Committed to Catholic teaching or “aspects” of Catholic teaching?

Pat Archbold has a hard hitting piece at his place about the President of Notre-Dame University, which as you remember gave the most aggressively pro-abortion President we have ever seen an honorary law degree.

Here is the first part.

I believe that Roxanne Martino, the University of Notre Dame Trustee who just resigned over her support of virulently pro-abortion groups, was just a mere symptom of a much greater disease.

Something has been sticking in my craw these last few days. It is this line used by Martino in her resignation statement and is similar to the defense mounted for her by Fr. Jenkins and his minions on the Notre Dame Board.

“In the best interests of the University, I regretfully have decided to step down from the Notre Dame Board of Trustees,” Martino said in the statement. “I dearly love my alma mater and remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching and to the mission of Notre Dame. I had looked forward to contributing in this new role, but the current controversy just doesn’t allow me to be effective.”

I remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching. Aspects? If my wife quizzed me on whether I am a faithful husband and I responded by saying, “Honey, I remain fully committed to all aspects of our marriage vows,” she would slap my face and run off crying.


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  1. Kerry says:

    Would that be the ‘Seven Holy Aspects’?

  2. Kerry says:

    Or…did she mean Aspic?

  3. Midwest St. Michael says:

    World English Dictionary
    aspect (?æsp?kt)
    — n
    1. appearance to the eye; visual effect: the physical aspect of the landscape
    2. a distinct feature or element in a problem, situation, etc; facet: to consider every aspect of a problem
    3. the way in which a problem, idea, etc, may be considered: to consider a problem from every aspect
    4. a facial expression; manner of appearing: a severe aspect
    5. a position facing a particular direction; outlook: the southern aspect of a house
    6. a view in a certain direction: a good aspect of the village from the tower
    7. a surface that faces in a given direction: the ventral aspect of a fish
    8. astrology any of several specific angular distances between two planets or a planet and the Ascendant or Midheaven measured, from the earth, in degrees along the ecliptic
    9. grammar perfective progressive Compare progressive a category of verbs or verbal inflections that expresses such features as the continuity, repetition, or completedness of the action described
    10. botany
    a. the compass direction to which a plant habitat is exposed, or the degree of exposure
    b. the effect of the seasons on the appearance of plants
    11. archaic glance or gaze
    [C14: from Latin aspectus a sight, from aspicere, from ad- to, at + specere to look]
    Judging from this definition of the word “aspect” – the lady is not Catholic at all, no?

    [huge sigh]

    Catholic identity indeed! As it has been so well documented on this blog and many other authentically Catholic books, websites, magazines, etc. – this, again, shows that there is a wholesale *denial* of Catholic teachings on issues of faith and morals. Good grief, how in the world can somebody like Roxanne Martino *ever* be a trustee on the board of a (supposedly) Catholic university?

    John Paull II was right in Veritatis Splendor:

    “It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions. At the root of these presuppositions is the more or less obvious influence of currents of thought which end by detaching human freedom from its essential and constitutive relationship to truth. Thus the traditional doctrine regarding the natural law, and the universality and the permanent validity of its precepts, is rejected; certain of the Church’s moral teachings are found simply unacceptable; and the Magisterium itself is considered capable of intervening in matters of morality only in order to “exhort consciences” and to “propose values”, in the light of which each individual will independently make his or her decisions and life choices. ” (from VS 4)


  4. Mark01 says:

    I wrote to the president of Notre Dame to complain about her appointment and they wrote back stating the she had contributed to many organizations and wasn’t aware of some of their work. I wrote back and said that I find that hard to believe since the stated goal of Emily’s List, whom she donated several thousand dollars to, was to get strong pro-choice democratic women elected to office. That was their mission statement, yet she claimed she didn’t know it was pro-choice? Give me a break. They never responded to my second e-mail, but I’m satisfied with the outcome.

  5. raymondnicholas says:

    Okay, the wording does not measure up to the writings of the Apostles and the great teachers of the Church. It does sound superficial, and something one of the Kennedy clan might say when caught red-handed in a two-faced act.

    Clearly, she is a very smart, successful woman. To be successful, she had to know what she was doing all the time; every move is calculated to achieve a goal. For example, would not her position on the board enable her to gain more contacts for her business?

    I can only surmise that she knew what she was doing when she did it. If not in the beginning, then later on. She is too smart not to know. I wonder if she gave to other left-leaning outfits, or if she gave to the Church or to entities that support Church teachings in practice. It would help validate or invalidate her words.

    I wish not to prejudge, but it seems to me she is one of those Catholics in name only, one of those pretend Catholics. Sin in the act and sin in the cover-up is a foreign concept.

    I bet the only thing she is thinking of right now is will the affair mess up her client list, not her soul.

  6. ContraMundum says:

    This is ridiculous.

    Criticize her for her support of abortion; that’s a legitimate criticism. But she did say “ALL aspects” of Catholic teaching. Maybe in the mouth of Daniel Webster these would be weasel words, but in common usage “all aspects” means “all parts”, as in every paragraph of the Catechism. When her actions don’t match these words, the problem is with the actions, not with the words.

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    It’s the “fully committed” part in conjunction with “all aspects” that makes it a weasel – at best.

    And if she really means what you say she means, she’s lying, since respect for life is a major “aspect” of Catholic teaching.

    Weasel? liar? invincibly ignorant? The alternatives aren’t pretty. And if she is so ignorant that she doesn’t know a foundational “aspect” of Catholic teaching, nor a pro-abortion organization when she donates to it, she’s too ignorant to sit on the board of a homeowner’s association, let alone a major university.

  8. Joe Magarac says:

    Notre Dame’s initial responses to Martino’s critics are appalling. I won’t try to defend them. As an ND alum, I am once again disheartened by my alma mater’s increasing tendency to be a whited sepulchre – it looks Catholic on the surface, but its professors and boards don’t act with a Catholic heart.

    Having said that, there is a strange disconnect between Catholic bloggers’ responses to ND’s President (Father Jenkins) and KC’s bishop (Robert Finn). Both of them appear to be presiding over institutions that have not just wheat but also tares – i.e., personnel who are not truly Catholic. Fr. Jenkins initially accepted Martino’s explanation that she gave to Emily’s List because she didn’t understand its mission. Bishop Finn initially accepted an employee’s explanation that a Catholic high school chaplain was not as much of a problem as the school’s principal believed. In short, both of them relied on subordinates who misled them about something.

    The response to Bishop Finn’s mistake is to defend him. The response to Father Jenkins’ mistake is to attack him. Why the difference? Father Jenkins has never himself said or taught anything to Catholic doctrine; to the contrary; he has professed and taught true Catholic doctrine. The only thing I can figure is that Catholic bloggers have given up hope for Notre Dame and almost want to see it fail. I am saddened by that attitude. I would ask that bloggers and readers consider instead praying for ND’s ongoing reversion.

  9. AnAmericanMother says:

    Well, Joe,
    It seems to me that there are some important distinctions.
    On the one hand, you have a “new hire” who is disqualified from serving due to her fundamental beliefs/actions. She may have misled her new employer – obviously lying to her boss is not part of her job description. But if her employer (assuming that was Father Jenkins and not somebody on the board) did not vet her background before the appointment, that is a problem with management. Resume problems need to be caught in the hiring process, not after they hit the newspapers.
    On the other hand, you have a long time employee who, in doing his job, appears to have made an error in judgment. If this was indeed a judgment call, and is a one-time error (not a pattern), that’s different from what amounts to lying on your resume to get hired. Nobody could survive in a job very long if he were subject to dismissal for making the wrong call or omitting what turned out to be important information in a summary memo to the boss.

  10. benedetta says:

    The statement says “she remains…” Was she committed in the first place to Catholic teaching?

    It would be a much more hopeful sign for ND and the world if she recognized that her contributions to Emily’s List (and apparently other organizations that support abortion) did not reflect that she had been committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching, in the first place but that she will try to amend for that.

    She could ask for the money back if she truly feels that the organization was somehow misleading or hid the very truth that they were all about and only about abortion. They were quite clear in all of their literature and always have been but still she is saying she somehow did not get that (it is very hard to believe that an accomplished woman working in the financial world somehow did not read, not the fine print but the only words this organization uses to describe itself…indeed with Emily’s List there is no fine print, no qualifiers, they simply do not fund any candidate that supports prolife and they reject all candidates that support prolife, plain and simple, not hidden, totally obvious). Assuming that she did not get that, there are steps she and ND could take. She could have stayed on as trustee and taken those very steps but they do not wish to be prolife now do they. They wish to be about the choice and seem to be saying that in future they will just be more careful about how they go about furthering that goal.

  11. benedetta says:

    I think a great many people would respect Fr. Jenkins and this trustee if instead the response was, we hear the message. Maybe our approach should be updated, in light of recent current events. We are sorry. If they want Democrats elected, so be it but support prolife Democrats. Clearly both parties do and should cause discomfort in different “aspects” to Catholics. Clearly Catholics should contribute on every level as leaders and in the public square. But to continue to hold this out that the prochoice way is equally as valid for a Catholic as the prolife one is really quite insulting to the lives that have been lost. A generation that demonstrated so vociferously against VietNam above all others ought to understand that and lead with compassion. I didn’t want her to step down. I wanted her to stay as a trustee, with all of her great accomplishments and experience and to just acknowledge that prolife is worthwhile in the first place. But apparently that was way too much to hope for. I am not pleased that she will not serve. One cannot say that the preborn are forcing her.

  12. tzard says:

    That’s a sneaky turn of phrase “all aspects of Catholic teaching”. It snuck right past me because I don’t use the word “aspect” in normal conversation.

    Aspects of Catholic Teaching? (read: moral teaching) on further inspection allows commitment to dissenting views – that’s an “aspect” (a dfferent view, but a view nonetheless). What about the view of muslims towards the faith? Atheists? more views, more aspects.

    Does she mean it that way? It’s hard to tell for sure, but it’s a bad thing to say in any case. In recent years it’s not been a requirement for university administrations to be literate, in my experience.

  13. FrCharles says:

    It’s like how each time I hear that something is ‘in the Catholic tradition’ that usually means it isn’t, really, or perhaps completely.

  14. Peggy R says:

    While I suspected Martino was lying through her teeth, I did not and still don’t quite see a problem with the use of “aspects.” What word should she have used? I suppose she could have said “I am completely committed to Catholic teaching in all areas.” I thought her idea was to emphasize that there are no areas/topics/issues of Catholic teaching with which she disagrees or is in dissent. I thought the key word for her was “all.” This may be a misuse of “aspect” unintentionally. That said, obviously she disagrees with the Church on abortion, at a minimum.

    Oh, well.

  15. Supertradmum says:

    I am a Notre Dame alum and the rot set in many, many years ago. The fact that such persons are on the board, or in fund-raising, or teaching, is not a new phenomenon. Thankfully, we are seeing the power of some brave people who are willing to point out the problems endemic at this university. The liberasl, Marxists, and atheists on staff have the privilege of being defended by so called “academic freedom”. When, or when, will bishops take the name Catholic away from such institutions which take money from well-meaning alums and press the “spirit of the age” into the minds of the students?

  16. Dave N. says:

    Despite the extensive lip service from Bishops D’arcy and Rhoades, it appears the hierarchy is either unwilling or powerless to affect meaningful change at Notre Dame. It’s really well past time that Catholics withdraw any and all support for this University. Including football.

  17. theophilus says:

    I have to agree with ContraMundum… this is a pretty rediculous complaint. Every aspect means from every vantage point. There is nothing wrong with the words, just the actions.

  18. JKnott says:

    Open Secrets Donor Lookup
    Publilc information shows consistent donations to Emily’s List yearly since 1999
    That looks, on the surface anyway, like a loyal, and almost exclusive, committment to the “Aspects” of abortion.

  19. PM says:

    I am much in agreement with the thoughtful comments of Joe Magarac. Father Jenkins is not an evil man. At least from the outside, though, he would seem to lack magnanimity, wisdom, and political sagacity. Replacing him would not solve anything; he in fact has done more than recent heads of the university to restore what the university calls its “Catholic character.” One might wish he had Father Hesburgh’s force of personality, but his own opinions.

    His defects show up less in the mistakes made during his tenure than in his reactions once they are exposed: an aggressive defensive mode, prevaricating and lashing out at critics. There is a puzzling unwillingness to learn from experience. (According to WGN news, June 8: “Dennis Brown, a spokesman for Notre Dame, declined to say whether administrators screen the political contributions of board candidates. He said the selection process would not change going forward.”)

    Those who make decisions for Notre Dame (probably certain fat-cat alumni and trustees) want the image of a Catholic institution and also the substance of a “world-class” research university. “World-class” for them is defined not in terms of some objective measurement of excellence, but by the extent that Notre Dame is exactly like other universities admired by the world at large. Hence, the faculty, despite the university’s adoption of an “affirmative action” policy favoring at least nominal Catholics, is going to be much like the faculty at any comparable secular university. Allowing for these handicaps, and for its grandiose pretensions, it must be said Notre Dame does better on the Catholic business than it is often given credit for–better, I think, than the Jesuit schools, for example (which also tend to be academically inferior to Notre Dame).

    My interpretation of the “all aspects” turn of phrase is that it reflects the concern with image over substance. It is as if to say: Because I accept all aspects of Catholic teaching, inasmuch as Catholic teaching claims abortion is wrong, then I accept that abortion is wrong. And this in turn can be pushed to mean not so much that abortion is objectively wrong (and therefore the Church says so), but, rather, it is wrong because the Church says it is: a pretty pathetic moral position.

  20. jm says:

    “What word should she have used?”

    Gee, how about, “I am committed to Catholic teaching on *abortion*”?! That would be clear. And a shocker, right, since it is apparent that is NOT the case. Anyone so dense as to not get Emily’s List is really living in a cave.

    What is not clear is why anyone would accept such bad management and scandal from the CEO of a University. If Jenkins worked for a private business, he would be canned. ND is not beyond hope, but based on his ongoing handling of pro-choice big names, Jenkins is. He should go. The situation was never the least bit complicated, but he could not seem to see it clearly. That earns him a “D-” in management. Really and truly, what gives? The faithful get it, but the honchos don’t??! High profile, high paying positions can demand excellence. He is not giving it. Why make excuses. He can be employed elsewhere. ND needs better leadership that is not stepping all over a defining Catholic identity issue. You can bet this would not happen at BYU. But of course, Mormons don’t typically fake their belief or suck up to the culture.

  21. Joe in Canada says:

    St Basil, in a debate about the divinity of Jesus, would have accepted ‘homoiousios’ – similar nature – as long as it was qualified with ‘exactly’. The Homoiousians were not willing to do this. I suspect St Basil would have been satisfied with ‘all aspects’. It’s a separate question as to whether he would have believed her….

  22. EXCHIEF says:

    Aspects are like the “structures” mentioned in a different post–they are buzz words which mean nothing.

  23. robtbrown says:

    Joe Magarac says:

    The response to Bishop Finn’s mistake is to defend him. The response to Father Jenkins’ mistake is to attack him. Why the difference? Father Jenkins has never himself said or taught anything to Catholic doctrine; to the contrary; he has professed and taught true Catholic doctrine. The only thing I can figure is that Catholic bloggers have given up hope for Notre Dame and almost want to see it fail. I am saddened by that attitude.

    The difference is that ND honored pro abortion Obama, and, unlike Fr Jenkins, Bp Finn immediately said that he had failed in his duty.

    Also, unfortunately for Fr J and ND, Fr Richard McBrien is still often the face of the university–at least until the football team is good again.

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