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In praise of proselytizing

Posted on 18 November 2009 by Andrew Marshall

In Praise of Proselytizing
Andy Marshall
In today’s world of many faiths and creeds, believers should never actually take their religion seriously enough to try to convert others to it.  That, at least, has become the message of the politically correct international powers that be.
For many supposedly open-minded individuals, freedom of religion has been shrunk to freedom of worship.  In other words, believers should have the right to read their holy texts, observe their high festivals, and participate in their worship services.  Before going on, let me make clear that the battle even for this basic freedom of worship in the world has not been won yet, and it remains important.
Stopping at freedom of worship, though, ignores the freedoms of individuals to convert to another faith and try to convert others.  Unfortunately, many “tolerant” people don’t support the freedom to proselytize.  Proselytizing simply means actively working to convert others to your religion.  For example, the West often heralds Morocco as one of the most religiously tolerant Islamic states, which it certainly is.  However, Article 220 of the Moroccan penal code prescribes up to a six-month imprisonment for anyone who “employs incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion.”  The Moroccan government continues to arrest foreigners suspected of proselytizing and bans all formal missionary activity.
In its best form, proselytizing marks a decisive turn to non-violence.  Throughout human history, plenty of religious leaders have advocated the use of force to spread their gospels, and wars of religion have killed countless people.  Although the proselytizers may use offensive or ineffective methods, such as haranguing passersby on the street, the important thing is that they are trying to persuade and are not brandishing guns and shipping people off to reeducation camps.  Any criticism of proselytizing should start with praise of its nonviolent nature.
Proselytizing is a cornerstone of our civil liberties, the intersection of free speech and freedom of religion.  A society where individuals are free to try to convert others to their beliefs is a society that respects open dialogue and freedom.  Proselytizing in many ways represents the ultimate in unpopular speech because it often involves people telling me my core beliefs about meaning and morality are wrong and that I need to adopt theirs.  In some ways, we are no freer than the most unpopular proselytizer, whether he is the Jehovah’s Witness knocking on our door or the driver of the Jesus-mobile rolling down Wisconsin Avenue.
Marquette University officially bans proselytizing in the official religious activities policy.  This policy provides defines proselytizing first as coercion and misrepresentation and then later as making converts to another religious affiliation or group and only reinforces the negative societal perception of proselytizing.  We can all agree with the administration’s decision that “no individual or organization can coerce or pressure others or misrepresent themselves,” but, with all due respect, that is not proselytizing.  That is simply coercion, and classifying it as proselytizing simply confuses things and makes it harder to have a rational discussion about proselytizing.
Marquette does not engage in proselytizing nor does it let any other group do so.  The college years compose some of the most dynamic years in many people’s lives when they confront life’s hard questions.  Campus Ministry, student religious organizations, and many professors work hard to bring religious concerns and perspectives into the campus dialogue.  Their activities have greatly impacted my life and challenged my Christian faith.  So, what is wrong with taking campus religious activity to the next level and allowing students to not just share their faith but seek to convert others?  Are we students so easily manipulated that we need the loving umbrella of our university to protect us from this apparently grave threat?
In a response to Dr. Christopher Wolfe’s 1988 criticism of the ban, Father David Haschka, then head of Campus Ministry, defended the ban as a decision by Marquette to forego Catholic proselytizing as trade-off to create an environment more friendly to non-Catholics.  He then added, “It seems to me totally unacceptable for non-Catholics to be confronted, on this campus, with deliberate efforts to persuade them away from their faith, whether such efforts are decent or not.”  As a non-denominational Christian considering which college to attend, I would have been attracted to any university confident enough to appropriately seek converts to its faith and allow other traditions to do the same.
For the administration to dismiss all proselytizing, even if done respectfully without coercion, as unacceptable reinforces the view that proselytizing is always inappropriate.  This contributes to the public opinion which allows oppressive governments to jail and punish people who want nothing more than to convert their neighbors.

Marquette University has a unique opportunity to defend proselytizing and contribute towards its legitimacy around the world.  As a private university, Marquette can legally ban proselytizing, but, as a Jesuit university named after one of history’s great proselytizers, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.  As Dr. Wolfe proposed in 1988, the administration could ban coercive activities and lift the general ban.  Marquette could become the catalyst for a rethinking of proselytizing within higher education.  Although this is not always the operative question given his historical context, perhaps in this case we should look at our namesake’s disproportionately cerebral statue in front of Wehr Chemistry and ask ourselves, “What would Father Marquette do?”

In today’s world of many faiths and creeds, believers should never actually take their religion seriously enough to try to convert others to it.  That, at least, has become the message of the politically correct international powers that be.

For many supposedly open-minded individuals, freedom of religion has been shrunk to freedom of worship.  In other words, believers should have the right to read their holy texts, observe their high festivals, and participate in their worship services.  Before going on, let me make clear that the battle even for this basic freedom of worship in the world has not been won yet, and it remains important.

Stopping at freedom of worship, though, ignores the freedoms of individuals to convert to another faith and try to convert others.  Unfortunately, many “tolerant” people don’t support the freedom to proselytize.  Proselytizing simply means actively working to convert others to your religion.  For example, the West often heralds Morocco as one of the most religiously tolerant Islamic states, which it certainly is.  However, Article 220 of the Moroccan penal code prescribes up to a six-month imprisonment for anyone who “employs incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion.”  The Moroccan government continues to arrest foreigners suspected of proselytizing and bans all formal missionary activity.

In its best form, proselytizing marks a decisive turn to non-violence.  Throughout human history, plenty of religious leaders have advocated the use of force to spread their gospels, and wars of religion have killed countless people.  Although the proselytizers may use offensive or ineffective methods, such as haranguing passersby on the street, the important thing is that they are trying to persuade and are not brandishing guns and shipping people off to reeducation camps.  Any criticism of proselytizing should start with praise of its nonviolent nature.

Proselytizing is a cornerstone of our civil liberties, the intersection of free speech and freedom of religion.  A society where individuals are free to try to convert others to their beliefs is a society that respects open dialogue and freedom.  Proselytizing in many ways represents the ultimate in unpopular speech because it often involves people telling me my core beliefs about meaning and morality are wrong and that I need to adopt theirs.  In some ways, we are no freer than the most unpopular proselytizer, whether he is the Jehovah’s Witness knocking on our door or the driver of the Jesus-mobile rolling down Wisconsin Avenue.

Marquette University officially bans proselytizing in the official religious activities policy.  This policy provides defines proselytizing first as coercion and misrepresentation and then later as making converts to another religious affiliation or group and only reinforces the negative societal perception of proselytizing.  We can all agree with the administration’s decision that “no individual or organization can coerce or pressure others or misrepresent themselves,” but, with all due respect, that is not proselytizing.  That is simply coercion, and classifying it as proselytizing simply confuses things and makes it harder to have a rational discussion about proselytizing.

Marquette does not engage in proselytizing nor does it let any other group do so.  The college years compose some of the most dynamic years in many people’s lives when they confront life’s hard questions.  Campus Ministry, student religious organizations, and many professors work hard to bring religious concerns and perspectives into the campus dialogue.  Their activities have greatly impacted my life and challenged my Christian faith.  So, what is wrong with taking campus religious activity to the next level and allowing students to not just share their faith but seek to convert others?  Are we students so easily manipulated that we need the loving umbrella of our university to protect us from this apparently grave threat?

In a response to Dr. Christopher Wolfe’s 1988 criticism of the ban, Father David Haschka, then head of Campus Ministry, defended the ban as a decision by Marquette to forego Catholic proselytizing as trade-off to create an environment more friendly to non-Catholics.  He then added, “It seems to me totally unacceptable for non-Catholics to be confronted, on this campus, with deliberate efforts to persuade them away from their faith, whether such efforts are decent or not.”  As a non-denominational Christian considering which college to attend, I would have been attracted to any university confident enough to appropriately seek converts to its faith and allow other traditions to do the same.

For the administration to dismiss all proselytizing, even if done respectfully without coercion, as unacceptable reinforces the view that proselytizing is always inappropriate.  This contributes to the public opinion which allows oppressive governments to jail and punish people who want nothing more than to convert their neighbors.

Marquette University has a unique opportunity to defend proselytizing and contribute towards its legitimacy around the world.  As a private university, Marquette can legally ban proselytizing, but, as a Jesuit university named after one of history’s great proselytizers, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.  As Dr. Wolfe proposed in 1988, the administration could ban coercive activities and lift the general ban.  Marquette could become the catalyst for a rethinking of proselytizing within higher education.  Although this is not always the operative question given his historical context, perhaps in this case we should look at our namesake’s disproportionately cerebral statue in front of Wehr Chemistry and ask ourselves, “What would Father Marquette do?”

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SSPX Bishop not anti-Semitic

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Adam Ryback

Pope Benedict XVI has recently declared the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) to not be excommunicated. However, around the same time Pope Benedict made his declaration, one of the bishops, Richard Williamson, was seen on an interview on Swedish television discussing his views on what happened during the Holocaust.

Without a moment’s delay, the Jewish leaders, cognizant of Williamson’s interview, were greatly offended that the Pope would declare that the bishop was once again inside of the Church, even though the Pope did not know about Williamson’s interview.

Bishop Williamson has been accused of saying a lot of things. Many of those accusations are probably well-founded. Nonetheless, there are certain things which you cannot accuse him of, namely that he denies the Holocaust and that he is anti-Semitic. Unfortunately, now the traditionalist bishop is facing possible imprisonment in Germany for his comments during the Swedish interview.

Although Williamson’s comments were historically inaccurate, you cannot claim he is anti-Semitic or that he fully denied the Holocaust. On the other hand, he denied aspects of the Holocaust. For example, he believed that there were only 200-300,000 Jews killed, not six million, and that gas chambers were never used. He says that he bases his conclusions on “historical evidence”, and he denies “emotion” playing a factor in his decisions.

He also claims that he made his decisions based off of opinions of those whom he thinks judge by historical evidence. In fact, he states that if they changed their opinions, he would also. He trusts those authors whom he believes are good historians.

These are not the comments of an anti-Semite. After all, the murder of 200-300,000 Jews is not exactly a petty matter. Furthermore, he nowhere claims in the interview that he hates Jews. He is by no means another Adolph Hitler.

As mentioned earlier, Williamson says he based his decisions on those of certain historians and states that he would change his opinion if they changed theirs. In other words, if they decided that there were gas chambers and that six million Jews died in the Holocaust, he would believe them! Does that sound anti-Semitic?

He is not an anti-Semite because he does not hate Jews. He is not a heretic because the Holocaust is not part of Catholic doctrine. He is not a liar, as Monsignor Robert Wister called him, because liars say things which they do not believe, and he clearly seems to believe what he says.

However, he is a conspiracy theorist. Not to mention, many of his facts are wrong. Six million Jews most certainly died in the Holocaust, and many of them died in gas chambers.

Nonetheless, everyone regardless of his decisions or beliefs deserves a fair trial.

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Freedom of Choice Act Could Force Catholic Hospital Closures

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Thomas Klind

In late April of 2007, then-Senators Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and Senator Barbara Boxer re-introduced overarching Federal legislation to reinforce the importance of Roe vs. Wade.

The Freedom of Choice Act, or FOCA, as it is referred to, would effectively protect the right to abortion in the case of the Supreme Court ruling being overturned. The Bill has come to light again since the election of President Obama, especially since he carried the majority of the Catholic vote.

In a speech to Planned Parenthood while on the campaign trail last year, President Obama made a promise, “The first thing I’d do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That’s the first thing I’d do.”

Prior to President Obama’s inauguration, Cardinal Justin Rigali, in a letter to Congress, commented that the legislation would essentially make abortion a “national entitlement.” Those in opposition to the legislation, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged Americans to pray novenas for the unborn and in response to the impending legislation on January 11. This call for prayer led to an enormous amount of criticism from non-Catholics and Democrats in the legislative branch.

According to Cardinal Rigali, FOCA “would sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.” According to the USCCB, “The church is resolute in opposing evil,” and the bishops are “completely united and resolute in our teaching and defense of the unborn child from the moment of conception.”

Under current legislation, doctors, nurses and hospitals have what is called a conscience right to deny performing an abortion. FOCA could require any doctor, nurse or hospital to perform an abortion. Even more startling, it would provide taxpayer-funded abortions as a fundamental right.

Many Catholic hospitals have spoken out against the passing of FOCA, and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago said, “It could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely,” Paprocki said. “It would not be sufficient to withdraw our sponsorship or to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil.”

In a statement of policy and analysis from the USCCB, according to FOCA, “it is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child [and] to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability.” Under existing case law, abortion is not a “fundamental right.”

According to the USCCB, if passed, “FOCA would like to invalidate a broad range of state laws, including:

Invalidation of informed consent laws
Invalidation of laws protection the conscience rights of doctors, nurses and hospitals
Invalidation of parental notification laws
Abortion clinic regulations, even those designed to make abortion safer for women
Invalidation of government programs and facilities that pay for, or insure childbirth or health care services excluding abortion
Invalidation of laws preventing the carrying to term of a cloned human embryo (sometimes known as bans on reproductive cloning).

If you are strongly opposed to the passing of FOCA, make sure to write to your Congressperson, Senator, pray the novena and check out the petition online.

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Ordination of women priests sacramentally invalid

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Remington Tonar

Earlier this month four women were ordained in Chicago by anonymous Catholic bishops who sympathize with women desiring to be ordained to the priesthood. However, the teaching of the Magisterium on this issue is unequivocally clear, and those who dissent do so in spite of clear and established Church doctrine.

Many people misunderstand the theology and arguments behind the Church’s position, instead choosing to accuse the Church of being sexist or discriminatory towards women. This is simply not the case. The issue, rather, has to do with protecting the theological integrity of the Sacraments of Holy Orders and the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Roman Catholic Church has always held women in high regard throughout its history. Clear evidence of this can be seen in the Church’s veneration of Mary the Mother of God, and of female saints throughout the centuries. Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has even expanded the role of women in its public functions. Recognizing this, one must then realize that the arguments behind the Church’s teaching on the issue of women priests are built on sound theological and traditional reasoning.

Pope John Paul II wrote during his pontificate that the Church has “no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis). The Church has maintained this teaching, which stems from the time when Christ Himself picked 12 males to be His apostles. He sent 12 men, and conferred and commissioned these men to preach the Gospel and perform miracles in His name, sending them just as the Father sent Him (John 20:21). This commissioning of these 12 men marked the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and henceforth “the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord Himself” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1577). In light of this, it is thus impossible for the Church to ordain women to the priesthood, as it violates the very essence of the Sacrament.

Now, some might argue that Christ was constrained by the context of the times in which He lived, and seeing as nobody in the early first century would listen to a woman, He ordained only men. However, as a historical figure, Christ was never really concerned with temporal conventions and in many instances throughout the Gospel challenged the status quo continuously throughout His ministry. Indeed, if Christ intended for women to be priests, He would have chosen women to carry out His will after He ascended. It is probable that Christ, being divine, knew that this controversy over the ordination of women would arise two thousand years after His death. Regardless of this, He still chose only men as His apostles.

When a validly ordained priest consecrates the Eucharist, he does so standing in the person of Christ, or “in persona Christi.” When that priest proclaims the Eucharistic words of institution he is doing so in the person of Christ, and to have a woman stand in the place of the Man, Jesus the Christ, would essentially invalidate the sacrament. Christ was fully God and fully human, but not just any type of human: He was male, and ascended into Heaven in a glorified form as a man and thus will forever be male (c.f. Inter Insigniores, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). As such, a woman standing “in persona Christi” would not be able to validly consecrate the Eucharist.

In addition, there are a number of New Testament references that forbid women to have authority over Church functions (see 1 Corinthians 14:34-35), and since St. Paul also advocates male and female equality one cannot accuse him of being sexist or discriminatory (see Galatians 3:28). Furthermore, the tradition passed down from the Apostles precludes women from being priests, and the written tradition of the Church Fathers, including Augustine and Tertullian, also testifies to the invalidity of women ordinations.

Finally, women who have secured illicit ordinations and believe themselves to be women priests of the Roman Catholic Church, are sorely mistaken. Because of the aforementioned arguments their ordination is invalid, for “Only a baptized male validly receives sacred ordination” (Code of Canon Law, can. 1024).

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Journalism professor knighted for lifelong service to the Catholic Church

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Victoria Caswell

In 1978 William Thorn, now journalism chair and associate professor, never dreamed he would be doing work with the Vatican regularly, but 30 years later he is still heavily involved with media issues that are related to the Catholic Church.

He was teaching photography and reporting when the Dean of the former College of Journalism, James Scotton, approached him.

“Scotton said, if you were to put on a conference about the situation with the Catholic Press, who would you invite and what would it look like?” Thorn said.

Thorn successfully put together the first conference and was then put in charge of the Institute for Catholic Media, and he began to investigate the future of the Catholic Press. The Institute was started in 1948 after World War II and provides research grants, readership studies and pulled into the work of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

Then a Jesuit visitor from Rome needed someone at Pontifical Gregorian University, the first Jesuit University founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome. The University was starting a new program and Thorn was invited to be the first full time faculty member. In 1982-83, while on sabbatical, he moved to Rome to begin teaching at the Center for Communication. It was there that he got a call from the Vatican asking him for help with a documentary on media relations for seminarians. He was invited back to the Gregorian in 1985, 1987 and 1980 to teach short courses on church and the media, but backed down when he was invited to be a part of the drafting committee on Pope John Paul II’s document, Tantus Nove, or “New Era.”

“I was one of 17 or 18 from around the world in the final drafting committee, and one of three who wrote the final draft,” Thorn said. “When he (Pope John Paul II) came into a room, he filled it. He had a desire to get to know everybody.”

He continued working with the Vatican after that and was president of the teachers and researchers division of the International Catholic Union of the Press for 10 years.

By this time he was in Rome or elsewhere in Europe every four months for conferences. Pope John Paul II was very interested in communication issues. Thorn had several audiences with him and was in Rome in 2005 when he died.

Recently, the Vatican called him to put together another conference, which will take place in 2009 at Marquette and will be co-sponsored by the Vatican and Marquette on the theme of how institutions’ Catholic identity influences classes. It is a part of a Vatican initiative to listen to faculty teaching advertising and public relations, broadcast and electronic communications, communication studies, journalism and film and how Catholicism is reflected in how the professors teach and what problems they have.

“We have a lot of departments where a majority of the faculty aren’t Catholic. How does that work? What about student population,” Thorn said. “You can’t force anything on them. How do you maintain a professional stance, but still maintain your Catholic identity?”

Those attending the conference will hear what issues college faculty members at other Catholic Universities have with identity.

Thorn said that he has gotten into a lot of high-level involvement that he could never have imagined as a doctoral student.

“It looks like my connection (with the Vatican) isn’t going to end soon,” Thorn said, “After Scotton got me into this, it’s been something very important to me. Sometimes God has plans that we don’t know about. I really think this reflects what has turned into a lifelong commitment to put my intellectual and professional life into the Church.”

Scotton claims that he wasn’t too involved in Thorn’s vocation.

“I didn’t choose him, he chose himself,” Scotton said. “He’s been active in communication in the church for many, many years. He has a tough job.”

On October 12, Thorn joined a distinguished number of Catholic men and women as a new member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Order of the Holy Sepulchre dates back to the first Crusade and has very strict restrictions on members. According to Thorn, there first has to be a recommendation from either the Archbishop of the candidate’s local diocese, an officer in the order, a bishop or a local knight. The recommendation then has to be approved by the archbishop, then the regional Cardinal, then finally the Vatican. The candidate is notified by letter if he or she is accepted and is required to fill out paperwork, and references are checked. Thorn’s wife, Victoria, was also nominated.

Thorn said that it was very common for husbands and wives to be nominated together.
“I suspect I was nominated because of all the years I worked with the Catholic conference with media and communication issues,” Thorn said. “(My wife) founded Project Rachel in 1985, which is the official post abortion outreach of the Catholic Church in the United States.”

Project Rachel is now world-wide and is in almost all American diocese.

“When all is said and done, only our faith in God matters,” Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan said at the ceremony at the Basilica of St. Josaphat, 601 W. Lincoln Ave.

Over 400 knights and ladies from the Midwest came to the ceremony to welcome the 60 new members of the Order.

Thorn is from Janesville, Wis. He received his undergraduate degree from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He did his masters work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his doctoral work at the University of Minnesota.

After doing his master’s, he went to Los Angeles to “seek his fortune.” He soon realized he couldn’t make a lot of money freelancing and decided to start teaching. He met his wife in 1971.

“I came to realize I liked teaching better,” Thorn said.

In 1975 he came to Marquette because George Reedy, the former press secretary for Lynden B. Johnson was the dean of the former College of Journalism.

“Everything is here if you want to teach journalism,” Thorn said. “That’s why I chose Marquette over other schools. I had more fun teaching, so I stayed here.”

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A call to political responsibility from the Catholic bishops of the United States

Posted on 09 October 2008 by Thomas Klind

In light of the upcoming presidential election, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops published a document on faithful citizenship, with the hopes that it will help to educate both Catholics and non-Catholics on how a Catholic should inform his/herself prior to voting. The bishops make it clear that they “do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote.”

The document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship aims to dispel any untruths about Catholic social teaching as it relates to voting, as well as guide Catholics towards a good choice on Election Day. The bishops provided reflections on a few topics:

• Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: US Bishops’ Reflection on Catholic Teaching and Political Life
• Applying Catholic Teaching to Major Issues: A Summary of Policy Positions of the USCCB
• Goals for Political Life: Challenges for Citizens, Candidates, and Public Officials

To better inform readers of The Warrior, here is a brief guide, as outlined in the document, to help a Catholic inform himself/herself for the upcoming election.

1. “As Catholics, we should be guided more by our moral convictions than by our attachment to a political party or interest group…our participation should help transform the party to which we belong; we should not let the party transform us in such a way that we neglect or deny fundamental moral truths.” A reflection on this statement promotes a call for the respect of all life, this is an undeniable truth of Christianity.

2. “A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.”

3. “When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.”

4. “The Church is involved in the political process but is not partisan. The Church cannot champion any candidate or party. Our cause is the defense of human life and dignity and the protection of the weak and vulnerable.”

In closing, the bishops call for a renewed focus on moral principles than on the latest polls. Their roadmap for Catholic voting is simply a guide. It encourages discussion rather than magisterial decree, and promotes, above everything, a voice for the voiceless. Remember to vote responsibly. To read the entire text document, go to www.faithfulcitizenship.org.

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Marquette heretic writes new book: a review of Dr. Maguire’s Whose Church?

Posted on 24 September 2008 by Thomas Klind

Professor Dr. Daniel Maguire of Marquette’s Theology Department has come out with another book on Catholic moral ethics, entitled Whose Church? A Concise Guide To Progressive Catholicism.

Dr. Maguire received his degree in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, has written over 150 articles for major publications and has been published twelve times.

He has also been censored by the Catholic Church via the United States Council of Catholic Bishops. In a letter responding to two pamphlets published by Dr. Maguire in July of 2006, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan, speaking for the USCCB wrote:

“The opinions expressed in the two pamphlets enclosed…are totally at odds with clear Church teaching. Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, and Natural Law are consistent in opposition to abortion and so-called same-sex “marriage”. You speak of your duty to dissent. Well, at least call it such. To claim that support for abortion and same-sex “marriage” is consonant with Catholic moral teaching is preposterous and disingenuous. I, too, have a duty: to teach what the Church clearly believes. Your opinion on these two matters is contrary to the faith and morals of the Church.”

In Whose Church, Dan Maguire writes Chapters called Good Sex (Even Catholics can have it), Male and Female We Were Made, War is For Dummies, and a few others. He makes some very valid points regarding Catholic social teaching, as well as on the state of social justice work in the Church nationwide. This is about as far as he goes in line with Catholic teaching. Here’s where he deviates…

According to the prologue of Whose Church?, Dr. Maguire “does not think reliance on Divine assistance [is] an adequate substitution for intellectual training and years of study.” This is probably why he is able to so quickly write off the letter from Archbishop Timothy Dolan. In fact, this direct quote from his book contradicts Canon 6 of the Council of Orange which states: “If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when we, apart from his grace…study, seek, ask, or knock, but do not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have…the strength to do all these things as we ought; he contradicts the Apostle who says, ‘What have you that you did not receive?’ (1 Cor. 4:7), and, ‘But by the grace of God I am what I am’” (1 Cor. 15:10).

Dr. Maguire is also quick to write off the works of St. Augustine in the chapter Good Sex. Maguire cites and attacks him as a, if not the, main reason for the Catholic Church’s preoccupation on “pelvic issues” (My guess is that Dr. Maguire has never heard of the books of Galatians, Romans, Corinthians or any of the other hundreds of places where circumcision is mentioned and debated). He states that Augustine’s personal views on sexuality “dug a root deep and sprouted up like a kudzu vine,” implying that Augustine’s theology is the reason for the Catholic Church’s preoccupation on the destructive attributes of sexuality.

Another tenured Professor in Marquette’s Theology Department says this of Dr. Maguire’s statements on Augustine: “scholars who claim [this] are simply wrong; Augustine is simply not anti-sex or anti-woman. In fact, Augustine is ahead of his time stating that the female body is a gift from God, a good gift.” Yet another of Marquette’s tenured Theology professors states of Augustine, “he holds a special place in the history of Christianity, and for good reason, he was a genius.” According to this professor, the Eastern Church develops entirely without the influence of St. Augustine into the 13th century, when his works are translated into the Greek for the first time. It is Dr. Maguire’s contention that Augustine is the reason for the Catholic Church’s preoccupation with pelvic issues. This, however, does not explain the even more rigid sexual teachings of the many Eastern Orthodox churches prior to the 13th century. Perhaps this does lend credence to divine intervention?

One of Dr. Maguire’s main points in a radio interview on NPR regarding his new book is “there are saints who have supported abortion, there are saints who have been homosexual.” This, to Dr. Maguire, justifies a Catholic stance for pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage. Dr. Maguire fails to mention that those saints who supported early term abortions had an entirely different concept of when life begins, based on their limited knowledge of biology. He also fails to admit that the Catholic Church has saints who have killed, been sexual deviants, thieves and poor husbands. Because there were saints who committed such acts at one point in their life, according to Maguire’s standard there must also be a Catholic stance that is pro-murder, pro-sexual deviancy, and pro-carjacking. Interestingly enough, Maguire does assert that there is a viable Catholic pro-choice stance, which combines two of the three previously mentioned unthinkable acts, you decide which two.

Dr. Maguire also concludes (without the help of the Holy Spirit, as he has already stated that it is an unnecessary hindrance to Theology) that the Roman Catholic position on an all male clergy is only explained by “indentured hatred of women, sexism in full bloom” (31).

He again fails to overlook the overwhelming Biblical reasons, as well as Church Tradition (with a capital T), that lend themselves to this teaching. After reading this book, I have decided that Dr. Maguire has neither intellectual ground, nor the “Divine intervention” that he so readily writes off, to stand on. On what then does he stand?

Dr. Maguire iterates his stance in Whose Church?, as he did on National Public Radio when he said that “one has to distinguish between Vatican Theology and Catholic Theology. Vatican Theology is very narrow, based on very few experts”. And who are these experts?

To Dr. Maguire, Vatican Theology “ignores such views as those of Catholic philosophers Daniel Dombrowski and Robert Deltete of Jesuit Seattle University” (18). These “experts” that Maguire says we should be consulting are those who see the “literal Virgin birth of Jesus as metaphoric.” So, the experts that we should be listening to are those who deny basic doctrines of Christianity; some experts.

Just to recap this for you, in case you’re as confused as I. Dr. Maguire writes off the intervention of the Divine, dislikes the viewpoints of St. Augustine, disagrees completely with 257 Catholic Bishops and Archbishops, and follows the advice of scholars who don’t believe in the Virgin birth. Excuse me for deferring to the teachings of St. Augustine while Mr. Dombrowski and Mr. Deltete in Seattle wait to see if they are canonized.

After weighing the positives and negatives of keeping Whose Church? on my shelf next to copies of Aquinas’ Concise Summa and Augustine’s Confessions, I’ve decided that it might make for better kindling than reading. Maybe a better name for the book could be Whose Fire? A Concise Guide to Progressive Atheism. Whose Church? Definitely not mine.

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Pope Benedict’s first trip to the United States

Posted on 30 April 2008 by Remington Tonar

The Warrior sent our Catholic Beat Writer, Remington Tonar, to New York City for Pope Benedict XVI’s first visit to the United States. He begins this piece by giving an account of the Papal trip and then assumes a first person perspective when reporting on his experience in New York City.

“Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them…and they were all cured” (Acts 5:15-16). In early Christianity, people crowded the streets to see Saint Peter, hoping to be cured or blessed by touching him, or even by standing in his passing shadow. Not much has changed in two-thousand years, as Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic visit to America demonstrated. The pope, who is the 265th successor of Saint Peter, brought hundreds of thousands of Catholic faithful from all over the nation to Washington, D.C. and New York during his apostolic visit to the United States.

His Holiness, along with the Bishops of the United States, chose “Christ Our Hope” as the theme for this historic visit, which marks Benedict’s first visit to the United States as pope. In his advance message to the United States before his arrival, the Pope noted that his mission in coming to America was to, “proclaim this great truth: Jesus Christ is hope.” This visit of hope comes in the wake of the much publicized sex abuse crisis, which has ravaged and devastated the Catholic Church in America, and amidst a culture of increasing secularism. The Pope told reporters onboard what has been dubbed Shepherd One, the Papal airplane, that he was “deeply ashamed” of sex abuse by priests and that he would, “do everything possible to heal this wound.”

His Holiness landed in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday April 15, where he was met at Andrew’s Air Force Base by President Bush. It was the first time Bush greeted a head of state outside the White House. Here, he was greeted by multi-lingual renditions of Happy Birthday, to celebrate the Pontiff’s 81st birthday on the April 16. After a short meeting with the President, the Pope retired for the evening. On his birthday, Wednesday, he journeyed to the White House for a more extensive meeting with Bush, and he was greeted by 12,000 guests on the South Lawn. Following this reception, the Pope met with the Conference of Catholic Bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. In his address to the Bishops of the nation he acknowledged the deep fervor for faith in the U.S., and prompted them to continue their fight against materialism, relativism and secularism. He also encouraged the Bishops to be proactive in combating sex abuse, and affirmed some of the new programs adopted to help combat abuse, but noted that, “the policies and programs you [the bishops] have adopted need to be placed in a wider context.” He tied these words into the need to educate children on authentic and moral Christian sexuality and the need to fight pornography and the “crude manipulation of sexuality” that plagues American youth today.

The following morning the Pope celebrated Mass at Nationals Park for almost 50,000 in attendance, telling the faithful in his homily to be a “leaven of evangelical hope in American society, striving to bring the light and truth of the Gospel to the task of building an ever more just and free world for generations yet to come.” Also on Thursday, the Pope visited the Catholic University of America, and addressed Catholic educators from around the nation. In his speech he noted that, “first and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God.” Beyond this, the Pope also affirmed that Catholic identity does not depend on statistics, nor can it “simply be equated with orthodoxy of course content.” Rather, Catholic identity should be measured by more, “namely that each and every aspect of your learning communities reverberates within the ecclesial life of faith.” The Holy Father concluded by making it clear that while academic freedom is vital and important, using academic freedom to teach things contrary to the faith causes one to “obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission.” Thus, the Pope said, “teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice.”

Marquette’s own president, Rev. Robert A. Wild, S.J., was in attendance. Wild spoke with The Warrior and outlined some of the highlights of the Pope’s address. Wild applauded the Pope’s encouragement of those present to not be complacent in the search for truth, which manifests itself in Jesus Christ. He highlighted faith as an integral part of Marquette’s mission believing that Marquette does a good job of executing that mission of authentic Catholic faith.

“There are areas that we can do better in,” admits Wild, but the “search for truth is not an easy business,” and it is something that Marquette continues to strive for.

The Pope also held an interreligious prayer service on April 17 and met with leaders of the Washington, D.C.. Jewish community.

On April 18, the Pope traveled to New York City, where he addressed the United Nations in both French and English, speaking of the need to protect religious freedom and human dignity. The Pope also held a meeting of leaders from different Christian denominations at St. Joseph’s Church in New York where he expressed his desire for Christian unity and reaffirmed the existence of objective truth, as well as the need for not only spiritual, but doctrinal unity.

“A clear convincing testimony to the salvation wrought for us in Christ Jesus,” the Pope noted, “has to be based upon the notion of normative apostolic teaching: a teaching which indeed underlies the inspired word of God and sustains the sacramental life of Christians.”

A PERSONAL ACCOUNT

While the Pope was busy spreading his message of hope in New York, I was in the back of a full twelve passenger van traveling to see the Pope on Saturday, April 19. With us were Marquette students Scott Emerson and Matt Shireman, as well as other people not affiliated with the University. We embarked Thursday afternoon and spent that night in South Bend, Indiana, and arrived in New York City late Friday night and settled in at the Crotona tutoring center in the Bronx for the evening. The next morning we awoke early for Mass and then, after a short breakfast, made haste to St. Joseph’s Seminary where the Pope would be speaking later that afternoon in a rally of seminarians and young faithful from across the nation. During that time, His Holiness was celebrating Mass for clergy and religious at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

When we arrived, the field behind St. Joseph’s Seminary was mildly populated; Secret Service, state and local police were heavily present. We found a place on the lawn about thirty feet from the stage where the Pope would be speaking exclusively with the seminarians, who had preferred placement right in front of the stage, in front of us. The next few hours were spent watching and listening to the music and dance performances that had been arranged for entertainment. Some of the more notable acts included the Christian groups Third Day, Salvador, Toby Mac, and priest-rapper Stan Fortuna. The festivities concluded with a brief performance by Kelly Clarkson, who would later appear again before the Pope’s departure to sing Ave Maria to His Holiness. Despite our tickets coming with free food passes, our group collectively fasted, in fear of losing our plot of lawn if we moved to get food. Our hunger, in conjunction with the 70 degree heat which was exacerbated by the increasing number of spectators, made the several hours of waiting for the Pope rather arduous.

“The youth rally was a long day of being out in the sun, without food and with little water, surrounded by tens of thousands of other people,” says Matt Shireman, a senior in Engineering with whom I traveled. “But it was incredible to be a part of the crowd when the Holy Father arrived.”

Upon arriving, His Holiness first visited the seminary chapel where he blessed handicapped children in a gesture of the Church’s love for all persons, even those on whom secular society places less value. After this, he traveled via Pope-mobile down to the field where 20,000 seminarians and youth awaited him. While at St. Joseph’s, the Pope encouraged youth to model their lives after those of the saints. He poignantly urged that America’s youth develop a personal relationship with Christ and realize the expansive wonder and awe found in the Christian faith, stating that, “sometimes, we are looked upon as people who speak only of prohibitions. Nothing could be further from the truth! Authentic Christian discipleship is marked by a sense of wonder. We stand before the God we know and love as a friend, the vastness of his creation, and the beauty of our Christian faith.”

“The Holy Father spoke directly to the hearts of young American Catholics,” notes Shireman. “It was all a bit surreal.”

Being able to experience the presence of the Pope, the successor of Saint Peter upon whom Christ built the Church (see Matthew 16:18), at St. Joseph’s Seminary was indeed a surreal experience. An even more surreal experience, however, was being able to attend Mass celebrated by him. The following day, Sunday, we again awoke early to make our way to Yankee Stadium, where the Pope would be celebrating Mass. Close to 60,000 people were in attendance, and the enormous volume of people made getting to the appropriate gate assigned on our tickets difficult. Our seats were not as spectacular as those we had the previous day at the seminary; however we had a great view of the elaborate stage and altar that had been erected for the Pope’s visit. When His Holiness finally arrived at Yankee Stadium, driving around the edge of the field in the Pope-mobile, the excited crowd rose with jovial applause and shouts. Indeed, it was an exciting moment, to be part of a vast number of Catholic faithful who were all united in a very special way in the presence of the Vicar of Christ on earth.

“Mass with the Pope was an awesome experience,” says Scott Emerson, a sophomore in Engineering, who was also among my traveling companions, “just to be in his presence, along with thousands of other Catholics who are all cheering and exited about their faith…it’s amazing.” Emerson points out that the Pope’s homily was as inspiring as it was intellectually challenging. “We have to remember that this Pope is a scholar. His speeches and homilies are very intellectual, as well as deep and insightful.”

In his homily at Yankee Stadium, the Pope challenged the faithful to follow Christ’s footsteps, telling those present that, “true freedom…is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love. Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves.”

On his last day in the United States, the Pope visited Ground Zero, where he prayed for God to grant eternal light and peace to those who had perished in the September 11 attacks. After his stop at Ground Zero, the Pope made his way to JFK International Airport, where Vice-President Dick Cheney awaited him as he finished his apostolic visit to America. He thanked America for its hospitality and professed his joy in the faith of the American Catholic community. Bidding farewell to our nation, he took his leave and asked that Americans remember him in their prayers, leaving us with the words: “God bless America.”

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Students called to volunteer, while Archdiocese struggles financially

Posted on 16 April 2008 by Remington Tonar

Marquette’s Catholic community is, in many respects, self contained; very few students are acutely aware of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s recent financial struggles. While many Marquette students do not call Milwaukee home, it might concern some that the greater Milwaukee Catholic community of which Marquette is a part is facing serious financial crisis. The Archdiocese is projecting a multi-million dollar budget shortfall, due primarily to sex-abuse lawsuit settlements. On April 7 the Archdiocese released a massive reorganization of its central offices, which included the merging of several offices and programs, as well as the elimination of multiple positions.

Steve Blaha, the coordinator of faith formation programs in University Ministry also serves on the Vision 21 committee, an advisory group of the Archdiocese. On the Archdiocese’s recent financial challenges Blaha poignantly commented that the Archdiocese has “cut the fat, and is now starting to cut the muscle.” Blaha points out that the effects of reorganization disseminate down to the parish level, affecting how the ministries of individual parishes operate, and placing a larger burden on parish ministers and staff.

Jerry Topczewski, the chief of staff of Archbishop Dolan, stressed that the purpose of the restructuring was not to eliminate programs and services. Rather, the aim of the restructuring was to save as much money as possible, while preserving core ministries and outreach programs. “All ministries are important,” Topczewski notes. He highlights that the Archdiocese is not like a corporation that can arbitrarily cut costs, saying, “The services that are used the least are some of the most important. The marginalized are the ones that need us the most.”

While this restructuring does not directly affect Marquette, there are ways that Marquette students can assist the Archdiocese as it reshapes itself in these times of financial struggle. Students can, of course, donate financial assistance through The Catholic Stewardship Appeal, which is the primary fundraising operation of the Archdiocese. One-hundred percent of the money donated to the Stewardship Appeal goes directly to supporting ministries like Catholic Charities and campus ministry programs at UW-Milwaukee and Whitewater.

A second, more active, way that Marquette students can help is by donating their time and skills. Both Topczewski and Blaha emphasize that in the wake of this restructuring the call for lay volunteers has never been greater.

Nicole Steinmetz, a sophomore in the college of Arts and Sciences, currently volunteers her time teaching Confirmation classes at Christ King parish in Wauwatosa. “It’s been a really rewarding experience,” says Steinmetz. “Working in the parish has been great, and I feel like I’ve been able to make a difference.”

This willingness to volunteer, according to Topczewski, is going to be integral to the future of the Archdiocese. “This restructuring calls for people with skills to participate more actively,” he says.

Finally, Topczewski urges that students remember the Archdiocese in their prayers, so that the Catholic community of Southeastern Wisconsin might have the strength to walk through this valley of shadow and financial strife.

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Opus Dei committed to meeting students’ spiritual needs

Posted on 02 April 2008 by Remington Tonar

In addition to University Ministry, Marquette’s main campus spiritual resource provider, there are several Catholic student groups on campus, e.g. Catholic Outreach, Bellarmine, and Schoenstatt. Moreover, beyond these organizations, there are a few non-university affiliated Catholic groups that are becoming increasingly popular among students, such as Opus Dei and Regnum Christi. These groups have presented themselves as alternatives for students seeking different ways to enhance their faith.

The 87,000 member strong lay institution, Opus Dei, was established in 1928 by Saint Josemaria Escriva, and it has been the subject of controversy since the release of The DaVinci Code, which fictitiously portrays the organization as clandestine and manipulative. A growing number of Marquette students have begun attending a regular Bible study and discussion group sponsored by Opus Dei, finding it instrumental in advancing their faith.

“Ongoing faith formation is vital to Catholics who desire to live authentic, healthy, spiritual lives,” says Mark Adams, a third year law student. “I have found Opus Dei priests to be great at providing practical advice, as well as theologically sound and orthodox teaching.” Adams also finds that the group helps him evangelize, noting that it is convenient to invite friends to the group as a way of increasing doctrinal awareness.

The Opus Dei group is facilitated by Father Tim Uhen of The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, the society affiliated with Opus Dei, and by Professor Christopher Wolfe, who teaches Political Science here at Marquette.

Regnum Christi is also seeing increasing interest among Marquette students. Regnum Christi is an international lay organization with close to 70,000 members, affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ, a congregation of priests founded in 1941. Regnum Christi has, like Opus Dei, come under criticism for being too conservative.

Describing the organization’s role in his life, sophomore Nick Preston says, “As a member of Regnum Christi, you have commitments…these provide a structure for my life and help me to be more proactive in my faith, rather than just showing up for Mass on Sundays like many students”.

Joel Mishork, who transferred to Marquette this semester, views Regnum Christi as an “extra tool” to support his faith journey. “It helps remind me that without action my faith means nothing,” said Mishork. Mishork hopes that Regnum Christi will motivate him to be an authentic witness to the Gospel at Marquette, and he aims to live out the doctrines and principles of the Catholic Church while attending school here.

The Regnum Christi men’s section in Milwaukee is administered by Father Robert DeCesare of the Legionaries of Christ, who travels from Chicago to provide spiritual direction and lead Bible studies for the Regnum Christi members at Marquette.

As a Catholic university, Marquette has a duty to provide for the spiritual needs of students; however, many students have found that their own spiritual needs can be best met by organizations outside the university structure. “We all have different ways of serving the Church and growing in our faith,” says Preston, “Regnum Christi is the way I have been called to do just that”.

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