Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Christ’s death, in Italy and Illinois

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 04, 2009

It comes as no surprise that the European Union’s European Court of Human Rights has ruled that crucifixes in Italian schools violate student rights and must be removed. The Italian government will appeal, however, and that at least is a breath of fresh air. When a sign of God’s love for all humanity, a sign that has played an integral role in the formation of European civilization, is interpreted as an infringement of personal liberty, the interpreter may be assumed to be fleeing not only from God but from himself. Christ dying for sins he did not commit: What line does that cross?

Similarly, it was bound to happen (and I feel sure that it has happened before in other religious communities) that a nun should serve as an escort into an abortion facility. If this were effectively impossible, it is unlikely that there would be an Apostolic Visitation of women religious in progress in the United States. So when Dominican Sister Donna Quinn served as a volunteer escort for an Illinois abortion clinic, it may have been one of those shocking things that did not really surprise veteran observers of the American Church. But a funny thing happened on the way to a fashionable new age: Sister Quinn’s superiors in the Dominican Congregation of Sinsinawa said they won’t tolerate support of abortion by one of their members.

Chirst’s dying for sins he did not commit? It doesn’t cross a line, but it does draw one, for those who take it seriously.

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: jmoore20082145 - Nov. 04, 2009 5:51 PM ET USA

    According to RESPONSE (a quarterly newsletter of the Irish Branch of The Responsible Society, Family and Youth Concern) the Council of Europe's European Court of Human Rights has no mechanism to enforce its judgments, some of which have been increasingly irrational in recent years.

  • Posted by: sparch - Nov. 04, 2009 4:14 PM ET USA

    And is it really any wonder that the women religious are being visited? It is not that the Church wants to supress them as religious or as women. They want to put the church's house straight so some of these orders don't turn to chaff and blow away. The Vatican is doing what it can to preserve the orders and the church. When the religious fly in face of Catholic teaching, what is the Church to do? It is a hard position to be in and a hard decision to follow through on.