It seems that whenever a conservative or conservative group questions a Catholic institution's Catholicity, liberals come out swinging. It's almost as if they're "overprotective" mothers reacting to some old schoolmarm who had the audacity to complain about the behavior of their miscreant children. Or, a schoolyard bully attempting to take away their teddy bears.
Consider how The Spokesman Review accused the 1887 Trust—a group committed to defending Gonzaga University’s (GU's) Catholic identity--of demanding GU "to adhere to a more rigid ideology and Catholic tradition." Wherever would a reporter come up with the adjective "rigid" if that reporter was interviewing a member of the 1887 Trust? Then there's that reference to "Catholic tradition" which is code for "defending Church moral teaching." Wherever would a reporter come up with the notion that advocating that a Catholic university do so is a bad thing?
That's always the charge when liberal heterodoxy is challenged. It makes for a great banner headline: "Conservative Catholic ideologues seek to silence discourse."
A bit of background:
The 1887 Trust has been vocal concerning what the group believes
is a "lack of attention to the acquisition and retention of a majority
Catholic faculty and board." It also believes GU surrendered too
quickly the Obamacare mandate and should not have allowed "The
Vagina Monologues" to be performed on campus. Then, too, there
was the invitation in 2012 to Archbishop Desmond Tutu—who is
pro-abortion "rights" and pro- so-called "homosexual marriage"--
to be GU's commencement speaker.
Although The Spokesman Review didn't ask the question, it's implicit in the way the article depicts the 1887 Trust: "What a bunch of morons!
In this instance, however, the old schoolmarm and the schoolyard bully didn't go and hide but fired back.
The 1887 Trust's latest update states:
It seems to be a standard categorization in modern journalism, even
when stated without malice, that, if one wishes a Catholic institution
to adhere to objective standards in accordance with the Church’s self-
understanding, one is “rigid” and/or an ideologue. In truth, 1887 Trust
asks that the university adhere to objective measures set out by the
Church and its bishops in regard to markers of catholicity such as a
majority Catholic faculty and board of trustees, a responsible speaker
policy, and fidelity to the Christian message as interpreted by the
teaching authority of the Church. This is not a call to“rigidity.” It is a
call to “truth in advertising” on the part of Gonzaga as regards its
What liberal could possibly disagree with that? After all, haven't liberals been demanding the FDA impose "truth in labeling" on all food products? If it's good enough for food products, why not the product of Catholic education?
There's also that matter of GU's lay President. The Spokesman Review insinuates that the 1887 Trust isn't all that inclusive or diverse when it comes to the institution's presidency. Where did that gem come from?
According to the latest update:
There are many wonderful lay persons in Catholic higher education,
some of whom are more faithful to magisterial teaching than are some
Jesuits. The concern we feel about GU’s Catholic identity stems from
questions we have about the level of commitment to the Catholic mission
of the school exhibited by its leaders and faculty members.
Again, who could possibly disagree with that? Would liberals not agree that eliminating the priestly patriarchy would be a laudable goal, albeit first step, in GU's best interests? A faithful lay President would provide a positive step in the direction of ultimately inaugurating one of their own as GU's President.
What liberals fear is precisely what the 1887 Trust stands for: A GU which is a "Catholic University, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching, and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles, and attitudes."
Oh...that's the real problem. That quote comes from Ex corde Ecclesiae, the papal constitution on Catholic higher education, written by that rigid, patriarchal, conservative, right-wing-nut-job Pope, Blessed John Paul II.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the article in The Spokesman Review, click on the following link:
To read the 1887 Trust's latest update, click on the following link: