For some, it's a "no brainer." For others, it's simply heeding Pope Francis' call for the Church to create a new "balance" rather than continue along the path of remaining obsessed with contentious moral issues like abortion, contraception, and so-called "homosexual marriage" which can drive people away from the Church
According to The New York Times, for the Trustees of Loyola Marymount University (LMU), in California, it's a dilemma.
The question? Should they end coverage for abortions in the health insurance LMU offers faculty and staff members? After all, although condoms are not distributed on LMU's campus, professors are free to post stickers advocating abortion rights on their office doors. In addition, a performance of “8,” a play about the fight for so-called "homosexual marriage rights" was held on campus last year.
For faithful Roman Catholics, the obvious decision the Trustees should make isn't a "slam dunk." Recall that in 2010 they elected a Presbyterian, David W. Burcham, as LMU's President. Burcham was the first non-Catholic president of any Jesuit university in the United States.
In August 2013, Mr. Burcham sent a letter to LMU faculty and staff saying that since 1988, LMU repeatedly inquired with its health insurance companies about whether it would be possible to drop coverage for elective abortions from the faculty health plan. Until this year, the answer had always been no. But this summer, the insurance companies agreed to drop the coverage, and Burcham said LMU Trustees would vote on on the matter in October.
The Trustees will decide today about ending abortion coverage.
Since Mr. Burcham sent his letter, alumni/ae and faithful Roman Catholic professors have been agitating for the Trustees to end the coverage. Their goal is for LMU's policies to be more consistent with Roman Catholic moral teaching. For example, a professor of philosophy, Christopher Kaczor, said:.
Part of the university’s mission is to promote justice. And in the
Catholic tradition, abortion is considered a justice issue. So to say
the university supports justice and then also pay for abortions is
But, many on the faculty--Catholics and non-Catholics included--have been pressing the Trustees to keep the coverage, believing the Trustees would be changing LMU's longstanding "tradition of inclusiveness" which make non-Catholics feel part of the LMU community even though they do not hold the Church's views concerning abortion. For example, a LMU law school professor, Laurie Levenson said:
Loyola Marymount has always represented tolerance, diversity and
a welcoming atmosphere where we can exchange ideas openly. If
this represents a shift in what it means for Loyola to be a Catholic
university, and being a Catholic university now means exclusion, I
think Loyola would lose something very special. It could dramatically
change who’s attracted to the university and what faculty want to
That Pope Francis' words are being used to agitate for policies that are in direct conflict with the Church's moral teaching signals that the longstanding argument asserted by faithful Roman Catholics who work for the nation's Catholic universities may be weakening under this Pope. Drawing inspiration from the clarity of this Pope's two predecessors, these faculty and staff have been working for several decades to strengthen the Catholic identity of these institutions.
Were the faithful Roman Catholics to prevail in this case, professors like LMU's Anna Harrison are worried. She said:
For a lot of us, it looks like some of our worst fears about teaching
at a Catholic university are coming true. If teachers are going to
become more cautious and less creative in the classroom, then it’s
the students who will lose out. We don’t want faculty who are afraid
to embrace the complexity and richness of the subjects they’re
To which The Motley Monk can only ask, "Even if what they are teaching students is heresy?"
Perhaps the simple truth is that these professors want Catholic universities across the nation to be characterized by what Pope Francis called "pastry shop Christianity...nice cakes but with no real substance."
Let the discussion begin...
To read the New York Times article, click on the following link: