Skip to comments.Notre Dame, "the bishops," and "Catholic schools" (who has what authority)
Posted on 03/27/2009 10:02:50 AM PDT by NYer
by Monsignor Owen F. Campion
Notre Dame University’s recent decision to invite President Obama to address its forthcoming Commencement Exercises and to confer upon him an honorary degree caused an outcry from many Catholics opposed to the Chief Executive’s policies regarding abortion and stem cell research.
The fury transferred in many cases to “the bishops”, assuming that either the bishop of the diocese in which Notre Dame is located could stop the whole thing, or the American bishops collectively could do something.
Actually, the bishops have spoken. Several years ago, as a group, they formally resolved that Catholic colleges and universities should not invite politicians with pro-abortion records to speak on their campuses, nor should these schools give awards or honorary degrees to such political figures.
Nevertheless, the President will not be the first such figure to be lauded by an American university with a Catholic heritage. Not that long ago, the University of San Francisco, founded by the Jesuits in 1855, honored Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose pro-abortion views also dismay many Catholics.
To understand the situation, it is better to characterize these schools properly. There is utterly no comparison between them and the local parochial school.
This does not ignore certain Catholic symbols, or practices, in these universities, nor the often stated references in mission statements and even in specific policies to their “Catholic character” or “mission”. Rather, it recognizes other important facts.
As the Catholic community formed in the United States in the early 1800s, Catholic missionaries arrived from Europe, founding many institutions. For example, in 1789, the Jesuits started Catholic higher education by founding Georgetown College, on the outskirts of what was to become the national capital.
In 1842, a French community of men Religious, the Congregation of Holy Cross, started the school in Northern Indiana that eventually became the University of Notre Dame du Lac, to refer to Notre Dame by its official name.
Always, these Religious congregations owned and operated the schools that they had established. Even then, however, Church law gave local bishops limited jurisdiction over what happened in these schools. Why? The Religious communities in most cases were not subject to local bishops, only to their own superiors, and finally to the Pope, a fact of longstanding Church law.
Things began to change midway in the 20th Century. Vocations to Religious congregations began to fall, just as enrollments skyrocketed.
Religious communities correctly knew that soon they would not have the personnel to teach in, and to administer, these schools, at previous levels.
Then, philosophically, at the same time, the Church expressly was emphasizing lay witness. The Second Vatican Council extensively built on Pope Pius XI’s concerted push for “Catholic Action”. Bringing people other than Religious or priests into decision-making was the ideal, something the Church clearly was advocating.
So, in the 1960s, the founding Religious communities formally transferred ownership of, and rights to control, many of these famous universities to non-Church corporations which impaneled boards, overwhelmingly peopled not by Religious but by others, not reporting to the Church, to run the schools.
Now, in almost all the major universities historically Catholic, these boards set school policies and hire, and direct, college officials, very few of whom are priests or Religious, at times not Catholics.
When push comes to shove, without any truly sovereign place in the statutes of these institutions, the Religious, the bishops, and even the Vatican, only can make their case for attention to the school’s Catholic heritage, as they see it, and then hope for the best. When controversies occur at these schools, it hardly necessarily follows that Church officials either have coalesced in, or ignored, any decision.
Protesting decisions at universities such as this action at Notre Dame by appealing to bishops, rather than to those who actually operate these schools, overlooks fact.
Monsignor Campion is Associate Publisher of Our Sunday Visitor and Editor of The Priest magazine.
An excellent clarification of how the universities are run.
This among many other reasons is why the Catholic Church is losing all credibility!
Thought this might be of interest to you.
Got it, Mnsr!
Lets get back to attacking the ND board and the way word “religious” who made this decision!
(However, I would think that discipline towards the Priest who made this decisions is still allowed, is it not? If this Priest opened an abortion clinic, on campus, would the Church have the authority to defrock and excommunicate this Priest?)
Just like all “foundations” -— these charitable boards ALWAYS drift to the left.
What credibility has the Church lost? If anything, our bishops are the only voices in America speaking out against fetal stem cells and gay marriage.
How does that follow? And the ones losing credibility are the ones using the word Catholic in their institution’s name while spitting in the face of what the Catholic Church teaches. They in short are liars and scoundrels and thieves.
Hesburgh er Jenkins rather (Freudian slip) has the power and he IS a Priest.
I was refrerring to the pedophile scandals as well as the Catholic Church refusing to excommunicate prominent political leaders who support unlimited abortions!
The priests are still answerable to their ordinary, either the local bishop or one who oversees the fraternity, correct. In the Notre Dame case, that was one Fr. Jenkins. It is not terribly clear who is his ordinary, probably someone in the Holy Cross order, but that is where the lay Catholic pressure should be applied.
Rush talking about “touch down Jesus” on the ND field right now!
Yes, there is a comparison.
My daughter teaches math in a Texas Catholic elementary school. Nearly every one of the teachers and the principal voted for Obama. All classes were suspended so that the students could assemble to witness Obama’s inauguration oath.
I would agree to a compromise where he is allowed to speak but not given an honorary degree. That’s what bother’s me the most. He should not be honored at any Catholic affiliated institution. Benedict we need you now!!!
First, there was no real “pedophile scandal” in the Church.
Yes, it was illegal and it was immoral and it was a tragedy, but it was a HOMOSEXUAL PREDATOR problem in the Church that the Church did not understand, and dealt with very poorly. (JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER INSTITUTION IN AMERICA!)
Less than 5% of the total Priesthood, in America was involved.
In nearly EVERY case, the Priests were inappropriately involved with POST PUBERTY MALES!
It is not pedophilia, unless it is pre-puberty.
Liberalism believes in “rehabilitation” and “counseling” and the Church, itself, believes in true redemption.
Nobody realized soon enough that sexual predators can NOT be “rehabilitated” -— and the Catholic Church is now paying the price.
Again, your anti-Catholic bigotry, and your own arrogance, are showing through on this thread.
One shouldn’t be concerned if they are losing credibility with simpletons.
I was refrerring to the pedophile scandals as well as the Catholic Church refusing to excommunicate prominent political leaders who support unlimited abortions!
Just a correction...the priests caught up on this scandal were not pedophiles but homosexuals attracted to pubescent boys.
Suprised that Notre Dame has not backed down over this issue of inviting President Obama, WHY?
Could it be because of fear of ACORN?
Incidentally, did your daughter complain to the principal, the bishop and boycott the assembly?
The demonstrations must be huge.
The financial cost must be very, very high.
The embarrassment, to the University, must be long lasting.
Otherwise, no other Catholic University will ever worry about doing the same thing as ND.
I think it has been explained numerous times that those who support abortion or who aid in procuring an abortion or who have an abortion are automatically excommunicated. Now in the matter of those who create public scandal by their support of abortion they should indeed be refused communion. And I do not deny that certain Bishops have confused this matter with a mislaid intention to be pastoral. Perhaps with the mistaken idea that confronting the person will only harden their hearts all the more. When in Truth we can not repent unless we are confronted plainly with our sins.
But the actions of a few Bishops acting not in union with their fellow Bishops are in union with the See of Peter is not the action of the Catholic Church. I know it can be hard to make this distinction but it has to do with the narrow charism of infallibility. Which does not prevent stupid Bishops, pig headed Bishops, Venal Bishops, Loonheaded Bishops or even Inverterbrae Bishops.
Could it be we Catholic do not rely on the failings of sinful men for our Faith in Christ and His Church? But rather on the promises of Christ and the grace He gives these sinful men? I do not look for perfection from any man even a Bishop. I look for the protection of the Holy Spirit to preserve the Church as a whole from teaching error.
Well, then its up to Notre Dame Alumni to stop all contributions to Notre Dame until that school adopts a rule to follow Catholic Teachings with respect to inviting baby-killers to speak on campus.
exactly! where are the Protestants speaking out on the murder of the unborn? it strikes me as another excuse to Catholic bash, when Protestants start ragging on the Church for what they are/aren't doing about abortion, when their own churches sit MUTE on the subject, either not caring enough to speak up or afraid of taking on their own [liberal] constituencies.
“Suprised that Notre Dame has not backed down over this issue of inviting President Obama, WHY? Could it be because of fear of ACORN?”
It would be because the Faculty at Notre Dame is one of the most LIBERAL Teaching Institutions in AMERICA. Other than abortion and “Gay Civil Rights”, they COMPLETELY support the Democrat Agenda.
Well, let's separate the two and let each stand in its own light.
While no one would or should excuse the sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, the media has focused on these like a lazer beam, to the exclusion of far worse abuses that are being ignored.
Here is one site that may come as a surprise - Sexual Abuse of Children by Protestant Ministers. And while the following article is older, it is still true today but these predators are protected by unions - Sex Abuse by Teachers Said Worse Than Catholic Church . Do a Google News Search on the term "sexual abuse by teachers" and see for yourself. Then there is the sex abuse by camp counselors, Jewish rabbis, Muslim Imams and the list goes on and on. The major difference is this. We have embraced the problem and immediately dealt with it. Today, anyone who comes into contact with children in a Catholic school or religious education program, is fingerprinted and background checked.
As for your second allegation, I must preface any response with a question: What is your understanding of Catholic Excomunication?
Not suprising, typical liberal Catholic teaching estashblisment.
Apologies for not pinging you to post #27.
Ok, I can buy this, I kinda knew it already. But...is this priest completely free of any authority whatsoever?...does he bear responsibility alone for the invitation?...or, was it a committee decision and he was only the mouthpiece to announce it? If he’s not part of a seperate order that answers to seperate superiors, then he has a local bishop to answer to, who, I’m not sure how vocal or committed he is to stop this nonsense. Makes us Catholics look real good friend. It’s hurtful, when in these days especially, the only refuge we have is The Church.
What the ordinary or bishop of the diocesse could do is stand in front of the front entrance to Notre Dame and stand up to President Obama. Other then for that, other then for just and peaceful protests, cannot offer any more then that.
I am terrible when it comes to the “pinging” thing, myself.
However, it would be absolutely predictable that such a horrible sight would cause violence to erupt, among some in the crowd.
OR, Randall Terry and I have had our disagreements.
However, Terry is a real PRO at crowd control. I am glad he is involved. He is sure to have some training classes, and ask his direct followers to help coach those who show up without such “civil disobedience” training.
“Let the Chips Fall” -—
This spectacle will be sad, and uplifting, at the same time.
So, in the 1960s, the founding Religious communities formally transferred ownership of, and rights to control, many of these famous universities to non-Church corporations which impaneled boards, overwhelmingly peopled not by Religious but by others, not reporting to the Church, to run the schools. >>>
I think i’ve read this on another thread and correct me if I’m wrong, wasn’t this a violation of Canon Law?
Maybe we could start a corresponding blue envelope campaign:
Send a blue envelope addressed to President Obama at the White House, and enclose a small note and a $10 check:
Dear Mr. President,
Because of your stated appreciation of Catholics, with their rich tradition of recognizing the dignity of people I thought it would be fitting for you to be able to persoanlly pass along my enclosed restricted donation for Notre Dame Right to Life to the university president, Fr. Jenkins, when you are visiting Our Ladys university in South Bend.
This donation will support and promote the rich tradition you admire among the furutre leaders of America as they recognize and promote the dignity of people especially vulnerable black and latino mothers (whose neighborhoods big abortion targets) and their unborn children (whose lives are snuffed out by abortion at an alarming rate) by working to secure the right of all persons to be born.
No civilized society can advocate public policy that affords any person a right to demand the death of any other innocent, voiceless and vulnerable person.
This donation has the following restrictions: It must be used exclusively to increase the funding of
Notre Dame Right to Life
314 LaFortune Student Center
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556
above and beyond any programmed amount or budgeted funding of Notre Dame Right to Life by any other funding source, including any University of Notre Dame entity or office. This donation must be used to support overtly anti-abortion activities, chosen at the sole discretion of the student officers of Notre Dame Right to Life, and must be used prior to April 1, 2010.
Please let Father Jenkins know that I have made my check out to University of Notre Dame and have referenced the above detailed restriction on this gift in the memo line as Restricted: NDRTL anti-abortion budget increase.
I am praying for the enlightenment of your mind and the softening of your heart so that you can unreservedly embrace the rich tradition of recognizing the dignity of ALL people and join in our effort to restore the most basic of human rights - the right to life - for all.
John Q. Public
Just a guess, but as the universities were/are not diocesan property, probably not.
Monsignor Campion is ignoring something that IS within the local bishops authority:
He certainly has some authority to withhold permission for priests to offer the sacraments on campus. If not from the Holy Cross brothers, at least from any other priest from his own diocese or from any other diocese who is not a Holy Cross brother. And he may even be able to prevent the Holy Cross brothers from saying Mass publicly.
He certainly can shut down all other parish-like activities that happen on campus - such as sacramental preparation, first communions, first confession, confirmation, baptisms, pre-cana marriage classes, weddings & funerals. The Holy Cross brothers definitely need the local bishop’s permission to do all those things.
If Notre Dame is not totally controlled by the Holy Cross brothers, then I think the local bishop could prohibit Mass from being said if the church (such as the main basilica on campus) is not owned by the Holy Cross brothers or used as the main chapel for the Brothers themselves.
The issue is whether that would be more benficial than harmful.
Indeed. An interdict is a serious measure. Maybe the attention focused on this event will have the effect of warming the board at Notre Dame that their “brand name “ is being threatened. Without the reputation of being THE Catholic university, Notre Dame would be just another “traditionally Catholic” private school, like Georgetown or Boston College, and it is not even a Jebbie school.
Yes, it is a good explanation.
Fewer than 2% of all priests in the last 50 years were even accused of molestation, much less convicted. The Church made the mistake, in the 60's and 70's of bowing to the scientific and medical zeitgeist, and instead of punishing these men, sent them to be 'healed'. I thought it was interesting that not one of the lawyers for those people who were molested went after the psychiatric community for sending these men back to the Dioceses, supposedly healed of their problem.
As for the politicians, they've already excommunicated themselves.
LOL! Well said!!
I don't see how it would be, because these colleges were not begun by, or under the authority of the local Bishop. If a religious order started the college, they alone are responsible, though their order is under the authority of the Pope. I don't think the Pope has any say over whether or not they can change the 'ownership' of the institution. Many formerly religious institutions have gone secular, Harvard, Princeton, Boston College ;o), to name a few.
Apparently, Fr. Jenkins is just one of six members of his order to sit on the governing board of the school, and there are six laypeople. I think it was this board that decided on That One, and issued the invitation to him.
I think that those who object to That One being honored, and would be graduating, should have their own ceremony, and the Bishop, who has refused to attend the Commencement because of That One, could offer Mass and announce the names of those graduating, who are attending the pro-life gathering.
Great idea but let him make his own donation.
Martha MacCallum did not let the proud heretic Phil Donahue’s nonsense prevail unchallenged during this segment with Fr. Jonathon Morris, whic MacCallum moderated.
She nailed him good, as did the priest.
He is so bitter, so unaware of the harm his generation’s nonsense caused to the Church, and so blind to the fact that the only dying/dead religions are the ones that don’t have values worth sacrificing for.
Watch the interview here:
**Actually, the bishops have spoken. Several years ago, as a group, they formally resolved that Catholic colleges and universities should not invite politicians with pro-abortion records to speak on their campuses, nor should these schools give awards or honorary degrees to such political figures.**
So why do the universities and college disobey the bishops? Anyone have a good answer?