St. Paul was a ferocious defender of truth. When the Corinthian Jews turned against his teaching that said that Jesus was the Christ, St. Paul did not seek ways to placate them. No, St. Paul shook out his garments, turned to face them, and said, “Your blood be on your own heads; from now on I can go to the pagans with a clear conscience.”
Like St. Paul, we, as Catholics, must strive to defend the truth. Unfortunately, not all Catholics follow St. Paul’s example. Georgetown University and Franciscan University have both been in the news recently, yet only one exemplifies what it’s like to truly follow the Church’s teachings. Which do you think illustrates the iron will it takes to be Catholic in America today? Let’s examine the actions of each.
Today (May 18), Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services and the pro-abortion Catholic who masterminded the Obama mandate, will speak at a diploma ceremony at Georgetown University. Requests for cancellation of her invitation have fallen on deaf ears.
The Cardinal Newman Society garnered 26,000 signatures from concerned Catholics. The open letter bearing the signatures was delivered to Georgetown President John DeGioia. The purpose of the letter was to request that Sebelius’ talk be cancelled.
A copy of the letter was also provided to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. But the archdiocese had previously dealt with this problem in a most peculiar way. A May 15 unsigned statement from the archdiocese expressed dismay:
“The Archdiocese of Washington reserved public comment to permit Georgetown University and its sponsor, the Society of Jesus, the opportunity to address the controversy. While the explanation of how this unfortunate decision was made is appreciated, it does not address the real issue for concern -- the selection of a featured speaker whose actions as a public official present the most direct challenge to religious liberty in recent history and the apparent lack of unity with and disregard for the bishops and so many others across the nation who are committed to the defense of freedom of religion.”
Further, the archdiocese pointed out the draconian effects the Obama mandate would have not only on Georgetown but on all Catholic institutions, and then expressed disbelief that the Georgetown Public Policy Institute was unaware of the various reasons why the invitation to Sebelius was a mistake.
And that is the sum of the archdiocese’s dealings with the matter. While some headlines defined this statement as a “slam” against Georgetown, I find it unremarkable to say the least.
Is it any wonder folks are frustrated with such occurrences?
Where is the public demand that Sebelius’ speech be cancelled? Where is the public pronouncement that Georgetown may no longer identify itself as a Catholic institution?
Anonymous statements appear to be the best the archdiocesan leadership can provide, and that is a crying shame. Granted, the archdiocese is correct about the dramatic effect the Obama mandate will have on Catholic institutions, but definitive actions do speak louder than words.
In Ohio, for example, the Franciscan University of Steubenville has not reached out to the likes of Sebelius, but has chosen instead to make a public show of its pride in being Catholic!
Franciscan University “has announced it will drop health insurance coverage for students because the cost of the plan is expected to double under Obamacare. The university also took issue with a federal mandate that their insurance plan provide free birth control.”
Addressing this decision, Franciscan University employee Tom Crowe wrote, “Those who are left high and dry by the administration’s intrusion into our freedom to practice our faith are our students. Who knows how many will have insurance, how many will not, how many will have insurance of the quality we offered before, how many will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance through the extended adolescence provision of Obamacare, etc.
“But there you have it: Thanks to the government’s firm desire to make sure the one or two women left in the country who did not have easy and cheap access to contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization procedures, our 2,500 students will no longer have an insurance plan ready and waiting for them.”
The difference in these two approaches is stunning, is it not? While the Archdiocese of Washington cannot bring itself to put a human being’s name on its weak statement regarding the Georgetown insult to Catholic identity, the leadership of Franciscan University is acting Catholic!
This is the perfect example of the limp versus the iron!
St. Paul would be proud, Franciscan! Bravo!
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