Daily Archives: March 29, 2009

_The Wanderer_ on Land of Lakes

According to writer Christopher Manion, both the former Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Leo Pursley, DD, and the former superior general of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Fr. Christopher O’Toole, CSC. They had their respective roles during the 1960s, and both had oversight over Notre Dame during the fallout from Vatican II, particularly the Land of Lakes Conference. Both said that they had failed in their duties.

In 1974, I attended a meeting designed to probe the possibilities of rescuing Catholic education from the nebulous but ubiquitous “ . . . Why were these two luminaries interested in supporting efforts to preserve orthodox education for the next generation of college students? Their answer was blunt. “I’m doing penance,” said Fr. O’Toole, somberly. And Bishop Pursley nodded in agreement.
. . .
That afternoon, both men agreed that, as far as Notre Dame was concerned, they had failed.
. . .
In 1967, a group of Catholic educators, led by Notre Dame President Theodore M. Hesburgh, met at Land O’Lakes, Wis., and formally declared their independence from the Catholic Church. Alas, their motives were less than noble.
Just two years before, LBJ’s Omnibus Education Act had opened the floodgates to federal funding of higher education, and Catholic colleges wanted a place at the trough. Notre Dame quickly adopted a lay board of trustees so it could receive federal money, and only a year later the other shoe fell when numerous Notre Dame faculty and religious roundly denounced Humanae Vitae.
. . .
In a 2007 Wanderer interview, Archbishop Raymond Burke zeroed in on Land O’Lakes as a central catalyst of decline in Catholic education. “ So much was undone,” he said, “ and there’s a mentality [ that] entered into the universities by which those people who dedicated their lives to Catholic education believe that they could not be an excellent university and at the same time be faithful to the Church’s teaching and discipline. That is a fundamental error, and it takes a lot to undo it.”

That basically sums up the three factors that created the sad state of Catholic higher education, Catholic education, the priesthood, and the Church in America: a) the “Spirit of Vatican II”; b) the rejection of Humanae Vitae; c) the desire to take advantage of federal largesse.

My mother, having seen several priests of her generation leave, also attributes the crisis in the Church to men who became priests to avoid the draft.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told, in a Catholic institution, “We can’t teach that here, because not everyone is Catholic.” Or, “If we taught that here, we’d lose government funding.”

That’s the argument Maggie Gallagher made years ago regarding vouchers: it’s just an avenue for the government to get its grips on religious schools, and/or to give administrators of religious schools more of an excuse to water down their teachings.

Proving what I’m always saying about football being Notre Dame’s real religion, Manion reports,

University spokesman Dennis Brown cannot reveal the amount the school receives from NBC, but a source in NBC’s New York headquarters says that Notre Dame receives more from NBC than it receives from all alumni giving.And what about that federal money? Brown tells The Wanderer that, in a typical year, Notre Dame receives about eighty million dollars in federal grants.

And Notre Dame’s biggest orthodox credential is retiring soon:

“Ralph McInerny, who retires this year after teaching philosophy at Notre Dame for 54 years, blames it on the university’s “truly vulgar lust to be welcomed into secular society.'”

Interesting comment.

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