Sunday, May 3, 2009

USF 2009 Commencement Speakers: Pro-Condom Bishop, Anti-Marriage District Attorney

It’s almost as if dissent from church teaching is a requirement to be a commencement speaker at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco.

This year’s Commencement speakers will include South African Bishop Kevin Dowling. His Excellency will also give the homily at the Commencement Mass. There are over 300 Bishops in the United States, including three right here in San Francisco. Apparently, none of them sufficed so USF had to go all the way to South Africa to fill the slot. But why? What are Bishop Dowling’s special qualifications? What is he best known for?

Well, from the Catholics For Choice website:

“Bishop Dowling, in an interview about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in South Africa said, 'Abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in a marriage is beyond the realm of possibility here. The issue is to protect life. That must be our fundamental goal.' Drawing attention to the especially difficult plight of women in the traditionally male-dominated societies of his diocese he continued, 'My passion is for the women. I'm in that corner.' About the African people, he says, 'They must use condoms,' maintaining his stance despite the Vatican’s continued opposition to such a policy”. Emphasis added.

Dare we say that Bishop Dowling is being honored because of this position, not in spite of it?

Back in 2006, Diogenes had this to say about Bishop Dowling:

"Have you seen any US media coverage of the Bishop of Klerksdorp recently? Or the Bishop of Umtata? Neither have I. Those South African dioceses are actually larger than Rustenberg, but their bishops haven't been getting much press in the US, nor invitations to speak in comfortable suburbs. Only Bishop Dowling-- who, incidentally, is the only South African bishop you can count on to criticize Church teaching. What a funny coincidence!"


USF will also honor San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris. It is not hyperbole, it is a simple statement of fact to say that any sitting San Francisco District Attorney cannot possibly meet the minimum criteria for a speaker at a Catholic University set forth by the USCCB in “Catholics in Political Life.”

From the Bay Area Reporter:

"On Tuesday, (October 21, 2008) black leaders gathered in Oakland to denounce Prop 8. Those who spoke included San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, (Reverend Amos) Brown, and openly gay Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore."

Here's the District Attorney at the event.

Photo courtesy Rick Gerharter, Bay Area Reporter.

Also from the Bay Area Reporter: on Thursday October 8, 2008, the District Attorney joined Mayor Gavin Newson at a “No on Proposition 8” press conference. At the conference Harris characterized Proposition 8 as an expression of “prejudice” and “hate.”

Here's Ms. Harris at that event:

Photo courtesy Bill Wilson, Bay Area Reporter.


Of course this is nothing new at USF. From Commencements past:

2004: USF honors Leo T. McCarthy at the May, 2004 commencement. In his long political career, McCarthy was an unwavering advocate for the Culture of Death. From "LifeSiteNews":

"During Senate candidacy campaigns in 1988 and 1992, McCarthy pledged to write the Roe v. Wade ruling into federal law, supported federal funding for abortions and contraceptives and advocated for the distribution of the abortion pill RU-486."

2005: USF honors Episcoplian Bishop William Swing at the December, 2005 commencement. According to one of his priests, the openly “married” homosexual Reverend John Kirkely:

"Bishop Swing has ordained more gay and lesbian clergy than probably any bishop in the history of Christendom..."

2007: At the 2007 Commencement, USF honors pro-abortion, pro-partial birth abortion, pro-same sex marriage, and pro-embryonic stem cell research Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Here's Speaker Pelosi at the event with University President Fr. Stephen Privett, SJ (photo courtesy Associated Press):

Any question where Pelosi got her half-baked Catholic theology?

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney


Mr. A. said...

Doesn't the Archbishop Niederauer have to give his "Ok" to have a bishop from outside the diocese to address a group in his diocese? I'm thinking of the Bishop from Australia (Geoffrey Robinson) who was hawking his book and who Cardinal Mahoney, AchB Niederauer and others in California refused him permission to speak in their respective diocese.


Anonymous said...

You spend so much time constantly bashing USF. Did you get turned down from being admitted there or are you just plain jealousl? Lots more serious issues to discuss. How about trying to find the positives instead of always being so judgemental and negative??!! All of this continual self-righteous criticism actually makes you look like the one with a problem. . . . .

Gibbons in SF said...

I believe you are correct, Rob--in theory, anyway.

When Bishop Geoffrey Robinson was on the book tour you mention (in 2008), Archbishop Niederauer refused to give him permission to speak in the Archdiocese. But neither Robinson nor USF cared--they hosted him, and he spoke, in spite of the Archbishop. We posted about this at the time.

And of course on March 8, 2009 USF hosted the play "Be Still and Know," despite the fact that the Archbishop had cancelled its performance at Most Holy Redeemer.
USF's Presentation Theater had to break its own scheduling rules to make this happen, but they quickly did so.

Anonymous said...

You're being pretty harsh on Bishop Dowling. He's a really great, Catholic person. Do you know him personally, or just basing your opinions on what you read?

Anonymous said...

USF is no longer a Catholic university and the Jesuits (with some individual exceptions) are no longer a Catholic order.

dietrich said...

To the 'bashing USF comment', here's the thing. When I try to explain to people why I loathe USF and support this site and it's work, I can't always count on people to relate to my concerns, so I put it in different terms.

Let's say I'm a football player, and more than anything I want to attend a school that is reflective of this interest. All the brochures show football proudly on display, and it seems that I can expect football will be respected and taught. I get accepted and show up, and my first day I find out it's not about football, it's all about croquet, and what we'll be learning and talking about is croquet. Football doesn't exist. Does that explain it?

The truth is, USF is a cancerous tumor on the body of the Church. They don't believe as Catholics believe, and thus it is angering to those of us who want to live a Catholic life to constantly read about these decisions made by a school that no longer seems to have an interest in promoting the teachings of the Church, yet still presents itself as such.

It's time for the Croquet College to 'come out' and stop advertising itself as anything else. It's about integrity and the solemn responsibility the school has when impressionable students leave there thinking they're received a Catholic education.

I did not get turned down there, and I am most certainly not jealous. Life and the afterlife are serious subjects to Catholics, and it is the belief of many (expressed here) that the chances of people coming through USF of getting to heaven are being compromised by the easy virtues being promoted by the Charlatans of Fulton Street.

Anonymous said...

I believe USF invited Abp. Niederauer the same year as Speaker Pelosi.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you on Bishop William Swing. I have the utmost respect for him. He should not be maligned here. Why not focus on all the good he has done in this world?

Gibbons in SF said...

Anonymous 8:44: If you mean Bishop Swing is not all bad, I'll agree with you. But the same could be said of Nancy Pelosi--and everybody else on earth for that matter. That does not justify having her (or Bishop Swing) as a Commencement Speaker at a Catholic University.

How is it "maligning" him to tell the truth about him? Bishop Swing has ordained openly homosexual priests. More than in any other diocese in the US, according to him. Is there something wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

Gibbons, I am saying that you focus too much on what you perceive to be bad about a person. Yes, you are maligning Bishop Swing. He has done so much good, and you are trying to dismiss that with your opinion that he is not deserving. What kind of a Christian attitude is that? Again, why not praise people, especially good people, for their contributions and achievements? Your comments are deliberately trying to tarnish a reputation that you would be lucky to have.

Gibbons in SF said...

Anonymous 9:42:


I'm not at all focusing on what's wrong with Bishop Swing.

I'm focusing on what's wrong with USF.

Anonymous said...

You're definitely losing a reader. Your mean-spirited comments about others are not Christian. You should take an inward look at what you are really like. Again, this is the last time you will have me (or my family) reading your blogs. In time hopefully you will change. Remember to ask yourself occasionally, "Is this the way Jesus would act?"

dietrich said...

Anonymous 2:26 - You'll be missed. However, I don't know why you picked now as the time to take your stand against Gibbons the Meanie. He and Father Malloy have been nothing if not consistent in their interpretation of what being Catholic and being accountable AS a Catholic is all about. In doing so, they have been as charitable as anyone can be under the circumstances. Bishop Swing may grill a mean ribeye or have a talent for story-telling. He may be a great friend to all, but qua (as) Catholic Bishop, he is a failure. When it comes to being a shepherd to his flock, his position on birth control is an abuse of his vocation and a misinterpretation of his role as bishop and father. He is exposing his flock to eternal fire, and subsequently he will one day be judged according to how well he 'shepherded' his flock. It's far more charitable to humiliate someone in this life than to allow them to persist in error to the condemnation of their immortal soul, is it not?

The issues surrounding the enduring insanity that is generously referred to as the "University of San Francisco" have been well documented here and elsewhere and require no further comment.

The only reason what Father Malloy and Gibbons have to say is shocking is that they and this site offer, really, the only daily voice of the opposition to the make-it-up-as-we-go-along church here in SF and elsewhere. I will try to find 5 more readers to replace this one who is 'lost'.