Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ah, Georgetown, I hardly knew ya.




** Translation at the bottom for those who still don't understand why this is such a scandal.**


Georgetown University. My family's got connections to it, some academic, some personal.

But there is one connection that my family no longer has with Georgetown: Catholicism. The latest outrage from the university administration makes that pretty clear. I mean, covering up the crucifix to accommodate Obama's speech there was pretty outrageous, yes. And defending political operative Sandra Fluke's sad display was pretty outrageous, too.

But, this time… this time…Georgetown University has -- I can hardly type it without breaking my keyboard -- invited the notorious, rabidly pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius, the architect of the anti-Catholic HHS mandate, to be honored as a commencement speaker.

As others have said, I can't believe it, but I can believe it.

As much as it should be expected, it's still a shock to the system. I still wish Georgetown were authentically Catholic, but alas, wishing does not make it so.

Maybe "Hoya" is Latin for "heretic"?

Make no mistake: This slap in the face to the Church was made deliberately and was meant to stick it to the U.S. bishops, who are opposing Kathleen Sebelius' mandate with one voice, fighting for the Church's very right to religious freedom. The bishops' show of unity is unprecedented, and they have set aside an entire two-week period of nationwide "prayer, study, catechesis and public action" aimed at reversing what Sebelius, with Obama's blessing, has unleashed on Catholic entities.

This is the same Kathleen Sebelius who, while presenting herself as Catholic, hosted the late-term abortionist George Tiller and his staff in the Governor's mansion in Kansas. Tiller was one of her biggest campaign contributors and supporters, and she was one of his biggest defenders. Oh, and another late-term abortionist, LeRoy Carhart, was also invited to enjoy the festivities. (Pictures of the fun event, here.)

The bishops long ago directed that no Catholic university is to honor an actively pro-abortion politician or public figure, but the scandal of honoring Sebelius goes so much deeper than the flaunting of that directive, considering the evil of her HHS mandate . For not only is the woman pro-abortion-up-to-nine-months (crushing skulls, ripping off limbs and all), but she is the one Catholic in America who can out-scandal Nancy Pelosi and most of the Kennedys as the most anti-Catholic Catholic in politics. With one sweeping dictate from her power perch, she has put the existence of every Catholic institution -- hospitals, schools, charities, everything -- in grave peril.

Georgetown should have its Catholic designation stripped. Right this very minute.

And it's time to start praying for the souls in the Georgetown administration. They have sold out their Faith for thirty pieces of silver, they've done it with deliberation and a wry smile of satisfaction.

Oh, yeah, and if you'd like to sign the petition denouncing this latest and greatest scandal, please do so, here. I did.




**Translation for those still confused**


A respected and established vegan university founded and run by the Universal Vegans has decided to honor a notorious meat-eater (we'll call her K.S.) by inviting her to give the commencement address. Now, the UVs long previously have forbidden any meat-eaters from being honored at any of their universities. But K.S. is not even your ordinary, everyday eater of meat. No, indeed, she is a high-level meat-eating activist who has committed her life to the cause of eating meat, and has built her political career on support and donations from the meat industry.

In fact, K.S., a former governor and now a member of the President's Cabinet, once hosted a private party at the governor's mansion to honor the nation's most notable butcher and his entire slaughterhouse staff. She did so to thank him for his important work, and for his very large campaign contributions. Another well-known butcher joined the celebration that night. (These particular men are on record for slaughtering animals in the most cruel and inhumane ways, horrifying even most meat-eaters.)

In addition to her extreme support and advocacy for the nation's meat industry, K.S. recently promulgated a national mandate which would require all vegans and vegan institutions to provide meat products to all employees, for free. When the expected objections came from faithful and worried vegans, she "accommodated" their concerns by forcing the vegans to pay the local deli directly to provide the free meat, and giving them one year to comply. If the vegans refuse to pay up and provide the meat, they will be subject to massive fines or prison. Or, they will be forced to close their businesses, charities and institutions, which have operated peacefully and productively for centuries.

By the way, K.S. identifies as a vegan.

And the administration of the vegan university that invited her to give the commencement address also identify as vegans.

The Universal Vegans, who actually still hold to the cherished tenets of veganism, are outraged, scandalized and heartbroken. They are not the bad guys here.





.



111 comments:

  1. Bring on the smack down, bishops. Now!!

    Love the translation. Hehe

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  2. I didn't know Georgetown was Catholic to begin with. Well, they certainly aren't Catholic now.

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  3. Seriously!! It's confusing for the world at large to have these infamously non-Catholic institutions walk around claiming to speak for us. It's harmful to the Church and to all of us who try to be authentic witnesses for the Truth.
    This place goes on the list of universities I would rather die than send my children to.

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  4. Ugh. Just makes me sad. I'm a Notre Dame alumna, and this action is all too close to our 2008 Commencement tragedy. Although I did not support ND's decision then, at least they tried to claim the goal of "dialogue." In this case, I don't know how Georgetown could call this anything but, as you call it, a "slap in the face." Come, Holy Spirit, and guide us through this trying time your Church. Give us wisdom and fortitude!

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  5. I am not surprised. I hate to say this, but I think it's part of a general Jesuit opposition to "the hierarchy" that is taking a particularly pointed shape right now; this is coupled with the secularism of their institutions to create just this kind of situation. The Jesuits, of course, have always been considered renegades by some, but my recent experiences at Jesuit Universities have shown a really troubling, unsettling trend of anti-Catholicism. In charity, I think that this started as a desire for openness--Jesuits, after all, have historically offered to educate everyone, and have employed people who were not Catholic. What has changed, however, is the trend towards actual anti-Catholicism on the part of secular faculty, especially in the humanities. Many of these professors assuage their unacknowledged consciences by telling themselves they work for "the good ones," and the Jesuits have aided this by doing things like removing pro-life sentiments from their mission statements and focusing on inoffensive, no-skin-in-the-game social justice actions. Many Jesuit schools have no pro-life presence on their campuses at all, and a colleague of mine, who attempted to help her students form one, was met with resistance by many Jesuits themselves. The Jesuits have outnumbered themselves on many campuses as well, so I imagine even those few who would speak against Sebelius have no real power now to do so, and even less respect from the majority of their colleagues. The genie is out of the bottle, in my opinion, and I don't really see these universities returning to anything that is truly Catholic any time soon.

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  6. Good post, Leila.
    The Bishops need to strip Georgetown of its Catholic identity. This is absolute scandal, a calculated "slap in the face" to the Catholic Church. If they are so bent on opposing the Church at all costs, why remain Catholic? I pray the bishops take a stand on this... a REAL stand.

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  7. Signed it!

    And, I love your translation.

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  8. Leila, GREAT vegan story. Can you imagine PETA honoring the owner of a mass-producing chicken farm? Or honoring the people who raise calves in boxes to produce veal? Especially if, as you indicate, they would not be honored for their commitment to be more humane to animals, but IN SPITE OF their commitment to be more cruel!

    I have to say... it is not just the Jesuits who bear responsibility for this. As the sister and aunt of many ND alumni it breaks my heart to say it, but a great deal of this falls at the feet of Fr. Hesburgh, who organized the Land O Lakes conference that began the academic break with the Church. I honestly don't understand it, yet I'm not surprised because even in the '80's I'd read my parents' ND Magazine and think, gosh, they don't strike me as being very supportive of Church teaching. I wouldn't have minded discussions of Church vs. dissident teaching, but they only gave coverage to the non-Church point of view,which in my mind implied support for dissidents. Even in my needing-to-revert days I was sad to see the lost opportunity to teach their readers the "why" behind Church teaching. How they could do that to Our Lady, I just don't understand.

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  9. And to think that the Jesuits were founded specifically by Ignatius of Loyola, shortly after the reformation, with the primary aim of defending the Pope - literally the (spiritual) army of the Pope. Which one of them still identifies with their motto "Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam" - all for the greater glory of God?

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  10. Sorry, that would be SAINT Ignatius of Loyola...

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  11. As has been discussed here recently, I think the Church may have to get smaller before it gets bigger. Better to be small and strong and faithful than larger and.....like this.

    I don't think one can be an intentional, unapologetic meat-eater AND a vegan at the same time. By definition, I don't think it's possible.

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  12. "...a great deal of this falls at the feet of Fr. Hesburgh, who organized the Land O Lakes conference that began the academic break with the Church."

    Sharon, exactly! I had forgotten that I had written a post on the very subject of Fr. Hesburgh, here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/follow-up-professor-and-me-and-catholic.html

    What an unmitigated disaster for Catholic higher education!

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  13. This is totally unacceptable. I really hope and pray the Bishops don't allow this to go unchallenged.

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  14. Great post! I totally agree. Love your vegan analogy! Ha!

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  15. Your translation was really funny. If I were graduating from Georgetown this year, I would adorn the top of my hat with a cow and a "no" sign over it. Those of you nearby should make an appearance and protest this!

    On a serious note, that is depressing. I work in a Catholic Hospital. We don't do any sterilization procedures and we "don't" offer contraception (we also don't keep people alive forever on ventilators- but that's another post in itself). Anyway, I have a friend who recently delivered her son (named John Paul) at "my" hospital. Her and her husband were asked 7 times what kind of birth control they were planning to use- at this great Catholic hospital. I am so annoyed that I would like to draft a letter to the sisters (of Charity of Leavenworth- who own the hospital). I am not much of a writer, so if you'd like to assist, or encourage, please do.

    These things make me so cranky.

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  16. Holly, do it! I am happy to check it over once it's written. :)

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  17. Lent is definitely over, I see! :)

    It is confusing to hear about all the non-Catholic Catholics out there. I get your vegan analogy, but I wonder if it's too simple? Being a vegan is extremely simple, cut-and-dried: no animal products. It seems like Catholic doctrine is far more complex than that--multitudes upon multitudes of areas where someone could stray from the "correct" Catholic stance. Perhaps I don't understand it clearly.

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  18. Johanne, I've heard people say that. But remember, we have an authority which defines authentic Catholicism, so it's easy to know.

    For example, if I asked you what the Church's stance on abortion was, you could easily tell me, or easily find out. I promise you… the heads of Georgetown certainly know that the Church is prolife, and they most definitely know that the HHS mandate is condemned by every American Bishop. And it is the bishops who head the Church, not the theologians, and not the university presidents.

    But do you have a specific? For example, what teaching is unclear or confusing?

    Thanks!

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  19. Right, Leila.

    Johanne, maybe this will help: As Catholics, we are called to both a subjective and an objective faith. That is what is asked of us in order to be "faithful Catholics."

    Subjective faith: the "I believe" part. This is what we feel/know to be true, something that we take ownership of as part of our belief system/faith.

    Objective faith: obedience to the Magesterium, or the teaching office of the Church. This is where we remain obedient to the teachings of the Church, even if we don't understand or quite agree with them. This is when we do what the Church teaches, even if we haven't come to accept it as such. So, for example, not using birth control because of Church doctrine...but not understanding the theology behind the doctrine yet. We are asked to be obedient.

    Now, I will add that we are asked to be obedient, but not "blindly folllow." It is expected of us that we are continually searching to understand that Truth. We are expected to keep reaching out for explanations, keep reading Church documents, praying through things. To St. Augustine, it was this obedience that allowed for enlightenment. If we were obedient, the Holy Spirit would be able to work within us so that eventually all objective faith became subjective faith.

    Does that help? So, it is pretty easy and clear-cut. The Church has well established doctrine that is widely available in print or through its clergy. A Catholic is called to be obedient to that, in all manners, while seeking to understand the Truth.

    To use the vegan example, it would be similar to a child who is raised vegan, continues to eat vegan, but doesn't understand WHY he/she is a vegan. He/She would be expected to learn why and internalize the "why" part of it so that he/she would be taking ownership of his/her vegan-"ness."

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  20. Yes, we can (and all do) stray from the doctrine at times, but we are to repent and reconcile ourselves with the Truth.

    We can't PURPOSEFULLY stray (and not repent) and expect to be considered a "faithful Catholic."

    So we can't call ourselves a vegan while purposefully and knowingly (speaking to INTENT here) eating a hamburger.

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  21. @ Heidi. Thank you!

    @Leila. I can't say there's any specific teaching, but I see Catholicism as soooo complicated (hundreds of cathecisms that I assume Catholics are supposed to memorize). But I have no knowledge of the Magesterium. It's probably not appropriate for me to ask such basic questions--this really isn't a forum to educate those as ignorant (though I've learned a lot!) re: Catholicism as I am. Carry on!

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    1. Hi Johanne - may I suggest my blog in the Catholic Blogosphere to you. If you are sincerely interested in learning the Catholic faith, please see my blog as well. http://tomperna.org
      It's my hope to engage and educate the Catholic lay faithful in the New Evangelization. Leila does a fantastic job as well on this blog.

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  22. My grandfather did his medical training there. THis is a travesty. Georgetown should be kicked out of the Catholic Church right now. They are cowards.

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  23. I didn't attend Georgetown, but I've had opportunities to visit, and it always slays me that there are flyers taped on the stalls in the ladies' rooms advocating for abortion and Planned Parenthood. I guess nothing they do or allow along these lines should surprise me any more, but it still does.
    -January

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  24. I see Catholicism as soooo complicated (hundreds of cathecisms that I assume Catholics are supposed to memorize).

    Nope, there's just one Catechism, and memorization isn't required (it's great if you can, but not expected!).

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

    Georgetown is very clearly in defiance of Catholic teaching.

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  25. Johanne,

    In my experience in re-educating myself about the Church, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it's really quite simple. It all boils down to one simple, objective Truth: the inherent dignity and worth of every single human life (we Christians would add "made in the image and likeness of God). The vast majority (dare I say, all?) of moral dogma streams seamlessly and logically from this very basic starting point. All of these current 'Great Societal Debates' come down to a denial (either directly or indirectly) of this basic, objective Truth.

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  26. Mary, my dad is a Georgetown medical school grad! He never gives a dime to that place now.

    Johanne, I second what JoAnna said. It's not like you think at all. I have never once memorized a Catechism (although there is a good one for kids and sometimes schools will have their kids memorize the short Q & A's in theology class. Just like any other subject or academic discipline, you need some tools for learning. But truly, it's not as complicated as you might think, and I definitely use this blog for teaching the "ignorant" and anyone who wants to know more. My whole charism here is to try to keep things very simple for folks. And for me, ha ha! If I can spell this stuff out with no formal education in theology, and if I can live it joyfully and relish in its consistency, then for sure the Georgetown admin and faculty can, too. :) But the truth is, they do know the faith (in particular what the Church teaches about abortion and our fight against the HHS mandate), and they simply reject it.

    But truly, ask! That's what I'm here for and I would feel sad if you felt you couldn't ask those questions. Especially the basic ones! A more learned person than I could take you deeper (the Faith can go as deep as eternity, really… no end to the riches), but the basics, even those we are still pluming the depths of, are accessible to all.

    And yes, Tom is a great teacher and a friend of mine, with a great blog!

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  27. Lelia, thank you for your post. I was so outraged, I took the liberty of emailing the USCCB and copied them with your post. Something should be done! GU should not be allowed to get away with this defiance of the Church. I agree with one of the posters who said maybe the Church needs to get smaller before it gets bigger. With friends like GU, who need enemies.

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  28. I look forward to hearing about how there is "inherent dignity" in the recent piece of Virginia legislation where women are forced to have trans-vaginal probes and ultrasounds before being able to access abortion. Remind me again, where is the dignity in having the government inside my vagina and making life decisions for me?

    -gwen

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  29. Where's the petition for their "Catholic" status to be immediately revoked, and the entire administration excommunicated?

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  30. Gwen, let me clarify the facts for you.

    1) There was no "forcing" of a transvaginal u/s. Either type of u/s was permitted. Abdominal is not as accurate for seeing the baby at the earliest stages of life, so transvaginal is the "standard of care" for that gestational age, and the one that most abortionists choose to use (well before this legislation!).

    2) The law was directing that, unlike the norm, the abortionist must give the woman the option to see her baby before she aborts the child. It's informed consent. Sort of like looking at the tumor on the MRI before the surgery. Who would be against more information?

    3) An abortion procedure itself is a heck of a lot more invasive on a woman's body (using the same channel to the womb) than a transvaginal u/s (which, again, was not required -- that was the narrative the liberal press wanted to use, since the press promotes the abortion-rights agenda as a matter of course).

    Thanks for the chance to clarify, as that distortion is one of the more glaring ones that has made the rounds.

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  31. And Gwen, even though your comment is so off-topic (but I am okay with that), the inherent dignity of the human person includes bodily integrity. Not only the bodily integrity of the child in the womb (it's inherently undignified to be violently ripped limb from limb), but also the inherent dignity of the woman whose dignity is in her love for her children (and all mankind). There is nothing dignified in a woman hiring a doctor to enter her womb (not just her vagina) and scrape out her child with sharp implements. Only in a mixed up world could that be called dignified. And it's also an indignity that most abortion are coerced by mothers and boyfriends and husbands. You, a feminist, should be outraged by that fact. Are you outraged at the coercive nature of abortion? Or that there is a an entire industry (mostly made up of male abortionists) making millions scraping empty the wombs of women lying on their backs? Why does that not make you physically ill?

    Sorry, Gwen, I will never understand your view of women's dignity.

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  32. Gwen, I asked my friend, who is the wife of an OB/gyn, to comment on your comment. She is not able to post it right now, but told me I could cut and paste her words:


    Well...she hasn't read the bill for starters
    It's not a required trans-vag ultrasound, just an ultrasound, which is already standard of care in the OB world
    Most women can have a regular u/s, once they hit 8ish weeks of pregnancy...since most abortions are done between 8-12 weeks, it's kind of a smoke cloud argument
    Sigh

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  33. Gwen -

    “That’s just the medical standard,” said Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office. “To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.”

    According to Schreiber, Planned Parenthood does require women to give signed consent for abortion procedures, including the ultrasound. But if the women won’t consent to the ultrasound, the abortion cannot take place, according to the group’s national standards.

    Schreiber said there are several options at that point. If the woman is uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, which is more invasive, she can wait until the fetus is large enough to opt for a transabdominal ultrasound.

    “But if she’s uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, then she’s not going to be comfortable with an equally invasive abortion procedure,” Schreiber told me.
    - source

    My question to you, Gwen - why do you want women undergoing an abortion procedure to have substandard care? Are you afraid she'll change her mind if she has the choice to view an ultrasound? I thought you were all about choice?

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  34. Re: the Georgetown scandal, these words from Pope Benedict about the identity of Catholic universities are most welcome:

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1201856.htm

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  35. My question is "Why WOULDN'T we want all of the information, as women?"

    I mean, an abortion isn't risk-free. Even an abortion caused by medications (so, not surgical) is pretty intense.

    A blood test isn't going to show you if you have an ectopic pregnancy, or if you are dealing with a molar pregnancy, or the location of the implanted fetus, or if it's more than one fetus, or the gestational age. ACOG only recommends a medication-induced abortion before 9 weeks gestation....as a physician, I would think that you would want to verify that gestational age before prescribing something that could seriously harm your patient if she was lying. I would love to give patients the benefit of the doubt here, but honestly, previous experience in this area has made me cynical. Patient compliance is a HUGE issue in medical care, unfortunately.

    The only thing that will help you verify all of the above information is an ultrasound...which is why it is done in over 90% of all abortions (regardless of whether or not it is surgical vs medication). Even abortion clinics insist on performing them (like JoAnna posted before). A quick Google search led me to a handful of clinics who listed an ultrasound as a pre-req for an abortion.

    I've read three of the "ultrasound" laws/bills (TX, VA, AZ), and all that they require, by law, is an ultrasound being performed (no requirement of what kind of u/s) and an offer to view being made to the patient - no requirement to watch it. If we are truly worried about women's health care and it being the best possible health care out there.....this is a no-brainer, honestly.

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  36. Thanks, Doctor! (I am pretty sure that was Heidi's husband, an OB/gyn.)

    I truly can't wrap my brain around why those bills are controversial. Except if you consider that the controversy is politically motivated, and not based on what is the best medical care for the women involved.

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  37. This GU issue honestly makes me sick to my stomach. It's beyond the pale.

    I know someone who has a student at GU who's all for KB speaking. Thinks it's part of a university's intellectual mission - civil debate and all. But what this person (and lots of others) won't acknowledge is that GU is not asking her to engage in an open dialogue with their graduates - they're HONORING her. She's being given an opportunity to speak TO them, but GU's not giving that same opportunity to opposing voices. That's not a debate.

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  38. Sorry, this inspired my break with silence: "it's really quite simple. It all boils down to one simple, objective Truth: the inherent dignity and worth of every single human life"

    Because it really isn't that simple, especially when there is great debate about what constitutes "inherent dignity." In my mind, there's no dignity in undermining women's choices, in outlawing abortion services, or insisting that voters only vote for one "moral" issue (as if it were the only one). If Georgetown wants to hear a commencement speaker who challenges Orthodox Catholic beliefs, why not?

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  39. And my information about the Virginia bill came from

    http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2012/02/virginia_ultrasound_law_women_who_want_an_abortion_will_be_forcibly_penetrated_for_no_medical_reason.html

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  40. Miss G, the entirety of Georgetown "challenges orthodox Catholic belief". It's a big "yawn" to be a dissenter at Georgetown. What would truly be courageous and "edgy" would be if Georgetown actually had a faithful Catholic as a speaker! ha ha!

    You see, Miss G, dissenting Catholics are the default position in American academia. It's the orthodox whose voices are rarely heard or allowed. :)

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  41. "If Georgetown wants to hear a commencement speaker who challenges Orthodox Catholic beliefs, why not?"

    As Danzma said, this is about HONORING someone, not about hearing a challenge to the orthodox position. Would ever say that a vegan institution should honor a notorious meat-eater?

    I'm interested.

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  42. And, again, the irony is that the Catholic kids at Georgetown are often completely unfamiliar with the Catholic position on things. I went to a Jesuit university (BC) and trust me, there was no fear that anyone might hear too much orthodoxy, lol! In fact, I was a very bad, ignorant and lapsed Catholic and there was nothing there (aside from about two brave professors) that challenged my heterodoxy or dissent in any way.

    It's SUCH a scandal, on such a large scale.

    Gwen, my point is, don't you worry about challenges to orthodoxy not being allowed. They are not only allowed, they are the NORM. It's the Faith that is utterly marginalized and largely unknown.

    I know I am repeating myself, but do you get this? I seriously want to know if you get my point.

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  43. In my mind, there's no dignity in undermining women's choices,

    How is giving women the choice to view an ultrasound image undermining her choice? Many women who have testified in favor of this legislation did so because they were denied the choice to see the ultrasound, despite asking to do so.

    in outlawing abortion services

    Outlawing the murder of children undermines a woman's dignity how?,

    or insisting that voters only vote for one "moral" issue (as if it were the only one).

    It's eminently logical, however, because the right to life is the right from which all of our other rights are derived. How can one have rights if they are dead and can't exercise them?

    If Georgetown wants to hear a commencement speaker who challenges Orthodox Catholic beliefs, why not?

    Because Georgetown is supposed to be a Catholic university that espouses Catholic ideals. As Danzma pointed out above, this is not about hearing a speaker that challenges Catholic beliefs; this is about honoring (not just hearing, honoring) a woman who has done everything in her power to undermine those beliefs.

    Did you read Leila's analogy at all? Do you think that PETA members should be fainting with joy if PETA were to invite the president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to speak and be honored at a PETA event?

    Perhaps you should get your information about the Virginia bill from the actual text of the Virginia bill? If you're intent on getting your news from Slate.com, however, I suggest reading this article.

    Again, Gwen, why do you want women seeking abortion to have substandard care? Why do you want to deny them the choice of viewing the ultrasound?

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  44. If Georgetown wants to hear a commencement speaker who challenges Orthodox Catholic beliefs, why not?

    Sorry, I'm going to keep going.

    Why not? Read my "translation" and you'll see why not.

    Why does Georgetown pretend to be Catholic?
    Why would any institution with integrity (a word I adore!) honor someone who is the biggest underminer of the institution's stated mission?

    Do you see the problem, Gwen?

    Seriously, is there no love for integrity anymore, even if you don't agree? I can respect those with integrity, even when I don't agree. But why don't you see a problem with an institution that has no integrity? Is that another lost virtue? Should we jettison that one, too?

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  45. Well, Leila if they wanted to invite an Orthodox Catholic Bishop to speak, I'd be up for that as well. So, why didn't they? And why is an expression of faith different from yours so extremely wrong and easily misguided if understanding ONE truth and "inherent dignity" is such a simple concept?

    JoAnna-there's a difference between being offered a service and being told you HAVE to have it as mandated by law.

    As for the PETA comparison, I've learned to sort of skip over the comparisons as I typically find them inaccurate or misconstrued. However, if you want to compare your philosophy, faith, 2,000 year old religion and way of life to a committed choice about subsistence strategies, then go right ahead.

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  46. "Why does Georgetown pretend to be Catholic?" Well, there's the crux of your problem. They don't see themselves as "pretending" to be Catholic.

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  47. Miss G,

    Thank you for quoting my passage, rereading it I see that my phrasing is a little off. I should have said, after the colon, "every single human life has inherent dignity and worth"

    I see your point, though. Among people that deny anything outside of themselves I would imagine there would be great debate concerning what constitutes 'inherent diginity'. I don't see how either one of those words separately could have any relevance in a godless universe...the two together become nonsensical. Fortunately, that isn't a problem for Catholicism.

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  48. Speaking of integrity---Slate? really?

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  49. Gwen, let me take that by asking you a simple question: In your understanding, what or who is the authority regarding Catholic doctrine?

    Thanks!

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  50. JoAnna-there's a difference between being offered a service and being told you HAVE to have it as mandated by law.

    Why do you want women seeking an abortion to have substandard care? Women are free to refuse an ultrasound if they wish, but if they do it's not safe to proceed with an abortion.

    Don't you want women to be safe? Why do you want to deny them the choice to view the ultrasound that is going to be performed for safety reasons anyway?

    As for the PETA comparison, I've learned to sort of skip over the comparisons as I typically find them inaccurate or misconstrued.

    Wouldn't it better to explain how they're inaccurate or misconstrued?

    However, if you want to compare your philosophy, faith, 2,000 year old religion and way of life to a committed choice about subsistence strategies, then go right ahead.

    Do you know what an analogy is, Gwen? When using an argument from analogy, one doesn't assert that the two things are identical, only that they are similar. I'm sure you can find many PETA members who DO consider their philosophy to be akin to religion.

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  51. And since I'm asking questions--how on earth is a transvaginal ultrasound less dignified than a surgical abortion and all that transpires therein? So the doctors ought to just GUESS the age of the fetus, perhaps by poking around with their fingers? With what other medical procedure would we ask doctors to eliminate the standard of care because it might upset someone--"Well, Mr. Jones, i know it might upset you if I look at your x-ray--you're squeamish about bones and all--so let's just examine your arm visually and then we'll dive right into surgery." It's just a fetus--which at most is something like a parasite--so what's the problem with locating it in the best way possible so a woman is safer during the procedure everyone wants to be "safe, legal and rare?"

    Again--really?

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  52. And Gwen, the comparison to veganism is to make folks like you understand the problem. Forget Catholicism for a moment: Do you see the problem in the vegan scenario? Any problem at all? If you do see a problem with the vegan institution honoring a pro-meat advocate, what would the problem be? Meaning, can you describe the problem?

    Thanks!

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  53. Miss G, just because someone can't "see" their own hypocrisy, doesn't mean it's not there. You can claim to be a vegan, but when I see you standing in the public square eating a cheeseburger, your hypocrisy is in full view of the world even if you can't "see" it. It's about integrity, as Leila says, be who you say you are.

    And I agree with other posters, I think the more fundamental (and philosophical) question is why do the Jesuits even WANT to claim to be part of an organization whose teachings they hold in such contempt. I mean, if you want to ski, you don't join the scuba club.

    (Sorry for the duplicate post, not sure what happened.)

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  54. I have to say, I am somewhat pleased to see Miss G come back, time and again, to Leila's blog. I find it a little bit difficult to put myself in her position, because her arguments, more often than not, are pure sophistry, and intelligent person that she is, she would surely recognize that immediately in someone else. Something appears to draw her back time and again, and I hope it is the Truth that she sees shining through Leila's posts and many of the commenters. I think she might make a wonderful disciple of that Truth. If I sound patronizing (that's quite possible), I apologize. I hope to continue having her here.

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  55. Miss Gwen, you said, "Because it really isn't that simple, especially when there is great debate about what constitutes "inherent dignity." In my mind, there's no dignity in undermining women's choices, in outlawing abortion services, or insisting that voters only vote for one "moral" issue (as if it were the only one)."

    That is the difference between secularists and those who strive to live an authentic Catholic life. We place our trust in God over what He constitutes as "inherent dignity" because He truly knows what is best for all humans and cannot lead us astray. Thus, God makes it pretty simple and if the circumstance becomes complicated, then our challenge is to maintain our trust in Him and not question His ways. Thus, we follow His teaching of life beginning at conception and do all we can to protect that life from conception until natural death.

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  56. Leila, "Gwen, let me take that by asking you a simple question: In your understanding, what or who is the authority regarding Catholic doctrine?"

    Is the answer God by way of the Pope and the Bible?

    Now that you've posted about Georgetown, I'm interested to see what will happen. The strength of your argument against the situation though doesn't need an analogy to Vegans and meat eaters. To suggest people can't "understand" your argument without some wishy washy comparison to people who do and don't eat meat comes across as supercilious and quite frankly, undermines the whole idea that your "truth" is so very simple to comprehend.

    Thanks Margo, your answer/response makes the most sense actually out of everything written here so far.

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  57. Oh, Danzma, Leila has a whole post on the meaning of the word "hypocrisy" check it out:

    "Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie.

    Hypocrisy is not simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches."

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    1. I stand by my statement.

      Jesuits take voluntarily and public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to the Bishop and I can assure you there were people present at their ordinations that heard them make these vows. If they made such public promises, but had no intention of being true to them, isn't that the definition of pretending, or deceiving others, or kind of a lie?

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  58. Great post Leila.

    I just finished this book over the weekend and it is an excellent, can't-put-it-down, Catholic fiction thriller (yes, thriller) about spiritual warfare and how Satan is infiltrating the Church through her dissident members. It put issues like this into perspective for me a lot better. I don't recommend books lightly, but I think the other Catholics here would enjoy this book. Some valiant and courageous heroes in it. The setting is in D.C.

    http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Cain-Val-Bianco/dp/0983526214

    Remember, as bad as it seems, God wins.

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  59. If they made such public promises, but had no intention of being true to them, isn't that the definition of pretending, or deceiving others, or kind of a lie?

    Danzma, BINGO!!

    The very definition of a hypocrite.

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  60. Gwen, the reason I put analogies like that is because, indeed, people do not seem to understand why Sebelius speaking at Georgetown would be such a scandal. I still haven't heard from you if you see why it's a scandal? Do you see?

    Please answer: Do you see why Sebelius speaking at Georgetown is a scandal? I'm not asking whether you agree. In fact, I can see that a meat-eating advocated being honored at a vegan institution is a scandal, even though I am sympathetic to the meat-eater.

    So, do you see why it's a scandal that Sebelius is being honored at Georgetown? If you say yes, then I'll know that those analogies are not necessary for you.

    Thanks!

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  61. Sorry, Gwen, I should have worded it much more specifically:

    "Who is the earthly authority for proclaiming what is or is not Catholic doctrine?"

    The answer is the body of bishops in union with the Pope, i.e., the Magisterium.

    So, there should be no confusion about what is Catholic teaching, since we have an authority to appeal to. It's not a secret, it's not hard to discover. Just like I am able to tell you that the Mormon president (or whatever he is called) is their highest earthly authority, and I would expect Mormons who are faithful to defer to his teachings. Doesn't mean I agree with him (I don't), but I know enough to respect that he is the authority, and therefore I would be able to identify a dissenting Mormon institution: If the authority said, "We teach X," and this institution is teaching Y, then it actually would be fairly easy to see the problem, and identify the dissenter.

    Am I being clear? Is anyone else having trouble understanding what I'm getting at? It could be me, seriously. I have not been as clear as I used to be. Old age? A rampaging two-year-old? Not sure….

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  62. I just keep hearing, on the one hand, "It's not clear who is a "real" Catholic, we can't tell what dissent is or who the dissenters are, we don't know what the big deal is that she's speaking, it's all very complicated."

    And then I hear on the other hand, "Why do you give these insulting analogies as if we can't "understand" what is going on at Georgetown?"

    Color me confused… which is it?

    Sigh.

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  63. Come to think of it, Gwen, you still have not answered my question!

    This apparently insulted you, but it was an attempt to get you to actually answer the question about whether you see the scandal:

    "And Gwen, the comparison to veganism is to make folks like you understand the problem. Forget Catholicism for a moment: Do you see the problem in the vegan scenario? Any problem at all? If you do see a problem with the vegan institution honoring a pro-meat advocate, what would the problem be? Meaning, can you describe the problem?"

    You didn't answer. Why won't you? I am guessing you do see the scandal, if this were a vegan institution, wouldn't you? Would you? Please answer, pretty please? Do you see?

    And, by extension, do you see why Sebelius being honored at a Catholic university is a scandal? Do you see? Please answer? I don't know how to make it a more straightforward question.

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  64. You're welcome, Gwen, although I must give the credit to God for speaking (typing) through me. I am curious to know what exactly about my response made sense to you, since I can tell Leila is also trying to make sense in her responses and communicate with you the way I did.

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  65. It seems to me, that, in order to call yourself 'catholic', you are publicly stating that you believe (and do your best to practice) what the "Catholic" church teaches to be true. If you don't believe (or practice) what the Catholic church teaches, then you aren't catholic. If you 'protest' what the church teaches, you are a protest-ant. It's not "bad" to be a protestant, but it IS bad to claim to be a catholic, if you really aren't. If you don't want to be identified as catholic, then don't be, but don't claim to be a catholic, if you're not.

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  66. Hi Margo,

    Your response made sense because 1) you acknowledge the divide between secularist thinking/authentic Catholic thinking and 2) you made clear to me that even authentic Catholics find challenges in their searches/attempts to live life according to the truth; the answer is to discern God's plan.

    And now for the endless questions:

    hey, so I was partly right with my answer Leila (I mentioned the Pope). Score 1 for the atheist : )

    Do I see the outrage in Georgetown? I understand your opinions as to why you're outraged but I didn't need an analogy to Veganism to comprehend it.

    What I don't understand is why you seem to gloss over the very problematic idea that the essence (for lack of a better word) of Catholicism boils down to one simple Truth, when it seems the Jesuit understanding might be different and many Secularists and other religious folk see things differently too. If it were really a simple truth maybe there wouldn't be this kind of disagreement (?)

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  67. Oh, and no I'm not offended in the least by your analogy to Veganism but it doesn't come across as, well, relevant or friendly.

    I've never known a Vegan to voluntarily eat a hamburger (especially knowing that gastrointestinal distress will ensue) but I have known Vegans to respect and listen to people who eat meat.

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  68. I have known Vegans to respect and listen to people who eat meat.

    Respect and listen to =/= heap honors upon at a commencement ceremony.

    You do see the difference, I hope?

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  69. The vegan comparison is irrelevant as well as silly. Veganism is about not anything that comes from an animal. Catholicism is about so many things - sacraments, the 10 commandments, the gospel, the catechism - NOT just the abortion issue. I mean, really?

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  70. The vegan comparison is irrelevant as well as silly. Veganism is about not anything that comes from an animal. Catholicism is about so many things - sacraments, the 10 commandments, the gospel, the catechism - NOT just the abortion issue. I mean, really?

    False.
    Veganism is one fundamental philosophy regarding the use of animal products; it includes various details on food. Same with Catholicism. It's a religion based on Christ, the catechism fleshes out that one particular truth. Whether it's the Church, the pope, the catechsim, those are elements that detail it and have authoritatively passed along the deposit of faith.

    Veganism is indeed a very good analogy. A lot of details go into that philosophy and practice. Same with Catholicism.

    And, erm, gwen. Your argument falls apart here:
    Is the answer God by way of the Pope and the Bible? is what you replied when Leila asked you what or who is the authority regarding Catholic doctrine.

    It's not God thru the pope and the bible, as you said. It's God thru Christ who founded a Church, then tradition, and magisterial teachings.

    If you talk Catholicism, you said you don't need analogies.

    Good, so let's just talk logically about it. Let's talk about Catholicism without analogies, are you ready for that?

    You also said this, which falls apart:
    I've never known a Vegan to voluntarily eat a hamburger (especially knowing that gastrointestinal distress will ensue) but I have known Vegans to respect and listen to people who eat meat.

    The BIG difference is that Sebelius is a Catholic, not a person of a different faith. She's not invited to share a different faith. It's the same faith she supposedly shares and doesn't publicly adhere to. It's nothing to do with "hearing out different views". There are basic Catholic tenets all Catholics must uphold. Otherwise they cut themselves off from the body of Christ and can only be restored by way of confession and repentance, which is a complete turning away from sin. In her case, we know politically where she stands and it's not even remotely close to the basic Catholic teaching on protecting and preserving all human life.

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  71. Excuse me Nubby,

    Someone named Mary Margaret also sees the vegan analogy as rather irrelevant, so direct your quibbles to her.

    Also, your use of my words is taken completely out of context. Leila asked me a QUESTION about Catholic doctrine and I did my best to ANSWER it (different from an argument). Really, what is the point of asking me a question about Catholic doctrine when I am 1) not Catholic 2) not Christian 3) haven't been forced to study the Bible in 20 years? I'd say I made a pretty decent answer considering. And yes, I give myself credit for at least including the Pope in my answer.

    I understand your objection to Sebelius; I don't understand how you can keep going on and on about how "simple" and clear-cut the "one truth" is and how easy it is to pinpoint thanks to a bevy of Bishops and a Pope and yet clearly there is quite a bit of different thought about what exactly "one truth" entails. Contradiction is part of human life, religion usually attempts to resolve contradiction. In this case, I see more contradiction.

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  72. JoAnna, is the diarrhea response of a Vegan who ate a hamburger also an accurate analogy of what physically happens to Orthodox Catholics when they hear Sebelius give a commencement speech? Enlighten me.

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  73. Someone named Mary Margaret also sees the vegan analogy as rather irrelevant, so direct your quibbles to her.

    I got that. What made you think I missed that, gwen?
    Won and done.

    Really, what is the point of asking me a question about Catholic doctrine when I am 1) not Catholic 2) not Christian 3) haven't been forced to study the Bible in 20 years? I'd say I made a pretty decent answer considering. And yes, I give myself credit for at least including the Pope in my answer.

    Well, gwen, I'd venture a guess that Leila asked you that question because you've been here long enough, supposedly read up on our faith long enough, etc. Have you gained a lot of knowledge about Catholicism? By the way, I've never been "forced" to read the bible, ever. Sorry to hear that you were. I'll give you .5 a point for just throwing something at the wall, hoping it'd stick.

    clearly there is quite a bit of different thought about what exactly "one truth" entails.
    You need to explain this. There is no "difference" between the pope and bishops. You need to explain what you mean, where are these shades of grey coming in?

    JoAnna, is the diarrhea response of a Vegan who ate a hamburger also an accurate analogy of what physically happens to Orthodox Catholics when they hear Sebelius give a commencement speech? Enlighten me.

    Are you missing the point? Because that means we should revisit the analogy again.

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  74. Miss G,

    Now that's funny...and pretty accurate. Definitely a gastro-intestinal reaction; I would say closer to indigestion, or the hipper version 'acid reflux'.

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  75. Miss Gwen, here's the thing that I do not get. You said:

    I don't understand how you can keep going on and on about how "simple" and clear-cut the "one truth" is and how easy it is to pinpoint thanks to a bevy of Bishops and a Pope and yet clearly there is quite a bit of different thought about what exactly "one truth" entails. Contradiction is part of human life, religion usually attempts to resolve contradiction. In this case, I see more contradiction.

    Can you, or Johanne, or someone give me a specific? What is it in Church teaching (faith and morals) that is unclear?

    You cannot be talking about abortion or contraception, can you? Because that is VERY CLEAR teaching.

    Help?

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  76. The vegan comparison is irrelevant as well as silly. Veganism is about not anything that comes from an animal. Catholicism is about so many things - sacraments, the 10 commandments, the gospel, the catechism - NOT just the abortion issue. I mean, really?

    Not silly at all. The issue with Sebelius -- and most dissenters these days -- is the teaching on human sexuality. Really, it's as simple as that. The Church teachings on sexual morality and human life (contraception/abortion) are exactly the issue, and completely relevant. Vegans don't promote meat-eating, Catholics don't promote abortion. Simple, not silly.

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  77. Miss Gwen, I need to make this very clear. You said to Margo:

    "Your response made sense because ... you made clear to me that even authentic Catholics find challenges in their searches/attempts to live life according to the truth; the answer is to discern God's plan."

    No, not when it comes to abortion or contraception. In matters of doctrine, there is no need for the individual to "discern" the truth at all. Maybe one needs to learn to accept Church teaching, but discernment is not necessary when the teaching is set, clear, unambiguous and unchanging. Please tell me you understand at least that point.

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  78. If it were really a simple truth maybe there wouldn't be this kind of disagreement (?)

    Actually, absent indoctrination and a political agenda, every human being innately suspects that ripping babies limb from limb in the safety of a mother's womb is… not good. Truth is very simple. But sin and badly formed consciences get in our way. That's not truth's fault, that's our fault.

    After all, we know the simple truth that rape is evil. But many people do it and even celebrate it. Does that fact indicate that "rape is wrong" is not a simple truth? Of course not. It's simply true that rape is wrong. But not all folks want to adhere to what is true and good. Some folks want to rape. And some cultures don't mind so much.

    That doesn't make truth complicated. It just means we need to love and speak the truth more clearly, and to rise above the sin around us and in us.

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  79. "it doesn't come across as, well, relevant or friendly"

    Gwen, I spoke to the relevant part, now I'll speak to the friendly part.

    I apologize if my words do not come across as peppy, chipper or friendly. I think if you met me in real life, you'd find me quite friendly. I go out of my way to make sure everyone feels comfortable when I'm around, and I smile and laugh a lot! It'd be a blast to go out with you and chat!

    But let me refer you to a paragraph on the "Please Read First" page, to remind you about what I do here on the blog (it's not about making friends, although I have made some of all stripes!). Here it is….

    Do I expect to be attacked for speaking the Truth bluntly? Yes. We live in a "feel good" world, and if what I present doesn't make you "feel good," then I risk feeling your wrath. That's okay, and I can take it.

    Can I be counted on to dialogue respectfully and unemotionally with those who disagree? Yes, absolutely. But I will speak the plain truth as I see it, even if it's unpopular or makes people uncomfortable. I don't sugarcoat, because a) we need to be able to dialogue like grown-ups, and b) it wastes time. Time is valuable, people! Many may chafe at my straight-talk approach; they are free to read other, more soothing blogs.


    Now, personally, I don't see anything unfriendly about my vegan analogy. Can you point out to me what the problem is?

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  80. this is a test - checking it out, Leila!

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  81. Well, I just typed a lengthy response which was discarded. So, how about this - here's a link to the 7 key concepts of Catholic Social Teaching: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching.cfm
    Now, knowing this, a public figure or institution who claims their Catholic identity but then refuses to follow it should, in my mind, have that identity taken away by the Pope - as they are doing so in full knowledge of their disobedience.
    You want an analogy? I cannot comprehend any doctor taking the Hippocratic Oath, performing or recommending an abortion or euthanasia, and not having their medical license taken away. Instead, being honored for their full disregard of human life. That is what is happening by honoring Kathleen Sebelius at Georgetown University. Really, she should just say that she is an Episcopalian and be done with it.

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  82. Well, I still like Margo's answer the best (via God working through her as she pointed out). And I thank her too for not trying to make snide remarks and jabs like the infamous Nubby who seems unable to talk about anything in a peaceful, much less pleasant manner.

    Yes Leila, I'm quite aware of your stance on abortion and contraception and that these two hot ticket items are part of your Church's teaching/doctrine.

    So Leila, "One simple Truth"= tampering with our God-given fertility and sexuality is a sin?

    or, God only truly knows what is inside someone's heart/intentions

    or, Jesus rose from the tomb after being crucified

    or, There is only ONE God

    or, the most direct way to God's heart is through Catholicism?

    Lay it out for me-what is this One simple truth?

    And thank you, as always for being patient (with me)

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  83. Thanks, Gwen, but see I'm still not sure of what you are understanding when I see things like this:

    Yes Leila, I'm quite aware of your stance on abortion and contraception and that these two hot ticket items are part of your Church's teaching/doctrine. (emphasis mine)

    It's like you are saying that it's all really just my subjective opinion and that those "items" just happen to coincide with official Church teaching as well.

    Is that what you meant?

    Remember, none of this discussion is about what any individual Catholic decides is her own "truth". That is the crux of the problem with Sebelius and others, and it's why I wrote this post. I'm trying to make sure you and I are on the same page with that? At least that you understand? It's just that your wording is so odd and awkward there that I still don't think you grasp it, or else you are trying to make a certain statement about how the Magisterium is still just one opinion among many (Catholics).

    Help?

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  84. Ok, ok. I feel somewhat responsible for all of this "One simple Truth" confusion. When I made the statement earlier that, "It all boils down to one simple, objective Truth: the inherent dignity and worth of every single human life", I was speaking in direct response to Johanne, whom I understood to be confused about the apparent complexity of Catholic moral dogma. I was making a statement of my own understanding of the basis of most (if not all) of Catholic morality. Maybe it wasn't clear, or perhaps I misunderstood Johanne, but I was not speaking of the "One simple truth" of all of Catholicism. That would most likely be stated as "The Incarnation", or 'God become man' (again, in my nascent understanding).

    Sorry for the confusion.

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  85. Miss G, I said that the truth about the Church's teaching on abortion was simple (and it's not a mystery as if Sebelius or Georgetown could be "unclear" about Church teaching). The teaching on contraception, same thing, very clear (contraception is a mortal sin). And yes, other doctrines are simple and easy to ascertain, like "there is only one God" and "Jesus died and rose". Even peasants throughout the many centuries, and illiterate folks, did not have problems knowing that those are/were the stance of Catholicism.

    Now, do you want to dive into the whys and the hows and the beautiful depths of all those simple-to-ascertain truths? Well, then, we go deep and we can never stop learning and plumbing the depths of those truths.

    Trying to think of an analogy that you will understand. Okay, here: You would say that it is true that rape is evil. You would say (I hope!!) that that is a simple truth. The Church teaches that truth, so we can say that that is a simple truth of Church teaching. No one would have trouble ascertaining that that is a Church teaching. Simple truth. No avowed rapist, for example, would be able to claim that in "his Catholicism" it is okay to rape and be a Catholic in good standing. Right? Everybody would get that that's a sham.

    Now, if we wanted to dive into the hows and whys of it, and the natural law and theological truths, that underly the simple truth of "rape is evil", well then we could go on, Aquinas-like, for volumes and through centuries, and on a million different levels. That's how amazing the human mind is, and how deep the faith is. We can go as shallow or deep with that simple truth as we want. But all that plumbing the depths does not alter the simple truth we began with, namely that rape is evil.

    Does that make sense?

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  86. LJP, thanks for that! Maybe that will help clear up what Miss G is confused about.

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  87. Leila- thank you for sharing this. Maybe it sounds overly dramatic, but I was astounded and sickened to find out that Sebelius, who has publically attacked religious freedom and Catholic social teaching is going to be honored by a "Catholic" institution.
    I am further astonished that Georgetown doesn't have the cahones to hand back the Catholic name first, and then devise a plan to separate itself from the wisdom of the Church.
    However, my experience with "Catholic" universities and institutions is that often the positions of influence are not given to those Catholics who are well formed in the Church's teaching, but rather for politically correct or politically corrupt purposes,to those who are expeditious at the time of appointment.
    Now we pay on every level for people who disregard Life but claim to be Bride of Christ... Lord, have mercy.

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  88. I agree, Christine!

    And, to Gwen and Johanne and anyone else: Please, maybe I am misunderstanding, but it seems as though I am always hearing the theme that is it hard to identify authentic Catholic teaching, as if it were unaccessible, mysterious, hidden. That we Catholics are all just trying to muddle our way through layers of doctrinal fog. That's what I keep "hearing" you all say, as it's implied that we can't really know who is or who is not adhering to Catholicism. Am I wrong in my assessment? Is that NOT what you are saying?

    And if it is what you are saying, then, again… please tell me: Which doctrinal teaching is unclear? Which of the teachings seems to be inaccessible to the ones I call "dissenters"? For example, would you say: "The Church's official teaching on abortion is just so dang unclear and unknowable that how can you fault Sebelius and Georgetown? I mean, who really can tell where Catholicism or the Magisterium stands on that subject?"

    I hope you see what I'm getting at. For purposes of this discussion, it matters not to me that you disagree with Church teaching (or that Sebelius disagrees), it matters that you can at least identify what Church teaching is. Because I really don't see where it's fuzzy?

    Thanks!

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  89. Leila, re your last question, I can't speak for any non-Catholics such as gwen and Johanne,but some in my close family who identify as Catholics understand perfectly well what the Church's teaching is (as do Sebelius, Biden, Pelosi, the Kennedys etc.), but claim that Jesus', who founded the Church, would disagree with the existing Church's teaching, or that the teaching has to evolve with the times, or what not. As you know, there are tons of Catholics like that, and they genuinely believe that they will change the Church from within. This is where at least some of the confusion arises for non-Catholics.

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  90. I should add that those "Catholics" voices are very loud in the media, in my country at least as loud if not more so than that of genuine Church leaders. So most non-Catholics really have to take a lot of initiative to find out what true Church teaching is, and the reasons for it (which they usually don't), rather than the caricature presented to them by "modern Catholics" and those who have left the Church, atheists and agnostics.

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  91. Sebastian, you are so right! But that begs the question: Why are they sticking around in the Catholic Church, when their paradigm is Protestant? After all the salient difference between Catholicism and Protestantism is obedience to the Magisterium.

    It seems that Gwen understands that, at least.

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  92. Leila, I always ask that exact question, and I never get a good answer. They think they are somehow true to Christ, more so than the Church AND the Protestants. It's crazy...

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  93. Sebastian, how sad. They have set themselves up as their own authority, as their own "pope". They decide what is true and not true. They name good and evil for themselves (like Adam and Eve). It's pride, but it's been around since the beginning, sigh. And what's funny is that there is nothing either in the Bible or in the Tradition of Christianity which would suggest that we may be the final arbiters of truth, or decide for ourselves what is Christian doctrine. It is crazy, indeed...

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  94. I know Leila, and I've tried to mention it to them as gently as I could - it is pride. It is the worst of all sins, the Satanic sin. And they react just like Satan might when challenged. Some of the atheist challengers on this blog may also do well to reflect a bit on Pride, and what it does to them. Not that I am free from this sin myself, far from it.

    I've mentioned to you before how hard it is to see the closest relatives actively rejecting the Church, it is something I cannot come to terms with. I can only understand faintly when remembering that even people who had known Christ, had known God, up close (Judas Ischariot, and others) have also rejected Him. How can we expect it to be different 2,000 years later? But there is always hope, and prayer. Who knows whose prayers have helped our (re-)conversion?

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  95. I was thinking earlier... what if the 2012 Global Atheist Convention invited Pope Benedict XVI to come and speak -- and not only that, but announced their intention of honoring him with a special award? Do you think all atheists would react to the news with a resounding, "Well, gee, it's so great that the atheist community can talk with people who don't share their beliefs, and respect other viewpoints as well"?

    Not an exact parallel, given that Benedict XVI is not an atheist who espouses Catholic beliefs, but I think the reaction would be similar.

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  96. @JoAnna

    I'm not an atheist so I'm not certain about this, but I don't think atheists would respond in such a horrified and appalled manner to the Pope (as the Catholics here respond to KS). Most atheists I know don't see their atheism as an important part of their identity--they just don't believe and leave it at that. Probably they'd be amused by the Pope--but not threatened. Don't know if that makes sense.

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  97. I don't know, Johanne. I have seen a lot of animosity towards the pope from atheists. Richard Dawkins, in particular.

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  98. Yes, Dawkins is one who is very identified with his atheism. I don't know anyone like that personally and I do know quite a few atheists.

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  99. "And, to Gwen and Johanne and anyone else: Please, maybe I am misunderstanding, but it seems as though I am always hearing the theme that is it hard to identify authentic Catholic teaching, as if it were unaccessible, mysterious, hidden. That we Catholics are all just trying to muddle our way through layers of doctrinal fog."

    (can someone please tell me how to get something to render in italics?)

    Leila
    I have not responded to your questions about this sooner because I'm afraid of being too ignorant to make any sense. Of course I'm clear on the Catholic stance on abortion & contraception because they are in the news and everyone knows. But all the other stuff about being Catholic: the different kinds of sins, how one confesses and how often, the sacraments, the saints, the vestments, the stations of the cross, all the rules one has to follow. In another Catholic blog I used to participate in (and these Catholics claimed to be "real" Catholics) they talked a lot about rules related to the Eucharist. Somebody knew of a woman who took communion even though she was married to a man who had been divorced. This revelation gave way to all SORTS posts about how she should have known better and that she should have known to keep her arms crossed in front of her so the priest would only bless her. And how, if relatives visiting want to come to mass they must know ahead of time who is "allowed" to accept the Eucharist and who is not. On and on and on. To me Catholicism seems like a crushing morass of details, and many different Catholics claim that what they do is "right" and other Catholics are not "real Catholics," and I don't mean to be disrespectful, but at times the whole things seems like a circus to me. There are so many Catholics in the world so it seems like an important religion to understand. But I've kind of given up. I guess the one point that I really get is that people who insist they are "real" Catholics are clear that doctrine is set in stone and cannot be questioned on any level. That a real Catholic must submit---end of story.

    Have you ever read "Angela's Ashes"? It kind of brings into focus how Catholicsm can look from the outside.

    Also, Catholics say their religion is more intelligent (for lack of a better word) than Protestant evangelicals, who take the Bible literally. But then Catholics believe in transubstantiation--which, to me, is as remarkable as believing that Jonah really lived in a whale.

    So you're right--I have no clue whatsoever about how to identify a "real" Catholic (unlike a real vegan--because, as I said, I know what meat is!). I have no idea what the "magesterium" says. I think I've listened to/read enough Catholics at this point to realize that it will never make more sense to me than it does now (which is hardly at all). I am not asking for you to take time trying to clarify things and I certainly don't want to be offensive--but I thought I'd respond because you asked me specifically more than once to clarify the confusion.

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  100. Johanne, thanks, I appreciate the time you took to really spell it out. I do. And I am glad you can see that Sebelius and her ilk are clearly in full blown dissent from Church teaching.

    I will not try to clarify too much (you didn't really want me to), but I will say that it's not as complicated as each subjective situation makes it sound.

    Rules of receiving the Eucharist are easy peasy:

    1) One must be Catholic.
    2) One must not be conscious of grave sin.

    That's it! :)

    If a Catholic is conscious of being in grave sin, he must first go to Confession before receiving the Eucharist.

    That's really all. For a non-Catholic, that's probably all you need or want to know. That's who is "allowed" to receive Communion, and it has ever been thus.

    As for intellectual patrimony, I would say that yes, our thinkers are some of the deepest in the world, acknowledged as intellects even by non-Catholics. We have a moral theology and a theology of suffering, for example. Protestants do not. We have a pretty good history of intellectual giants in our line up, including but in no way limited to Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, Gregor Mendel, Leo Tolstoy, Isaac Newton, G.K. Chesterton, Edith Stein, Augustine of Hippo, etc. (h/t to E. Scalia for a quick list I ripped from her facebook). (And have you ever read John Paul II or Benedict? Whoa! Remember, as I always say, we Catholics founded the university system!)

    Aquinas wrote the Summa Theologica; this guy was no dummy. And he wrote about transubstantiation. The concept may be something that you cannot accept and that's fine, but it's not a lowbrow or silly or fluffy subject. It's about as sublime as it gets. Aquinas, one of greatest thinkers in Western civilization (and there have been many) could only begin to grasp at explaining it (much like the Trinity Itself).

    And, just for the record, it's not a stretch to believe that Jesus could be substantially present in the Host, if we Christians have already accepted as truth that the eternal creator God became a man, who later literally died and then rose from the dead. Transubstantiation is cake then. :)

    If you could take away one thing from this discussion (or from my "fringe" Catholic post), please let it be that we Catholics do NOT operate under a Protestant paradigm where the individual believer gets to personally interpret doctrine for himself. We do submit in obedience, as Catholics, to Church teaching. And since Church doctrine (the Deposit of Faith) never changes, it's easy to identify. Not always easy to live (because a life of Christian virtue is hard), but easy to identify.

    I just thought of a fun test to give a Catholic if you want to know his/her heart's disposition and relationship to the Church: Ask him how he feels about obeying the Pope and submitting to Church teaching, ha ha! If you get "Oh, I am so happy to submit to the Holy Father and the teachings of Christ's Church!" then you might be talking to a serious Catholic. If you get "OBEY the POPE? Are you freaking kidding me??" then you might be talking to someone who doesn't take her Catholic faith too seriously. :)

    **Note, the "disciplines" of the Church may be the stuff that gets confusing, as that can and does change -- what liturgical colors the priest wears, etc. And, for example, Stations of the Cross is not a doctrine, it's a way of praying. But that is pretty easy stuff to teach (my kids get it, I learned it as an adult pretty quickly once I fell in love with Christ and His Church), and that is very much a part of Catholic culture. It's actually really cool. :)

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  101. And I just found this right now, and thought it fits with the discussion of what it means to be a serious Catholic (by one of our great thinkers):

    "Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence; in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance." - St. Augustine

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  102. Johanne,

    I'd like to second Leila's appreciation for your answer. I understand where you are coming from...it can be confusing to see all the Tradition, Liturgy, dogma, etc.. and try to make sense of it all individually. I think this may be a case of missing the forest for the trees. If you are truly interested in coming to a better understanding of the Church, may I suggest a different route?

    Let's say you are interested in learning about baseball; you know nothing about it but you do know several people who are quite passionate about the game. Would you want to start by reading up on the infield-fly rule, defensive strategy, or what factors are involved in determining batting lineups? Of course not! You would start by going to a few games, just enjoying the stadium, the roar of the crowd, the hot dogs, the beauty of the game itself. Are the rules of the game complex? Absolutely. Can a child enjoy and appreciate the play of the game without understanding the rules? Absolutely.

    Think of Catholicism in the same way. If you are truly interested, look at the great Cathedrals, look at the abundance of art, music, philosophy, and science that has been created and forwarded by the Church faithful. Go to a Mass and just watch.

    Would you judge the legacy, foundations, and beauty of the sport of baseball solely upon a reading of the Mitchell Report (report on the investigation into the use of steroids in the MLB)? No, you would read stories of the the greatest players, the greatest games, the greatest stadiums.

    Read a biography of a saint. Visit a Cathedral. Find a local monastery and spend an afternoon there.

    I would suggest taking a look at Fr. Robert Barron's website, wordonfire.org. He has many, many interesting videos that explain many aspects of the faith. He's the one who puts forth the baseball analogy I used earlier (although much more profoundly than I did).

    Start by seeking the Beautiful. This will lead you to the Good. Eventually you'll end up at the Truth. Then you can dive into all the rules you want.

    Just thought I would share that.

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  103. LJP, that just might be the best comment I've ever read on this blog.

    Thank you. Wow!

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  104. Awww...shucks, Leila! You know how to make a guy blush. I'm just a simpleton down here in Dixie, trying to make sense of it all.

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  105. LJP and Leila-thanks for your clarification. I didn't mean to bolt from the conversation but I probably shouldn't have commented in the first place since I'm in the midst of end of the semester-grading.

    I have heard from other Catholics that it boils down to "one truth" before so you are not the first person I've heard to utter those words. It seems to me to encapsulate much more than just "one truth" and my thought is that this is perhaps the crux of dissension amongst Catholics. But I certainly am not an expert in theology or Catholicism.

    Thanks again,
    Gwen

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  106. Gwen, I didn't publish this initially, but one friend sent me this privately, and it may help:

    Leila, I think the confusion on LCB right now is the "one" part. Gwen seems to be interpreting "one" meaning that there is one doctrine as opposed to one Truth. Or maybe one truth as opposed to one Truth. She probably doesn't understand the significance of the capitalization there, something we just do instinctively.

    I also think that LJP's comment really says it all, eloquently. Thanks!

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