Loyola Marymount, Pope Francis and Following the Church

LoyolaMarymountLions

It’s interesting how people with an agenda can take anything and use it for that agenda’s purposes.

A few commenters on this blog, as well as more than a few commenters in the news media, have drawn unsupportable conclusions that Pope Francis’ comments that the Church shouldn’t focus on abortion to the exclusion of other Gospel teachings means that Catholics should be silent on the subject.

The Pope’s comments were a much-needed call to a healthy return to the full Gospel teachings of Christ. They did not abrogate 2,000 years of Christian teaching, or call Catholics to abandon the cause of the sanctity of human life. To do or say that would be tantamount to saying that the Sermon on the Mount and most of the parables, as well as the message of the cross were all a sham.

The Pope did not do that, and he is not going to do that.

Some people, have, through ignorance of Gospel teachings and reading the hypered-up press coverage, honestly drawn the wrong conclusions. Other people have made the wrong conclusions simply because it serves their purposes to do so.

I do know know which group the author of this article from the New York Times falls into.

LOS ANGELES — Not three weeks have passed since Pope Francis said the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, declaring, “We have to find a new balance.” But on the campus of Loyola Marymount University, overlooking this city’s west side, a fight over abortion now threatens to rip the school asunder.

Trustees of the Jesuit university will decide on Monday whether to remove coverage for elective abortions from the faculty and staff health care plans. The coming vote has exposed a deep rift over just how Catholic a Catholic university should be in the 21st century … 

All I know is that the author is mistaken if he believes that the Pope’s comments in any way meant that Christians in general or Catholics in particular should abandon the fight for the protection of the sanctity of human life.

All this leads me to a smaller point, which is the main one the article is about. The trustees of Loyola Marymount, a Jesuit university in California, voted yesterday to cut abortion coverage from faculty and staff insurance.

The article I linked to above was written before the vote. By putting an inaccurate interpretation of the Holy Father’s statements in the lead of the story, the author implies that this board of trustees is somehow defying the Church by refusing to pay for abortions. The implication is that those people the article calls “religiously conservative professors and alumni,” meaning, I would guess, faculty and alumni who want this Catholic university to follow Catholic teaching, are somehow out of step with the Church.

This is absolute nonsense.

The author goes on to declare that a vote to refuse to pay for abortions will “tear the school asunder.”

If that means that some of the faculty and staff who oppose Church teaching on core issues such as the value of human life quit their cushy jobs and go elsewhere, I don’t think it would do the school anything but good. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath, waiting for them to do this.

On the other hand, if it means that some of these faculty and staff try to destroy the school with lawsuits, threats and by inciting the student rebellion, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what happens. The same kind of scorched-earth, spoiled-brattedness we see in our Congress is rife among those who hold most of the really great jobs this country offers. Their sense of entitlement is endless.

For instance, LMU Sociology professor Anna Muraco gave at least one interview before the vote even took place saying that she would “consider legal action” if the board didn’t vote the way she wanted.

According to the Cardinal Newman Society, she said,

“The fact that the university seems to be able to dabble in our healthcare sets a very dangerous precedent,” she said. “I would not be against filing some sort of legal action.”

Burcham, in an open letter, recently warned against “intellectual bullying or intimidation, whether the source be internal or external.”

According to The Argonaut, she said that the decision by the administration to drop the coverage is not in line with the Jesuit tradition of social justice telling the publication, “There cannot be social justice without reproductive (coverage).”

Muraco, who recently penned a piece on this issue for the pro-abortion rights website RH Reality Check, seemed surprised that this was an issue at all.

“If women cannot control their reproductive lives, then there is not workplace equity,” she reportedly said. “Why are we still having these conversations?”

- See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2592/LMU-Professor-Opposed-to-Dropping-Abortion-Coverage-Weighs-Legal-Action.aspx#sthash.n3SkLH2H.dpuf

Presumably Professor Muraco knows that she is employed by a Catholic university and that the Catholic Church has a constant teaching going back 2,000 years opposing abortion. Yet she issues veiled threats about “intellectual bullying or intimidation” which mean who knows what, and then announces she may sue her employer for following the mandate on which the institution is based.

Why did the school hire this professor in the first place? Is there a shortage of applicants for these jobs that I haven’t heard about? One of the primary purposes of Catholic education is to provide a high quality education in a Christian atmosphere that is consistent with Catholic teaching. How would this lady, with her viewpoints, be able to contribute to that?

It sounds like Loyola Marymount is making an attempt at much-needed reform. But it also sounds like they are a lot of work to do to make that happen.

  • SisterCynthia

    My guess is this woman (and other staff like her) were hired for the same reason profs are hired in secular and Protestant college settings: she had “made a name for herself in her field” or appeared to be headed for “great things. ” Those hiring at the time probably did not feel the need to be so “rigid” as to compare her values to those of the Church (they may even be of the same mind, just “off the record”). Now they are facing legal action because they let a fox into the henhouse and she demands her “rights.” Ooops! It would be great if those heading the Christian schools in America began to care less about maximizing their prestige among the powers of this world and more about teaching the next generation to think critically and faithfully in their vocations. It gets back to the fundamental question of why are they operating in the first place.

    • Elizabeth K.

      true–but it’s not one “fox”–it’s possibly the majority of professors.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    The sense of entitlement of certain people is indeed incredible, but I think one problem is that our education simply lays too much stress on rights and not enough on duties. Especially given that a right begins in logic as the obverse of a duty. If this incredible university teacher had not been thinking from childhood of rights being free-standing entities that have no relationship to anything else, I doubt she could have been silly enough to imagine that she could take a job with a Catholic entity and expect them to accept her “right” to abortion cover.

  • D J

    Catholic Universities need to tighten their hiring policies, that has been clear for decades.

    That His Holiness gave a rousing speech for life to the Italian gynecological society after his other remarks naturally went unnoticed by the Times and the rest of the dinosaur media. Not only did Francis reaffirm Church teaching on abortion in that speech he also touched on euthanasia when he mentioned the aged. It could not have been more pro-life. As I say, the Times and all the rest ignored this speech.

  • perpper

    ” … the university seems to be able to dabble in our healthcare… ”

    What does that even mean? Dabble in our healthcare? The university who provides it is “able to dabble in” it? Huh? If she means “don’t touch my insurance coverage” why doesn’t she say it?

  • savvy

    When will people realize that choice is a two way street? If you have a right to an abortion, I have the right not to pay for one.


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