CNS angered by comments in recent Jesuit video

The Cardinal Newman Society, a group that aims to “renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education,” is attacking Georgetown College’s recent video “Jesuits at Georgetown” over the opening line of the video.

At the beginning of the video, Fr. Ryan Maher, S.J., associate dean of the College, says, “Our job as educators, and as priests really, is not to bring God to people, or even to bring people to God. God’s already there and the people are already there. Our job, our way, of living out our educational vocation is to ask the right questions, and to help young people ask those questions.”

CNS jumped on this quote, writing that the video never makes it clear that the Jesuits at Georgetown are trying to “bring students to the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith.”

The CNS blog post disappointedly writes, “Everything seems to be about promoting differences.” This is in line with Georgetown’s message of promoting diversity on campus.

Had the writer at CNS had listened past the first 30 seconds of the video they would have heard Maher go on to imply that those of faith are able to strengthen their faith at Georgetown.

“So we welcome diversity because we’re not afraid of questions and we’re confident in the answer,” Maher continued, “that a person of good will and honest integrity and genuine intelligence asking the right questions will end up where he or she needs to be.”

CNS has been a regular critic of Georgetown University for a wide variety of issues.

15 Comments on “CNS angered by comments in recent Jesuit video

  1. The Cardinal Newman Society has been a regular critic of Georgetown University and the Society of Jesus because both groups’ understandings of Catholicism and their members’ faith lives have advanced beyond a third grade level.

  2. Whenever I hear Cardinal Newman Society, for some reason I picture clergy who like to eat Newman’s Own products.

  3. It’s sad that the CNS reacted in this way. I’m not even Catholic and I found the Jesuits’ video to be touching and very sweet.

  4. @Danny: I wonder how many Georgetown students could pass a test on third-grade level Catholic catechism.

    As an alum who respects the Jesuits very much, I too was troubled by Fr. Maher’s minimalistic notion of the “job” of an educator and the “job” of a priest. Perhaps it might benefit him and some others to read what Vatican II had to say about the “job” of a priest. Warning: not third-grade material.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651207_presbyterorum-ordinis_en.html

  5. Obviously blasphemous. Makes me not even want to research if the CNS does anything good for society.
    @ Joe If Fr. Maher hasn’t read that section of Vatican II I’ll eat my shoe.

  6. @Joe

    I think that your response is indicative of exactly what I find troubling about the CNS. The idea that Catholicism can be boiled down to recitation of a set of dates, facts, and definitions from a book (or a document on a website) is truly troubling. Is there some sort of informational knowledge base that is necessary in order to be a member of the community? Sure, that’s why we recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday – it’s the factual outline of what Catholics believe.

    Is the teaching of basic catechism important? Of course. But at some point, as they mature and reach adulthood, people have to ask themselves whether they accept the teachings of the Church or not. No one can make this decision for anyone else, whether they be a friend, a parent, a family member, or a priest. A deepening understanding of what it means to be a Catholic brings a lot of other questions along with it: What does it mean to believe in God? Who or what is God? How do I understand the role of evil in the world? What role does community play in my relationship with God? What does it mean to know that God created me as someone different from anyone else in the world and loves me for it?

    These are heavy questions, and not ones that should be dealt with alone or in a vacuum. In helping students to ask these questions and work through their answers (at Mass, in confession, in class, through random interaction, by being role models, etc) and what those answers mean to them, the Jesuits are doing their jobs as priests in helping to build up the body of Christ.

  7. Anyone who is accusing Father Maher of not understanding what it means to be a priest is an absolute ignoramus. I would venture to say that he has made more of a lifelong impact on students here, especially Catholic students, than any reactionary mindbot from the Cardinal Newman Society could have ever done, because he understands how people operate. We have doubts, we are unsure, and we struggle with faith. Anyone for whom faith comes easily (or for whom it is forced) does not have true faith, but rather a shallow and immature understanding of what it really means to be a faithful person, especially a Roman Catholic.

  8. Jesuits can put themselves in this position by avoiding issues of dogma and faith. Either you’re for it or you aren’t.

  9. The Cardinal Newman Society has had less of an impact in their entire ineffective existence than one Jesuit has in one year. Let them brood in their corner. Fr. Maher was right on the money.

  10. i’d poop on my hand and smear it on the CNS company car windshield.

  11. If I ever see a CNS company car windshield, I will seriously consider resorting to third grade antics along the lines of poop-smearing.

  12. I’m not Catholic; in fact, I was raised by parents who are proudly an atheist and a Buddhist (although don’t listen to him; he’s not actually Buddhist). After my years at Georgetown, I’m seriously considering converting to Catholicism at some point in my life. I was a regular at Sunday masses for a long time (okay, until Fr. Thomas King passed) and grew to respect the intellectual history of the Catholic faith primarily through two classes taught by Jesuits – Fr. Collins in the history department and Fr. Fields in the theology department.

    And for the record, I have several close friends who made confirmation and are still technically members of the Catholic Church. They went to secular schools and know far less about the foundations of Catholicism and even the meanings behind the Creed than I do. Asking questions is how any religion earns real members.

  13. Pingback: Vox Populi » Comments of the Week: Listen up!

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