We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bus

The chickens are coming flapping home.

And it turns out that these chickens walk on two legs and have roosting habits that are nothing more than mob action.

Catholic education’s easy bargain of don’t ask, don’t tell concerning dissent against Church teachings and morality has coalesced into “outrage” from parents and students when high schools try to teach and enforce Church teachings. Consider this, this and this.

Bishops, when faced with these angry mobs have turned to the time-honored bureaucratic practice of court-martial-the-private/fire-the-secretary/shoot-the-messenger. Sister Mary Tracy resigned in Seattle. Sister Jane Dominic Laurel took a sabbatical in North Carolina. Father Rocky Hoffman hasn’t been cashiered the way the nuns were, but he has been properly apologized for to the mob.

The response to angry mobs demanding that Catholic schools not teach Catholic teaching has been to wave the white flag and toss the hapless offender who committed the crime of doing what the Church says we should all do under the bus.

It appears that our Catholic schools have become something other than what we thought they were. I keep wondering, are they nothing except a place for well-to-do people to send their kids in order to avoid the public schools? Is there no moral component to Catholic education these days?

And what about these bishops? Are any of them capable of being stand up guys? I don’t have any sympathy with the bishops about this court-martial/fire/shoot and then-cut-and-run routine they’re doing. If the bishop runs away, the people will be lost.

If every Catholic who believes what the Church teaches gets thrown under the bus for being politically incorrect enough to say so in public, we’re going to need a lot bigger bus.

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Maybe the Only Honorable Place for a Catholic to be is Under the Bus

Under the bus

Fear God, and you will have no need of being afraid of mortal man. What can anyone do against you by his words and injuries? He rather hurts himself than you, nor can he escape the judgement of God, whoever he be. Keep God before your eyes. Thomas a Kempis

It’s getting crowded under the bus.

I would imagine that it’s also lonely and a bit shattering for the people who are under there.

First, we’ve got Mozilla, throwing their founder and the inventor of JavaScript under that old bus because he made a political donation six years ago in favor of Prop 8, or, to put it more simply, in support of traditional marriage.

Next, we’ve got Sister Jane Dominic Laurel who committed the “crime” of using sociological studies that the gay marriage/gay rights people claim are bogus in a presentation to high school students. Evidently, she said nothing, nothing, that was against Church teaching. The only half-way legitimate criticism that anyone can dig up is that parents  weren’t “informed” of the talk beforehand. Informing the parents beforehand sounds to me like the administrative responsibility of the school, not Sister Jane.

I’ll toss in one more. Father Marcel Guarnizo says he was removed from ministry for refusing communion to a woman who had informed him she was living in a sexual relationship with another woman.

Meanwhile, this priest (who is a Jesuit, so has different superiors, but the principle is the same) is supporting open defiance against Church teachings and writing about it in national Catholic magazines.

I wonder how many others are out there lying under buses for standing for what the Church has taught us we should stand for?

The forced resignation of Brandon Eich from Mozilla is different because the people who abandoned him were not bishops of the Church. I am not in any way abrogating their responsibility for acceding to an egregious and unconscionable attack on the principles of civil liberties which have allowed us to all live together in peace in this country for over 200 years.

I am saying that when a bishop of the Church throws people under the bus for following Church teaching, it … well … it gets too ripe to breathe.

When the zeitgeist turns, it sometimes turns ugly. You can get ugly mobs at your Catholic high schools, demanding the head of a nun. Situations like that are the ones that let true leaders shine. They are also the situations that lead the weak links to tarnish themselves and shame the rest of us.

A bishop who is a good leader must be a great follower. He must be a follower of Christ before anything else. A bishop who follows Jesus and lets the Holy Spirit work through him, will be able to deal with mobs without running away and abandoning his people. But bishops who decide that being a bishop is all about them, will not stand in the tough times.

Such is our fallen state. Jesus Himself told us that the tares would grow up alongside the wheat and not be separated out until Judgement Day. We, meaning you and I, have the task of remaining faithful to Our Lord, even if we have to do it alone, even if our priests and bishops abandon us, even if it makes social martyrs of us.

Make no mistake about it, those who destroy people’s careers and push them to the sidelines for supporting traditional marriage are making martyrs of them. I include bishops who do not stand by them among the martyr-makers.

The suffering of a Brandon Eich who had the corporation he founded and his life’s work stolen from him in what can only be described as an act of malice and spite, must be exquisite. Imagine what it is like to be Sister Jane or Father Guarnizo, who have given their lives to the Church, to have that Church cashier them as a matter of convenience for a bishop who won’t make a stand? Meanwhile those who ignore the Church’s teachings, or even deride them, are riding high.

So long as individual Catholics, ranging from priests, to nuns, to laity, can not rely on their bishops to stand by them when the angry mobs of the zeitgeist come at them for standing for Christ, the only honorable and faithful place for Jesus loving, Jesus following Catholics may very well be under the bus.

Bishop Jugis Issues Long-Delayed Statement About Sister Jane. Says Nothing. Sister Still Under the Bus.

Bishop Jugis

Bishop Peter Jugis has finally issued his long-awaited statement concerning the trashing of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel at a meeting held in one of the Catholic schools in his diocese over a week ago.

I’m not sure why it took the bishop so long to issue this statement, since it says nothing. Here’s the gist of it:

The bishop is “shocked” at the “lack of charity and respect” at the meeting.

The bishop calls for “healing.”

The bishop assures us that Catholic schools will teach the Catholic faith “in its fullness and integrity,” and that the catechism is “accessible to all.”

The bishop stands by his priest.

The bishop leaves Sister Jane under the bus.

In a statement published in the local Charlotte press and then put on the diocesan news page, the author of the petition against Sister Jane announced that the petition was being shut down, adding:

“Thank you to everyone in the CCHS community who supported my petition. I have now removed it from change.org because I feel that its goal has been accomplished. I wanted to call attention to something I felt was wrong so that something similar would not happen in the future. Certainly enough attention has been brought to the issue, and I believe that our school system is working towards a meaningful change. The petition has served its purpose and can now be put to rest.

Indeed.

I appears that the petition was 100% successful. Hard to argue with that. In fact, it looks like the petitioners are running things.

I’m going to have to think about this for a little bit. But I do know that, so far as I’m concerned, everything I said in this post still stands. I am not surprised that Bishop Jugis punted. After a week of silence, any other course of action would have been a surprise.

Maybe we should follow the bishop’s advice and go buy copies of the catechism and be our own bishops to ourselves. Then, if anyone disagrees with us, we can start a petition, form an angry mob and take over.

I am afraid for our Church in these perilous times if this is our leadership.

Bishop Jugis’ statement:

Bishop Jugis’ full statement, issued April 9, follows:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The past few weeks have been very difficult for Charlotte Catholic High School. We have all experienced a great deal of pain. During this difficult time I want to express my support and encouragement for all the parents, students, staff and faculty at the high school. We must move forward toward healing with charity, the hallmark of our Christian life.

Different viewpoints regarding Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel’s presentation to students on March 21, 2014, have been discussed in a variety of venues.

At the parent meeting on April 2, 2014, many expressed concern about the lack of advanced communication with parents regarding the subject matter of the assembly. Apologies were made at the meeting for that lack of advanced communication.

The content of the Church’s moral teaching was not raised as a matter of contention at the parent meeting. All of our Catholic schools are committed to hold and teach the Catholic faith in its fullness and with integrity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains an explanation of our faith and is accessible to all.

During this difficult time I support the continued work of Fr. Matthew Kauth, the chaplain; Mrs. Angela Montague and Mr. Steve Carpenter, the assistant principals; and Mr. Randy Belk, the dean of students; and all they are doing for our Charlotte Catholic High School students. All of us are indebted to them.

I am shocked to hear the disturbing reports of a lack of charity and respect at the parents’ meeting, and outside the meeting in conversations and in social media. There simply is no room in the Catholic Church for such displays of uncharitableness and disrespect. If we have failed in this regard let us make amends to God and neighbor. Even when we disagree, that disagreement should be expressed respectfully in love.

We ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and His healing as we approach the celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection. Please be assured of our continued dedication to the mission to teach and live the truth of the Catholic faith at our Charlotte Catholic High School.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis

Bishop of Charlotte

CORRECTION: Bishop Jugis Did not Issue Statement in Support of Sister Jane. Will Make Formal Statement Soon.

It turns out that the LifeSiteNews story that I quoted in this post got things wrong.

Bishop Jugis did not make a statement in support of Sister Jane through his spokesperson, David Hains.

David Hains made a comment to that effect in Public Catholic’s com boxes earlier today. I called Mr Hains and he actually did leave the comment. He told me that Bishop Jugis will issue a formal statement concerning what happened to Sister Jane soon.

As soon as that statement comes out, I’ll publish it here.

Here is what David Hains wrote in the combox earlier today.

This post incorrectly spells of the name of Bishop Jugis both in the headline and several times throughout the article. As the Bishop’s spokesman I can assure you that he has not issued a statement on the matter at this time, 4/9/2014. The statement you are quoting came from Father Roger Arnsparger, Vicar for Education in the Diocese of Charlotte. Thank you for your interest in covering this story.

Bishop Jugis Says He Supports Sister Jane — UPDATED

Bishop Jugis

David Hains, who is the person LifeSiteNews quotes in the article on which I based this post, left a comment in Public Catholic’s combox. In the comment, he says that he did not make the statements that LifeSiteNews attributes to him. I called Mr Hains to verify that he had actually left the comment, and during our conversation, he told me that Bishop Jugis (no r) is going to issue a statement concerning Sister Jane soon. 

This post incorrectly spells of the name of Bishop Jugis both in the headline and several times throughout the article. As the Bishop’s spokesman I can assure you that he has not issued a statement on the matter at this time, 4/9/2014. The statement you are quoting came from Father Roger Arnsparger, Vicar for Education in the Diocese of Charlotte. Thank you for your interest in covering this story. 

Hooray and Huzzah!!

Bishop Jugis, of the Diocese of Charlotte, has finally issued a statement through his communications director in support of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel.

“Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,” Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hains said in an interview with LifeSiteNews. Hains also said that “Sister would be welcome to speak in the diocese in the future.”

According to Hains, Bishop Peter Jugis is expected to make a public comment on the situation soon.

Sister Laurel withdrew from her position at Aquinas College and has taken a sabbatical in response to what sounds like abusive behavior from a mob. At the time, the Diocese did not support her. The bishop’s spokesman who came to a meeting which was attended by a large crowd tried to parse the situation by at least partially acceding to the crowd’s criticism of the sister.

I’ve read that as many as a thousand people attended that meeting. If this is true, and if the school in question is typical of most Catholic High Schools, there were almost certainly a large number of people at that meeting who were not affiliated with the school. This points to a basic problem, which is mob action that is incited and fed by people outside a community who have specific political and social agendas. In this case, the agenda is to silence the Catholic Church concerning its own moral teachings.

When the bishop’s spokesman walked into that room, he probably was unprepared for what he met there. It is entirely possible that he spoke out of fear and confusion or just plain being over-awed by the emotional violence facing him. It would be completely understandable if he stuttered a bit under these circumstances. However, throwing the sister under the bus should not have happened, no matter how much the crowd scared him.

The subsequent cashiering of Sister Jane also should not have happened. I am way past glad to hear that the Diocese has decided to take a more faithful stand in this matter. Hopefully, Bishop Jugis will say something that is clear-cut and settles the situation in favor of Sister Jane.

However, bishops all over the country should look at this and learn from it. These are perilous times for the Church. When a nun can be attacked by a mob in this manner for simply teaching Catholic morality, the message is clear that the Church is under attack.

The worst possible thing a bishop can do is accede to mobs that are attacking his own faithful people because they are being faithful.

I’m glad the Diocese has finally decided to issue a statement in support of Sister Jane. They should have done it the first day. Hopefully, Bishop Jugis’ statement will be clear-cut. Also hopefully, this will not signal a move toward parsing and fearfully choosing every word when teachers in that diocese teach the faith. We are called to proclaim the faith, not dip and dodge and try to make it fit in with the world.

In the future, I hope that bishops who are faced with this situation will not wait so long or let things get so out of whack before they do the right thing.

From LifeSiteNews:

The bishop of Charlotte is backing a Dominican nun who has been at the center of a fiery controversy since last month when she gave a speechpromoting Catholic teaching on sexuality to students at Charlotte Catholic High School.

After a public meeting with diocesan and school officials turned ugly, with parents and students alike shouting at administrators over what they perceived as “hateful” remarks criticizing homosexual behavior, divorce and extra-marital sex, a spokesman for the diocese told LifeSiteNews that the nun in question, Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel, did nothing wrong and will be welcome to speak on the issue again if she chooses.

Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel

“Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,” Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hains told LifeSiteNews in an email. “Sister would be welcomed to speak in the diocese in the future.”

Hains said Bishop Peter Jugis is expected to make further public comment on the situation soon.

Sr. Laurel’s critics have complained about a section of her talk in which she discussed scientific findings related to the causes of homosexuality. According to the Charlotte Observer, she was accused of using “suspect anecdotes, antiquated data and broad generalizations to demonize gays and lesbians as well as divorced and single parents.”

But one Catholic scientist says he recently heard the sister give the exact same speech she delivered to the students, and in his opinion, there is nothing in it to which a practicing Catholic could possibly object.

“I was in attendance at the same presentation when given on Long Island, NY a few months ago,” Dr. Gerard Nadal told LifeSiteNews.  “In that meeting, Sister Jane gave medical and scientific data that came from reputable sources and were presented as examples of the consequences for human behavior that contravenes the moral magisterium of the Church. As a Ph.D. in medical science, and as a Catholic schooled extensively in my faith, I saw no contradictions, but rather a seamless presentation.”

Still, in light of all the controversy, Aquinas College announced in a press release Friday that Sr. Laurel has asked to take a sabbatical from her teaching and speaking duties for an indefinite amount of time.


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