Catholic cardinal publicly blasts Georgetown University president for Sebelius invite defense

posted at 11:21 am on May 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The news earlier this month that Georgetown University had invited HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to deliver a commencement speech resulted in an eruption of criticism for the school’s president, John J. DeGioia.  The church has bitterly criticized the HHS mandate that would force Catholic institutions to fund contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients that violate the tenets of Catholic doctrine, and the invitation of the author of that mandate offended many of those who oppose the imposition of the mandate.  DeGioia tried to defend his decision on Monday by claiming that the invitation was offered before the HHS mandate was announced, and that Georgetown wants to be open to dissenting opinions on issues such as contraception:

In early January, an invitation was extended to Secretary Sebelius and she accepted.  In the weeks that followed, elements of the legislation, specifically terms covering contraception, dominated our public discourse and impacted our Georgetown community very directly.

In different contexts over the past three months, including a March 14 “Statement on Religious Freedom and HHS Mandate,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed strong opposition to the position put forward by the Obama Administration.  Some have interpreted the invitation of Secretary Sebelius as a challenge to the USCCB.  It was not. The invitation to Secretary Sebelius occurred prior to the January 20th announcement by the Obama Administration of the modified healthcare regulations.

The Secretary’s presence on our campus should not be viewed as an endorsement of her views.  As a Catholic and Jesuit University, Georgetown disassociates itself from any positions that are in conflict with traditional church teachings.

We are a university, committed to the free exchange of ideas. We are a community that draws inspiration from a religious tradition that provides us with an intellectual, moral, and spiritual foundation.  By engaging these values we become the University we are meant to be.

That explanation provoked a stronger response — and this time from the very top of the Catholic hierarchy in the region.  Donald Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop to the Washington DC archdiocese, slammed DeGioia for missing the point:

The already-boiling debate about Georgetown University’s decision to invite Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak during graduation hit the highest levels of Catholic Washington on Tuesday, with the region’s archbishop slamming the school’s president for the “shocking” invitation and saying the real issue was being distorted. …

On Tuesday, the archdiocese of Washington, led by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, criticized Georgetown President John J. DeGioia for remarks he issued a day earlier — apparently to address the controversy — saying DeGioia had mischaracterized the issue as being about birth control. As the region’s top Catholic official, Wuerl is responsible for making sure Catholic institutions, including Georgetown, follow church teachings.

DeGioia “does not address the real issue for concern — the selection of a featured speaker whose actions as a public official present the most direct challenge to religious liberty in recent history,” reads the statement from the archdiocese, which covers the District and suburban Maryland. …

“Contrary to what is indicated in the Georgetown University President’s statement, the fundamental issue with the HHS mandate is not about contraception,” the archdiocese’s statement read.

Indeed.  No one in the church is proposing that the US criminalize the use of contraceptives.  To my knowledge, the church hasn’t even pushed for an end to Title X funding for contraception through Medicaid.  The USCCB certainly hasn’t opposed ObamaCare, at least not until now; they have been pushing for universal health-care coverage for almost a century, and supported Obama’s health-insurance overhaul.

The objection in this case is the use of that authority to determine what constitutes religious expression.  The HHS mandate, at least so far, arrogates to itself the authority to define religious expression as limited to what happens in a church, temple, or synagogue.  The efforts of faith communities in schools, charities, and ironically health-care facilities have been defined as unrelated to religious expression and therefore open to regulation and mandates by the federal government.  That’s the issue that the bishops are fighting, and Kathleen Sebelius is one of the principal authors of that arrogant policy.

In fact, according to Sebelius, this part of DeGioia’s statement wouldn’t be true at all: “As a Catholic and Jesuit University…” Sebelius and the Obama administration consider it a secular institution that is just run by Catholics, and therefore subject to government mandates.

If DeGioia hasn’t figured out that much, one has to wonder whether he has the insight necessary to lead a Catholic institution.  It sounds as though Cardinal Wuerl might be thinking the same thing — and he has the authority to fix that problem, if necessary.  By going public, the odds of an intervention from the archdiocese on this invitation have gone up considerably.


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I saw a program recently released at RealCatholicTV.com for Premium Members. Michael Voris does great work, and they recently posted up a one hour program on “What Happened To The Catholic Church” in “The One True Faith” series. It was a great program and I highly recommend it.

The gist of it was that around Vatican II, a huge number if theologians and Catholic academics staked their reputations on the Church changing thier moral views on – take a guess – contraception. This was sixty years ago.

Once they recieved the word from the Pope in Humanae Vitae that the Church in fact intended to remain Catholic in its supreme and unflinching regard to the protection and dignity of human life and further to marriage as a sacred covenant defined by its complete openness to accepting human life through marital conjugation, these theologians and scholars lost all credibility.

Rather than cede to Rome as was the vow of many of them, instead they started using air quotes around the “official” teaching, but kept promoting their distorted theology as a kind of alternate yet still valid competing opinion. The fallout was two generations and counting of poor, muddled catechesis and a legion of acolytes of these originals who have also put all of their eggs in the basket that Rome will cave on the sins of the flesh. They are the enemy within the walls of The Church – and its greatest single threat.

So I would agree The Church has been very slow in its reawakening and addressing these internal threats. Better late than never, with the only solace being 60 years on most of the people at the root of this rot in the church are dying off. It is my sincere hope that they repent from misleading so many of Christ’s followers before their soul feels the full justice the Lord has prepared for them.

BKennedy on May 16, 2012 at 1:34 PM

If DeGioia hasn’t figured out that much, one has to wonder whether he has the insight necessary to lead a Catholic institution. It sounds as though Cardinal Wuerl might be thinking the same thing — and he has the authority to fix that problem, if necessary.

I hope you’re right about Cardinal Wuerl’s powers, and I hope he uses them to fire DeGioia.

Greg Q on May 16, 2012 at 1:35 PM

and that Georgetown wants to be open to dissenting opinions on issues such as contraception fascism and baby killing

peacenprosperity on May 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Count DePaul University in Chicago in with inviting questionable speakers to give commencement addresses:
Catholic University Commencement Speaker Hates Christianity

I guess they’ve been emboldened by Georgetown’s and Notre Dame’s dubious example.

PatriotGal2257 on May 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM

I hope you’re right about Cardinal Wuerl’s powers, and I hope he uses them to fire DeGioia.

Greg Q on May 16, 2012 at 1:35 PM

The Jesuits authority is on loan from Rome. Cardinal Wuerl no doubt communicates with Rome. Rome has to decide, they can all hang together, because if they don’t they will surely all hang separately. (The whole point of this contraceptive mandate is to split Catholics) It’s time to get everyone in the Catholic canoe pulling the oars in the same direction.

As far as John J. DeGioia is concerned and what to do about him. I am reminded of what Obama’s EPA official said about going into a small village like a Roman centurion and crucifying dissenters to make the rest fall in line…. Not sure the Pope, and Church understands just what we are up against over here on this side of the earth. .

We could use some prayers.

Dr Evil on May 16, 2012 at 1:53 PM

BKennedy on May 16, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Agreed. Everything I’ve seen from Michael Voris and RealCatholicTV.com has been uniformly excellent. He does a great job explaining not only what the Catholic Church truly teaches, but also the truth about how some dissident theologians deliberately ignored the teachings of Vatican II and promoted their own distorted agenda which is, in large part, the root of many of the current problems within the Church.

PatriotGal2257 on May 16, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Catholics, your house is in horrible disrepair, and we Protestants can’t fix it for you.

OhioCoastie on May 16, 2012 at 2:11 PM

The people who run these places are not Catholics. They are liberal statists. That is their true religion.

GardenGnome on May 16, 2012 at 11:34 AM

^^^ This, and also many people walking around who call themselves “Catholic,” but who aren’t in anything else but name.

PatriotGal2257 on May 16, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Catholics, your house is in horrible disrepair, and we Protestants can’t fix it for you.

OhioCoastie on May 16, 2012 at 2:11 PM

The mark of a good Church is that many hate it for the personally accountable and challenging morality it stands for rather than their misconceptions of that morality.

Most Protestant denominations are such milquetoast these days that most foes of Christianity proper can’t muster even tentative dislike – how can you hate what a Church stands for when what they stand for changes every time the minister does?

We’d be happy to have you back in the Catholic fold though. Just be keenly aware no matter how strong or long-lasting the onslaught, from without or within, there are many things on which we will not fold, the assertions of some of our declared followers notwithstanding.

BKennedy on May 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM

The mark of a good Church is that many hate it for the personally accountable and challenging morality it stands for rather than their misconceptions of that morality.

BKennedy on May 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM

I’ve always loved this quote from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen: “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

PatriotGal2257 on May 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

I’ve always loved this quote from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen: “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

PatriotGal2257 on May 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

With all due respect to His Excellency Bishop Sheen, I would say that while the latter vastly outnumber the former, the number of people who know what the light is and still curse it numbers far more than 100 these days.

BKennedy on May 16, 2012 at 2:56 PM

G Town, just another elite, liberal piece of academia. A shame its president is affraid to be Catholic. Visit the place when you can. It’s a sewer.

StevC on May 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM

G Town, just another elite, liberal piece of academia. A shame its president is affraid to be Catholic. Visit the place when you can. It’s a sewer.

StevC on May 16, 2012 at 2:57 PM

I was a finalist for the Georgetown University chief of police position a few years back. Spent a day going round being interviewed by various panels – administrators, professors, HR people, student support, etc, etc. One thing that came across from most of them was an utter loathing for police and especially police on campus. Glad I didn’t get the job!

Trafalgar on May 16, 2012 at 3:04 PM

BKennedy on May 16, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Yes, that is true, and they are additionally much more militant in their hate. I do believe that he said that in the 50s, which was well before the upheavals of the 60s and all the rest. But even so, the spirit of his quote remains true.

I seem to remember reading that when his program was on TV in the 50s and early 60s, he had just as big an audience with Protestants as with Catholics.

PatriotGal2257 on May 16, 2012 at 3:11 PM

As an alum of The Catholic University of America, which is the ONLY Catholic University in America actually founded by the Catholic Church and which has hosted both John Paul II and Benedict XVI to deliver remarks, I can say what we often shouted at sporting events, “What the Hell’s a Hoya!” Not to mention, yesterday I believe one of the posts was how CUA is eliminating health care coverage because of the mandate. BTW Ed Gillespie is an alum also.

txmomof6 on May 16, 2012 at 3:18 PM

As I’ve been saying, the Church needs to start excommunicating liberal politicians who openly oppose core Cathlolic Doctrine such as being anti-life. (I use the term “anti-life” for the abortion crowd who want to call me “anti abortion. I prefer the term “anti-life” for them as being the most accurate).

Allowing those people to remain in Communion and to call themselves “Catholic” is an affront to the Church and is a betrayal of all members.

Furthermore, ALL American “Catholic” institutions, such as universities like Georgetown and Notre Dame need to be brought BACK into line with Church teachings or else be shut down or stripped of their status.

wildcat72 on May 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Satan’s girlfriend, Kit Kat Sebelius.

locomotivebreath1901 on May 16, 2012 at 3:53 PM

wildcat72 on May 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

The church doesn’t want to give up on anyone. There are those inside the fence, those outside the fence grazing, but there are those like Sebelius that’s left the flock, they have traveled through the woods, and now resides on the other side, in no man’s land – Sebelius advocates killing her own species in large numbers, and is unrepentant, she has placed herself outside of humanity. If I had to guess what happened to her, she was seduced by power and is now addicted. Sebelius, is trying to impose her Will on the Catholic Church.

Dr Evil on May 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

POSTED AT 11:21 AM ON MAY 16, 2012 BY ED MORRISSEY

YOU MISSED IT

‘public policy students” aka Sandra Fluke Invited HHS Sebelius, Georgetown Pres DeGioia just leaked the #WarOnWomen was planned months in advance

mathewsjw on May 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

The church doesn’t want to give up on anyone. There are those inside the fence, those outside the fence grazing, but there are those like Sebelius that’s left the flock, they have traveled through the woods, and now resides on the other side, in no man’s land – Sebelius advocates killing her own species in large numbers, and is unrepentant, she has placed herself outside of humanity. If I had to guess what happened to her, she was seduced by power and is now addicted. Sebelius, is trying to impose her Will on the Catholic Church.

Dr Evil on May 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

As a Catholic, I greatly resent the fact that the Church is protecting and even in some cases (by allowing them the privilege of speaking at these institutions) GLORIFYING them. In fact, it’s to the point that I am seriously considering leaving it myself because the leadership seems to prefer death worshiping socialists as members rather than traditional, believing Catholics.

The Catholic Church is no more immune from being held accountable by God for sin than any individual…

wildcat72 on May 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Catholics, your house is in horrible disrepair, and we Protestants can’t fix it for you. OhioCoastie on May 16, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Aaaannnd… who asked you to?

Akzed on May 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

As a Catholic, I greatly resent the fact that the Church is protecting and even in some cases (by allowing them the privilege of speaking at these institutions) GLORIFYING them. In fact, it’s to the point that I am seriously considering leaving it myself because the leadership seems to prefer death worshiping socialists as members rather than traditional, believing Catholics.

The Catholic Church is no more immune from being held accountable by God for sin than any individual…

wildcat72 on May 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

So you’ll risk jeopardizing your soul to eternal damnation because God (from the beginning) allowed Judas types into his Church? You might study your faith before you make such choices. Truth and the sacraments are not to be dispensed with frivolously regardless of the irritant.

Don L on May 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

So you’ll risk jeopardizing your soul to eternal damnation because God (from the beginning) allowed Judas types into his Church? You might study your faith before you make such choices. Truth and the sacraments are not to be dispensed with frivolously regardless of the irritant.

Don L on May 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Why would I risk being “dammed” for sticking true to Catholic doctrine and Christian teachings by leaving a Church that has abandoned all but lip service to them?

It wouldn’t make me any less a Christian or a believer in God and his Son if I found a Church that insisted it’s membership and, more importantly, it’s LEADERS actually followed the teachings they teach would it?

You forget that Judas was CAST OUT by the Apostles for his betrayal. He was REPLACED by Paul. They didn’t keep him amongst them or glorify him or allow him to be a Catholic leader did they?

Time for the modern Church to cast out some Judases if you ask me.

wildcat72 on May 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

When you put Catholic bishops and Jesuits in the same sentence, the words are likely to start fighting each other.

The Jesuits community has a long history of being a rogue force within the Catholic Church, so I’m not shocked that University President John J. DeGioia just doesn’t get it.

J_Crater on May 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

The Catholic Church is no more immune from being held accountable by God for sin than any individual…

wildcat72 on May 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

If the Church in Rome doesn’t understand that they are sending the faithful a mixed message, that is both confusing, and dilute’s their firm position on the contraceptive mandate by allowing a notorious abortion proponent a platform to speak in a Catholic branded institution than they shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t have support when the rubber meets the road over the contraceptive mandate. Their dissent will just be seen as lip service, that’s not backed up with action.

I understand they like to do things quietly, secretly, behind the scenes. This isn’t one of those times, and they need to have the judgement to recognize, Sebelius speaking at Georgetown especially after Fluke (reproductive justice advocate) being planted by Anita Mao Dunn, and going against Cardinal Wuerl’s direction, will be a watershed moment. Catholics are paying attention, does Rome only bark? It’s called Optics, and the Catholic Church’s Optics by allowing her to speak at a Catholic branded University, looks really, really bad.

Dr Evil on May 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM

It seems many of these great Catholic educational institutions will soon be going the way of the old Methodist ones (i.e. Northwestern University). They’ll soon only retain “Catholic” in some obscure footnote about the university’s founding or early history.

Nutstuyu on May 16, 2012 at 5:23 PM

So you’ll risk jeopardizing your soul to eternal damnation because God (from the beginning) allowed Judas types into his Church? You might study your faith before you make such choices. Truth and the sacraments are not to be dispensed with frivolously regardless of the irritant.

Don L on May 16, 2012 at 4:45 PM
Why would I risk being “dammed” for sticking true to Catholic doctrine and Christian teachings by leaving a Church that has abandoned all but lip service to them?

It wouldn’t make me any less a Christian or a believer in God and his Son if I found a Church that insisted it’s membership and, more importantly, it’s LEADERS actually followed the teachings they teach would it?

You forget that Judas was CAST OUT by the Apostles for his betrayal. He was REPLACED by Paul. They didn’t keep him amongst them or glorify him or allow him to be a Catholic leader did they?

Time for the modern Church to cast out some Judases if you ask me.

wildcat72 on May 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Actually, Judas cast himself out by running away from the arrest scene at the garden and hanging himself. There is much debate about whether his return of the 30 pieces of silver was enough to redeem him, only to be negated by the act of suicide.

Also, Judas’ replacement among the Twelve was Matthias. Paul was the “thirteenth” apostle.

Nutstuyu on May 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM

It seems many of these great Catholic educational institutions will soon be going the way of the old Methodist ones (i.e. Northwestern University). They’ll soon only retain “Catholic” in some obscure footnote about the university’s founding or early history.

Nutstuyu on May 16, 2012 at 5:23 PM

It seems so the so called compromise – Sebelius will be on stage when they are receiving their diplomas. There is a link to sign a petition to tell Georgetown to rescind the invitation. We will see if the Catholic Church get’s Fluked.

Dr Evil on May 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Dr Evil on May 16, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Thanks, signed the petition.

Sebelius has already excommunicated herself by advocating, lobbying for and enabling abortion. I pray that Abp. Wuerl will publicly formalize this state. She uses the title of “Catholic” to lead some faithful astray, so that title must be taken away.

theCork on May 16, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Some Catholics, much like the Georgetown president, tried to get along with Hitler too. Obviously there are still some who would do the same.

CTimbo on May 16, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Some Catholics, much like the Georgetown president, tried to get along with Hitler too. Obviously there are still some who would do the same.

CTimbo on May 16, 2012 at 6:27 PM

There is someone living in the Vatican right now that knows this better than others.

Dr Evil on May 16, 2012 at 6:39 PM

“Judge not, lest ye be judged…”

pm123 on May 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Gee, that’s great, and they can have Sandra Fluke introduce her. I hear she’s at GT Law, and has experience speaking in public.

/sarc

ugottabekiddingme on May 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Hire Donald Trump for a day and tell him “You’re fired”.

djaymick on May 16, 2012 at 9:32 PM

First, it is Donald Cardinal Wuerl not Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Just a courtesy.

I am unsympathetic to Cardinal Wuerl and his ilk. I have had my chops busted for years for being a conservative Republican while the cardinal and his compatriots played footsie with the Kennedys, Coumos, and the Kerrys.

The Catholic heirarchy has allowed Catholic politicians to get away with a lie,

“I am personally opposed to abortion, but I will uphold the law and keep it legal”.

Bullshit, they should have been excommunicated long time ago. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Screw you, Your Eminence, I stayed faithful to my church, you did jack shit to protect it.

patch on May 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM

patch on May 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM

Amen, bro…

affenhauer on May 16, 2012 at 10:46 PM

affenhauer on May 16, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Damn iPhone – y’all know what I meant…

affenhauer on May 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM

Catholics, your house is in horrible disrepair, and we Protestants can’t fix it for you.

OhioCoastie on May 16, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Take the plank out of your own eye first.

swinia sutki on May 17, 2012 at 5:44 AM

Screw you, Your Eminence, I stayed faithful to my church, you did jack shit to protect it.

patch on May 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM

They are frail and terribly flawed human beings. I also do not blame my church for the failings of those who purport to serve it.

swinia sutki on May 17, 2012 at 5:46 AM

Øbama lied, religious freedom died.

Mojave Mark on May 17, 2012 at 5:47 AM

Screw you, Your Eminence, I stayed faithful to my church, you did jack shit to protect it.

patch on May 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM

I’m so sorry, brother in Christ. I too have been let down by religious leaders before, though not on this scale.

MelonCollie on May 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

It sounds as though Cardinal Wuerl might be thinking the same thing — and he has the authority responsibility to fix that problem, if necessary.

FIFY!

Al in St. Lou on May 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

time for the Catholic Church to figure out if it is the church of GOD or man

RonK on May 17, 2012 at 7:01 PM

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