The Holy Father has called for Catholics to become doers on climate change, but I have another suggestion: Francis ought to hear the call to fix Catholic colleges falling into ruins. Think on the drive-by media’s’ reaction to Francis’ “Who am I to judge?:”the theme was that greed and economic exploitation are sins, while lustful sins do less harm and should not be exposed to moral exasperation. Just give to soup kitchens, collect blankets for the homeless, don’t give people a hard time about forbidden private sins that bring them pleasure, and perhaps more people will come to Mass.
In the post-Vatican II years, as I recount in my book, Catholics focused overwhelmingly on the economic and political side of social responsibilities, failing the responsibility to emphasize traditional moral teaching. Many priests and nuns who ignored the prevalent sexual anarchy did not do their spiritual charges any favors. The preferred summum bonum was, to paraphrase one typical example, to be drawn to the Jesuit mission of social justice.
How did this neglect play out at the premier Catholic university? Here is an example. The University of Notre Dame proved unwilling to bear an “uncompromising witness,” as Pope Francis challenged it to do, to Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality, prioritizing talk about the “social justice” mission of Catholic education (i.e., people who desire sex with people of the same sex can’t be critiqued). Once again, the hope for a Catholicism based on liberation theology would prefer students stop complaining when they suffer the fruits of adults’ sexual selfishness.
Our premier Catholic U also gave its imprimatur to a conference on “Gender and Children.” One panel was on “children and gay parents” which, as it turned out, opposed biological parenthood and socialized gender roles without including representation of people in support of traditional Catholic teaching on marriage and the family.
There is another Catholic University many of my students apply to, Marquette. When a student in a contemporary social issues class wanted to explore the issue of children’s rights to a mother and a father, the instructor’s response was that Gay rights could not be discussed, since disagreement (of which there was most certainly) would offend gay students.The student persisted, arguing against homosexual marriage and adoption, to which the instructor queried about research showing that children of gay parents do worse than children of straight, married parents. The student produced the following study conducted in 2012, whereupon the instructor told the student to leave, and feel free to drop the course, with the caveat, “In this class, homophobic comments, racist comments, will not be tolerated.” So we have individuals devoted to LGBT “social justice” at a Catholic college forbidding an undergraduate to write a paper sympathizing with the Catholic Church.
Let’s conclude with an event at a Catholic University bearing the name. On November 20, 2014, a speech was delivered on the occasion of the International Day of the Child to the effect that divorce and abandonment, not gay adoption, are the most common ways that children are deprived of a mother and father.Students from an unofficial LGBT group were present, complete with badgering questions and slanderous accusations, adding that Pope Francis would not approve of the speech. Pope Francis, who said every child has a right to a father and a mother.
The Holy Father would agree (as I have documented in these pages) that sexual radicalism and extreme LGBT advocacy have no positive role to play in pastoral ministry, let alone Catholic higher education. Francis, who has equated he gender identity movement with the demonic, no doubt would recognize that people sympathetic to the LGBTQIA phenomenon come to Catholic universities to suppress Catholicism and turn it into something not recognizably Christian. If the three incidents here portend the future, then the future is bleak. Only at the Church’s peril can Pope Francis ignore the implosion of Catholic higher education. Satan would no doubt give His blessing.