REPORT CARD: U.S. Bishops Proclaim Authentic Teaching on Gender; Father Martin Draws Protesters; Notre Dame Alumni Protest Contraceptive Coverage

Bishops publicly proclaim authentic Catholic teaching on gender

In a letter that should be read by all Catholic educators, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a letter co-signed by leaders from several Christian denominations and one from Islam, affirming that modern gender theories are “deeply troubling” and harm children.

“We come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female,” the letter says. “We also believe that God created each person male or female; therefore, sexual difference is not an accident or a flaw—it is a gift from God that helps draw us closer to each other and to God. What God has created is good.”

The bishops say that the very idea that a man can become a woman, or the reverse, just by asserting it, is a “false idea” that “compels people to either go against reason—that is, to agree with something that is not true—or face ridicule, marginalization, and other forms of retaliation.”

Some Catholic schools have come under fire for affirming Catholic teaching on gender. Others, sadly, have opted to adopt modern mores instead of protecting children.

“Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can ‘change’ their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults,” the letter stated. “Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions.”

The bishops called for policies “that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all” as well as a “renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.”

HuffPo not happy Catholic schools receiving taxpayer money

The Huffington Post published a report recently about how many Catholic or Christian schools receive public money through voucher or tax credit programs “while openly advertising and practicing anti-LGBTQ policies.”

The left-leaning news site created a database of more than 7,000 private religious schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia that receive public money.

“For Catholic schools, we looked for diocese-wide policies on these issues,” the article said. “We found at least 14 percent of religious schools take an active stance against LGBTQ staff and students.”

Exactly where are these schools that “take an active stance” against their own students and employees? Surely they aren’t Catholic!

Catholic teaching on gender and sexuality is the same as it always was. It is the person who comes into a Catholic school wishing to challenge Catholic teaching, undermine the school’s mission of evangelization, or cause scandal that leads students astray who is “taking an active stance” against the employer. Otherwise, what Catholic school doesn’t charitably help sinners—all of its students and employees—on their way to Heaven?

What HuffPo actually means, most likely, is that just 14 percent of religious schools uphold authentic Christian morality with regard to sexual activity, gender, and marriage. If so, what a tragedy! But who trusts HuffPo statistics on religion and sexuality?

The article also pointed out that many of these schools had policies against heterosexual sex before marriage, as well. Huh. At Catholic and Christian schools.

One thing HuffPo overlooks is that taxpaying parents are the ones making the decision as to where their children attend school. So when HuffPo rails against taxpayer money going to Catholic schools, they’re railing against parents making decisions about their children. What really scares them is that parents might raise their kids to be Christians.

How Catholic are Catholic universities?

Malcolm Kline, executive director of Accuracy in Academia, asks a pertinent question: “How Catholic Are Catholic Universities?”

He posits that many Catholic colleges have only a “reputation” of Catholicism, while not offering anything identifiably Catholic in much of their curriculum. “They advertise their Catholicism on their websites, but when you go to their catalogs, you find material well beyond St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.”

Kline points to courses at Georgetown titled “Gender and Sustainability” and “The Bible and Horror” and Providence College’s courses in “The Power of Whiteness” and “Globalization and Social Justice.”

But he suggests that Seton Hall’s course on “The Politics of Marriage,” which the catalog describes as focusing on “gay marriage as a contemporary political idea” that is “bound to a larger historical, religious and cultural narrative,” is the worst of them.

Not only are many Catholic colleges ignoring Catholic teaching, but sometimes they’re actually opposing it.

CUA music director seeks Gregorian Chant resurgence

Timothy McDonnell, director of the Institute for Sacred Music at The Catholic University of America, was interviewed for Catholic News Service stories and series of videos on the use of Gregorian Chant in the liturgy.

Named for St. Gregory the Great, Gregorian chant elevates Catholic liturgy, said McDonnell. “So much of its beauty resides in its simplicity and the fact that much of it can also be accessible to the congregation and by children” he said, according to CatholicPhilly.com.

Gregorian chant was standard in the Mass before the Second Vatican Council before it was essentially abandoned for more contemporary forms of music. However, McDonnell believes that Gregorian chant could make a comeback and see a wide resurgence in use.

Fr. James Martin draws protesters at Misericordia

A number of people protested keynote speaker Fr. James Martin, SJ, at Misericordia University’s winter graduation ceremony recently, according to Citizen’s Voice. The protesters believe Fr. Martin’s most recent book falls short of Catholic teaching on sexuality.

The National Catholic Register said that “Father Martin puts forth the notion that the Church has misunderstood God’s plan for human sexuality for her entire history and that she must now switch to a new teaching, namely that the union of man and woman in marital love is not the only path for the true and good expression of human sexuality.”

One of the protesters said homosexuality wasn’t the issue, but the appropriateness of a Catholic university hosting a speaker whose message confuses some Catholics.

In his speech, Fr. Martin said everyone should love and accept themselves. “Some people will approve of you, others won’t,” he added. “Some people did not like Jesus, and he was a pretty nice guy.”

Notre Dame alumni letter to Fr. Jenkins protests contraceptive coverage

A group of University of Notre Dame alumni who are now lawyers signed an open letter to President Fr. John Jenkins expressing “deep concern over what appears to be abuse by the university of the judicial process in its legal challenge to the Obamacare abortifacient-contraceptive mandate.”

After fighting the HHS contraceptive mandate in court, the university opted to provide abortifacient and contraceptive coverage as part of its insurance policy despite the Trump administration’s exemption for religious institutions, according to The Sycamore Trust. In short, the alumni say, Notre Dame “is now doing voluntarily precisely what it said it could not do in good conscience and without giving scandal.”

The inexplicable turnaround, the group said, showed that “Notre Dame had no business in court” and “by all appearances took the time of the courts and the government with a pretend lawsuit.”

Unless a reason is offered for the flip-flop, the alumni group said it wants the university’s Fellows or the Board of Trustees to give an explanation or, failing that, take remedial action.

The highest-paid Catholic college presidents

Four president of Catholic colleges and universities received compensation worth more than $1 million in 2015, according to America magazine.

Daniel J. Curran, the former president of the University of Dayton, topped the list with compensation of $2,442,168, which included a bonus and deferred compensation.

George E. Martin of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and Arthur F. Kirk of St. Leo University in Florida came next with compensation packages worth $1,397,470 and $1,022,796, respectively.

The president of the University of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins, received $1,006,249 that same year, although he reportedly transfers his salary to his religious order, the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

The presidents of the University of the Incarnate Word in Texas, Georgetown University, and DePaul University were not far behind.

Campion College Fellow Receives Papal Knighthood

Karl Schmude, a founding fellow of Australia’s Campion College, was recently invested as a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great by Bishop Michael Kennedy in the Armadale Cathedral.

Campion, a Newman Guide college, released a statement calling it “a great and well-deserved honour” for his work “to ensure that the Catholic intellectual tradition remains relevant in Australia, not least in his visionary idea to help establish a Catholic liberal arts college.”

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