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Updated on April 23, 2004

Catholic "Education" is a Sham

Many books and articles have been written in the past thirty years dealing with the fraud that is Catholic "education." A number of such articles appeared in the printed pages of Christ or Chaos between 1996 and 2003, focusing on all levels of education from kindergarten right through graduate and professional programs. A series I wrote for The Wanderer in 1995 dealt with the systematic de-Catholicization of Saint John's University under the leadership of its current president, The Very Reverend Donald Harrington, C.M., who succeeded Father Joseph Cahill, C.M., in 1988. That particular series was prompted by the hiring of one Tanya Hernandez to teach at the St. John's University School of Law despite the fact that she had worked for the Center for Reproductive Law and Public Policy, specifically working on law suits attempting to allege that Fathers Norman Weslin and Richard Welch were opposed to women because of their efforts to block entrances to abortuaries in Puerto Rico. A student told me later that year that Father Harrington, upset with one installment in that series, went out of his way from the enclave of his office in a separate building to burst into the office of the chairman of an academic department. Carrying a copy of The Wanderer, Harrington is reported to have said: "What are we going to do about this? He's killing us!" Even though I am subjected to a steady dose of character assassination and ridicule, something that comes with the territory of being a commentator, obviously (and something that, if offered to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart and accepted without rebuttal, can unite me to the humiliations my sins caused Our Lord and and Our Lady to suffer on Good Friday), this particular story is a reminder that God does indeed use lowly sinners and those who count for nothing in this world to confound the powerful and the worldly wise.

As we know, though, all of the books and articles written about the problems in the postconciliar Church, including those of Catholic "education." have had been dismissed with utter contempt by those who have systematically destroyed the integrity of the Catholic Faith in institutions that should be concerned first and foremost with producing defenders and propagators of the Holy Faith. The efforts of so many, including Monsignor George A. Kelly's definitive history of the secularization of Catholic universities and colleges found in The Battle for the American Church, which was published initially in 1979, to alert the hierarchy about the problems in Catholic education have fallen on deaf ears. Despite claims by many well-meaning "conservative" Catholics that the situation has been getting better in recent years, the reverse is true.  It is interesting that many, although not all, of the people who believe this to be the case in Catholic education are usually the same people who believe that there are ways to "restructure" the new Mass, refusing to see the problems with the Novus Ordo Missae are caused by the false foundations of the new Mass itself. No, sadly and most predictably, the problems in every aspect of the Church, including Catholic education, only get worse, as some of us noted two months ago when the "Queer Film Festival" was held at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana.

One of the particularly recurring problems in Catholic education (apart from the systematic denial of dogmas contained in the Deposit of Faith and the promotion of sinful behavior in the name of "compassion" and "diversity" and "tolerance") is the awarding of various honors either by or at Catholic colleges and universities to pro-abortion public figures (celebrities, elected officials, administrators, educators, journalists, jurists, foreign dignitaries). Seton Hall University, which is under the direct control of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, is the first "Catholic" university this calendar year of 2004 to honor a pro-abortion public figure, doing so this very day, April 16, 2004, by having the militantly pro-abortion Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor, present an award named for herself to a Maryanne Trump Barry, a judge of the Third United States Circuit Court, which sits in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among her other accomplishments, Judge Barry struck down the State of New Jersey's partial, conditional ban on partial-birth abortions. Thus, the pro-abortion Justice O'Connor handed an award name for her to a fellow pro-abortion jurist at a Catholic university under the direct and official control of the Archdiocese of Newark, which is headed by His Excellency, the Most Reverend John Myers.

I rather doubt that the alleged Catholics who run Seton Hall University would consider honoring Patrick Joseph Buchanan or Christopher Ferrara or Michael Davies or, say, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bernard Fellay of the Society of Pope Saint Pius X. Protestant ministers and Jewish rabbis or Mohammedan mullahs and pro-abortion public figures stand a better chance of receiving honors from an officially Catholic education than lay Catholics who are critical of the Church's hierarchy and the ecclesiastical novelties of the past forty years, to say nothing of a "schismatic" bishop who has courageously stood fast in defense of the Church's Deposit of Faith and her authentic liturgical tradition. A real schismatic from an apostate Protestant sect would be welcomed at Seton Hall while Catholics who seek to defend the very things Our Lord handed gave the Apostles to hand down to us are most unwelcomed there. Thus, I guess it is very appropriate for Seton Hall to be giving an honor in the name of a militantly pro-abortion associate justice of the United States Supreme Court to another pro-abortion jurist.

Lest anyone doubt Sandra Day O'Connor's absolute pro-abortion credentials, please review the following facts:

1) Justice O'Connor was a militant supporter of abortion when she was the Majority Leader of the Arizona State Senate.

2) Her nomination in 1981 by then President Ronald Wilson Reagan to succeed the retiring Associate Justice Potter Stewart was met with protests from no-exceptions pro-life advocates Howard Phillips, Chairman of the Conservative Caucus Foundation, and Judie Brown, President of the American Life League, both of whom testified publicly before Senator Orrin Hatch's Judiciary Committee when it held hearings on O'Connor's confirmation to Stewart's vacated court seat. Both Mr. Phillips and Mrs. Brown noted O'Connor's absolute record in favor of abortion. Their un-contradicted testimony meant nothing to any of the allegedly "pro-life" senators on the Judiciary Committee or on the floor of the United States Senate, just as it meant nothing to President Reagan or his Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Michael Deaver, who is generally credited with the choice of O'Connor as a way of appealing to the "women's vote." It is significant that Deaver was especially close to Mrs. Nancy Reagan, herself a supporter of the right to kill preborn babies under cover of law.

3) Justice O'Connor wrote the following in the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey in 1992:

"Abortion is customarily chosen as an unplanned response to the consequence of unplanned activity or to the failure of conventional birth control. . . . To eliminate the issue of reliance that easily, however, one would need to limit the cognizable reliance to specific instances of sexual activity. But to do this would be simply to refuse to face the fact that for two decades of economic and social relationships, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the even that contraception should fail. The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives."

Any Catholic who does not recognize the barbaric, utilitarian, positivist view of human life contained in O'Connor's opinion from twelve years ago is not thinking with mind of the Divine Redeemer. The conception of a human being is the natural result of human conjugal relations. God intends a man and woman to be united in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony to bring forth as many or as few new lives as He sees fit to bestow upon them. It is God's command that the act of human conjugal relations be open to the transmission of new lives, lives that are meant to be born again in water and the Spirit in the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism. A husband and wife are supposed to be open to live. There is no economic or other utilitarian consideration, such as career advancement, that justifies the twin, inter-related evils of contraception and abortion. I wonder how many theology (or other) professors at Seton Hall University would agree with these statements of immutable Catholic truth, contained in both the Divine positive law and the natural law.

Most American bishops do not hesitate for one second to use the full weight of their episcopal authority to issue unjust edicts against Catholics, both priests and members of the lay faithful, who criticize their toleration and/or active promotion of heretical teaching and who might be even a smidgeon bit inclined in the direction of the Traditional Latin Mass. They become tongue-tied and paralyzed when dealing with the forces of the popular culture, almost going so far as to bow and scrape to reprobates, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who support evils that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. Thus we have seen the scandal of former United States Supreme Court Associate Justice William Brennan, who was one of the seven votes in favor of the Court's decision in the case of Roe v. Wade in 1973, buried out of Saint Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in 1994. We have seen the likes of Richard Cardinal Cushing and Bernard Cardinal Law praising the Kennedys in public despite their opposition to the supremacy of God's law over civil law. We now see the spectacle of Archbishop Sean O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap., treating Senator John F. Kerry (D-Massachusetts) as a Catholic in good standing who can receive Holy Communion despite his supporting the destruction of innocent human beings in their mothers' wombs under cover of law as a constitutionally guaranteed "right." Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the Archbishop of Washington, D.C., has just met privately with Kerry. It was as Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, that McCarrick presided over a prayer service prior to the inauguration of militantly pro-abortion Governor Christine Todd Whitman to a second term in January of 1998, which prompted a commentary at the time in the printed pages of Christ or Chaos. Although there are bishops who have taken stands recently critical of public officials such as John F. Kerry (Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Bishop Charles Chaput, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz), most members of the hierarchy are not in the least scandalized by a Catholic supporting abortion in public life, no less a pro-abortion public figure presenting and/or receiving awards from Catholic institutions.

Archbishop John Myers had it in his power to put a stop to the travesty that took place today at Seton Hall University. He did not choose to intervene before the fact. The following statement, however, was issued by Office of Communications of the Archdiocese of Newark on April 14, 2004:

"In response to a recent announcement by Seton Hall Law School concerning the presentation of an award to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, James Goodness, Director of Communications of the Archdiocese of Newark, stated: 'Catholic teaching recognizes that every life is sacred and deserving of protection under the law. Catholic institutions of higher learning have a choice in whom they honor. It would be inappropriate and inconsistent for the Archdiocese to endorse the selection for special recognition of anyone who undermines the assurance of legal protections for the unborn.'"

This is a far cry from the actual involvement of Archbishop Myers, no less an effort to actually stop the outrage from taking place. It is interesting that His Excellency has been quite hard of Father Paul Wickens, who rightly resisted then Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety's order to implement a sex-instruction program in his parish, insisting that Father Wickens, who is now very ill with cancer, apologize to Gerety before he can be "reconciled" to the archdiocese. Thus, a brave priest who was concerned about protecting the innocence and the purity of the young must apologize to his retired ordinary, a man whose twelve year war against the Faith, which featured the start of the "Renew" program, was documented so well by Richard Cowden-Guido's "The Newark Chronicles," which appeared in The Wanderer twenty years ago. Oh, yes, Archbishop Myers knows how to play hard ball with a brave priest who was obedient to the absolute prohibition against all classroom sex-instruction imposed by Pope Pius XI in Divini Illius Magistri in 1929. He heads for the tall grass in the instance of the Sandra Day O'Connor/Maryanne Trump Barry outrage, taking refuge there until after the fact, at which point he might personally issue in his own name something of a "tsk, tsk" to Seton Hall University. The fact that he did not act before the fact is indeed shameful. Kudos must go to the American Life League's Crusade for the Defense of our Catholic Church for organizing a protest while the O'Connor-Barry spectacle was taking place today at Seton Hall University.

Updated on April 23, 2004

Well, as I noted in the previous paragraph on April 16, 2004, Archbishop Myers did issue a statement on this matter after the fact, doing so in his archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic Advocate:

"In the middle of Easter Week, I was informed that a student group at Seton Hall Law School had invited Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a defender of Roe v. Wade , to give an award on Friday of the same week to Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. Both Justice O'Connor and Judge Barry have demonstrated a lack of support for pro-life issues. I find this action profoundly offensive and contrary to the Catholic mission and identity of Seton Hall Law School, Seton Hall University, and the Archdiocese of Newark.

"For those who were shocked and dismayed by the action, I can only say that I share your sentiments. I am proceeding in a way both to clarify the situation and to see that it does not occur again. Therefore, I am in the process of reviewing all aspects of the matter and determining the appropriate action to be taken.

" In the meantime, I urge all of us to continue to both pray and act to change minds and hearts and to end the horror of abortion in our society and in our world.

" I would be remiss in this Holy Season if I did not wish you and your family all the blessings of Easter and encourage you to redouble your practice of prayer and participation in the life of our Church. + Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark"

This is a very good statement. However, it obviates the fact that his spokesman issued a weaker statement before the fact, doing so on April 14, 2004. Why could not Archbishop Myers actually do something, no less issue a statement, before the fact rather than after? Could it be that the problems at Seton Hall University have to do with its hiring and promotion of faculty who are not required to be of one mind and one heart with the entirety of the Deposit of Faith Our Lord entrusted to His true Church without one whit of dissent as a condition of employment and retention? His Excellency, who is a believer, would do well to explain to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Newark how it is that an institution can call itself Catholic and be within the official control of the Church while hiring faculty and administrators who do not give full assent of the mind and the will to the Deposit of Faith.


We must pray and make acts of reparation to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart for the offenses that continue to be perpetrated under the auspices of her Divine Son's Holy Church. While each of us contributes by means of our sins to the weakening of the Mystical Body of Christ, it is one thing to be sorry and to seek out absolution in the hospital of Divine Mercy that is the confessional. It is quite another to persist in sin unrepentantly, worse yet promote sin under cover of law as an objective civil good and protest mightily that one is a Catholic in good standing and/or to let non-Catholics who support abject evils present and receive awards in institutions still under the direct and official control of the Catholic Church. The damage that continues to be done to the formation and salvation of souls as a result of episcopal silence and inaction in the midst of these scandals is incalculable.

One can only hope and pray that a few more Catholics will come to realize that the great facade of the regime of novelty of the past forty to forty-six years is largely, although not exclusively, responsible for the paralyzing of the hierarchy of the Church when it comes to the disciplining of pro-abortion politicians and public figures and the Catholic institutions who enable them. Although the Americanism impulse has long been the source of tension and conflict within the American hierarchy, it can be said rather conclusively that the absolute and utter concession of the American bishops to the forces of darkness in our politics and our culture has hardened considerably since the Second Vatican Council, which was itself and expression in many instances of the very Modernism of which Americanism is but a species.

Pope Saint Pius X, pray for the Church in the United States. Pray for the entire Church, which is plagued by novelties and problems that are almost unprecedented in history. Pray for your successor, Pope John Paul II, that he may come to his Catholic senses and to recognize that his own accommodation to the spirit of the world has, despite his opposition to crimes against innocent life, obscured the sensus Catholicus as the only way to fight the evils engendered by the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and of the unborn, pray for each of us to make sacrifices for the triumph of your Immaculate Heart, which will be the fruit of the proper consecration of Russia by some Pope and all of the bishops.









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