Diocese Pays for IVF, Does $2 Million Penance

In my comments yesterday, I neglected to fully rake the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend over the coals.  Let's look at one more detail, as reported in The National Catholic Register: According to court documents, Herx informed the school’s principal, Sandra Guffey, in March 2010 during the first round of treatment — part of which was paid for by the diocese’s health plan — and her contract was renewed. Yes.  A Catholic diocese's health insurance plan covered IVF, a procedure that is immoral un … [Read more...]

Catholic School Principal Learns $2 Million Catechism Lesson

The IVF case that generated as much heat as light earlier this month has been decided, a jury determining that the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend was indeed guilty of discriminating against a female employee in firing her for seeking IVF treatments.  When I initially commented on this case, working only from a few anecdotes told from the plaintiff's side, I wrote: Terrible handling of the situation.  There should have been no doubt, long before Ms. Herx ever began her job at St. Vincent’s, t … [Read more...]

10 Reasons It’s Safe to Come to Mass this Christmas

You've no doubt seen Saturday Night Live's chillingly (hilariously) accurate tour of what you can expect at Mass this Christmas, but you might still be thinking, Hmmn.  Is it really a good idea for someone like me to go to place like that?  With Jesus in it and stuff?The answer is yes.  Here are my top ten reasons why:10. It really is the Church for anybody at all.  There might be other religions where you're expected to have your act together from day one.  Catholics, on the other hand, … [Read more...]

Subtle Smackdown: Vatican Report on American Women Religious is a Warning for Every Parish and Diocese

Don't let the headlines fool you, the freshly-released Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America, 16.12.2014 is anything but glowing praise.  It's charitable and mannerly, but if you read closely and put on your thinking cap, the findings are harrowing.  All the more so because our religious orders don't exist in some bubble; every sister comes from a Catholic parish, and every sister in turn bestows her vocation on the Church.  W … [Read more...]

Is There a Rational Argument in Favor of IVF for Church Employees?

In discussing the recent scandal out of Notre Dame's theology department, a question arose: Would it be possible for Joel Baden and Candida Moss to have argued well against the Catholic position on IVF?  That is, is there another way they could have challenged the Catholic position that would have shown them worthy opponents?I think there is, and I'm going to walk you through my thoughts on that. Before we begin, let's go over some preliminaries:1. I don't for a moment question any as … [Read more...]

Debate, Dissent, and Dishonesty: What Makes a Good Argument, and What’s Just Embarrassing?

In discussions surrounding Notre Dame's staffing problem, a question was posed: When is an argument part of an honest debate, and when is it more like the intellectual equivalent of something stuck to the bottom of your shoe? Here's a tutorial.  It's not a philosophical treatise, it's written for ordinary arguers. Debate We can say that we are debating a question when two criteria are met:We are discussing a matter that is open to discussion. We are in fact trying to arrive at an i … [Read more...]

Are You Smarter than a Notre Dame Theologian? Episode 2, IVF Edition

Tom McDonald pointed me to this article, co-authored by Joel Baden and Candida Moss -- the latter being a professor in the Theology Department at Notre Dame University.  Who doesn't know Catholic moral theology.  Let's walk through the article and compare Notre Dame vs. The Catholic Church. In 2011, Emily Herx was teaching English at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was also having trouble getting pregnant, so she began in vitro fertilization treatments. When she i … [Read more...]