BY MICHAEL MULLINS
Recently the (Catholic) University of San Diego rescinded its invitation to progressive British theologian Tina Beattie. Now the Jesuit president of Fordham University in New York has been tempted to do the same to notorious conservative Anne Coulter (pictured). He resisted, but the university’s Republican students club – which invited Coulter – has since uninvited her anyway.
Coulter, a regular guest on FoxNews, is one of America’s most famous and outspoken right-wing commentators and proud haters (“I'm a Christian first and a mean-spirited, bigoted conservative second”).
Deacon’s Bench has published the eloquent explanation of the president, Fr Joseph McShane SJ, who says:
Her rhetoric is often hateful and needlessly provocative — more heat than light — and her message is aimed squarely at the darker side of our nature. As members of a Jesuit institution, we are called upon to deal with one another with civility and compassion. ... Hate speech, name-calling, and incivility are completely at odds with the Jesuit ideals ... Still, to prohibit Ms. Coulter from speaking at Fordham would be to do greater violence to the academy, and to the Jesuit tradition of fearless and robust engagement.
Fordham’s Republican students claimed the upper hand in their statement – “had the President simply reached out to us before releasing his statement, he would have learned that the event was being cancelled” – but have nevertheless suffered a major loss of face among conservatives. Legal Insurrection says:
While I blame the Fordham administration first and foremost, it’s time for College Republicans groups to grow a backbone.
Meanwhile Tina Beattie continues to defend the views that had her uninvited, maintaining that she is faithful to “the demands of conscience, academic freedom and Catholic identity”.
In Australia, Sentire Cum Ecclesia writes of his disappointment at missing out on a Year of Faith indulgence. Indulgences are being granted to those who visit the place of their baptism and renew their baptismal vows. Sentire is visiting Pinaroo, South Australia, where he was baptised in 1966. However Sentire is a convert from the Lutheran Church, and the Year of Faith indulgence applies only to baptisms in a Catholic Church.
I had assumed that the indulgence was connected to the action of visiting the place of your baptism. In fact, the indulgence is actually connected to the place itself, and hence the ruling.
David Timbs has some interesting historical background about indulgences.
A critical turning in the development of the Catholic culture of fear, dread and profound human worthlessness was occasioned by the outbreak of the great Plague or Black Death in 1347... An enduring legacy left by this catastrophe was a popular deep-seated fear of dying without sacramental absolution... The advent of the Plague delivered a cash cow into the hands of money strapped clerics. This new revenue source was called Indulgences.
Back in the US, Brandon Vogt has listed “7 Things Bishops Should Know About Catholic Bloggers”. The first is that “We are your friends, not your enemies”. Perhaps the most interesting is the fifth: “Digital imprimaturs are not a good idea”.
What about blogs and websites? Should we institute some form of digital imprimatur? I don't think so. I’m convinced it's a bad idea.
His reasons are that blogs are constantly changing, there are too many, and they are not libraries of digitised books. However he refers to the Vatican’s purchase of the “.catholic” top level domain name, which effectively guarantees doctrinal purity. Vogt does not exactly make the suggestion, but implies the suggestion of awarding worthy bloggers a “.catholic” domain.
Finally, Standing on my Head guest blogger Fr Rutler writes on “Why I love the Corrupt and Crime Ridden Catholic Church”.
The Catholic Church might be corrupt and crime ridden, but the Catholic Church is also the only institution that can do anything about it. Of course the Catholic Church is full of sinners. Just like a hospital is full of sick people. ... We are all not happy with the crime and sin and corruption in the Catholic Church, but we can’t imagine any other church that would be any different.
If Gerard Henderson had read this, he might not have been so hard on The Chaser, who received his anti-Catholic Sectarian award of the week for this exchange from The Hamster Wheel:
Craig Reucassel: The Catholic Church has been dragged into the scandal surrounding the degrading initiation rituals at St John’s College at Sydney Uni, which last year nearly killed a girl.
Julian Morrow: Yes. The Archbishop of Sydney, Archbishop Pell, has intervened, thankfully. He says it’s the role of the Church, not the College, to abuse young people.
Michael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every week.
Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.