We all remember the contretemps between George Weigel and University of San Francisco President Fr. Stephen J. Privett in "Catholic San Francisco" some time back. Our position then was that Weigel was right and Privett was wrong, and that's still our position. Among other things, Mr. Weigel referred to Catholicity on Jesuit campuses as being "vestigial at best." Fr. Privett took exception to that, and laid out a long list of institutions at USF that proved the University's fidelity. Strangely, one of the institutions he mentioned was the Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought. We have posted on the Lane Center a number of times. (For an exhaustive list of USF/Lane Center events that should trouble any faithful Catholic, go here.)
Well, look who's speaking at the Lane Center on June 13, 2008 as part of his "Voice of the Faithful" tour: retired auxiliary Bishop Geoffrey Robinson of Australia. Just a few days ago Cardinal Mahony himself had to forbid Bishop Robinson from speaking in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Why? From a Catholic News Agency article:
"In a May 8 statement, the Australian bishops said that Bishop Robinson’s questioning of the authority of the Catholic Church to teach the truth definitively is connected to the bishop’s “uncertainty about the knowledge and authority of Christ himself.”
Cardinal Mahony's response, from the same article:
“Under the provisions of Canon 763, I hereby deny you permission to speak in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,” the cardinal wrote. He also urged Bishop Robinson to cancel his entire speaking tour and to work with the Australian bishops’ conference, saying he would expect him to “follow exactly” their recommendations."
So the Cardinal of California won't allow Bishop Robinson to speak in his Archdiocese, but USF is perfectly happy to have him speaking at their University. They are not only thumbing their noses at the Cardinal, but at the Holy Father as well. A little more than a month ago, Benedict addressed Catholic Educators with these words:
"In regard to faculty members at Catholic colleges universities, I wish to reaffirm the great value of academic freedom. In virtue of this freedom you are called to search for the truth wherever careful analysis of evidence leads you. Yet it is also the case that any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university's identity and mission; a mission at the heart of the Church’s munus docendi and not somehow autonomous or independent of it."
Posted by Gibbons