Bishop Joseph Martino continues to work hard at eliminating practices at Catholic institutions and events that would lead others into scandal.
We can only pray that more bishops will follow his lead. He is certainly tuned in to the kinds of things Catholics are pulling at Catholic insitutions and events, and calling people out on it.
Bishop Martino was prompted by this article in the March 25, 2009 issue of the Hawk (St. Joseph's of Philadelphia) with the title and subtitle, as follow:
This is the same college that is having pro-abort journalist, Chris Matthews of MSNBC speak at commencements. (n.b., I'm going to call it....this will be an interesting one to watch given Bishop Martino's diligence in these matters).
Policy encourages abstinence, provides STD screenings and sexual education
The March 25 article led o this press release:
Bishops Seek Information on Student Health Services at Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning
Bishop Joseph F. Martino and Auxiliary Bishop John M. Dougherty have asked the four Catholic institutions of higher learning in the Diocese of Scranton to provide information on their student health services to have assurance that no practice is occurring which would be in violation of Catholic teaching.
The bishops made the request in an April 1 letter to Holy Cross Father Thomas J. O’Hara, president of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre; Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Anne Munley, president of Marywood University in Scranton; Michael A. MacDowell, president of Misericordia University in Dallas; and Jesuit Father Scott R. Pilarz, president of The University of Scranton.
In their letter, the bishops explain that their inquiry is prompted by a March 25 article in the student newspaper at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia. The article describes how the university, in its words, finds the “middle ground between Church doctrine and student healthcare.”
In that article, St. Joseph’s director of student health services says that the school’s location offers enough convenience and opportunity to encourage students to purchase condoms. She describes this as a “fortunate” situation for the students. She also discusses the use of oral contraceptives.
The Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception is not permissible.
The St. Joseph’s director states, “It’s always a fine line between staying within the values of the University, which we completely respect, and offering services to the students. We are fortunate that there are other medical centers in the area, and that there are health care providers other than us.”
Bishop Martino and Bishop Dougherty said this position indicates little respect for Catholic moral teaching. Their letter to the four area college and university presidents states:
“Will you please send to us any documents available which will indicate policies, procedures or practices authorized by (the institution) for the provision of student health services. In addition, it is especially important that the Diocese have assurance from you that no practice is occurring which would be in violation of Catholic teaching.
“We ask this accounting in accord with the norm of canon 810 §2, C.I.C. The canon notes the duty and right of concerned diocesan bishops to be vigilant that the principles of Catholic doctrines are faithfully observed in Catholic institutions of higher learning.”
The bishops extended gratitude to the presidents “In anticipation of your response as early as possible.”
Source: Diocese of Scranton press release - April 3, 2009
The four schools responded in a joint statement as Kathleen Gilbert at LSN reports:
Scranton Colleges Deny Distributing Contraceptives in Response to Bishops' InquiryUPDATE: Scripture tells us that you will know the Spirit has come to rest on you when you are persecuted.
By Kathleen Gilbert
SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, April 6, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Four Scranton-area Catholic colleges have told Bishop Joseph F. Martino and Auxiliary Bishop John M. Dougherty that their campuses do not provide contraception, after the bishops had asked the schools to provide information on their student health services to assure that they do not practice anything in violation of Catholic teaching.
A letter dated yesterday and signed by the schools' four presidents - King's College president Fr. Thomas J. O'Hara; Marywood University president Sr. Anne Munley; Misericordia president Michael A. MacDowell; and University of Scranton president Scott R. Pilarz - told the bishops that they had "independently reviewed the concerns" aired by the bishops and that "condoms are not available on our campuses and our student health services and centers do not provide oral and other forms of contraceptives."
"We are, therefore, confident in assuring you that our health centers practice in ways that respect and do not violate Catholic teaching," states the letter.
The bishops had issued the request for student health services information in an April 1 letter, requesting "any documents available which will indicate policies, procedures or practices authorized by (the institution) for the provision of student health services," as well as "assurance from you that no practice is occurring which would be in violation of Catholic teaching."
The bishops explained that the inquiry was prompted by a March 25 article in Hawk, the student newspaper of St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. The article describes how the university finds the "middle ground between Church doctrine and student healthcare."
"We're very fortunate that we're not in a very rural pocket, we're right here on City Avenue," director of student health Laura Hirst told the newspaper. "Students can just walk to Rite Aid to get condoms, so they are easily accessible if they need them."
Said Hirst: "It's always a fine line between staying within the values of the University, which we completely respect, and offering services to the students. We are fortunate that there are other medical centers in the area, and that there are health care providers other than us."
While the University has a policy against sexual activity, the Hawk article says the school's Student Health Center provides STD screenings and prescribes oral contraceptives for "medical necessities," citing debilitating menstrual cramps as an example.
Bishop Martino and Bishop Dougherty said the idea that "middle ground" must be sought between Church teaching and health services indicates little respect for Catholic moral teaching.
Bishop Martino has drawn attention in recent months for firmly enjoining Misericordia University to provide an account of their fidelity to Catholic moral teaching on sexuality, after the school invited a homosexualist speaker earlier this year
Well, the Holy Spirit has indeed, come to rest on Bishop Martino.
If you are on Facebook, be sure to join the "I support Bishop Martino" group. There are 365 members thus far vs. some 700 who oppose him. I think the link is good, but if not, just do a search on I support Bishop Martino and you will find it. I did!
Readers of this post may also be interested in my coverage of Bishop Morlino in Madison, WI, as well
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!