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Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. on Sebelius at Georgetown “Disappointed But Not Surprised”

5-14-12 Posted by Admin in Blog, Religious Liberty 6 Comments

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has weighed in on Georgetown University inviting Secretary Sebelius as a participant in an event affiliated with their commencement activities this weekend.

Below is the editorial published in the latest issue of the Catholic Standard.

Editorial: “Disappointed But Not Surprised”

Late last Friday, Georgetown University announced that U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is the featured speaker for an awards ceremony at the University’s Public Policy Institute. This news is a disappointment but not a surprise.

As is well known, Secretary Sebelius is the architect of the “HHS mandate”, now federal law, which requires all employers — including religious institutions — to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraceptives for its employees and redefines religious ministry to exclude Catholic social services, hospitals and universities if they serve or employ non-Catholics. Given her position, it is disappointing that she would be the person that Georgetown University would choose to honor.

Founded in 1789 by John Carroll, a Jesuit priest, Georgetown University has, historically speaking, religious roots. So, too, do Harvard, Princeton and Brown. Over time, though, as has happened with these Ivy League institutions, Georgetown has undergone a secularization, due in no small part to the fact that much of its leadership and faculty find their inspiration in sources other than the Gospel and Catholic teaching. Many are quite clear that they reflect the values of the secular culture of our age. Thus the selection of Secretary Sebelius for special recognition, while disappointing, is not surprising.

Blessed John Paul II, in his 1990 apostolic constitution on Catholic Universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, invites Catholic universities into a relationship of faith and excellence. He calls them to share in the Church’s task of bringing the Gospel and Christian values into the culture of our day.

He reminds us that a Catholic university is “a living institutional witness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism….Moreover, all the basic academic activities of a Catholic University are connected with and in harmony with the evangelizing mission of the Church,” among them, “dialogue with culture that makes the faith better understood” (ECE I: B.4.49).

One can only wonder how the selection of Secretary Sebelius for such a prominent role as a featured speaker can be reconciled with the stated Catholic mission and identity of Georgetown University. Secretary Sebelius’ vision on what constitutes faith-based institutions presents the most direct challenge to religious freedom in recent history.

On the same weekend that the Georgetown announcement was made, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the importance of Catholic education and the intellectual and cultural challenges of the New Evangelization in the context of contemporary American society. The Holy Father recalled that during his pastoral visit to America in April 2008, in his homily at the Mass at Nationals Stadium, he called on the Church in America to cultivate “a mindset, an intellectual culture which is genuinely Catholic”. Last weekend he reiterated the need for American Catholic institutions of higher learning to commit to “building a society ever more solidly grounded in an authentic humanism inspired by the Gospel and faithful to the highest values of America’s civic and cultural heritage”.

With all of the people struggling so hard to preserve freedom of religion, and with all that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has said in defense of this important value, Georgetown’s choice of the architect of the radical challenge of such freedom for special recognition can only be seen as a statement of where the university stands – certainly not with the Catholic bishops.

Georgetown University’s response to the commencement speaker decision is disappointing, but not surprising. When the vision guiding university choices does not clearly reflect the light of the Gospel and authentic Catholic teaching, there are, of course, disappointing results.

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6 Responses to Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. on Sebelius at Georgetown “Disappointed But Not Surprised”

  1. Halgai Bizaad says:

    Georgetown is officially anti-Catholic.

  2. Tom Nelson says:

    Having embrased secularism, Georgetown University and Notre Dame have forfeited their privilege to be known as Catholic universities. The Church should disavow any further association with either institution.

  3. John Roane says:

    Why then does the Catholic Church support in any way the Georgetown University or any other such similar School or University for that matter?? Seems our Catholic Church is afraid of the US Government or maybe they fear losing tax exempt status from the IRS and would rather sacrifice the church’s soul.

    I believe its God, Family and Country and in that order. The real question is what does the Catholic Church believe in?

  4. Gerard Kennedy says:

    “Be all things to all men” and “Go set the world ablaze.” said St. Ignatius Loyola. The Jesuits inspired a liberation theology that John Paul saw and brought the Jesuits under new contraints. As a young man I had great thoughts of becomming a Jesuit brother but my parish priest told me I would be a servent to the Jesuit priests and end up shining their shoes. I love their minds but wish some of their pomp could diminish. We Catholics are under attack in America and if we don’t fight back at the evil forces of this administration we will see a repeat of what happened to the church in Mexico in the 1920’s.

  5. Susana says:

    don’t these institutions function under the authority of any bishop? if not, then why are they being called Catholic? .. and if so… who’s the bishop?

  6. Clasina Segura says:

    Catholic universities are usually founded by an Order. Jesuits, Holy Cross, Benedictine. They do not come under the jurisdiction of the local bishop. In the cases of Notre Dame (Holy Cross) and Georgetown (Jesuit) progressive lay people are running the universities. Secularists who, as pointed out in this article, have no interest in promoting the teachings of the Church. This is just another scandal within the Church. The other being Catholic politicians who do not follow Church teachings, rather attaching their scandal to a subject claiming the Church teaches gay marriage, contraception are okay. Nonsense. The problem is the Church is way behind on educating the faithful about Church teachings. The lack of instruction has brought us to complete, total ignorance of Church teachings. We flounder. The Holy Spirit will fix. Won’t be fixed in my lifetime. Instructions better begin now.

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