taking a stand
By Diogenes (articles) | Oct 11, 2007
The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy has plans to hold on a conference on the campus of Holy Cross ("a college in the monotheist tradition") in Worcester. Among the workshops scheduled are those sponsored by NARAL and Planned Parenthood. Diocese of Worcester Bishop Robert McManus has denounced the College's provision of conference space in refreshingly straightforward language. Here's the conclusion of his statement:
Both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice are notorious for their policies and practices that directly reject the Church's teaching on artificial contraception and abortion. The College of the Holy Cross should recognize that any association with these groups can create the situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e., an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. Certainly it is understandable how people of good will could interpret the college's allowing presentations to be made by such groups as truly scandalous.
I strongly contend that the confusion and upset to the Catholic faithful and others that flow from the perception that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross supports positions contrary to the fundamental moral teaching of the Church must be avoided. To deny Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice a forum in which to present their morally unacceptable positions is not an infringement of the exercise of academic freedom but a defensible attempt to make unambiguously clear the Catholic identity and mission of the College of the Holy Cross.
It is my fervent wish that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross will unequivocally disassociate itself from the upcoming conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy so that the college can continue to be recognized as a Catholic institution committed to promoting the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic church.
Not bad. It'll be a great day when canonical muscle more authoritative than "my fervent wish" can be brought to bear on the situation, but within the limitations of the possible McManus is pushing hard in the right direction. It's especially gratifying that he frames the controversy in doctrinal terms (the impermissibility of abortion and contraception), states the college's failure in moral terms (the scandal caused by apparent material complicity in evil), and justifies his intervention in authentically pastoral terms (the duty to remedy harm to souls caused by scandal).
He's acting, in short, as a bishop.
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