Another Clumsy Dis-Invite

It should be a given that whenever an honored speaker, a concert performer, or a football coach is engaged by a Catholic organization, somebody will take time to vet the person for their important views on hot-button issues.

To this list add college professor. And to the University of San Diego award a belated blue ribbon for orthodoxy to wrap around the egg they laid on yanking a decision to hire Rosemary Radford Ruether.

Reason given for the cancellation-enhanced invitation? “Procedural error.”

Thanks to that “error,” yet another wave of protests, recriminations, hard feelings, unprofessional behavior, and unity-churning debate will obscure the pro-life issue. Pro-choice folks can point to the clumsy anti-abortion activism and discredit pro-lifers in general for being reactive, petty, and just plain meanieheads.

As a pro-life Catholic it makes me want to scream. Was one unborn child saved in this mess? Was anybody convinced that abortion is a bad thing? College professors around the nation were likely scrambling to resign from associations with pro-choice members so they wouldn’t miss out on teaching impressionable young minds at USD. Or wherever.

Can a typist add to every application form this question:

– Are you now or have you ever been a member of an organization that publicly supports freedom of choice for the termination of a pregnancy?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Another Clumsy Dis-Invite

  1. Liam says:

    One also suspects a measure of dishonesty. It’s not like the group is obscure – it’s infamous – and the BOD is easily available ( and one would be shocked if her affiliations were doctored for her CV to omit it (that would be dishonest on her part, but that’s not the dishonesty I am suspecting here and I would indeed be shocked if she actually did that).

    The dishonesty I am suspecting is that procedural error excuse. It’s weasly on its face. And it invites its audience to infer something more like ” we got caught doing something we shouldn’t have done in the first place but we’d appreciate it if you let us continue to talk obliquely about it, because you know that’s what we really do in academia anyway where we never hold any peers accountable so that we in turn are not held accountable”.

    Just sayin’

    In any event, people can invoke McCarthyism with the Church, but unlike the United States, the Church has never pretended to bless freedom of association without any consequence in its employment and appointments. No auto-da-fes anymore, of course, but the idea that you might be vetted for affiliations in conflict with the mission of the Church is no more surprising than if appointments to the senior staff of Amnesty International were vetted for, let’s say, not being an unrepentant co-conspirator in activities at Guantanamo. Organizations whose mission is founded on a creed (secular or religious) are by their own freedom of association allowed to limit the employment therein with restrictions on associations. And it’s not even limited to believe – as an employee of an investment management firm, I had to disclose all affiliations (and were I married, of my wife) and get permission to continue in them, subject to certain types of exceptions. And as a code of ethics officer, I had to discipline people whose disclosures were dishonest or problematic.

  2. I’m loving this blog! Should be titled, “Catholic Sanity.”

  3. FrMichael says:

    The University of San Diego is essentially a religiously corrupt entity that only revoked this invitation under media spotlight.

    One of the best things that ever happened to the Church in California is when the Bishop of San Diego closed St. Francis Seminary (a formation house for diocesan seminarians associated with USD) to non-San Diegan seminarians. I was included in a toast of USD priest-alumni who celebrated the effective closing of their college seminary: one more closing of a subsidiary of AmChurch’s Lavender branch.

  4. marilyn says:

    it is amazing how unneeded most of the pro-life “activism” really is…for instance, how many even realize that Planned Parenthood has closed its doors in South Dakota because of a state law requiring they inform the mother that she is carrying an unborn baby and is seeking an end to the life of that person? that little prerequisite, so obvious and indisputable is more than abortion providers can stand up to and definitely an achievable law in any state…yet most of the pro-life leadership would have us marching and pointing fingers at each other in the communion line over this type of real activism…

  5. The initial “clumsiness” was offering a position to Rosemary Radford Reuther; despite her being obscure to most people, she is anything but as a writer and speaker on theological matters, and her views are way outside “the mainstream”–to say the least.

    I echo Liam, it is hard to believe they didn’t know what they were getting in her.

    Finally, the abortion advocacy would not be my primary reason for not hiring her; but her theology (she was hired to teach Catholic theology).

  6. Charles R. Williams says:

    “procedural error”???? Hiring this woman to teach theology was a blunder. She is clearly heterodox. Now for some reason or another they choose to rectify the situation. Better late than never.

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