Posts Tagged “U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops”
In a statement dated May 14, 2012, President John J. DeGioia sent a message to the Georgetown community regarding the recent attacks from Catholic groups across the nation on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘s scheduled lecture at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s awards ceremony this Friday.
Yesterday, the petition created last week by the Cardinal Newman Society, a conservative watchdog group, was sent to President DeGioia with 26,000 signatures. Additionally, last week, the Cardinal of Washington D.C., Donald Wuerl, wrote an editorial expressing disapproval of Georgetown’s decision to host Sebelius. “Secretary Sebelius’ vision on what constitutes faith-based institutions presents the most direct challenge to religious freedom in recent history,” Wuerl wrote in the editorial. He stated that Georgetown’s decision was “disappointing, but not surprising.”
In the statement, DeGioia explained and justified Sebelius’s presence on campus for the Tropaia awards ceremony, asserting that “the Secretary’s presence on our campus should not be viewed as an endorsement of her views. As a Catholic and Jesuit University, Georgetown disassociates itself from any positions that are in conflict with traditional church teachings.”
Read the rest of this entry »
2 Comments »
Over 90 Georgetown faculty and administrators signed a letter criticizing Rep. Paul Ryan‘s (R-Wisc.) budget plan, which cuts antipoverty programs and undermines social welfare programs. The faculty disagrees with Ryan’s claims that the budget is inspired by Catholic moral teachings. The letter was released earlier today.
Ryan, Republican chairman of the House Budget, is scheduled to give the Whittington Lecture at Gaston Hall this Thursday. In the letter, the faculty and administrators emphasized that the intent was not to stop him from speaking at Georgetown, but merely to raise a significant concern about the “devastating consequences” of Ryan’s budget.
The scholars pointed specifically to the budget’s un-Catholic ideals:
In short, your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.
Among the signatories of the letter were Thomas J. Reese and Father Raymond B. Kemp, senior fellows of the Woodstock Theological Center. Others included several Jesuit priests and professors from the Theology, Government, History, and Philosophy departments as well as the School of Foreign Service and School of Nursing & Health Studies.
Ryan’s budget includes cuts which the letter argues will make it difficult for low-income families to gain access to higher-level education at colleges and universities like Georgetown. The letter also included a copy of the Vatican’s Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, “to help deepen your understanding of Catholic social teaching.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also sent letters to members of Congress, including Ryan, with the same message. So far, Ryan’s response has indicated that he does not see these criticisms as representative of the entire Catholic community of bishops.
17 Comments »
Yesterday afternoon, the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs hosted a roundtable discussion on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter, “Economic Justice for All,” in light of the document’s 25th anniversary. Discussing the relevance of the letter both in its original context and that of the present, the focus of the panel turned to the role of America’s Catholic bishops in today’s social, political, and economic realms.
The panelists were E.J. Dionne, a professor at Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute and a columnist for the Washington Post, Ross Douthat, an Op-Ed columnist with the New York Times, Christine Firer Hinze, a professor of Christian ethics at Fordham University and the director of the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies, and Rev. Robert Sirico, a Roman Catholic priest and founder and president of the Acton Institute. Professor Tom Banchoff, the director of the Berkley Center, moderated the roundtable.
The pastoral letter, written in 1986, focused on Catholic Social Teaching and how its core principles of the common good, the universal destination of goods and solidarity interact with America’s capitalist system. In five chapters, the letter critiques the American economy both by acknowledging its achievements and highlighting its shortcomings. The most discussed and criticized chapter is the third, which is an analysis of the American economy that offers specific policy proposals in regards to unemployment, poverty, food and agriculture distribution, and international development.
The speakers at yesterday’s discussion centered the conversation on the bishops’ authority to make policy suggestions. While all panelists agreed on what Douthat referred to as the bishops’ “policy naiveté,” they disagreed about the extent to which the bishops overstepped in their pastoral letter.
Although the letter created room for important dialogue concerning the role of moral values in the marketplace, it seemed apparent to all that the bishops risked what ecclesiastical authority they had in making specific suggestions that fell flat. According to Douthat, “Well-meaning public policy isn’t effective public policy.”
Read the rest of this entry »
No Comments »
At its latest meeting, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops decided to form a task force to look into what actions the group could take to increase its oversight of Catholic colleges and universities, according to the Associated Press.
Although the details are a bit fuzzy because the meeting was held behind closed doors, Chicago Cardinal Francis George told the AP that the task force will be researching what church law says about the bishops’ authority over schools. George said that the task force is part of a broader investigation of which groups can legitimately call themselves Catholic.
The Conference of Bishops isn’t the only group taking a look at the issue. The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, a group Georgetown is a member of, will also be looking at the question of bishops’ authority at its January meeting.
4 Comments »
At a recent meeting, the board of directors of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities announced that they would like to see a reexamination of the 2004 “Catholics in Political Life” statement.
The 2004 statement was released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and prohibits Catholic institutions from giving awards, honors or platforms to “those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.” It is often cited by those who disapprove of Catholic schools hosting pro-choice politicians (most notably during the Obama/Notre Dame controversy, but also during the Joe Biden/Georgetown Law incident).
According to the Catholic News Service:
The ACCU’s board of directors would like to see the bishops update or prepare a successor policy to the 2004 statement regarding honors and platforms for speakers at Catholic institutions of higher education, said Richard A. Yanikoski, president of the group …
“Ultimately, that is the problem with the 2004 document. It was written in the moment of political heat,” during the 2004 U.S. presidential election, he said.
He maintained the 2004 statement is incomplete, has internal ambiguities, uses language that is not consistent with canon law, and that its application is subject to interpretation.
Although Georgetown is a member of the ACCU, it does not hold a seat on the board of directors.
Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations Andy Pino wrote in an email, “Georgetown does not have a position independent of the ACCU on this.”
No Comments »