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25th August 2009, 04:14 PM
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Manipulation Resistance Team
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| | Bishop D’Arcy Challenges Notre Dame
“As summer plays itself out on the beautiful campus by the lake where the young Holy Cross priest, Edward Sorin, C.S.C., pitched his camp 177 years ago and began his great adventure, we must clarify the situation that so sundered the church last spring: What it is all about and what it is not about.
“It is not about President Obama. He will do some good things as president and other things with which, as Catholics, we will strongly disagree. It is ever so among presidents, and most political leaders.
“It is not about Democrats versus Republicans, nor was it a replay of the recent general election.
“It is not about whether it is appropriate for the president of the United States to speak at Notre Dame or any great Catholic university on the pressing issues of the day. This is what universities do. No bishop should try to prevent that.
“The response, so intense and widespread, is not about what this journal called ‘sectarian Catholicism.’ Rather, the response of the faithful derives directly from the Gospel. In Matthew’s words, ‘Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good works, and glorify your heavenly Father’ (5:13).
“Does a Catholic university have the responsibility to give witness to the Catholic faith and to the consequences of that faith by its actions and decisions—especially by a decision to confer its highest honor? If not, what is the meaning of a life of faith? And how can a Catholic institution expect its students to live by faith in the difficult decisions that will confront them in a culture often opposed to the Gospel?”
Those are the words of Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., the diocesan bishop of the University of Notre Dame, in an article
published in the Aug. 31 issue of America
magazine. It’s a crucially important article that should be read by everyone concerned about the future of Catholic higher education in America.
Here’s how Bishop D’Arcy concludes his article:
As bishops, we must be teachers and pastors. In that spirit, I would respectfully put these questions to the Catholic universities in the diocese I serve and to other Catholic universities.
Do you consider it a responsibility in your public statements, in your life as a university and in your actions, including your public awards, to give witness to the Catholic faith in all its fullness?
What is your relationship to the church and, specifically, to the local bishop and his pastoral authority as defined by the Second Vatican Council?
Finally, a more fundamental question: Where will the great Catholic universities search for a guiding light in the years ahead? Will it be the Land O’Lakes Statement or Ex Corde Ecclesiae? The first comes from a frantic time, with finances as the driving force. Its understanding of freedom is defensive, absolutist and narrow. It never mentions Christ and barely mentions the truth. The second text, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, speaks constantly of truth and the pursuit of truth.
It speaks of freedom in the broader, Catholic philosophical and theological tradition, as linked to the common good, to the rights of others and always subject to truth. Unlike Land O’Lakes, it is communal, reflective of the developments since Vatican II, and it speaks with a language enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
On these three questions, I respectfully submit, rests the future of Catholic higher education in this country and so much else.
- Fr. Gregory Jensen
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, it’s more than that. It’s a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.
25th August 2009, 08:16 PM
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According to this article, Notre Dame is under the authority of the Holy Cross Fathers rather than the bishop of the diocese in which their college is located.
On the surface, it would appear that the diocesan bishop ought to be able to take direct, decisive action when he judges that activities at a Catholic university within his territory are causing scandal and/or promoting teachings contrary to the Catholic faith. After all, canon 386.2
notes that the bishop is to firmly defend the integrity and unity of the faith by whatever means seem most appropriate to him. In this case, couldn’t one argue that forbidding Notre Dame to follow through with its plans to honor a pro-abortion president would be an appropriate way to defend the faith?
But the answer is not so simple. At issue here is the fact that Notre Dame University was established, and is operated, by a religious institute—the Holy Cross Fathers. This situation is by definition an extremely common one: groups of religious routinely establish all sorts of schools, hospitals, and charitable entities within various diocesan boundaries. While the diocesan bishop naturally has the duty and the right to safeguard the spiritual welfare of the faithful within his territory, the religious who are living and working there are directly answerable not to the bishop, but to their own religious superiors.
Notre Dame, Obama, and the Bishop’s Authority|Catholic Exchange
once a particular religious institute has been allowed to establish a house within his diocese, the bishop does not have the authority to meddle in their internal operations. After the bishop permits them to “set up shop” in his territory, these religious then have the right to establish their house in accord with their own internal statutes (c. 611 n. 1
While it would certainly be beneficial for Notre Dame and Bishop D'Arcy to enjoy a more cordial relationship, I don't think it can happen without the bishop realizing that dictating who should get honorary degrees at Notre Dame is not within the bounds of his authority. I hope that they can resolve their differences amicably, and in a way that is respectful of Notre Dame's and the Holy Cross Fathers' autonomy in this area.
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25th August 2009, 09:50 PM
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It is the same for all Catholic universities in the US. They are run by boards of trustees and not their founding religious orders. The point is that ND in this case chose to follow a secular path and no the one outlined by the man given teaching authority over the institution preferred, namely the bishop.
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