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August 28, 2006

Comments

Joe Strummer

Would they have pulled this stunt against independent Jewish ministries?

Jay Anderson

I'll be interested to see what those who thought Maronites kicking Baptis a** was a good thing (or was at least "understandable" given the "context") think about this.

I wonder what their reaction would be if Baylor or Wheaton kicked Catholic ministry groups off campus.

ChipWilson

Does Wheaton even have a Catholic ministry group to kick off? I seem to recall that school fired a philosophy professor after he joined the Catholic Church.

Patrick Rothwell

Except, Jay, the context is in fact quite different. Georgetown, unlike Lebanon, is not a religious/ethnic powderkeg. FWIW, I believe that the Baptists had no business inserting themselves in the Lebanese situation, not that the Maronites should have behaved in the way that they did. As to Georgetown, unless the evangelicals are "witnessing" to people in rude, obnoxious ways as they often do, the eviction of the evangelicals smells like a religious purge by "liberal" Protestants tacitly condoned by the University. Unless and until the University explicitly promptly provides for the religious needs of evangelical students, there is no reason for anyone to trust in the good faith of the University Chaplaincy.

Jay Anderson

Don't know specifically about Wheaton, but I know that Baylor has Catholic groups on campus.

Morning's Minion

The big difference, of course, is that Georgetown is a private Catholic institution that can most certainly demand a certain Catholic ethos on campus. If non-Catholic parents want their children to attend Catholic schools, they also do not have the right to protestant religious education-- nobody is forcing them to go there. Same with Georgetown. I applaud it standing up to the evangelicals. The comparison with Lebanon is not apt.

JimmyV

Now Georgetown needs to kick the religion of secularism off campus.

Fr. Totton

As to Wheaton and Catholicism. Several years ago there was a large philosophical conference at Wheaton and a large contingent of Catholics were present. Some petitioned the University to provide a venue for Sunday Mass (I don't know why they didn't just go to the local parish). The university president, though sympathetic to their plight, refused, invoking the statutes of the university which clearly prohibit any form of idolatry or false worship on campus. Evangelicals have the presence of mind to realize that the Mass is an act of worship and that the Host is worshipped and adored as God (even if they don't believe it is.) To that, we can say, "at least they GET IT" which is more than we can say for many Catholics and a good number of mainline protestants who subscribe to religious indifferentism.

As to Georgetown, it sounds like the culture of death is making inroads under cover of "Catholic identity" If it is true about the evangelicals being pro-life and the protestant "chaplains" being mainline (with all its attendant problems) - and I see no reason to doubt that these are facts. I guess politics truly does make strange bed-fellows! This is sort of like the pro-abort feminists aligning with pro-life Catholics in opposing cloning (whether therapeutic or reproductive) while the "pro-life" republicans (see. J. Danforth, Gov. Matt Blunt, etc.) turn tail and set up camp with death-dealing researchers!

Donald R. McClarey

"but they are strongly pro-life and opposed to homosexual marriage."

In other words, they are being kicked off campus because they agree with Catholic teaching on certain hot-button issues. Parents who send their kids to "Catholic" institutions of higher learning such as Georgetown in the expectation that what they learn will have any connection with Catholicism should take note.

Ed the Roman

I wish I weren't pretty sure that the expelled groups are teaching more of the Catholic Faith than the University is.

Boethius

Georgetown's action is pathetic. Of course a Catholic institution has the right to choose which organizations may exist on campus, but Georgetown is "Catholic" in name only, and for it now to assert its Catholicism in this way is duplicitous. Donald McClarey is exactly correct that Georgetown is kicking these groups off campus precisely because they are pro-life and agree with Church teaching in these areas.

Remember that Georgetown is the institution whose faculty was furious that Carindal Arinze would dare proclaim Church teaching on marriage, abortion, pornography, and contraception. (see http://www.wf-f.org/Arinze-Georgetown.html)

No, Georgetown does not care a whit about its Catholicism. It only uses it when it finds it convenient.

TeresaHT

The problem, of course, finally boils down to this: The evangelical groups represent only a few hundred students, but they are strongly pro-life and opposed to homosexual marriage. The mainline Protestant employees of Campus Ministry find such things embarrassing, and so they kick the evangelicals off campus, employing the power of the officially Catholic chaplain’s office and the rhetoric of the school’s Catholic identity.

Is this certain? I read about this situation elsewhere and was concerned, but wanted to know more of the background. Because, let's face it, IV does have a history of proselytizing on Catholic campuses. I did wonder initially if something like that was going on here, or if, as was probably more likely, the school's Campus Ministry had perceived a potential threat of sheep-stealing, and overreacted.

If there is evidence (rather than speculation) that this is a problem arising from the conflict between conservative evangelicalism and liberal mainline Protestantism, rather than a fight between the Catholic ministry and Protestant para-church evangelism tactics, I'd like to hear more about it.

RP Burke

Here is what I suspect is the real reason.

Evangelicals -- as cited above in the Wheaton College situation -- don't believe that Catholics are real Christians, and therefore feel called to convert Catholics to Christianity as they define it. There being no place for such an effort at Georgetown, out they go.

Occam's razor applies here: it's the simplest answer to the question, so it's the most likely to be true.

mulopwepaul

"There being no place for such an effort at Georgetown, out they go."

And if the Muslims decided to proclaim the Qu'ran and their understanding of true faith, they would be booted as well, right?

Let's not kid ourselves; it's an ideological purge.

PVO

Jay Anderson

"Evangelicals ... don't believe that Catholics are real Christians."

That is quite an overstatement.

I used to be an evangelical, and I have always believed Catholics are "real Christians". Billy Graham is probably the most famous evangelical in the world, and he seems to believe that Catholics are "real Christians". Many other evangelicals also believe Catholics to be "real Christians".

Craig Martin

Jay

Having spent a considerable amount of time with Evangelicals in the midwest before my conversion and, thereafter, for the past ten years, your observation is applicable to a limited group. The notion among Evangelicals that Catholics are not Christians and are not "saved" is ubiquitous. It's publicly preached and privately maintained. At most you will hear that "some" Catholics are Christian and "saved".

Jay Anderson

"Having spent a considerable amount of time with Evangelicals in the midwest before my conversion and, thereafter, for the past ten years, your observation is applicable to a limited group. The notion among Evangelicals that Catholics are not Christians and are not "saved" is ubiquitous."

I don't think the same applies to evangelicals in the South - at least not the ones I'm familiar with. The evangelicals I know think "salvation" is unrelated to which church one belongs. They believe that one is "saved" by virtue of one's relationship to Christ. They certainly don't believe one is not a Christian or is not "saved" solely by virtue of being a Catholic. (NOTE: "evangelical" doesn't equal "fundamentalist".)

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that Catholics can be every bit as bigoted toward evangelicals (or at least their caricature of evangelicals) as they accuse evangelicals of being toward Catholics.

I also find it ironic that more than one of the commenters here defending Georgetown's decision might count themselves as "progressives".

Richard

MM:

Same with Georgetown. I applaud it standing up to the evangelicals.

If that is all is going on here - applying Occam's razor as RP Burke does above - then it's hard to argue with that. Certainly there have to be real limits to non-Catholic religious activity on a Catholic campus.

But is this, as mulwopepaul suggests, really just an ideological purge - done under the guise of restricting undue sectarian activity? The real test is to see whether Georgetown's caplain's office applies this purge consistently. Or are they only whacking the conservative, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage strains and leaving Liberal Protestants be?

By those fruits will I judge Georgetown's new devotion to its Catholic identity.

Bill H

The real test is to see whether Georgetown's caplain's office applies this purge consistently. Or are they only whacking the conservative, pro-life, pro-traditional marriage strains and leaving Liberal Protestants be?

I presume that everyone on this site that has condemned Georgetown has thoroughly researched this question, right?

ron chandonia

Georgetown a Catholic school??? I don't think so!

One of my sons is a Georgetown grad, and I know from experience that the university is a great place for Catholic students to lose their faith (theology classes being the normal venue for that experience) and an even better place for non-Catholics to be forever alienated from the Church.

I am certain the evangelicals were kicked off the GU campus for one and only one reason: Christians are unwelcome there.

Boethius

"I presume that everyone on this site that has condemned Georgetown has thoroughly researched this question, right?"

We've all thoroughly researched Georgetown and determined that they are not Catholic. Time and time again Georgetown has proven its hostility to the Catholic faith. In my book, Georgetown is guilty until proven innocent. A plausible explanation may exist for their recent action, but with their track record, the burden is on them to prove it. The reference I made above to the Cardinal Arinze incident should make their hostility to authentic Catholicism clear enough.

M.Z. Forrest

Whether such an action had additional intended consequences, e.g. the removal of prolife groups, is trivial. The University was correct in doing this. As to Wheaton and other evangelical schools, they can and should pursue doctrinal purity which in their case would mean excluding Catholic organizations. Inviting those that disagree with you into your organization is an act of charity, even if they are charging $20,000 a year to do so. One lives under different rules when one is a guest.

Christopher Fotos

Fascinating. I read that story in the Post and was generally bewildered by it--though it mentioned questions about proselytizing, the whole thing had a pretty vague quality. Now Bottum states it's about being pro-life and against homosexual marriage. I'd like to hear more about that from Bottum (or anyone really), even though it's very easy to believe. That's not mentioned in the Post's story, which could be for numerous reasons--it doesn't fit into the template, the evangelicals they interviewed didn't mention it, the reporter couldn't make sense of it, etc.

Also I seem to recall that Graham was shunned by some of his colleagues, especially way back when, precisely because he didn't portray Catholics as non-Christians. Am I misremembering that (entirely possible)?

M.Z. Forrest

Bottom never states the reason formally or informally the groups were thrown off campus was because they were pro-life and anti-homosexual marriage. This is conjectured over the space of a paragraph.

The conjecture is just a continuation - I'm not speaking of Bottom specifically - of people's inability to find anything objectionable in someone who expresses other beliefs as long as they are pro-life and anti-homosexual marriage.

Catholic Mom

What Mr. Bottum's commentary does not address but what was addressed in the local papers is Georgetown's concern about controlling the message of these outside ministries that use Georgetown's name. Don't you know that they might be associating the name "Georgetown" with ideas that run contrary to Catholic teaching? I admit it would be uncomfortable to have the Georgetown Wiccans or the Georgetown New Age Seekers establishing a presence on campus. That this university would posit such a justification for its removal of Evangelical Protestants is laughable. It has no problem with the group Georgetown Pride advocating for the gay lifestyle and culture. It has no problem with its medical school faculty using their Georgetown credentials to advocate for the over-the-counter approval of abortifacient Plan B. This sudden concern for "Catholic identity" is a clumsy ruse that is fooling no one.

Jay Anderson

"Also I seem to recall that Graham was shunned by some of his colleagues, especially way back when, precisely because he didn't portray Catholics as non-Christians."

Your recollection is correct. There were some evangelicals that took issue with Dr. Grahame because of that. There are probably some that still do. However, I think we need to give credit to our late Holy Father for changing how many evangelicals view Catholics. Dr. Grahame was a huge fan of John Paul II. As was, for example, the fundamentalist pre-millenialist Jack van Impe. So were many other evangelicals. And I'd bet you the vast majority of evangelicals believe the late Holy Father is at this very moment enjoying his eternal Heavenly reward.

"I presume that everyone on this site that has condemned Georgetown has thoroughly researched this question, right?"

I have no idea whether Georgetown's actions, taken under whatever the circumstances are, were appropriate. They may or may not have been. However, I, for one, would be quite upset if my Baptist alma mater, Baylor, decided to exclude Catholic groups, which it currently allows, from its campus.

But what I take issue with here are those justifying Georgetown's actions with blanket accusations that, allegedly, "Evangelicals ... don't believe that Catholics are real Christians."

And, as I suspected, some of the same people who were defending the Maronites for smacking around Baptists becuause "Evangelicals ... don't believe that Catholics are real Christians" are the same ones defending Georgetown for the same reason.

M.Z. Forrest

Just to clear Jay, I felt no sympathy for the Baptists because they were engaging in immoral activity. In this case, their action was illegal according to the laws of Lebanon.

As to the other commentators, I get the feeling that many commentators here would be complaining if a woman didn't proceed with a 5th abortion and instead had the child. How else can one explain the condoning of one evil by the citing of other evils? Well there is an explanation. The explanation being that some Catholics see nothing immoral about others leading people to defect from the Church. Oh, but those causing the defection are pro-life and anti-gay marriage. I'm sure someone can find the dispensation the Holy See has granted in this area.

Morning's Minion

Indeed. These are the fruits of Neuhaus's alliance with the evangelicals: many Catholics are more willing to give the evangelicals the benefit of the doubt in a conflict with Catholics, because of the old "political ideology" thing.

Donald R. McClarey

"political ideology"

Yeah, such as in believing that kids shouldn't be slaughtered in the womb and that gay marriage is a very bad idea. If that's politics, the Church has been preaching that brand of politics for the past 2000 years.

"The explanation being that some Catholics see nothing immoral about others leading people to defect from the Church."

I daresay that Georgetown and its propensity for promoting heterodoxy has been guilty of causing far more people to take a hike from the Church than the six evangelical student organizations banned by Georgetown.

RP Burke

A reply to mulopwepaul.

And if the Muslims decided to proclaim the Qu'ran and their understanding of true faith, they would be booted as well, right?

A swing and a miss. Are they out to convert Catholics to Islam? That's the question, not mere proclamation.

Randy

What I don't like here is Catholics come across as afraid. They admit that evangelical university students are more likely to convert Catholics than the Catholic university is to convert them. Why? Some would say it is because catholic doctrine can't stand up under debate. The truth is it can but Georgetown can't figure out how to teach students the faith well enough for them to defend it. I guess that would involve hiring at least one professor who believed it was actually true.

Donald R. McClarey

"I guess that would involve hiring at least one professor who believed it was actually true."

Bravo!

M.Z. Forrest

Some would say it is because catholic doctrine can't stand up under debate.

I have heard this claim over and over again. It strikes me as perverse as sending your child over to the evangelical youth group after mass. Knowing adverserial opinion can be useful; I won't deny this. Granting a forum to trained theological hitmen is irresponsible. Acting as if a Catholic only environment is irresponsible is just plain perverse.

Victor Morton

Jay:

The "Catholics aren't Christians" attitude -- It's obviously not universal among evangelicals, and I would say it's not even predominant.

But every Catholic who has lived in the American South for a significant time has encountered it on enough occasions and in enough different contexts (and I speak as someone whose college-age reversion owed much more to friendships with Protestant evangelicals than anything at the UT Catholic Ministry) that I think one can fairly call it widespread and mainstream.

Jay Anderson

So, Muslims are welcome, but evangelical Christians are not? And evangelicals are "trained theological hitmen"?

It's time you "progressive" Catholics owned up to the fact that Catholic students at Georgetown have more to fear for their faith from poor catechesis, a warped sense of multiculturalism that embraces Islam but shuns our separated brothers and sisters in Christ, and the heterodox theology that passes for the "Jesuit tradition" at Georgetown than they do from the existence of Campus Crusade, Intervarsity Fellowship and the like.

As for me, I'm done arguing with the bigoted scaredy Cat[holic]s.

And Victor, thanks for your comments and perspective. I don't deny that the "Catholic aren't Christian" mentality exists and is somewhat widespread. I've experienced it myself. What I deny is the accuracy of blanket statements such as "Evangelicals ... don't believe that Catholics are real Christians", which, as you have pointed out is NOT the universal or even the predominant viewpoint among evangelicals.

M.Z. Forrest

Jay, it would be nice if you would stop throwing up straw men.

Your whole second paragraph screed is a good starting point. Even if I concede every single point, you have not bothered to establish how Evangelical organizations would strengthen the Catholic community. You don't seem particularly concerned about the Catholic community that is there. Rather than try and find a way to increase its catholicity, you want to beat it over the head.

As for me, I'm done arguing with the bigoted scaredy Cat[holic]s.

You'll be shocked to learn this, but when it leaked out at my wife's evangelical church (a different church than where I had "accepted Jesus") that I had gone back to being Catholic, not a single member attempted to evangelize me. It sure as heck wasn't from lack of opportunity. I just that I wasn't easy pickings.

"Trained Theological Hitmen" is the term I use, because that is what they are. They target the weak and the ignorant. They specifically target children of Catholics. "Get the prize" for bringing a little Catholic to AWANAs.

Ed the Roman

Jay,

You seem to be deliberately missing the point. Georgetown is not afraid that the Evangelicals will lead the students away from the fullness of the Catholic faith. They are afraid that the Evangelicals will lead them closer to it than the University wants them to be at all.

And M.Z., once the Methodists at my wife's church got to know me they stopped evangelizing me as well. Now I'm evangelizing them. };->

andrea

Is it possible that the reason is as simple as they state -- that they don't want groups that are totally unaffiliated with the campus.

The Washington Post article says that these outside groups "would no longer be allowed to reserve rooms for weekly meetings, use Georgetown's name or organize on campus without an invitation from a student."

They continue "Although other campus faith communities have affiliations with private groups...each of them is overseen by a Georgetown faculty member."

I can say that I work in a public university and this is the way things work. If you want to use a meeting room or put up signs, you have to be affiliated with students and have a faculty advisor.

I guess I'm not inclined to see something sinister in this.

Christopher Fotos

Indeed. These are the fruits of Neuhaus's alliance with the evangelicals: many Catholics are more willing to give the evangelicals the benefit of the doubt in a conflict with Catholics, because of the old "political ideology" thing.

It's only Monday, but I propose this as the biggest stretch of the week.

Puzzled

I thought Amy's site was faithful to the Magisterium, like she is. But I'm seeing quite a few here who are very disobedient to Ut Unam Sint.

The Deist 'Protestant' chaplain, a Rev. Constance (that's right, a 'priestess' is the one who booted the Evangelicals. The Jews, Muslims and of course, the Deists, maintain clergy and worship and study groups on the Georgetown campus. ONLY the Evangelicals have been made to go. This is NOT a matter of Georgetown suddenly discovering Catholicism and Ex Corde Ecclesia.

M.Z. Forrest

Shockingly, there really isn't much news here. Here is the specific letter. Note, the party addressed is not addressed to evangelical groups. Instead what we have is a several Christian groups claiming persecution.

The letter is pretty straightforward. Reading in the Hoya, the decision was not a new revelation. Additionally, the dispute was not a Catholic/Evangelical dispute, but a Protestant/Evangelical dispute. Adult leader of Crossroads Campus Christian Ministry sums it as follows:

“They sat us down and gave us a letter that was already signed,” Ratp said of the Thursday meeting with administrators. The administrators’ “rationale was, [they] have no idea what we’re doing, and therefore [they don’t] want us on the campus.”
He added “We had a difficult time trying to get to know them and understand [the Campus Ministry administration.] We thought they were just busy, but we found out from other groups that they were just like that.”

Not nearly as sexy as it was made out to be.

Seamus

The big difference, of course, is that Georgetown is a private Catholic institution that can most certainly demand a certain Catholic ethos on campus.

But this action had nothing to do with "demand[ing] a certain Catholic ethos on campus." It involved the (nominally) Catholic administration siding with one group of Protestants against another group of Protestants. And I doubt it was motivated by animus against pro-lifers; it was just a stupid bureaucratic insistence that all Protestant campus ministry be handled through official channels (which turn out to be that anemic strain called mainstream Protestantism, but that's the breaks).

It's exactly the same as if a secular or Protestant university barred Opus Dei or Tradition, Family, Property from operating on campus because they weren't affiliated with the official Catholic campus ministry. (Come to think of it, isn't that exactly what Princton did to Opus Dei back when Fr. McCloskey was running the local unit of "the Work"?)

Tom MacDonald

Seamus:

You are spot on! I think this story has been largely misunderstood, and perhaps willfully so by some posters who are angry at Georgetown for whatever reason. The simple truth is that the evangelical groups in question are controlled by adults, off campus, who have no official status at Georgetown. In effect, they have set up a separate campus ministry for evangelicals. Last year the evangelicals agreed that they would not proselytize, but they have continued to do so. Apparently, in conscience they feel that they must try to make converts to their version of Christianity. In an effort to provide ministry to diverse Protestant groups from within the Office of Campus Ministry the protestant Chaplian (who is responsiblefor ministerign to Protestants) is asking these groups not to meet apart from the structures that are in place for ministering to Protestants at Georgetown. The Protestant chaplains are running programs and the evangelicals are not availing themselves of them, preferring to minister to themselves under the guidance of adult leaders who are not affiliated with Georgetown. This is really all that is going on.

Unfortunately, the issue has been blown out of proportion, and those who hate Georgetown are taking advantage of the situation to make other points about Georgetown's Catholic identity. Nothing could be further from the truth than Bottum's assumption that the reason the evangelicals are no longer able to hold separate meetings is because they are pro-life and anti-gays. Georgetown has a very strong pro-life chapter; it is also the place where the founding chapter of University Faculty for Life was established. There are pro-choice and gay evangelicals at Georgetown. Things are not as simple as Mr. Bottum thinks.

I don't attempt to overturn people's views of Georgetown as a Catholic University, but simply to clarify what is going on with the evangelical issue to show how ridiculous the interpretations of this decision by the Protestant Chaplain have become.

Don Anon

Seamus:

Yes, this is indeed what happened to Fr. McCloskey at Princeton in the early '90s. He was removed from the official Catholic chaplancy at Princeton by the Catholic chaplain. But he continued to appear on campus through "student" groups that were in reality closely tied to Opus Dei.

The university threatened to crack down unless those groups made certain to identify who McCloskey was, and with whom he was affiliated, so as to avoid confusion between him and the official Catholic chaplancy.

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