I can assure you that it’s not about his ego.
It’s good to know that Mr. Burke is able to adjudge from afar a person’s intentions.
Now I’ll judge from afar.
Mr. Burke, you are self-righteous and irrelevant.



report abuse
 

RP Burke

posted August 29, 2005 at 8:18 am


Papabile, as we used to say in the streets of South Boston, “Same to you, pal.”



report abuse
 

Richard

posted August 29, 2005 at 8:34 am


How ironic that this agent of the new ultramontanists claims as his avatar Cardinal Newman, who fought for years with Manning and other old ultramontanists.
Now we are to believe that Cardinal Newman would endorse the positions of Mary Daly or John Paris?
Now I’ve heard it all.
No matter how farcical the notion of associating current theological dissents on core Church teaching on moral theology, ecclesiology and even Christology (!) with moderate foes of ultramontanims of old gets, the attemps is still made.
By today’s standards, Newman and even de Lubac would be somewhere to the right of Bruskewitz.



report abuse
 

RP Burke

posted August 29, 2005 at 8:48 am


This article describes how Newman himself, in trying to run a university in Ireland, got himself in trouble with the ultramontanists in the hierarchy.
http://www.uscatholic.org/1999/05/wrong.htm



report abuse
 

Donald R. McClarey

posted August 29, 2005 at 9:07 am


“For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth . . . Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another . . . It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy . . . Since then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man . . . Religion is in no sense the bond of society . . . Instead of the Church’s authority and teaching, they would substitute first of all a universal and a thoroughly secular education . . . As to Religion, it is a private luxury, which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.”
{Biglietto speech, upon becoming a Cardinal in 1879. From John Henry Newman: A Biography, by Ian Ker, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988, pp. 720-721; also excerpts from Newman Today, ed. Stanley L. Jaki, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989, from chapter “Newman and Liberalism,” by Marvin R. O’Connell, pp. 88-89}



report abuse
 

Rich Leonardi

posted August 29, 2005 at 9:20 am


Ah, U.S. Catholic. Now there’s a magazine we can count on for an agenda-free retelling of the facts.
“Ultramontanes”, “rightwing echo-chamber,” “neo-orthodox” — nothing defines the vacuousness of a position like the insertion of these shortcuts from thinking.



report abuse
 

Patrick Rothwell

posted August 29, 2005 at 9:23 am


I used to be more sympathetic towards the Cardinal Newman Society since there IS a crisis of Catholic identity in Catholic higher education and there are wolfs in sheeps clothing in many theology departments. That said, the shrill rhetoric and hit-lists emanating from the CNS seems to have more to with pushing buttons for fundraising purposes than anything else. Nor is it clear to me that all of the dissenters listed qualify as “heretics” strictly speaking. And, of course, this letter contains the usual silly rhetoric. Throw some “righteous anger” and “throwing the moneychangers out of the temple” into the mix and add a healthy helping of “but what about the children?” and you’ve got a perfect piece of sanctimonious, yet impotent, grandstanding. Finally, the URL of its fundraising letter, which includes the word “heresyltr,” is unintentionally hilarious. The Cardinal Newman Society has indeed accomplish something quite extraordinary, and that is for me to actually feel sorry for Diane Hayes just a little bit.
I do agree, however, that the article was very one sided. But, to be frank, the conservative side needs to do a better job of getting more thoughtful quote machines in the press and the public square than what we are seeing now.



report abuse
 

Septimus

posted August 29, 2005 at 9:51 am


If the Cardinal Newman Society is “over the top” or rhetorically screaming at the top of its lungs, could it be because the climate is such that that’s how one gets heard? Sadly, it does seem that those with responsibility for higher education will barely care if “heresy” is alleged, and won’t care at all if the issue is presented in a more “nuanced” way.
Because it sure seems as if many institutions of higher learning, getting credit for being Catholic, simply don’t care very much about how committed to, and consistent with, Catholic teaching, practice and identity, their faculties are. But they do care when alumni, parents of prospective students, and the wider public begins asking critical questions, and loses confidence. Exhibit A? Georgetown U.’s battle against the crucifix.
I certainly don’t endorse unfairness or mean-spiritness toward anyone, by anyone. But the arrogance and tone-deafness of the leadership of our “Catholic” institutions in this country is huge and fascinating — in an appalling sort of way.
A former co-worker, from years back, used to have a funny way of describing a meeting she’d have with an employee who was screwing up and needed to be shocked back to reality: it was her “Come to Jesus” meeting. That’s what the leadership of our so-called Catholic institutions need.



report abuse
 

Septimus

posted August 29, 2005 at 10:04 am


Jaques: I went to the CNS webpage, and surfed for awhile. Nothing I saw struck me as “spiteful and mean.”
I didn’t go everywhere I might, of course; so, perhaps, Jaques, you would be willing to give us an example of — or at least a pointer to — what struck you as “spiteful and mean” about the website, s’il vous plait? Merci.



report abuse
 

DJP

posted August 29, 2005 at 1:04 pm


Let’s face it. The bishops aren’t doing their jobs and once again the laity has to do it for them. Kudos to Riley!
Ask the bishops why they don’t enforce ECC or Dominus Iesus? Why don’t they remove these dissidents from their conclave of liberal academia whose sole purpose is to discredit the church on her fundamental teachings regarding human life and the family.
If the bishops don’t do their job, then the Holy Spirit calls us to hold them accountable and Riley is doing just that.



report abuse
 

Liam

posted August 29, 2005 at 1:50 pm


DJP
Well, unless the bishop is their employer, he cannot remove the dissidents. He can just remove their mandates, if any.



report abuse
 

Pierre Angulaire

posted August 29, 2005 at 1:51 pm


This is what makes the internet age so bizarre. It sounds impressive – the “Cardinal Newman Society,” and with its own web-page and list of advisors. However, Mr. Reilly’s web-site basically admits that he has no competence to judge scholarly work nor any authority to make accusations of heresy.
The “Society” appears to consist of Mr. Reilly and his wife.
I would hope that no self-respecting scholar would waste his or her time respoding to this nonsense.



report abuse
 

Scrooge

posted August 29, 2005 at 3:26 pm


Better watch it Pierre, or the natives will start speaking French to you. They only eat Freedom Fries.



report abuse
 

Grant Gallicho

posted August 29, 2005 at 3:32 pm


Amy, the “unbalanced” nature of the story could have something to do with the fact that none of the bishops wanted to go on the record to confirm that Mr. Reilly is doing an excellent job of purging the church. The GOP connections raise some flags, though, huh?



report abuse
 

Jacques

posted August 30, 2005 at 1:35 am


To Septimus:
The overall tone: let us get rid of heretics is abominable.
For more detail, look at the fundraising newsletter: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/Publications/Action_Alerts/HeresyLtr.pdf. Quotes: “A great many of these “teachers” are malicious, and their rebellion is deliberate and intentional”; malicious is not mean, for people who may be wrong, but say what they think?
“scores of Catholic college faculties harbor theological careerists who confuse students with double-speak.”
“And the most natural first response to such dishonesty and underhandedness…” Again they may be wrong, but this does not make them dishonest.
“the heretics and dissenters burrowing within our colleges to infect their students with secular humanist values…”



report abuse
 

Charles A.

posted August 30, 2005 at 10:25 am


Those quotes are shocking! Shocking!



report abuse
 

Marc

posted June 9, 2006 at 6:18 am

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

There is nothing I shall want
A couple of weeks ago, a memorial Mass for Michael was held here in Birmingham at the Cathedral. The bishop presided and offered a very nice, even charming homily in which he first focused on the Scripture readings of the day, and then turned to Michael, whom he remembered, among other things, as on

posted 9:24:16am Mar. 05, 2009 | read full post »

Revolutionary Road - Is it just me?
Why am I the only person I know..or even "know" in the Internet sense of "knowing"  - who didn't hate it? I didn't love it, either. There was a lot wrong with it. Weak characterization. Miscasting. Anvil-wielding mentally ill prophets.But here's the thing.Whether or not Yates' original novel in

posted 9:45:04pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Books for Lent
No, I'm not going to ask you about your Lenten reading lists...although I might.Not today, though. This post is about giving books to others. For Lent, and a long time after that. You know how it goes during Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, right?Well, here's a worthy recipient for your hard-

posted 9:22:07pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Why Via Media
How about....because I'm lame and hate thinking up titles to things? No?Okay...how about...St. Benedict? Yes, yes, I know the association with Anglicanism. That wasn't invovled in my purpose in naming the joint, but if draws some Googling Episcopalians, all the better.To tell the truth, you can bl

posted 8:54:17pm Mar. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Brave Heart?
I don't know about you, but one of effects of childbirth on me was a compulsion to spill the details. All of them.The whole thing was fascinating to me, so of course I assumed everyone else should be fascinated as well in the recounting of every minute of labor, describing the intensity of discomfor

posted 10:19:45pm Mar. 03, 2009 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.