Trouble brewing at UD again? March 3, 2011Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, North Deanery, sadness, scandals.
Most of my readers are probably aware that the Dallas Diocese has been blessed to have a fairly orthodox Catholic university within its confines – the University of Dallas (UD). What some readers may not be aware of is that keeping UD fairly orthodox has been a difficult battle, especially over the past 10-12 years. The problems started when Fr. Milam Joseph, current episcopal vicar at the
Sacred Heart Catedral Santuario de Guadalupe downtown, was made the President of UD and instituted a series of ‘directional changes’ intended to make UD more like most dissent-oriented heterodox ‘Catholic’ universities – at least, that was the view put forth by his many critics. In 2001, the entire staff of the UD Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies left for Ave Maria University, citing concerns over the direction was taking. Not too long after, Joseph resigned and was replaced by Frank Lazarus. However, in the meantime, an organism known as the ‘School of Ministry’ was stood up at UD to replace the Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies, and there have been many complaints about dissent, heterodox opinions, and outright heresy issuing forth from this replacement program. In 2008, Lazarus engendered controversy when he allowed an artwork to be displayed on campus that showed the Blessed Mother as a stripper. The painting was subsequently stolen, with some arguing that act constituted a sin, and others saying it was a necessary defense of the Faith.
Now, it appears there is a new controversy brewing at UD. There is a proposal underfoot to place the quite heterodox School of Ministry at UD within the very orthodox Theology department. When I say that UD is fairly orthodox, this is what I mean – there are portions of UD that very strongly adhere to the Faith of Tradition, while other parts are more problematic, to be charitable. The School of Ministry is considered the most problematic, or heterodox, department on campus. And this move by the School of Ministry to insinuate itself into the Theology department is causing a great deal of consternation, as it seems to be an attempt to, once again, convert UD into something more like Xavier in Cincinatti or even Notre Dame – that is, a university that is Catholic in name only.
Interestingly, in reading the long article at The Catholic Thing linked above, alot of the names of the heterodox staff at the School of Ministry sounded familiar. Then I recalled – these were many of the same people who caused me concern about the Diocesan ‘ministry conference’ that was held last fall. In fact, the Catholic Thing article reveals more about these individuals than I knew at the time – several staff of the School of Ministry are seriously heterodox, advocating for impossibilities like women priests and acceptance of homosexual acts as just fine and dandy. A few details:
Take, for instance, Professor Jerome Walsh, who is currently teaching an Old Testament course to School of Ministry graduate students. Walsh’s interests in the Old Testament include publication of a lengthy analysis of Leviticus in which he claims that Israel’s holy law only ever meant to condemn the completed act of sodomy and that “other forms of male–male sexual encounter, encompassing the whole range of physical expressions of affection that do not entail penetration, are not envisaged in these laws” (see p. 209, warning: graphic content). Will this be taught to undergraduates?Another cause for concern is Sr. Dorothy Joanitis, O.P., who has openly advocated for optional celibacy for priests, as well as for female ordination. While her SOM colleague Dr. Marti Jewell thinks lifting the ban on celibacy is a legitimate option, Sister Joanitis goes even further, presenting to a synod of bishops the following: “To alleviate the injustices imposed upon the People of God, we offer these practical solutions to you, the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. . . .allow women to be ordained” (blog link; the original website has been taken down). Like Prof. Walsh, Sister Joanitis appears to have an interest in weakening the Church’s teachings on homosexual acts, defending Eucharistic ministers who “question a church teaching they see as justifying violence against their son and other homosexuals” and in her piece nominates Bishop Gumbleton as the authority on good conscience in regard to homosexual acts, while rejecting then-Cardinal Ratzinger.Another SOM faculty member and a former Call to Action member, Dr. Scott Opperman, seems to be of the same mind. On a website designed to encourage new vocations, he co-wrote that “[r]eligious women and men aren’t oddities; they mirror the rest of the church they serve: there are introverts and extroverts, tall and short, old and young, straight and gay, obese and skinny, crass and pious, humorous and serious, and everything in between.” Does this pattern of dissent carry over into the classroom?