Op-ed supporting Bp. Martino in the Phil. Inquirer

An alert friend saw that former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) a pro-life Catholic politician for a change, had comments about the backbone Bp. Martino of Scranton has been revealing in the public square.

Mr. Santorum writes an op-ed piece in The Inquirer.

Here is an excerpt from the letter with my emphases and comments.

The Elephant in the Room: In praise of Catholic priests who dare to teach and enforce
By Rick Santorum

"[…]Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia native and St. Joseph’s Prep graduate issued a strong statement of disapproval to a local, nominally Catholic college, Misericordia University, that had scheduled a speech on campus by someone advocating same-sex marriage. "The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton should be in no doubt," [Bishop] Martino said, "that Misericordia University in this instance is seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity."

Then, last week, Martino took on some more of the biggest guns in the diocese: the Irish clubs that organize the largest public Catholic event of the year, the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Through a letter from his Irish auxiliary bishop, Martino warned that if any of these groups went ahead with plans that in any way honor politicians who are not pro-life, he would close the cathedral where Mass is usually held prior to the parade, as well as other diocesan churches. He said he would not countenance anything that created confusion about the teachings of the church.

The reason for the letter: Scranton’s St. Patrick’s Day parade last year featured Hillary Clinton.
Many of his brother bishops will look at Martino as they do at other uncompromising defenders of the faith, worrying about the world’s reaction. [RIGHT!  Would that he had been re-elected to that Senate seat.]  As a Philly guy, though, his excellency knows something about being booed. He also knows his job and calling: to be the good shepherd who faithfully leads and protects his flock from those who would lead them astray.

Yes, scores of people are reportedly protesting and threatening to leave the church. In the end, however, people leaving the church because of a bishop who enforces its teachings are a blessing [!] compared with the alternative: people leaving because bishops and their priests don’t teach, much less enforce, those teachings."  [Square on the nail’s head!]

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31 Responses to Op-ed supporting Bp. Martino in the Phil. Inquirer

  1. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    The problem I have with bishops trying to enforce orthodoxy at nominally Catholic colleges and universities like Misericordia is that, given the people who run, teach at, and attend these schools, there will never again be anything more than nominally Catholic. At best, the bishop’s efforts will lead to a surface appearance of orthodoxy that belies the underlying reality of heterodoxy and apostasy. It would be better for all concerned for the Church simply to disavow these institutions as authentically Catholic. I have come to conclude that this will never happen, however, because it is totally contrary to the Catholic Church’s institutional acquisitiveness.

  2. supertradmom says:

    Thank you, God, for this great spiritual. We must pray for his protection. Are we not in an age of martyrs-those who suffer by being “unpopular” or through bad press reports, or because nominal Catholics leave their churches- are martyrs just the same.

  3. supertradmom says:

    great spiritual leader-am having trouble with the computer doing weird things….

  4. Matt says:

    There are good Catholic colleges. In order to keep them and return the “out in left” colleges we need more Bishop Martino’s. Professors who preach apostasy and heresy need to go.

  5. Jake says:

    Fr. Z,

    Rick Santorum’s affiliation is (R-PA), having been replaced by Senator Casey in the 2006 midterms.

    Anyways, good to see that he’s firmly in the pro-life column, as per usual. Granted, he was ridiculed by one Lara Jakes Jordan a number of years ago in his comments on the Lawrence v. Texas case (having to do with sodomy laws) and his family’s actions when his son Gabriel was stillborn. While I personally would not want to do that with my child (and hope that situation never happens), I’m not going to question his motives or reasons. What he does there is his business. The good Lord wanted Gabriel home for some reason that we’ll never know or understand.

  6. Tomas says:

    Now you know why the libs hate Santorum!

  7. Ann says:

    I am delighted to see that at least some politicians are willing to speak up in favor of Bishops taking a real spiritual lead!

    Bravo to both the Bishop and the Politician!

  8. JoyfulMom7 says:

    Good for Rick Santorum! I voted for him many times in Pennsylvania – he is fearless!

  9. Iakovos says:

    It’s a shame that Bishop Martino has been so aloof and unreachable in his approach to the much-needed “re-alignment” (closures and mergers of parishes) of the Diocese of Scranton. There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything, and he has chosen the wrong way, or the least sensitive way, to go about closing and merging parishes and schools, in my humble opinion. If he were more pastoral in his approach to that, he would win respect from the faithful for his necessary interventions like these.

  10. Matt says:

    Kind of interesting…Santorum has less understanding of the Catholic Church than Nancy Pelosi on any issue outside of the abortion, and somehow his words are held up as gospel.

  11. James Isabella says:

    “People leaving the church because of a bishop who enforces its teachings are a blessing compared with the alternative: people leaving because bishops and their priests don’t teach, much less enforce, those teachings.”

    This really is a great quote, and one I will keep. I wish every Bishop, Priest, DRE, catechist, and parent of a Catholic child would meditate on this.

  12. Maureen says:

    I know that everyone on the Internet is a telepathic spiritual director (including me), but it seems a bit excessive to declare that nobody at Misericordia College does or will ever take his or her Catholic faith seriously.

    At any rate, bishops are not fortunetellers but shepherds. Every soul in their sees is their responsibility, whether Catholic or no. Proclaiming and teaching the Gospel rightly is their whole business in life. The bishop must feed and chase after the sheep, or he is no bishop.

  13. Paladin says:

    Matt wrote:

    Kind of interesting…Santorum has less understanding of the Catholic Church than Nancy Pelosi on any issue outside of the abortion, and somehow his words are held up as gospel.

    Any issue? You mean issues like Terri Schiavo’s murder (Pelosi view; Santorum view, the necessity of bishops and priests to teach and defend (and enforce!) the teachings of Holy Mother Church (see article above), contraception and the so-called “right to privacy” found by the SCOTUS (Pelosi view; Santorum view), and so on?

    I hope you’ll forgive me for saying that, at least on this particular issue, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  14. Matt says:

    I guess I would amend my comments to say that on anything outside of the proverbial ‘life’ issues Santorum knows little about the church, and he proved as such on several occasions. He sounds more like a member of a fringe Catholic organization than someone who gets it.

  15. “Sen. Rick Santorum (D-PA)” [REnted fingers this morning. Of course he is. I corrected my slip.]

    Not to pick nits, Father, but Santorum is a Republican. And as for the claim that he knows “little about the church” outside “proverbial ‘life’ issues” (love the sneer quotes there), let’s see some examples.

  16. TJM says:

    It’s hard to believe the people of Pennsylvania replaced Santorum with Casey, a real lightweight and faux Catholic. I guess Matt likes faux Catholics. Tom

  17. Scott RP says:

    Fr Z – Rick Santorum lost his Senate seat for one reason: He did not stand by Pro-Life Candidate Jim Toomey who challenged Pro-death Arlen Specter in the last republican primary. He and President Bush decided to back Specter, who was very close to defeat. We may have had a second Pro-life Senator in PA if Santorum had not thrown his support behind Specter. This was an outrageous betrayal to Pro-life voters in PA.

  18. Paladin says:

    Matt wrote:

    I guess I would amend my comments to say that on anything outside of the proverbial ‘life’ issues Santorum knows little about the church, and he proved as such on several occasions.

    Rightwingprof already addressed this, but: do you realize that you’re portraying yourself as one who’s unsympathetic to those alleged ‘life-issues’ (and I agree–using ‘quotes’ around the term didn’t help)? Given that, it makes for some cognitive dissonance to hear you criticize anyone else’s grasp of (to say nothing of obedience to) Catholic teaching…

    He sounds more like a member of a fringe Catholic organization than someone who gets it.

    You’re welcome to your opinion, I’m sure… but you also leave strong hints that: (a) you’re sympathetic to the “political left” (and unsympathetic to the “political right”), and (b) you have at least some sympathies to the sort of “creeping proportionalism” which views health care, various decisions to wage war, and other “left-leaning” bullet-points as morally equivalent to abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem-cell research (what my esteemed friend Paul calls “recreational cloning and killing”), and other–(ahem)–‘life-issues’…

    Did you really intend to leave those impressions? More to the point: are they accurate? Because if you presume to criticize Rick Santorum on “Catholic” grounds, you might wish to check the glass content of your own real estate.

  19. Paladin says:

    Scott RP wrote:

    Rick Santorum lost his Senate seat for one reason: He did not stand by Pro-Life Candidate Jim Toomey who challenged Pro-death Arlen Specter in the last republican primary. He and President Bush decided to back Specter, who was very close to defeat. We may have had a second Pro-life Senator in PA if Santorum had not thrown his support behind Specter. This was an outrageous betrayal to Pro-life voters in PA.

    I have to agree; that (support of Specter) was a spectacularly wrong move, for both of them (morally and politically), which bordered on moral incoherence. I honestly don’t know what they were thinking (and I may not *want* to know)…

  20. dcs says:

    Yes, after the Specter/Toomey (whose Christian name is Patrick, by the way) debacle, I doubt many conservatives voted for Casey but I think many of them stayed home rather than vote for Santorum.

  21. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    Maureen,

    Who declared “that nobody at Misericordia College does or will ever take his or her Catholic faith seriously”? That person should person should be corrected. i doubt it’s true of Misericordia, Harvard, Berkeley, San Jose State, or Chapel Hill. There are some real Catholics scattered here, there, and everywhere.

    The presence of a smattering of Catholics doesn’t make an institution Catholic. There is little beyond an historical connection that establishes many of these schools as Catholic these days. Long familiarity with how these things go down, with whose in the various departments and how they make hiring decisions, who gives money and so forth, has taught me to be realistic about the future prospects of these places as Catholic schools. Sure, there might always be a “great awakening” – Harvard might become Calvinist again and all the Loyolas might revert to Tridentine Catholicism. But, c’mon. Let’s be realistic here. People are people, their actions are fairly predictable on the group level.

  22. RBrown says:

    Kind of interesting…Santorum has less understanding of the Catholic Church than Nancy Pelosi on any issue outside of the abortion, and somehow his words are held up as gospel.
    Comment by Matt

    Could you provide some concrete examples?

  23. RBrown says:

    I have to agree; that (support of Specter) was a spectacularly wrong move, for both of them (morally and politically), which bordered on moral incoherence. I honestly don’t know what they were thinking (and I may not want to know)…
    Comment by Paladin

    My understanding is the support for Specter originated in the White House.

  24. TomG says:

    I believe RBrown is right re: Santorum’s support for Specter. The White House put heavy pressure on *all* Pa. Republicans to support Specter for reelection. Santorum is a stand-up guy. I’m sure it caused him no end of pain.

  25. Nicknackpaddywack says:

    The primary issue here is not the salvation of individual souls but, as the Bishop says, the “Catholic identity” of the school. And the point is that that identity, in this as in many cases, is simply not salvageable de facto. To think it can be salvaged through the regulation of public speakers on campus is quixotic. In true Catholic form, the people involved will first resist, then, if they lose, simply view this as another hoop to be jumped through, another rule to be followed as part of the “price” of being associated with the ecclesial institution. It won’t change the culture of the school and may do more harm than good for the Church by continuing to saddle it with another bum institution full of bum “Catholics.”

  26. TJM says:

    RBrown, it was always a mystery to me why George Bush would have supported a man for senate who was nothing but a thorn in his side. Politics
    is strange indeed. Tom

  27. RBrown says:

    RBrown, it was always a mystery to me why George Bush would have supported a man for senate who was nothing but a thorn in his side. Politics is strange indeed. Tom
    Comment by TJM

    I think it was a combination of the Rove plan to build a solid Repub majority in Congress and the patented Bush Politics of the Old Boy Network.

  28. Angela says:

    “People leaving the church because of a bishop who enforces its teachings are a blessing compared with the alternative: people leaving because bishops and their priests don’t teach, much less enforce, those teachings.”

    Amen to that! If folks don’t like the Church and its teachings, then I’m sure that the Unitarians will take them in. The Church has standards and beliefs, and we’ll keep them, thank you very much. Nice to see bishops with the guts to stand up for Catholic teachings. Now if the Pope could just get them to refuse communion to pro-abort politicians, we’d really be getting somewhere…

  29. Andrew says:

    Hmmm. Mr. Santorum is giving a lecture at my university next week. I’ll have to go thank him for writing this.

  30. clinton says:

    As many will recall, Pope John Paul the Great instituted the requirement of the mandatum to promote the aims of Ex Corde
    Ecclesiae. Simply put, a mandatum is permission granted by a bishop to a theologian to teach in that diocese. All Catholic
    theologians are supposed to seek a mandatum from their ordinary as a condition for teaching Catholic theology at a Catholic
    institution.

    However, it does put bishops in an uncomfortable position re: those “theologians” that are heterodox but tenured. A bishop
    would be seen to be signing off on their teachings were they to grant the mandatum. What to do?

    Almost all of the bishops in this country opted to declare that the mandatum was a private matter between the teaching,
    publishing theologian and his or her ordinary. In short, we are to assume a theologian sought and obtained one, but we’re
    not allowed to know for sure.

    I recall an interview published in the National Catholic Register with a priest in the theology department in a California
    Jesuit-run university. The priest went on-record, by name, in a nationally published interview stating that neither he nor
    any of the other faculty in his department bothered to get the mandatum. In his words, they felt it was “a joke”.

    I’m sure our bishops are doing what they feel is best for the Catholic institutions in their trust. But I’m also sure that they’ll
    never be considered serious about recovering the Catholic identity of those institutions as long as the mandatum
    remains a dead-letter “joke”. Sen. Santorum’s closing words about bishops teaching have a great deal of truth to them.

  31. Joe says:

    Rick Santorum won his two Senate elections in close races. He’s from Pittsburgh where conservative GOP politicans are rare in this Democrat-dominated fifedom. Santorum depended heavily on specter to win in the Philly suburbs, which were, not long ago, GOP, but definitely not conservative.

    Santorum’s support for Specter was predicated on Specter’s vow that as Judiciary Committee Chairman, specter would work to affirm Bush appointees to the federal bench. Toomey would have been far better as a Senator. This support for Specter, as well as the disfavor for the GOP in 2006, cost Santorum his seat, and now we have Bobby Casey, who will do whatever Chuck Schumer tells him to do. Oh, what an improvement. But, hey, the Philly suburbs and Allegheny County got what they wanted – a Democrat.

    There were two issues in Pittsburgh that both newspapers here raked Santorum over the coals. Santorum has a house in Northern Virginia where he spent most of his time and one in suburban Pittsburgh. He used the Penn Hills address for his official address as well as to vote. Two members of the Penn Hills Democrat Party snooped around his house and brought a lawsuit against Santorum seeking to bar him from voting in Pennsylvania.

    The other was that they used Pennsylvania cyber charter schools for their children and the Penn Hills school district had a hissy fit over paying the assessment for the cyber schools. Santorum refunded the school district the money.

    My wife and I listened to Santorum speak at St. Paul Seminary a few years ago. Santroum is a passionate defender of life as well as a champion for Catholics around the world. Santorum spoke of how he battled with Sharon over the wall the Israelis built and how it harmed Palestinian Christians. Santorum wanted to lift the visa restrictions on Polish citizens – which was tied up in the Senate.

    Santorum wasn’t perfect but he’s better than what we have now.