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respect, honor, and ignore

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Oct 07, 2008

 Announcing that the Stuart Country Day School had decided to cancel a scheduled speaking appearance by New Jersey's former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, the headmistress, Sister Frances de la Chapelle, explained that "as a Sacred Heart School, we respect and honor the views of the Roman Catholic Church."


For starters, if you "respect and honor" the teachings of the Church, you don't refer to those teachings as "views," thereby suggesting they're mere opinions.

If you respect Church teachings, you don't invite to campus-- explicitly as a role model-- a politician who is a nationwide leader in the campaign for legal abortion and gay marriage. 

The truth is that Bishop John Smith of Trenton ordered the Stuart School to cancel the event. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the administration's respect for Church teaching; it has everything to do with the bishop's implicit threat to sever the school's ties with the Church and dry up its sources of funding. 

If you "respect and honor" the authority of the Church, you accept the bishop's decision in this case. Sister de la Chapelle doesn't even pretend to do so. In her message to the school, announcing that Whitman would not appear, she made it as clear as day that she thought the bishop's decision was wrong: "We are saddened that our students and the wider community, will not be enriched by the lively discussion and critical thinking that surely would have resulted from Governor Whitman's lecture on leadership, values, and the environment."

"We constantly strive to educate our girls to be critical, independent thinkers," the headmistress added. Critical of the Church. Independent of the Church. 

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