Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

But the Georgetown issue could be worse…

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | May 15, 2012

Phil Lawler rightly notes Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s lack of backbone in doing anything about Georgetown’s invitation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at commencement (Cardinal Wuerl's silence on Sebelius: disappointing, not surprising). Nonetheless, it would seem that important messages are being sent by both sides.

First, the very invitation to Sebelius is not just your typical Modernist undermining of Catholic faith and morals against a backdrop of general confusion. No, this invitation is a direct slap at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for its very public and well-known opposition to the HHS Mandate, and to its defense of religious liberty. The Georgetown invitation is on the level of thumbing one’s nose at the bishops on their top priority issue.

Second, it is enormously telling that the editor of Cardinal Wuerl’s newspaper felt at liberty to write clearly on Georgetown’s decision. The editor made it crystal clear that the decision to invite Sebelius was not only wrong but very typically wrong. It stated point blank that Georgetown can be more relied on to attack the Faith than to defend it. This kind of frankness is rare in the diocesan press.

Now it would have been very foolish of the editor to publish this editorial without knowing that Cardinal Wuerl approved. And in the long run it will prove foolish of Georgetown to, in effect, deliberately and directly pick a fight with the bishops. This is not your father's Church. The Modernists are not as strong as they were forty years ago. Even if they still control many universities and religious orders, they no longer control the episcopate. By a direct onslaught, Georgetown has hastened the day when it will find this out.

I don’t know exactly what can be done about Georgetown at this juncture. Certainly if Cardinal Wuerl can do more, he should; and if he cannot do more, it would be better for him to square off against Georgetown on this issue both personally and publicly. But that he is willing to permit the battle lines to be hardened is not nothing. That the Archdiocesan newspaper should so clearly want the faithful to realize that Georgetown is both wrong and unCatholic is not nothing. Not so many years ago, this would have been unthinkable.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: impossible - May. 17, 2012 10:33 AM ET USA

    All the blather about the HHS mandate and religious freedom makes the Bishops’ “War against tyranny” as phony and insincere as their liberal friends’ “War against poverty.” Apparently neither group has victory in mind, but only rhetoric. The thundering silence of Wuerl and other prelates whose dioceses allow dissident/separatist schools to teach heresy and help Obama divide and conquer the Church is gravely sinful.

  • Posted by: bruno - May. 16, 2012 5:36 PM ET USA

    Thanks, Prof. Mirus! I've been casting about for words similar to these. At no time in my memory did the Church separatists expose their agenda to the light of day in such an obvious and evident fashion. Now one can see for certain that what they desire is not a gentle reformation of the church in the name of pastoral sensitivity but a full on fight ending in schism or submission. The bishops eventually have to honor their demand for this fight and all of us will be tested as if by fire.