Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gonzaga and The Archdiocese

Gonzaga High School, for those who do not know, is one of the high schools in the Archdiocese. Well known for sports, their graduates have jobs in all levels of society and they are very loyal to the school.

As you may or may not know, Gonzaga (which is run by the Society of Jesus aka Jesuits) invited Sr. Carol Keehan to be the graduation commencement speaker on June 6th. (Why does it seem to be the Jesuit's who are doing these sorts of things - Notre Dame, Georgetown, etc.)

Now, I did not comment on this matter before -- not because it was not important -- but because I wanted to see how this would unfold. And it was pretty predictable, from my point of view, on the part of the Archdiocese.

Our colleagues over at Restore DC Catholicism first identified this matter over two weeks ago. In fact, they even went to protest. Right or wrong, they decided to take that action.

The Catholic Standard, in the special insert on high school graduations, did report this. But no further mention was made.

First, the smartest thing would have been for the Gonzaga administration to ask her not to come. Maybe they felt that enough time had passed that the controversy would have died down. Maybe they thought that no one would notice. Maybe they did not care. But they did not and to be quite honest, they should have known better.

However, does not Gonzaga fall under the Catholic School system in this Archdiocese? It is not listed, as far as I can tell, as an "independent" Catholic school like Avalon or Brookewood.

If Gonzaga is part of the Archdiocese Catholic School system, then Archbishop Wuerl and/or the Superintendent should have been made aware of this. Yes, they were probably aware but I guess if you ignore it, it will go away.

If Sr. Keehan was "removed" as the keynote speaker the the John Carroll Society, why was she not removed as the speaker at this? (Probably because Catholic bloggers across the country had picked up on it and it was becoming an embarrassing situation for Archbishop Wuerl.)

Was it because a couple of months have passed by and the Archdiocese thought that the issue would have been forgotten or if you don't publicize the fact, it would be ignored? Or maybe this is part of their effort to help rehabilitate her image? (Note that she is no longer with the Holy Family Hospital Foundation Board...the Knights of Malta made certain of that, just a week or so ago.)

If the school is as pro-life as the supporters say that they are, then why was she invited? There are probably 100 others who could have spoken. Did they not go to the administration and ask that Sr. Keehan not speak?

Cardinal McCarrick's attendance has once again scandalized this Archdiocese. You had him at Sen. Kennedy's funeral and now this! Again, what this does it to give a "stamp of approval" to her actions.

One of the parents in the video was scene asking "Is this really going to change anything?"

The answer is yes and no.

No, it would not stop her from speaking and probably would not change any minds.

Yes, it may once again make the Archdiocese realize that this has caused a scandal and will only make for more bad publicity. It only adds to confusing messages we are getting from the Archbishop.

Let us remember what Archbishop Chaput wrote regarding Sr. Keehan:

"Regrettably, groups like Network and the Catholic Health Association have done a grave disservice to the American Catholic community by undermining the leadership of the nation’s Catholic bishops, sowing confusion among faithful Catholics, and misleading legislators through their support of the Senate bill ."


"But the actions of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in providing a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops were both surprising and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging. In the crucial final days of debate on health-care legislation, CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the American bishops in their approach to members of Congress. The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the Catholic Health Association and similar ‘Catholic" organizations."

Finally, I do not entirely blame the students. Thinking back to my days, I was clueless about many things regarding our faith. For me, graduation day was the start of a whole new stage of my life. A chance for me to really be out on my own (so to speak) and see what life was like outside of my school and community.

If the students and parents were really pro-life, as many claim they are, they could have sent a really strong message by standing up and turning their backs on her during the speech. That would have sent a very pointed message to both her and the school administration. (What would they have done to the students? Give them more demerits? To the parents, send them another fund-raising letter?)

But let's be honest, all of this could have been averted had the Archbishop asked that Sr. Keehan be removed as the speaker.

So, once again, Archbishop Wuerl has let another scandal take place and another chance for confusion and dissension among Catholics.

Nice job Archbishop Wuerl.


Anonymous said...

Notre Dame is not Jesuit, first of all.

Secondly, there was no need to protest Sister Keehan. She has spent her entire career serving the poor and less-fortunate, something all Catholics should strive to emulate. We do not know if she is pro-choice! All of this pro-choice talk is nothing but speculation! Even if she is pro-choice, it does not mean that she should have been removed as the speaker. Her speech made no mention of abortion, and she had no agenda arguing for the health care bill. We all have our flaws, so none of us can pass judgment on others. The protestors were completely out of line showing up at the graduation and interrupting the ceremony.

Archbishop Wuerl did not "scandalize" the Church. We as Catholics have an obligation to respect others. Listening to people who hold views that may be different than ours is not a bad thing. Gonzaga presents the official Catholic teaching regarding abortion. Then the teachers present both arguments, and they allow the students to believe what they want to believe. And guess what? Most if not all CHOOSE to be pro-life.


To Anon:

First, thank you for taking time to read this blog.

I stand corrected on who runs Notre Dame. So, when I am wrong, i will stand corrected.

Originally, I was not going to respond, but as I thought about this, I felt that you are incorrect in a number of the arguements put forth.

Sr. Keehan runs a trade advocacy group. It happens that that particular trade advocacy group is made up of Catholic hospitals -- a business which happens to also do a huge amount of charity work. Something which many of us support either directly (by donations) or indirectly by using their services.

Her actions during the health care mess caused strife and confusion, as the bishops attempt to clarify the message. We know this. It is a fact. If she wasn't willing to support a flawed bill, then why was she disinvited from the Carroll Dinner? Why is she no longer on the board as mentioned in my post.

If she was pro-abortion -- and I am not certain she is not(and please stop using the words of the abortionists), she would not have been allowed to speak at any Catholic institution in this diocese.

We may have an obligation to "respect" others but that does not mean we have an obligation to let them into our schools, churches and other institutions.
It does not mean that we have an duty or right to allow them to be recognized as someone special.

Archbishop Wuerl, by doing nothing, only helps to cause scandal by allowing this sort of thing to happen. Gonzaga comes under jursidiction of the Archdiocese,and as such, has the final say on who is a speaker at such things.

The Archbishop has honored pro-abortion Catholycs in the past -- we know this and it is documented.

His doing nothing, causes scandal.

Once again, thank you for reading this blog and I hope that you come back often.


Oh, one clarification...pro-choice is the term used by abortionists,who wish to mask their deadly task. Let's call it what it is -- they are pro-abortion.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

To Anonymous, your last paragraph is interesting. "Then the teachers present both arguments." Would they do that for racism? That is, would they present the Church teaching, then turn around and present the Ku Klux Klan "argument"? I hope not! Why? Because one perspective is good, the other evil. That your teachers are doing this in regards to the murder of babies speaks volumes about the supposed "pro-life" commitment of those faculty so engaged. I'm glad that most claim to be pro-life. I hope those that don't get a big fat "F" for religion class, and learn from that - lest they merit the big "F" at the end of their lives.

And yes, Notre Dame is run by the Holy Cross Fathers

Dymphna said...

On the bright side none of the kids can remember a thing Sr.Keehan said. Cardinal Hickey was the speaker at my high school graduation and all I remember is praying that he'd hurry up and finish so I could get my diploma and leave.

Dymphna said...

On the bright side none of the kids can remember a thing Sr.Keehan said. Cardinal Hickey was the speaker at my high school graduation and all I remember is praying that he'd hurry up and finish so I could get my diploma and leave.

mady jojjef said...

It is interesting thing which you mention on your blog specially last paragraph.. keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Shame on the Jesuits, shame on Father Novotny and shame on Wuerl. The only way to address this issue is for the alumni and other supporters of the school to slam their check books shut. Also, if parents start considering schools other that Gonzaga for their sons,it might lead Farther Novotny to get some religion.

Katherine said...

On the bright side none of the kids can remember a thing Sr.Keehan said.

True. All these kids will remember is that at their graduation, some Right-wing nut jobs protested against this nice nun.

Thank you for helping to create the next generation of progressive Catholics!

I think we are going to see a lot more of Sister Carol!