That Catholics would essentially thumb their noses at the local bishop when he clarifies Catholic teaching on faith and morals is manifest need for a more remedial kind of remedy. Perhaps Misericordia could make this the text for a required class for students and faculty, based on the same name. They might want to pay particular attention to Part 1, Chapter 1 (What it means to be Catholic) and chapter 2 (Who's who in the Catholic Church). The section on bishops and archbishops is on page 36.
File Photo from the Scranton Times-Tribune
One thing is for certain. His Excellency is persistant and is ensuring that scandal is not happening in his diocese without a clear understanding of the Church's position. Keep in mind, there is only so much a bishop can do with Catholic institutes of higher education when they stray.
I've been making posts weekly about the actions of Bishop Martino in Scranton, PA. This is the same bishop who stood up at the USCCB's November meeting and told his brother bishops that they would one day have to account for their "collective reticence to speak to Catholic politicians who are not just reluctant, but stridently anti-life." .
Bishop Martino takes the matter of scandal very seriously. There is nothing going on at Misericordia University that is not going on at countless other institutions which are proving to be Catholic in name only. Some bishops have chosen to try to change the situation at local colleges through discrete dialogue, I'm sure with the best of intentions. However, it is a very public thing when a Catholic institution invites speakers who will very likley promote things, in the name of diversity, that are in complete conflict with basic Catholic teaching.
Bishop Martino has spoken and acted with a candor, publicly, in ways that have had pro-lifers breathing a sigh of relief and dissident Catholics rolling their eyes (see some of my earlier posts at the bottom).
In the past week, His Excellency has been firing away at Misericordia University for bringing to the school to speak, author Keith Boykin, who is the former president of a same-sex marriage advocacy group. The schools "Diversity Institute" co-sponsored the visit. Boykin was also brought to the school before, as a visiting scholar, for a week.
Now, Bishop Martino is calling on the school to dissovle it's Diversity Institute. A February 24, 2009 press release states (emphases mine, comments bracketed in red):
Bishop Asks Misericordia To Specify How Sexuality Is Taught
In response to Misericordia University’s assertion that it “is committed deeply to its Catholic mission,” Bishop Joseph F. Martino observes that the institution should convey to its alumni, and in fact to all the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, its efforts to teach Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality.
In doing this, the Bishop believes the school should speak precisely, naming courses, content and even catalog numbers. [Good, lest more ambiguous fluff be passed off as objective, Catholic content]
Bishop Martino’s position at this time follows his “absolute disapproval” of the university’s hosting of Keith Boykin, a proponent of morality that is disturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching.
Mr. Boykin made two presentations at the school on Feb. 17. In at least one of his talks, he discussed advocacy for issues such as same sex marriage, and he addressed the intersection of religion and sexuality. The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality was not presented at the event. [If any teen, university student, faculty member, or other adult does not comprehend just how basic this is - as in 101, here is a remedy]
A statement from the Diocese issued the day before the talks noted that “Mr. Boykin has authored three books and all three have been nominated for a Lambda Literary award. Lambda is a legal advocacy effort for homosexual causes. Mr. Boykin is an avid supporter of same sex marriage and is an activist for positions disturbingly opposed to Catholic moral teaching.
“Bishop Martino wants Catholics of the Diocese of Scranton to know of his absolute disapproval of Misericordia University’s hosting Mr. Boykin. By honoring this speaker through allowing his positions, so antithetical to Catholic Church teaching, to be broadcast on its campus, the University has rejected all four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning. These are: its Christian inspiration, its obligation to reflect on knowledge in light of the Catholic faith, its fidelity to Catholic Church teaching and  its commitment to serve the people of God.
“The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, the Bishop observed, should be in no doubt that Misericordia University in this instance is seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity.”
Misericordia responded with a statement saying it understood the Bishop’s criticism, but “Mr. Boykin’s appearance . . . is not meant to be a forum for advocacy on any singular issue.” The statement also said the University “welcomes legitimate scholarly discussion among its students, faculty, staff and guests from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.”
The statement also said that “Misericordia University is committed deeply to its Catholic mission.” [Do they understand the Catholic mission?!?!?]
Regarding the request for specific information from Misericordia, Bishop Martino said that students attending a Catholic institution should have a clear understanding that while all persons should be treated with dignity, homosexual activity is not condoned by the Church and should never be construed as acceptable behavior. [This is always a red-herring that Catholic dissidents try to paint this as discriminatory or uncharitable. They confuse the two issues. The Church does not hate people with SSA. She does not try to "enforce" laws made up out of thin air. Nor are these laws made up by the Pope in such a way as to change with wind direction. The Ten Commandments are clear about fornication and adultery. Christ came to fulfil the law, not abolish it so the Ten Commandments are not the 10 Suggestions. Whether one is of homosexual or heterosexual orientation, all who are not bound in sacramental marriage must observe chastity. Furthermore, Vatican II did not do away with the Old Testament, or the New Testament, or the council of Trent for that matter].
Bishop Martino is also asking Misericordia to seriously consider discontinuing its Diversity Institute, which co-sponsored Mr. Boykin’s appearance. He had previously served for a week as a visiting scholar with the Institute.
The Bishop’s rationale is that students should learn respect for all races and cultures, but that viewpoints that are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching should not be presented under the guise of “diversity.” [You gotta love this bishop]. Doing so within a formal structure sanctioned by the institution gives the impression that these viewpoints are acceptable, or that all morality is relative. [and, creates grave scandal among those so poorly catechized they don't even know what it all means].
Keep an eye on this press release page at the Diocese of Scranton.
Hat tip to LifeSiteNews: Bishop Martino Calls for Dissolution of Misericordia U's Homosexualist "Diversity" Institute
Previous posts on Bishop Martino:
- Video: Newsclip about Bishop Martino and the St. Patrick's Day Parade
- Bishop Martino threatens to close Scranton's Cathedral on St. Patrick's Day...
- Why did Bishop Martino Voice Disapproval of Talk by Keith Boykin?
- Despite Bishop Martino's Protest, Gay-Right's Speech Takes Place at Misericordia
- It's Bishop Martino....again, this time taking on Misericordia University for inviting gay-rights advocate
- Bishop Martino to Sen. Robert Casey on Formally Cooperating with Evil
- Bishop of Scranton Martino refuses communion for politicians who campaign in favor of abortion rights
- Bishop Martino of Scranton, PA: "This is madness, people!"
- Bishop Martino on the "collective reticence" of his confreres for not being more vocal about pro-abortion Catholic politicians. (from the USCCB General Asm)
The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!