When we consider the example and sacrifices of generations before us who laid the foundation for the educational systems we have today, should we not feel a sense of accountability to them?
Speaking of the importance of sound doctrinal formation for the New Evangelization and the overall impact that this teaching may have upon society, Pope Benedict emphasized that separating the education of students from authentic Catholic identity only sustains the current dilemmas facing American Culture and its moral decay:
[I]n reference to the confusion created by instances of apparent dissidence between some representatives of Catholic institutions and the Church's pastoral leadership: such discord harms the Church's witness and, as experience has shown, can easily be exploited to compromise her authority and her freedom (May 5, 2012, Region XIII, U.S. Bishops).
Many Catholics and non-Catholics were horrified at Notre Dame University's decision in 2008 to honor President Obama with an honorary degree and allow him to address the graduates of this once-strongly Catholic institution. Had he accepted an invitation to a debate about those many issues where he opposes the Church, rather than simply being handed a prestigious award, many would have appreciated both the school and the president's honesty about the real differences separating us and a real exchange of ideas. But that is not what happened. There was no exchange of ideas, simply a (now obviously) dishonest campaign speech about the need to find common ground, and a pledge (later broken) to respect religious freedom.
Sadly, the confusion and scandalous decisions of some Catholic colleges and universities continue. As noted by the Cardinal Newman Society, eleven scandalous commencement speakers at Catholic colleges and universities are scheduled for this year. One of specific case is Georgetown, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, which honored Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, last Friday by giving her a platform to speak during one of its commencement ceremonies. Why would a prominent Catholic university provide such an opportunity for a virulently pro-abortion and anti-religious freedom Catholic to address its students and guests?
Is this the example of authentic Catholicism our Holy Father is calling for in the New Evangelization? Do we truly believe that someone like Kathleen Sebelius with her radical pro-abortion record and her flagrant opposition to the bishops on the subject of religious freedom genuinely represents the teachings of the Church and merits the ability to offer words of wisdom at a Catholic institution?
The scandals must cease! Authentic Catholic education must be protected and cultivated!
There is no easy fix for these ongoing scandals. In communities across the country, we must hold the administrators of these Catholic institutions accountable. Parents, students and the Catholic faithful that support these schools (from elementary education on up to colleges and universities) must ensure that the Faith is being protected and properly taught. I encourage you to pray for these institutions, but also to take action in contacting them directly.
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