Sunday, May 12, 2013


Boston College, a Jesuit institution, is honoring the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny by awarding him an honorary degree. He is actively promoting in Ireland legislation to allow the murder of innocent unborn children. How can a Catholic institution justify the awarding of an honorary degree to such a Catholic, whom I believe Church law excommunicates when aiding and assisting women in abortion through public or private encouragement?

Pope Francis is beginning to purify the Church of the bogus magisteriums that exist in the Church today striving to usurp the legitimate and God given authority of the Bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter and the bishops in union with him, the successors of the other apostles. Together they are the legitimate Magisterium of the Church, they are the living Magisterium.

As it concerns the bogus feminist magisteriums of the Church, Macon's newspaper, the Telegraph ran a "canned" story on Margaret Nutting Ralph’s new book, “Why the Catholic Church Must Change: A Necessary Conversation” (Rowan & Littlefield, $34. You can read the entire article by PRESSING THIS SENTENCE.

The most pertinent part of the interview Nutting gives and the most incredibly shallow, poor in logic and completely opposed to the truth of the Magisterium of the Church is the following statement of Catholics who are pro-choice:

QUESTION: You write that the Catholic Church teaches that people “will be judged, not by their obedience to the law, but by their fidelity to a well-formed conscience.” You discuss the importance of putting Scripture in context. How does that square up with those who quote selected passages from the Bible as “evidence” that they are right to be, say, anti-gay marriage or anti-abortion?

ANSWER: If you don’t put Scripture passages in context, you can use them to support anything you already think; so you can have two people diametrically opposed on an issue, and both of them will be convinced they’re right, because they’ve taken an out-of-context Scripture passage to support what they already think.

QUESTION: In your chapter on abortion, you make a salient point about how many people who are pro-choice are not really pro-abortion. Why do you say that “Catholics also do harm when those who believe that abortion is immoral try to distinguish themselves from all of their opponents by calling themselves pro-life.”

ANSWER: I’ve talked to many people who would never have an abortion themselves and are not pro-abortion at all, but they think that it’s a decision of conscience and that it should be a personal decision and not a decision of the federal government or state government.

They’re not for criminalizing abortion, because that would deprive people of it being a personal choice, but nevertheless they’re against abortion.

QUESTION: You write about gay marriage and emphasize that the greatest mandate we are given by Scripture is to love thoughtfully and to express tolerance and encouragement to others. How does that reflect on the issue of gay marriage?

ANSWER: My thoughts on this have certainly evolved. Initially, not knowing anything about it, I thought it was a choice based in lust.

My husband’s a psychologist, and I asked him, “Do you think people choose this action freely or is it innate to them to be homosexual as I am heterosexual?” He said, “I don’t think they choose it.”

My Comment: Nutting says of pro-choice catholics: "They’re not for criminalizing abortion, because that would deprive people of it being a personal choice, but nevertheless they’re against abortion." This statement is so incredible, because Nutting (and surely she is nuts) doesn't want to deprive those who want to have an abortion from doing so. Would she also state the same of parents who locked their children in their rooms and give them only bread and water for a week at a time in order to punish their bad behavior? Her logic is incredibly shallow, immature and an insult to Catholicism and our great tradition of moral teachings and justice.

On homosexuality she sets up a straw women, the Church does not teach that being a homosexual is a sin or a choice, it is a "disordered" condition that can be genetic or caused by family circumstances and childhood trauma. It is not up to the Church to decide the biological or sociological or psychological reasons why people, male or female have disordered affections, suffice it to say that the affections of homosexuals in the physical and psyche sense are disordered but not necessarily sinful

The choice to act on the disordered affections if not compromised by mental illness or ignorance of the moral law in natural law and Scripture is the sin, it is a mortal sin. Even ordered affections of a heterosexual is considered a sin when the physical act of natural heterosexual sex takes place through fornication or adultery.

But back to Boston College and Sean Cardinal O'Malley. He makes the decision to boycott Boston College's Commencement ceremonies, which is laudable. Here is his very good and salient statement:


Cardinal Sean O'Malley

May 10, 2013

Because the Gospel of Life is the centerpiece of the Church’s social doctrine and because we consider abortion a crime against humanity, the Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that Catholic institutions not honor government officials or politicians who promote abortion with their laws and policies.

Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College’s graduation this year. I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation. The Irish Bishops have responded to that development by affirming the Church’s teaching that “the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong” and expressed serious concern that the proposed legislation “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.”

Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. It is my ardent hope that Boston College will work to redress the confusion, disappointment and harm caused by not adhering to the Bishops’ directives. Although I shall not be present to impart the final benediction, I assure the graduates that they are in my prayers on this important day in their lives, and I pray that their studies will prepare them to be heralds of the Church’s Social Gospel and “men and women for others,” especially for the most vulnerable in our midst.

MY FINAL COMMENTS: While the statement of Cardinal O'Malley is very good, it amounts to nothing more than an ecclesiastical pout if he doesn't back it up with ecclesiastical sanctions.

My question to those who know canon law, what ecclesiastical sanctions could he impose?

An interdict on the Board of Trustees preventing them from receiving Holy Communion until a public repentance?

Removing the Catholic identity of the school?

Asking the Jesuit Pope, Francis, the Bishop of Rome to intervene with the Jesuits in the most juridical way possible?

Other solutions?


Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

You are spot-on Father McDonald.

It's time for the clergy (starting with the pope) to actually do something against errors and disobedience. Souls are at stake.

The laity have to roll their sleeves up and start rebuilding the Church but we need leadership from our priests and bishops.

Flavius Hesychius said...

Ah... "scripture in context"...

Like where Scripture says:

"An nescitis quia iniqui regnum Dei non possidebunt? Nolite errare: neque fornicarii neque idolis servientes neque adulteri neque molles neque masculorum concubitores neque fures neque avari, non ebriosi, non maledici, non rapaces regnum Dei possidebunt."


Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

rcg said...

This interesting from a slightly different perspective than pure ecclesiastical one. Gene and I agree with the end state of dealing with this issue, where we perceive things differently is in HOW it should be handled. Specifically, I think the Pope should expect his bishops to manage and execute the proper discipline and guidance with the Pope reviewing and giving guidance, in turn, to the bishops. The last several Popes, although to s a lesser degree Pope Benedict, have not been as direct with the bishops as many would like. I think it is because the popes differed to the local bishop and his understanding of the situation and people involved. This has blown up in everyone's face not only with the sex scandal, but with pro-choice 'Catholics', female ordination, and the runaway train of the LCWR. The bishops need to man up or follow the example of Pope Benedict and step aside for someone who will take the needed action.

I think O'Malley and Pell and a few of the other select of the advisors are going to find specific events such as this in front of them very soon. They need to call the pay phone at the front desk of the Albergo Sei Vaticano and speak Frankly per the recent homilies. After a few of those sessions they will understand the leadership vision enough to act first and get the review later. It would take not more than a few months. they should have weekly telecoms to discuss and compare situations, actions, and results.

And pray together.

Gene said...

And, let us not forget that Margaret Nutcase Ralph's book is what Ignotus/Kavanaugh chose for his Bible study last summer...a woman who does not believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ and whose premise for study is unbelief...

yt said...

ew Gene, really?

Gene said...

Solution..turn BC into a nice antique mall or collection of boutiques.

Gene said...

Once again, I would suggest to parents that, unless you can find a conservative/traditional school or unless your child is a candidate for one of the professions (medicine, law, engineering, a science) do not send them to college. They can attend a quality technical school and, in the four years it would take to get a college degree, become certified in plumbing, electrical and heating and air and make a fine living in construction or maintenance. Four years spent in IT or IS or accounting would make them highly marketable, and Physical Therapy or Chiropractic schools prepare them for making a good living.
The greatest threat to the future of our country and the Church is so-called "higher education" which, for the most part, is a cabal of liberal, modernist/socialists who hate themselves and the country, reject the Christian faith, principles of self-determination, and individual liberty (license is ok), and who worship globalism and collectivist schemes of government. These people are clever and bright enough to indoctrinate our children and to fool parents, as well. They lie, prevaricate, and cover their predatory tracks with rhetoric and apologetics. Parents and Priests are no match for them with adolescents whose ego boundaries are fluid at that time of life and who are seeking self-identity apart from parental ego introjects. These professors know this and exploit it ruthlessly.
Teach your kids to read Dickens, Austen, and Shakespeare on their own...most of the exegesis of those and other authors in colleges is de-constructionist and modernist, anyway, and virtually worthless. They may actually enjoy those authors if they read them without some fifty-year old male with a pony tail or butch-looking feminist telling them that authorship doesn't matter and that the plot must be interpreted in terms of patriarchal oppression of women or the psychological conflicts of the author who is seeking authenticity in the context of deteriorating capitalist society in a post-Christian context. Riiiiight....LOL!

Anonymous 5 said...


I think that enough bishops have proved sufficiently spineless, heterodox, or openly rebellious in th epast half-century that papal guidance alone isn't enough. Like when JPII suggested to the bishops that they allow the Tridentine Mass more freely--by and large, he was ignored. I believe, also, that JPII told Archbishop Weakland directly to quit wreckovating his cathedral in the fashion he was doing it, and was ignored by said Weakland. And popes have been suggesting for a few years now that notorious dissidents not present themselves for Communion, yet they not only do so, but they do so at papal installation Masses.

In light of this, what we need are penalties imposed by the pope directly on laity and on clergy, including the bishops. If the diocesan bishops won't discipline their own flocks in line with canon law, the Bishop of Rome shouldn't hesitate to do it for them. And if the bishops themselves are the ones misbehaving, the pope shouldn't hesitate to proceed against them decisively.

rcg said...

A5, I completely agree. My point was made softly: hold the individual bishops accountable and severely so as the leaders or the Faithful.

Gene said...

Anon 5, Amen and Amen!

Anonymous 2 said...


And once again, you know I am going to have to respond to you as I did the last time (although I was just an Anonymous then and only “came out” as Anonymous 2 later =)).

As someone who has spent almost his entire career in academia (at Mercer Law School but also collaborating with undergraduate faculty colleagues at Mercer), my own response to the problems in higher education you identify would be to advise discernment in selecting a college. In this regard I am glad that you at least make an exception for “a conservative/traditional school.” The question, of course, is how one defines “conservative” or “traditional.” Specifically, is Mercer “conservative” or “traditional”? Based on your own experience at Mercer many years ago you may say it isn’t. But please consider the following.

First, my Mercer colleagues are serious, fair-minded people, and it is my sense that they try very hard to keep their own (sometimes admittedly strong) personal views out of the classroom. Some of them are even professing Christians, even conservative Christians. I am sure you would agree that the purpose of an undergraduate education is not to indoctrinate with any particular ideology or worldview. Students_have_to be exposed to all sorts of ideas, but this has to be done in a disciplined and rigorous manner that will develop their powers of critical thinking and set them on the path to wisdom (which includes, of course, enabling them to relate those ideas appropriately to their Faith) . Such education will equip them to engage more effectively with the world, to be “wise as serpents” as it were. This is a better way to deal with the challenges of living in a pluralist (and, unfortunately, also relativist) society than allowing the media to be their teacher and it is truer to our Catholic tradition of valuing higher learning for more than the purposes of technical career preparation.

Second, Mercer has a good Great Books program – and a Center for the Teaching of America’s Western Foundations, of which I have been a collaborating faculty member. In fact, I devote a considerable part of my own energies to promoting the value of a true liberal education – for lawyers too. Although I do not agree with everything he says, Anthony Kronman, former Dean of Yale Law School (and now teaching in its Great Books program) diagnoses the problems in higher education and offers some good solutions in his latest book “Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life” (2007). I suspect you would find much with which to agree in his book. And as I am suggesting, not all of us have (given up, that is).


Anonymous 2 said...

Third, Mercer also has a Phronesis Project for the Exploration of Character, Practical Wisdom, and Professional Formation, of which I am a co-director. For further details, please see our book “Toward Human Flourishing: Character, Practical Wisdom, and Professional Formation” (Mercer University Press, 2013). You will find God and religious faith mentioned more than a few times. Mercer also has a robust service learning program and a vibrant Mercer on Mission program.

Fourth, it is true that Mercer does encourage public dialogue on contentious issues. Thus the Mercer Lyceum Program has held forums on abortion and same sex marriage, for example, with the goal of trying to discover some common ground despite the differences that still remain. I attended the former but for some reason did not know about the latter. Father Dawid was a panelist, though, and Father McDonald commented on it on the Blog. I believe that he characterized Mercer as “quite liberal” in that comment. .

However, I would resist that characterization of Mercer. In fact, I would probably want to resist any such “labeling” of Mercer as “liberal” or “conservative.” We are, or should be, in the education business not the ideological indoctrination business.

I am not mentioning all these things to promote Mercer or the particular projects with which I am involved. If you had not posted your comment, I would have said nothing. But readers may read your scathing attack on higher education as including Mercer by implication and so I have a responsibility to respond.

Anyway, fellow Bloggers, as the saying goes, “I report, you decide.” But the best advice I can give to parents and prospective students is to research the schools very thoroughly before they decide on one; if possible, of course, go visit and talk to faculty, students, and alumni. Also note what kind of welcome you are given by admissions staff and others.

Anonymous 5 said...


Given the context, I have to side with Gene on this one.

First, I would disagree with Gene on his choice of adjectives; I would simply have said 'orthodox" school, which may have eliminated much though not all of your criticism. We simply have to get away from a left/right conceptualization based on the shape of the French legislature and the political sphere, and instead conceptualize things in terms of a bullseye, with anything less than a pinwheel problematical.

Next, I too have taught for many years in a law school, and for many more in undergraduate programs. In my experience law professors tend to be much more restrained in injecting--shall we say "unconventional" or even "heretical"--ideas into the classroom. I think this is due to two related constraints that are absent from undergraduate humanities and even social science curricula:

1) Their primary institutional goal is to prepare students to practice law, and that means passing a bar exam that has examines on well-defined contents with fairly well-defined answers (compared to the average contracts or torts hypothetical) and even better-defined issues. A professor who spends a semester offering a first year student nothing but a Marxist critique of Anglo-Amerian principles of contract or real property is usually going to be washed out very quickly since the bar exam isn't going to cover that.

2) Related to this is that most law professors are officers of the court who are socialized into generally accepting at least the general framework of American legal dispute resolution and thus the basic principles of American law. There's more latitude here, of course, especially in publication or elective courses, but not in the core curriculum. CLS, for instance, has never been mainstream and is probably never going to be. Same for Law and Economics and a bunch of other fringe stuff. So not only would a Marx-obsessed law professor get washed out fast; he likely wouldn't even get hired.

To be continued . . .

Anonymous 5 said...

Continued . . .

Compare that to the humanities and to the social sciences, where unconventional approaches and radical ideas abound even at the undergrad level. I once took an introductory psych course, nominally a survey, that discussed nothing but Piaget's object concept for an entire semester (similar to an intro torts class talking about nothing but the elements of battery for an entire semester--wouldn't happen in law school but happens in the humanities all the time). I was in graduate school with some American historians in training who boasted of the fact that once they got jobs they were going to turn their survey classes into Marxist indoctrination courses. I know of Civil War classes--again advertised as surveys of the war--that discuss nothing but womens' issues during the war (likely how women were opressed by the patriarchy); literally no discussion of strategy, or politics, or slavery at all, and no discussions of how the home front effected men--just women. And at BC, Mary Daly, self-identified "radical lesbian feminist" and so-called Catholic--adamantly refused to let men enroll in her courses because they poisoned the discussions of how the patriarchy, in the Church and elsewhere, oppresses women. These are things that no accredited law school could get away with allowing.

My point being, of course, your perspective on Gene's statement may be a little distorted, despite your undergrad connections.

The point that Gene was trying to make is actually quite simple: schools that hold themselves out to be Catholic should not have faculty and administration that disparage, by their teaching or by their actions, Catholic doctrine. One can certainly examine and even perhaps critique that doctrine, but one can't attack or ignore that doctrine and logically call one's self a Catholic or pretend that the curriculum reflects Catholic principles. Yet most, if not all, of the national-caliber universities that identify themselves as Catholic, and are though of as Catholic--BC, Georgetown, Notre Dame, etc.--revel in doing just that. It's common knowledge that many, many theology professors in these schools flat-out refuse to sign the mandatum required by Ex Corde Ecclesiae. (Read Richard McBrien's _Catholicism_ to see one result of that.) I've even heard stories that faculty applications at these schools are often thrown away if the applicant is so foolish as to identify himself as a Catholic (though with "Catholics" like Mary Daly, who cares?). Gene is simply saying that good Catholics ought to go elsewhere for their education and take their tuition money with them. (And bishops should take action to strip the Catholic affiliation from these schools.)

I sense you may want to respond by talking about the importance of dialogue, as we have discussed in the gay rights issue. But I would answer here as there: Catholic doctrine is both an established fact and a non-negotiable part of being a Catholic person or institution. In light of this, the only dialogue worth having with doctrine's detractors is a pastoral effort to get them to accept this truth.

Gene said...

Anon 2, I would certainly characterize Mercer as "quite liberal," although there are quantum leaps in everything...Vanderbilt, for instance. I sent my own kids to Presbyterian College, which I would characterize as only slightly less liberal than Mercer. My son majored in teachers seem to be more conservative than humanities teachers. My daughter majored in English and Poly Sci, graduating Summa Cum Laude, then attended UGA law school, which she described as a cross-cultural zoo and characterized most of the professors as "either left wing loons or downright anarchists." She graduated Magna Cum laude from there in complete disgust. "Most lawyers are sociopaths," is her most recent characterization of the profession.
Now, I am in touch with academia on a regular niece teaches Biology at Ohio State, one of my best friends is a theology prof at Chicago, and many of my students are in college or grad school. We talk about these things all the time.
What I am describing is a pervasive malaise in academia, which the vigorous defense of one such school as Mercer doesn't touch. Most academics I know and deal with are collectivist, liberal, and profess moral and cultural relativity readily.
I stand by my strong recommendation to parents, and have voiced this in every venue to which I have access. Many listen and I am glad they do.

Gene said...

RE: Parents checking out schools...most parents do not really know what to look for, professors and administrators are not going to be open regarding such questions and, being practiced at obfuscation and disinformation, will easily schmooze the parents. I have been to a number of "Parents Day" dog and pony shows and they are laughable to the last one. Higher education is a Leftist sump and is hardly worth the exorbitant fees and tuition parents pay to have their children's values challenged, their faith impugned, and their country mocked. For the cost of a liberal arts education, you could send your kid to tech school, buy them a house, and start them a stock fund. It is high time parents began looking at the diminishing returns of higher education...and this is from one who spent eight years in academia and graduated with honors from every program (I still wish I could lay brick and wire houses).

Marc said...

To be fair, Gene, I think your daughter's characterization of all lawyers as sociopaths might be heavily influenced by her working with me for some time.


I didn't find Mercer Law School to be very liberal. But, I came there directly from a political science department composed of socialists and communists.

In my estimation, it's easy for academics to be liberal. They don't have to actually encounter any poor people, so they can keep turning their struggle into an idol. And, they don't make so much money that the tax structure supporting our welfare state crushes them.

It's easy to be liberal in isolation from the real world. It was really easy for me to like poor people until I got involved in their lives. And social systems were great until they started taking 30+% of my check to pay for them.

Of course, I still work with the poor. And I work for the government, so I guess we need some liberals so I'll have a job... Ha!

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon 5 and Gene:

I do not challenge your observations in general. I was not evaluating higher education in general but Mercer University in particular. And I do not read either of your responses to be disputing what I say about Mercer. Perhaps tellingly, I even have friends who teach in the College of Liberal Arts who are young earth creationists. Most are not, of course, any more than the three of us are I suspect.

As for BC and Mary Daly, that is absurd. How can she claim to be a bona fide academic if she does not possess the basic academic virtue of at least some attempt at objectivity?

And once again I recommend Anthony Kronman’s book “Education’s End.” I think all three of us will find which on which we agree in his “traditional” approach.

Anonymous 2 said...

BTW, Gene, as it goes for colleges, so it goes for law schools. I do not know UGA very well but I do know Mercer Law School, and it does not answer that description. In fact, it is an excellent law school that has a very good track record in placing students in real jobs requiring a J.D. (we are number 25 out of about 190 in the country). We also have a Legal Writing program that is regularly in the top 3 in the nation and for years was number 1.

Gene said...

Anon 5 is certainly correct in what he understands me to be saying about Catholic schools but, once more, I see it as a far more pervasive problem. I do believe that conservative/liberal is an appropriate characterization. Conservative viewpoints may exist on college and university campuses, but they hardly have a hearing or official representation. I am sure you do not listen to conservative talk radio, but the number of conservative professors who call in and say things like, "I can't tell you where I teach because I would lose my job/never get tenure/be black-balled" is significant. Conservatism is scorned and attacked by most academics. Academia encourages the free exchange of ideas...except for conservative ones. I think it is a lost battle and parents need to wake up and admit it. Now, if your child has the aptitude for law, medicine, engineering, or one of the sciences, you will just have to take the risk and do the best you can. But, I assure you, you cannot avoid the Leftist propaganda and the anti-Western culture mentality.
On another note, check out your HS student's history and lit texts. All you need to do is check how the history text treats the War Between the States, WW II, the Reagan era and the fall of the Berlin Wall and USSR, and 9/11. Think the Left does not control the publication of text books? In the lit department, you might want to check what is being read instead of Western classics and what is being offered as "great poetry and lit" simply because it is written by "minorities." Students are being allowed to ignore rules of English grammar in the interest of "cultural diversity" and ( I have this from teachers) minority students are allowed to read Cliff Notes instead of the actual text because they are "disadvantaged with regard to the Western tradition." That's a quote from a HS English teacher. Yeah, send your kids to school...

Gene said...

Marc: Voltaire said, "I'd rather be dead than poor." And, if all lawyers had your values and integrity, the profession would be greatly improved. You are certainly not a sociopath. LOL!
I, too, have worked closely with the poor. For the most part, the poor in this country are sleazy, grasping, and demanding. A high percentage of them are also criminal. They should be nominally and adequately provided for and heard as little from as possible.

Anonymous 2 said...

Nothing anyone has said, including your latest comment, Gene, is an indictment of Mercer University in general or Mercer Law School in particular. In fact, the one comment from someone who has experienced Mercer Law School himself – from Marc – suggests the opposite. Thank you, Marc.

Anonymous 2 said...

To clarify something I said earlier and to avoid any misunderstanding, Mercer Law School’s number 25 ranking that I mentioned is for job placement specifically.

Anonymous 5 said...

A2: regarding Mercer, when I was there as an undergraduate in the 1980s, I never ran across creationists, but I never ran across Marxists either. It may have been the profs I took, but I think that I experienced, both as an undergrad and as a graduate student, the last gasp of classical liberalism as academic mainstream. As a grad student I was much more aware of radicalism around me, but the profs I naturally gravitated to weren't part of it. I'm not familiar enough with Mercer's faculty and course offerings now to be able to comment one way or the other, so I'll defer to your judgment.

I do think, however, that academe on the whole pretty obviously leans collectivist left, as opposed to classical left (not counting places like Bob Jones U etc.) Marc was an undergrad more recently than any of us, so his experience--in Mississippi, even--is telling. (Marxists in Mississippi! Worse than Yankess in Atlanta!) At the national law school where I taught, one old curmudgeon loved to point out that of the forty faulty embers, he was one of only two registered Republicans. And though I was not and am not a Republican, my view on many social issues is decidedly conservative, and I was very careful to guard my tongue while I was there, so I can attest to what Gene says about conservatives' fear of speaking out.

Re the Mary Daly story being absurd: precisely. It _is_ absurd. That's my whole point. It is nevertheless true. The wikipedia article on her is pretty accurate:

The truly amazing thing is that she didn't run into title IX trouble for 25 years. She had to have a _lot_ of fellow travelers at BC backing her to get away with what she did.

Gene said...

When I was there in the previous decade, the list of guest speakers included Jane Fonda, Saul Alinsky, Bernadette Devlin, Ralph Nader, and Angela Davis. There was not one conservative speaker.I notice now under student organizations there is a Gay, Lesbian, Transgender group sponsored by the school, a Muslim group, and four...count 'em four...groups specifically for Blacks. There are no groups specifically for whites.
This apologia for Mercer is sweet, but Mercer fits right in with all the other colleges in this country. You could drop it into the middle BC or Berkeley and no one would really notice the difference except maybe in climate and geography.

Anonymous 5 said...

Gene, I think that things must have smoothed out by the time I was there--the big speaker I remember having was G. Gordon Liddy, around 1984. of course, Mary Wilder went berserk over that and tried to have him banned, but she failed.

Anonymous 2 said...


I was not at Mercer in the 1970s. A few weeks ago the Founders Day speaker was Erick Erickson. Predictably, some of my "liberal" undergraduate colleagues objected. The Provost told us that he thought it was important to have a range of speakers. I agree. It is a university not an indoctrination boot camp. At the Law School we have had liberal Law Day speakers, such as ACLU’s Nadine Strossen. We have also had U.S. Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas.

Your list of student clubs is highly selective. Yes, there is the group you mention and yes their formation and recognition was the trigger event leading to our severance from the Georgia Baptist Convention. However, for a more balanced picture please consult the list of student organizations in the following link:

I hope you noticed the Mercerians for Liberty and all the faith-based organizations. I did not know there was a Muslim Student Group. Thank you for telling me. I must make a point of attending a meeting or two. I have just taught a course entitled “Islamic Law in Comparative Perspective” (using a book btw written by a devout and apparently quite orthodox Roman Catholic) and I am sure I would learn something valuable from the dialogue – yes, dialogue.

If you want to prepare students for engagement with the world, Gene, you have to educate them, not stick their heads in the sand. And as I said it is better for people of faith to teach them about these things than to cede that authority to the media. They will be exposed to all sorts of dangerous ideas anyway. Personally I would rather have some input to help them to think critically about those ideas and not be taken in by charlatans.

So, yes, I suppose I must admit to being a liberal as well as a “conservative” – liberal in the classical intellectual sense of someone committed to liberal education. I thought that is what a university was supposed to be. I thought that is what you were too.

Anonymous 2 said...

I have just read your post, Anon 5, after sending my own. I appreciate your objectivity as I did Marc’s. That is one of the benefits of a legal training I believe, which you, Marc and I share.

Gene said...

The English majors at Mercer called Mary "Bloody Mary."
Mercifully, I never had her for a course. I liked Dr. Bill Glover, from whom I took "French Revolution and Napolean" and "Intellectual History of Modern Europe," known as "Glover's Course." He made a statement in those courses regarding the French Revolution which haunts me to this day: "Most of my colleagues on this campus and on campuses around the country will tell you that the French Revolution was a wonderful thing. I, on the other hand, believe it was a terrible thing, the consequences for which we will be paying a political price for centuries." Prescient, no?
Time Magazine actually interviewed him on campus regarding the "death of God" theology popular at the time. He did not want the interview, so the reporter dogged him on campus. Glover's succinct response, "Suh, two things need no defense..God and Harvard." He used to tell me that, if he made it to Heaven, he wanted to sit and have a really long conversation with Thomas Aquinas. I trust they are still talking...

Anonymous 5 said...

A2: Thanks. I try. Except when I'm being baited by trolls. :-) I do think it sadly indicative that the provest had to announce that he though it important to have a range of speakers. I find it disturbing for two reasons: 1) it should be a given, and everybody should know it's a given; and 2) the provost thought it necessary to make it a subjective statement.

Gene: I remember your telling me that about Glover, and in light of that--particularly the French Revolution statement, in which I concur--I'm sorry I never got to know him.

Anonymous 2 said...

Thanks for sharing that memory of Dr. Glover, Gene. I did not know him but wish I had. Your story proves my main point I think. We cannot and should not shelter our students from the French Revolution or the ideas associated with it. Instead we should help them think critically about them as Dr. Glover evidently did. And the same is true for everything else. Critical thinking is in short supply nowadays, to the detriment of the Republic. We need to do our part to help restore it, and the Republic. That way we can help our students (and ourselves) achieve greater understanding and the conditions for wiser judgments. Of course, I believe education is also about more than critical thinking but it is certainly central to it.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon 5: Let me clarify. I do not know what else the Provost might have said or to what audience, but his observation to which I was referring as not any kind of public announcement. It was made to a very small group of us (about five or six) when one of us asked him about the visit and some colleagues not being happy about it. I have no reason to think there was any great effort to prevent the speech (though I could be wrong of course).

Gene said...

Anon 2, Your post proves my point. Any college that makes a special place for homosexuals and transgender creatures has serious value and morals issues. In today's world and in light of recent historical events, anyone who thinks dialogue with Muslims is a good idea has their head up, in the sand. There is "open-minded" and, then, there is stupid. I do not need an intimate understanding of Islamic history and philosophy to know that they are avowed enemies of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the Church, and the West. They attacked my country and continue to do so. It we nuked every Muslim capital tomorrow I would not mind at all. I see nothing morally wrong with it, nor anything particularly disturbing about the idea other than that we would need to do it in such a way as to protect Israel. I am sure you find that idea repulsive, which also proves my point.

Marc said...

Of course, for the majority of Islamic history, they were quite accommodating to Christians and their right to worship.

Interestingly, the Islamic crusade is taking place at roughly the same period of their existence add the Christian crusade took place during Christianity's existence. I don't know what to make of that except that combining both religious and political power into one structure seems to have had consequences for freedom and human life (the sane thing happens when the religion of secularism or materialism is combined with political power - Nazis and Communists, respectively).

Of course, a history of good will doesn't make up for or excuse current atrocities. I happen to think they are lashing out more at the western mindset with its license and imperialism than Christianity. After all, Christendom isn't Christian anymore, so it's hardly a religious war from the West's perspective. Really, they're fighting secularism in much the same way I gather many Catholics might suggest doing so. Should we round up the heretics or not?

Anyway, Islam is the scariest heresy in the modern world. There is no question about that.

Gene said...

Marc, I think the Catholic fight against heresy is more important than the fight against secularism. We cannot combat secularism if we cannot maintain spiritual integrity within the Church herself. Secularism is rationalism run is here to stay until it devours itself, which it will, eventually. The best way for the church to combat secularism is to win away its the witness of spiritual integrity, right belief, right worship, and the charity and service that flows from these...the work of the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous 2 said...

Marc: From your third paragraph it sounds like you may have read Dinesh d’Souza’s book “The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and its Responsibility for 9/11” (2007).

Gene: If you haven’t read this book, you might want to do so. I am sure d’Souza is a name well known to you. He is a darling of the so-called conservative Right, especially for his critiques of Obama. I have used his book a couple of times in my Comparative Law course a few years ago.

Matters regarding Islam and Muslims are just not as simple as you make them out to be. Really, they aren’t. But I am not going to fight you about this again. We have been down that road before. Instead I will continue to follow the lead of the “stupid” Holy Father and the rest of the “stupid” magisterium who have their “heads up their. . . .”, as you put it, in supporting dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

BTW we were not attacked by “the Muslims.” We were attacked by “Muslim extremists.”

Regarding homosexuals etc, I support whatever falls within the limits of the CCC’s admonition that “men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies . . . . must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” [section. 2358]. That said, I am, of course, aware of the CCC’s characterization of homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered” [section 2357]. If you recall, I drew attention to the position of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and the USCCB in opposing civil unions when Father McDonald_seemed_to be suggesting something different a couple of weeks ago. I am still torn due to the compassion I feel for my homosexual relatives, friends, and colleagues, of course, but nothing is gained by denying the facts regarding the Church’s teaching.

So, I leave it to readers to determine what point is proven by my attempt to be guided by norms promulgated by the Holy Father and the magisterium in the matter of Christian-Muslim dialogue and the treatment of homosexuals, or by the apparent considerable resonance of Mercer’s policies with those norms. I will also leave it to readers, especially those who are priests, to determine what point is proven if I object to your suggestion that we “nuke every Muslim capital tomorrow” and challenge your judgment that there is “nothing morally wrong” in doing so.

I do think we agree on many things but on these two matters I suspect we will have to agree to disagree.

Gene said...

Yep. we'll just have to disagree. "Muslim extremist" is redundant.

Gene said...

Anon 2, You are playing lawyer...I did not say the Pope or the Magisterium had their heads you know where or that they are stupid...I said that naive people like you did.

Anonymous 2 said...

No, Gene. I am playing simple logic:

Major premise: “In today’s world and in light of recent historical events, anyone who thinks dialogue with Muslims is a good idea has their head up, in the sand. There is open-minded and then there is stupid.”

Minor premise: The Pope and the magisterium think that dialogue with Muslims is a good idea.

Conclusion: Therefore, . . . .

The belief that nukes will solve the problems with the Muslim world is what is naïve, not to mention grossly immoral.

Gene said...

No, Anon 2, I said "anyone." I did not say any group, organization, religious body, or institution. My statement cannot, therefore, necessarily be inferred to include those may be understood that way, but not by logical necessity.

The belief that nukes might solve the problem with Muslims is not naive. It is based upon a very realistic assessment of the threat they pose to the civilized Western world and the Christian faith. It is, indeed, naive on my part to believe that any one in power anywhere has the stones to deal with the threat as it should be dealt with...

Anonymous 2 said...

Okay, Gene, I will amend my minor premise:

Minor premise: Pope Francis thinks that dialogue with Muslims is a good idea.

He does, you know. Now, I will of course accept that you did not mean to insult the Holy Father or other members of the hierarchy. Of course, I will accept that. But why not just say that? You do not need to use a private language and engage in a Clintonesque interpretation of a critical term in the major premise (“anyone”) for me to agree to that.

And let us not lose sight of the main point here. You criticized me for supporting dialogue with Muslims. The point of my response was to emphasize that my own support of such dialogue is in line with the approach of the Catholic Church and especially with that of Pope Francis. That concludes the matter for me. I do not need to defend any further a position that is in line with that of my Church and the Pope.

And even if (for the sake of argument) the belief that nuking every Muslim capital tomorrow is not naïve, such atrocity is certainly grossly immoral and completely contrary to the Catholic Faith, not to mention completely illegal. In fact, it is so beyond the pale that I cannot believe that you are serious and am inclined rather to conclude that you utter such outrage for effect. At least that is my hope because the alternative is too awful to contemplate.

Gene said...

Sell, I do employ hyperbole...
Ilegal? Legal is whatever a powerful State decides to do, n'est ce pas? States follow the Golden Rule...whoever has the gold makes the rules.
The Church and the Pope, I suppose, are obligated to encourage dialogue with Muslims, I don't quite understand why...Jesus cannot necessarily be inferred to have intended consorting with the enemies of the Faith or with those who would destroy his own. Certainly, Paul and John were less sanguine about it. I am of the camp that believes it is sometimes necessary to take up arms against the enemies of the Church and Judaeo-Christian civilization. Christ's promise to defend the Church I understand to mean that he uses us as his vanguard.
Now, this business of negotiation is all well and good. But, if the gun is pointed at you or the enemy is charging down the street, don't you think it is time to begin shooting back?

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: I am relieved to hear that you were likely just engaging in hyperbole and that the conversation can continue on a more reasonable basis. Even though you and I are probably the only ones following this thread now, I welcome the opportunity.

On the “illegal” point, I am not a complete skeptic when it comes to international law, even with regard to those norms regulating the use of force. And I am certainly no skeptic when it comes to the moral norms regulating the use of force. As you well know, the Church has a well developed just war doctrine, governing both the ius ad bellum and the ius in bello. Nuking Muslim capitals is not permitted – certainly not in current circumstances, and perhaps never. (Interestingly, Islamic Law, which is in fact highly sophisticated and complex and requires years of specialized training to master, also has a well developed just war theory.)

As I am sure you are aware, your hypothetical is, of course, tendentious. Even accepting your conclusion in the hypo the question is whether our relationship with the Muslim world is sufficiently analogous to the relationship with the hypothesized gunman. Arguably it is in the case of those radical extremists who are intent upon committing acts of violence against us. But it is not in the case of the vast majority of Muslims who do not answer that description and who, at worst, might support such acts even thought they would never engage in them themselves. The challenge for the West is to help “win the hearts and minds” of those Muslims who either already support extremists or who might incline that way. The “battle for the soul of Islam” must be waged largely by Muslims themselves, with intelligent, not stupid, intervention by the West. Committing atrocities of our own against innocent men, women, and children is not only morally reprehensible; it is not intelligent because it plays right into the hands of the extremists. This is why many are ambivalent about the use of targeted killings through drone strikes.


Anonymous 2 said...

Dialogue is part of intelligent intervention. And inter-religious dialogue has a part to play in the overall Western effort to promote peace and defeat terrorism. However, it has its own intrinsic justifications as well. My own starting premise is this: every human being has an immortal God-given soul and every human being is a child of God. I believe that is your staring premise also. There is, of course, much to be said about original sin and the reasons why people commit particular sins in life just as there is about the reasons why we may be able to avoid some particular sins but not others. Upbringing probably has a lot to do with it. If you or I (and here I refer not to our ego identity but to our immortal souls) had been born in Egypt or Afghanistan, or into a broken family with no father and a drug-addicted mother with several other children born out of wedlock in an inner city neighborhood, our lives would likely have been quite different. We can blame many people for creating this situation. The one person we cannot blame is the baby.

God does not see us as we see ourselves. You and I will find some actions despicable and repulsive. So does God. But you and I will also likely find the perpetrators of those acts despicable and repulsive because we are finite and flawed human beings. But we believe that God does not see them that way. Instead we believe that He loves us all unconditionally and became Man to bring the gift of salvation to all. The Church teaches that not all will accept the gift. But it also teaches that one can accept the gift even if one does not become a Christian. However, in the latter case, the situation is more uncertain. So, that is one warrant for engaging in inter-religious dialogue surely – it is a vehicle of evangelization. The operation of God’s grace is a mystery but we are called to cooperate with it. A word, a gesture, some “moment” may have “momentous” consequences in the divine economy, even if the other person never “converts” formally. We will likely never know about it on this side of death but can we doubt that it is so?

And then there is the problem of “the Other.” It is not philobabble or psychobabble to suggest that we are more likely to recognize our common humanity and our common divine origin if we “get to know one another.” It is an existential truth verifiable in everyone’s experience. In addition to creating opportunity for cooperation with God’s grace, dialogue, where dialogue is possible, helps to break down the artificial barriers that separate us and, one hopes, may lead us to treat one another better, or less worse and less sinfully, than we otherwise would.

All that said, one of my favorite movies, which I saw again last night, is “Mars Attacks.” =).

Gene said...

I do not share your faith in dialogue with hardened enemies. I think it is a waste of time and energy.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene, I do not know what you mean by “hardened enemies.” Please explain. I assume you do not mean “all Muslims” because Pope Francis himself advocates Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Gene said...

Hardened enemies...yes, Muslims...the Pope could be naive...Leftists...LCWR...Obama voters...apostate Priests and seminary professors...these people are not going to change. Most are vocal and adamant in their desire to attack the Church in one way or another. I dismiss them as a group but will attack them individually if they open their mouths around me.
The people I take seriously for dialogue are those on the fence or who have serious spiritual struggles with major issues such as abortion, homosexuality, etc. or theological struggles vis a vis Catholic/Protestant doctrine. People who, even if angry, are asking serious questions and want dialogue. You can tell who they are.
You do remember all the Munich, Neville Chamberlain/Hitler "dialogue" and Churchill's comments about do remember Hitler's marching into Prague unopposed by a country that probably could have stopped him because of Hitler's negotiations? You do remember "peace in our time?"
Oh, and Churchill's characterization of Chamberlain as a "sheep in sheep's clothing?"
Of course, we could go back further to the Treaty of Versailles and how those negotiations ended all wars...right? How about Paris and all we got out of Vietnam? Korea?

Anonymous 2 said...

Well, of course, there is dialogue and then there is dialogue. The procedures, rules, and reasonably anticipated outcomes of dialogue will vary according to the type of dialogue in question.

The Pope says that one does not dialogue with the Devil, and I agree. Now, I don’t necessarily want to equate Hitler and his ilk with the Devil but, clearly, negotiating with a psychopath is only going to get you so far. And, unfortunately, psychopaths, sociopaths, and other anti-social types are disproportionately represented in the corridors of power throughout history. (Remember, I said that Mars Attacks was one of my favorite movies, and this is partly because of its wonderful parody of naïve “peaceniks.”)

Similarly, there is a huge difference between attempting to dialogue with terrorists (although even that is not impossible – there are several precedents in recent history) and engaging in dialogue with those who are non-violent (for example, official Catholic-Muslim inter-faith dialogue, or unofficial Catholic-Muslim inter-faith dialogue as when you or I might converse about matters of faith with our Muslim friends or colleagues).