Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Villanova, Where Is Your Moral Compass?

When my dad's brother died in 2004, he had been the Irish Augustinian with the longest tenure as a missionary in Australia.  Yet, that 30 years did not even constitute half of his 70 year priesthood!  In addition to Australia, my uncle served a combined 40 years in Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and Ireland.   

When my uncle died, the local Irish paper simply noted, "Friend of 'sick, poor and aged' passes away."  At the time of his death, he also happened to be the oldest Augustinian priest in Ireland.  

Unlike another Augustinian priest, Villanova president Peter Donahue, PhD, my uncle's academic and theological "credentials" did not go beyond his seminary training in Rome (Yeah, it was cool to have an Irish born uncle who was fluent in Italian.).  My uncle was never on any sort of "fast track."  He never taught college, never taught in a seminary, never became a bishop, and never even became a pastor.  Yet, it's funny - he really understood that thing about following Christ as a priest. 

Perhaps, my uncle's forthright and unapologetic pro life beliefs were a bit embarrassing to more "sophisticated" Augustinians: 
  • Seven years ago, I wrote to Father Donahue about Villanova's choice of commencement speaker: "Cable television has provided cultural Catholic Chris Matthews with a more than ample stage for his pro-abortion opinions, as well as his buffoonish 'interview' style....Villanova's choice of commencement speakers is a slap in the face to the memory of countless men like my uncle."  
  • Three years ago, I also wrote to Father Donahue about Villanova's choice of commencement speaker:  "With the name 'Robert Casey'..., many Pennsylvania Catholics seem to have thought that Casey Jr was committed to the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. Yet his repeated betrayals of the most vulnerable human beings reveal either utter ignorance of Catholic teaching or rejection of such....Father, I encourage you to read the "Casey on Killing of Bin Laden" statement on Senator Casey's web site....Casey's immediate and unqualified endorsement of 'killing' Bin Laden reveals absolutely no reflection on what the Church teaches, re: "Just War Theory." As the Just War Theory is part of the great intellectual heritage of Saint Augustine, Villanova is making itself look particularly foolish by honoring Casey....Your choice of Robert Casey, Jr as this year's commencement speaker appears to be another slap in the face to the memory of countless Augustinians like my uncle."
Guess what?  Judging by his non-response (and his continued practice of honoring "Catholics" who support abortion),  Father Donahue couldn't care less.  Personally, I don't understand how Catholic institutions are allowed to spit in the face of Catholic teaching and continue to enjoy any benefits of calling themselves "Catholic."

Though my uncle was not the sort of cleric to be befriended by the powerful, I suspect he would have been very comfortable breaking bread with Villanova alumnus and former Pennsylvania state house representative, Steve Freind, who is : "appalled by the announcement that Jill Biden, an outspoken advocate of abortion rights, will be my alma mater’s commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree" (Villanova fails to walk the walk on speaker choice, BC Courier Times, 5/20/14).

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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
(from page 1 of the NY Sun, 3/22/04)

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12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

March for Life 2010