They weren’t invited to the debate

We’ve heard an awful lot from the really loud, really powerful public moralists so maybe we should hear from some quiet dissenters:

At a Jesuit institution in Ohio, though, some members of the faculty and staff have joined the debate, signing a letter urging the university’s president to accept the Obama administration’s compromise on contraception coverage and asking him to push Roman Catholic bishops to do the same

Forty-seven faculty and staff members at John Carroll University, including professors, librarians and at least two members of the administration, signed a letter to the Jesuit college’s president, the Rev. Robert Niehoff.
“We … are committed to freedom of conscience and religious liberty,” the faculty wrote, adding that Catholic bishops have the right to “proclaim Catholic teaching vigorously and loudly.”
“However, we also believe that access to contraception is central to the health and well-being of women and children.”
“We are all troubled that the bishops have chosen a path of continued confrontation,” they wrote, questioning the bishop’s motives for rejecting the compromise.
“We believe the faculty and the administration of John Carroll University need to take a stand in the face of the bishops’ unwillingness to accept the compromise offered by the Obama administration,” the letter concludes. “We thus ask that, along with the presidents of other Catholic and Jesuit universities, you urge the bishops to avoid the inflammatory rhetoric they have been using to attack the administration’s policy. We ask you to stand up to those who would play politics with women’s health.”

“People were commenting on it from across the political spectrum, but there weren’t really any faculty voices in the conversation,” Lauritzen said. “We thought it would be important to hear from those who would be directly affected by the policy, however it gets implemented.”

Well, he has that all wrong. It’s not at all important to hear from people who are directly affected by health care policy. We’re absolutely last on the list.

Oh, and here’s a crazy and radical notion these leftists have. They were concerned about people other than themselves. They might not even know these co-workers they’re defending, personally, or be related to them, or see some career benefit to sucking up to them, or anything!

Many of the signers, including both Catholics and non-Catholics, were concerned about the policy’s possible impact on non-Catholic faculty and staff, Lauritzen said. Those faculty have made no moral commitment to church teachings but would still be denied birth control coverage.

33 replies
  1. 1
    Ben Franklin says:

    I told you about those Jesuits, like Jerry Brown.

    The greatest proof of the Opus Dei’s hatred for the Jesuits was carved in stone during the General Congregation 35 of the Jesuits from January to early March of this year — when Benedict XVI did NOT celebrate one single Mass with them. The 225 Jesuits visited the Pope and he read his speech to them for half an hour, had their photos taken, but no coffee, no tea, no Mass. From his grave in Hell, St? Josemaria rules the Vatican and the Catholic Church from his evil altar and his words is followed to its literal interpretation: “I would prefer a million times that a daughter of mine die without the Last Sacraments than that they be administered to her by a Jesuit”.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “I would prefer a million times that a daughter of mine die without the Last Sacraments than that they be administered to her by a Jesuit”.

    Reminds me of what an Infantry officer told us at ROTC summer camp: “I’d rather have a sister in a whorehouse than a brother in the Corps of Engineers.”

  3. 3
    jl says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    I was going to say, ‘what do you expect? … Jesuits!’ They are into thinking things through, and stuff.

    Interesting blog. A little Catholic internecine conflict. I will read it so can see some one call Pope Benedict the Devil’s tool.

  4. 4
    ornery_curmudgeon says:

    “Oh, and here’s a crazy and radical notion these leftists have. They were concerned about people other than themselves.”

    Yes, that is why we are Liberal, though, not ‘leftist’ … which is merely the other side of the totalitarian coin: leftists are commies.

    We’ve been so battered in the war of wording. Leftist is commie. Liberals are something different. Liberalism is not part of the boxed spectrum of left vs right.

  5. 5
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    All of these faculty and staff members will be reprimanded, publicly humiliated, and demoted or fired within weeks, along with the president of the university for allowing this heresy to flourish.

  6. 6
    kay says:


    I was kidding. I don’t know if they’re even liberals.

  7. 7
    jl says:


    It is, however, just a letter from the staff to the university, but I am sure some conservatives are saying, well, what do you expect from a Jesuit place?

  8. 8
    Mike Goetz says:

    Maybe some of these dissenters could go from “quiet” to “really loud,” get on the main stage.

  9. 9
    Ben Franklin says:


    I literally stumbled onto that link. Bears further interest.

  10. 10
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Ben Franklin: The really scary thing is that sounds like a paragraph out of the Davinci Code, which I’m pretty sure is fiction.

  11. 11
    Ben Franklin says:


    I read it as something crafted with higher level assistance. I could be right. But, that’s my intuitive self; usually wrong.

  12. 12
    artem1s says:

    good on John Carroll U faculty. Hope the board listens to them.

  13. 13
    kay says:

    @Mike Goetz:

    “quiet” to “really loud,” get on the main stage

    Do you think they do that, though, these types of people? It sometimes seems like the national stage is reserved for loudmouth assholes. Being this type of person might preclude the behavior necessary to get up there.

  14. 14
    rlrr says:

    John Carroll University

    My Alma mater…

  15. 15
    rlrr says:


    A few years back the chairmen of the biology department and religious studies department at John Carroll University issued a joint statement saying Intelligent Design was a load of crap .

  16. 16
    artem1s says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    “I would prefer a million times that a daughter of mine die without the Last Sacraments than that they be administered to her by a Jesuit”.

    pretty much sums up their attitude towards women too doesn’t it? Completely willing to sacrifice them to eternal hell fire than receive something good in the wrong way (without the permission of a man).

  17. 17
    Linnaeus says:

    The interesting thing about the Jesuits is that they were founded to be a kind of vanguard for the Catholic Church, particularly in the wake of the Reformation. Interesting how things turn out.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    I love how actual Catholics working at a Catholic university understand that it’s wrong for non-Catholics to be forced to follow church teachings if they want to keep their jobs, but somehow our “brilliant” pundits can’t get it through their heads.

    ETA: If I had kids, the only Catholic school I would send them to would be a Jesuit one. Those guys know how to think things through.

  19. 19
    MAC says:

    @rirr It’s my alma mater too. Not sure if the university will/can take a stand on this one against the bishops, but good to see the faculty speaking out.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Rita R. says:

    @Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:

    And excommunicated if they’re Catholic if they don’t repent, both publicly and in the confessional.

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    who would think that the people actually affected would speak up…

    miracles never cease [/sarcasm dripping here]

  23. 23
  24. 24
    NCSteve says:

    Uh oh. “Is that large roll of writs of excommunication in your pocket, Your Eminence, or are you just happy to see me?”

  25. 25
    mikeyes says:

    This is not surprising if you have had any experience with the Society of Jesus. I grew up in a Jesuit parish (Gesu, right next to John Carroll University), Jesuit HS and Jesuit college. I heard the same basic meme from them in college and it was clear then that their position was well thought out.

    In fact, when I heard the compromise that President Obama came up with, I was wondering which Jesuit mailed that one in.

    BTW, I don’t see Jesuits as liberal. There were plenty of politically conservative Jesuits at my college. It’s just that they are remarkable men who are not only extremely bright as a group, but they think things out and have a strong moral base.

    One of the reasons they are hated by some Catholics is that they can come up with rational reasons that fit Catholic theology and teachings to counter some of the crap that the Opus Dei types come up with. That’s the difference between having a doctorate in theology and an eight grade education in religion.

    Just to show you that the Jesuits rely on ratio studiorum and not brain washing, a list of prominent Jesuit graduates include Fidel and Raul Castro, Tom Clancy, Bill Clinton, Clarence thomas, Voltaire, and two of Hussein’s sons. A wide variety of political thought is represented, thought being the operative word.

  26. 26
    rlrr says:


    Bill Clinton has the distinction of being the only US President to graduate from a Catholic university.

  27. 27
    Rita R. says:


    I was taught to admire the Jesuits, the Franciscans too. (All before my lapse into becoming a “heathen,” as my mother calls it.) But the Catholic Church doesn’t want people to think, they want them to obey. The Church is regressing, methodically undoing as much as Vatican II as they can. They had it pretty good before widespread education when they had an illiterate flock who saw the Church as having absolute authority over their everlasting souls so they were obeyed unconditionally. They’d like to go back.

  28. 28
    Delia says:

    The Jesuits were founded to combat the Reformation, but to combat it with knowledge. Throughout their history they’ve had a tendency to get into trouble with the more authoritarian wing of the church, especially when the latter is ascendant. Like now. But they won’t go away.

  29. 29
    john f says:

    It was a Jesuit priest writings Fr. John Courtney Murray’s, that influenced JFK’s Houston speech on religious liberty, pluralism and Gov’t authority. Fr. Murray also influenced the Second Vatican Council’s pronouncement on Religious Liberty although lately I’ve been wondering has anyone in the Church rereading lately?

  30. 30
    divF says:

    The argument between the Jesuits and the Curia on this matter goes back to the promulgation of Humanae Vitae in 1968. I was a student in a Jesuit high school in Washington DC (Gonzaga, Class of 1969), and many of the priests who taught there bitterly and publicly expressed their opposition on account of the inhumanity of denying married couples intimacy and pleasure without also imposing the financial burden of raising a large family (the neighborhood around Gonzaga was quite poor, and the priests there were acutely aware of the financial conditions). The very conservative Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal O’Boyle, was disciplining priests under his jurisdiction for taking a public position against the encyclical. He attempted to do so against the Jesuits at Gonzaga, only to find that he had no authority to do so. I believe this is a unique aspect of the order, that they are subject only to the authority of the Jesuit hierarchy, and that only subject to the Pope’s authority.

    I am a lapsed Catholic, but I still am grateful to these men who instilled in me and many other boys a strong moral compass. Martin O’Malley graduated from Gonzaga (Class of 1981, I think), so it doesn’t surprise me that, although a practicing Catholic, he signed into law today the gay marriage bill that passed the Maryland legislature. I’m hoping that, over time, he will eradicate the stain on Gonzaga from the fact that its most prominent graduates in public life up until now have been Pat Buchanan and Bill Bennett.

  31. 31
    moderateindy says:

    Was friendly with a Franciscan, who was a theology professor at a Chicago University. He used to talk about the differences between the different “Classes” of Catholic priests, and how they viewed the Bible and Catholicism in general. He said your average priest is more of a salesman. He spends most of his time selling the product to the consumer, and tends to try to keep the message as simple and attractive as possible. The higher-ups, bishops and the like are usually just politicians. It’s what the position is about, and the people that strive to achieve that type of leadership have what you would describe as a politician’s personality. Theologians, people that work in the academic realm, don’t have to be as dogmatic, or worry that their research or interpretations may muddy the water. Debate, and examination is at the root of their endeavors. Most Catholics do not know that the Vatican accepts evolution, and doesn’t believe that there is a “hell” in the traditional sense. Talking religion with him was always interesting, and not what you would expect.

  32. 32
    Gretchen says:

    My dad graduated from John Carroll sometime in the ’30s. He wished I could have a Jesuit education, which he considered the gold standard – “they teach you how to think”. At that time the local Jesuit high school, where my brother went, was all male, and most of the colleges still were also.

  33. 33
    mattH says:

    @Linnaeus: Something about having to work in the trenches comes to mind.

Comments are closed.