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Two data points on Catholic identity December 16, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, Society.

Catholic identity, leading a distinctively Catholic, that is, authentically Christian life, and being oriented always towards the Doctrine Christ has revealed through His Church, is one of the most important efforts of good Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy.  Too many individual Catholics have lost all but the most surface elements of Catholic identity, and I count myself in that group.  But in nominally ‘Catholic’ organizations, the situation is often worse, with not only a failure to live by Catholic principles, but oftentimes engaging in activities that run directly counter to the Truth Christ has revealed through His Church.  Catholic Culture (they really need financial help – their expenses are high, but they do very good work) has two posts concerning a failure of Catholic identity, if you will, concerning ostensibly Catholic organizations.  In the first, the great Cardinal Burke lambasts so many colleges which, while perhaps once being faithful to the Church, have long lost any such fealty, and now trade on their ‘Catholic’ name primarily as a selling point for admissions:

In a recent address at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Cardinal Raymond Burke discussed the teaching of Venerable John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on the vocation and mission of the Catholic university.

Identifying a university as Catholic means identifying every aspect of the university’s life as Catholic,” he said, adding:  According to the ancient canonical wisdom, corruptio optimi pessima est, “the corruption of the best is the worst.” Sadly, we have witnessed the truth of the axiom in so many Catholic colleges and universities in our nation, which once gave pride of place to their Catholic identity and the Catholic life of the campus but now are Catholic in name only, usually qualifying their Catholic identity by another name, for example, calling themselves a Catholic university in the Franciscan or Jesuit tradition. What the tradition, with a small “t”, means, in practice can have little, if anything, to do with Tradition, with a capital “t”. The word, “Catholic,” in the name of a university has its full qualification, that is, it accepts no modifiers.

I agree – far too many, in fact, nearly all of the 244 ‘Catholic’ colleges in the US are simply no longer faithful to the Church.  Being Catholic means being obedient to the Church.  They are not.

In a tangentially related post, Catholic Culture also reported on the goings on between Bishop Thomas Olmstead of the Diocese of Phoenix, and the Catholic Heath West hospital chain that has been providing contraception, and performing “emergency” abortions:

Despite the threat of the imminent revocation of its status as a Catholic institution, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix issued a brief statement on December 15 defending an abortion that took place there. The abortion took place in late 2009 after a hospital ethics committee deemed the killing of the unborn child necessary to save the life of the mother.

“We believe that all life is sacred,” the hospital said in its statement. “In this case we saved the only life we could save, which was the mother’s.”

In a November 22 letter, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix told the president of the hospital’s parent company, Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), that on December 17 he will declare that the hospital is no longer a Catholic institution unless CHW recognizes that the abortion violated the US bishops’ ethical directives and pledges it “will never occur again.”………………………

Reacting to news of the bishop’s letter, the ACLU again urged the federal government to compel religious hospitals to provide “emergency abortions,” and Lisa Fullam, professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, urged the hospital to defy the bishop.

So, a “moral theologian” who is encouraging disobedience to the bishop and causing scandal to the faithful, is employed by “Jesuit Catholic” Santa Clara University.  Good St. Clare deserves far better than this moralization of the world.  Abortion is an intrinsically evil act.  It can never be intentionally performed, for any reason.  Certain medical procedures can be performed that may inadvertantly result in the loss of a mother’s in utero child, but abortion as a separate, specific act can not be tolerated in a ‘Catholic hospital’.  But this specific issue of an abortion performed at a Phoenix hospital is hardly Professor Fullam’s only area of dissent, but I digress.

One of the most misbegotten concepts to emerge from the false, illusory “spirit of Vatican II” is that of the primacy of the individual conscience, and how that is interpreted by many Catholics to disobey clear, unchanging, UNCHANGEABLE Church Doctrine on myriad issues.  It is precisely that kind of “dissent” which breeds scandal of which St. Francis de Sales spoke in a previous post.

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