Thursday, May 04, 2006

I Wonder What Condi Thinks About Male-Only Priesthood?

For a variety of reasons, I've decided to close comments on this post. With school and with Chris' death, I'm just not up for engaging or encouraging debate now. Hope you'll understand.

Well, it’s that time of year again. The flowers are blooming. The birds are singing. And we have to listen to all the foolishness about who should or should not be honored at Catholic university commencement ceremonies.

The latest buzz is about whether Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should receive an honorary degree from Boston College. Frankly, I don’t have a problem with it. But some of the BC faculty have made a statement opposing it, and I’m glad they did. Why? Because it makes the point that if we’re going to declare people public sinners and deny them honors, we ought to have some consistency about it (though I’m not sure we need to do it at all).

Here’s a little about the BC situation from The Globe:

Kenneth Himes, chairman of the department of theology, and the Rev. David Hollenbach, who holds the Margaret O'Brien Flatley chair in the department, titled their letter ''Condoleezza Rice Does Not Deserve a Boston College Honorary Degree," and sent it to the entire faculty inviting members to sign on. The writers said they were distressed with the university's decision to invite Rice to commencement May 22. Her selection was announced Monday.
''On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work," the letter said. It pointed out Pope John Paul II's opposition to the war in Iraq.
''I have no objection to her coming here to speak -- I am in favor of free speech -- but I don't believe we should be honoring her with an honorary degree," Hollenbach said.

Now, all the predictable people have said all the predictable things in response. And, as far as I can tell (not that this is any surprise), it all has a lot more to do with politics than morality.

And speaking of predictable, Patrick Reilly has again made his list of naughty Catholic universities that have invited who he deems as unacceptable honorees. Here’s one:

“Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, will receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address at St. Joseph College on May 21. Johnson has argued against the Church’s infallible teaching on the male-only priesthood, which she described as “patriarchal resistance to women’s equality.” Johnson’s feminism leads her to refer to God as ‘She Who Is.’”

I don’t expect Reilly will voice any objection to Rice (if he does, I’ll promise to eat crow). Which should lead any thinking person to the logical and absurd conclusion that being complicit in an ill-conceived unjust war that led to the death of thousands is far less morally objectionable than entertaining the possibility that women might be priests. Whatever you think about the latter, clearly the former carries much more moral weight.


Anonymous Jenn said...

I imagine that if he does object to her, he will equally object to BC objecting to her "for the wrong reasons". She is pro-choice. Gives him a loophole to ignore or lambast the anti-war objection.

Course I don't get why any university gives out honorary degrees anyway, but then I suppose they are worth no more than the paper they are written on.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Didn't know she was pro-choice. He'll probably object to her on those grounds then, or maybe not, we'll see . . .

1:17 AM  
Blogger Sister Mary Hasta said...

Is there a single person on this planet who someone won't protest giving the commencement address at a Catholic college?

And how are your papers coming along, young man?

1:53 AM  
Blogger angelmeg said...


you just broke your own rule and commented. For shame. Now get back to work. The last think we want to find out is that one of our favorite Jesuits phoned in his final paper because he was too busy commenting on his blog!!!!

Now to my real comment:

I wonder what the thought process was that went into their choice of her as a speaker in the first place? Isn't it a bit late in the year to be protesting her for a commencement that is just weeks away? Might they compromise and let her speak but not confer the honorary degree?


6:38 AM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Illconceived, perhaps. Unjust I doubt it. The Bush administration would've been criminally negligent if their failure to enforce U.N. sanctions had resulted in thousands of American deaths.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

I just had to add a quick funny:

One of my SPAM e-mails this morning had as a name on it "Lucifer Hollenbach." Thinking of this post, I wondered, "Are the spammers offering their two cents?

10:14 AM  
Blogger mamagiglio said...

Do you mean that all spammers should go to hell? ;)

12:33 PM  

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