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Loyola of New Orleans: more "Social Justice" U., less Catholic

Catholics are Catholics because they honor the doctrines of their faith. When they do not, the Church is obligated to point out the inconsistency. Rightly so did the Most Rev. Archbishop Alfred Hughes when he refused to grace Loyola University with his presence at its commencement next week because of the Catholic university's decision to award the Landrieu family an honorary degree in part for their “exemplary” public Catholicism.

Of course, neither Mary nor Mitch Landrieu is an “exemplary” Catholic because they support the infanticide that is abortion of convenience. Loyola, which has run afoul of honoring personages and ideas whose actions and messages are inconsistent with Catholicism, thus takes another step away from being a truly Catholic university.

It would be one thing to bring in a Landrieu for a public policy debate, or another of their award-winners Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, as a way of stimulating discussion as part of the pedagogical mission. It is another entirely to honor them for work which in part contradicts the very faith the university claims on which its education is based. Why can’t it honor faithful Catholic politicians like U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal, or cultural warriors who have battled against huge resistance and plenty of name-calling in promoting a Catholic agenda like Phyllis Schafly?

Sorry, I guess they are too politically incorrect for a university that seems to have sold itself out to acquiring prestige in the world of man, not pursuing true education for the glorification of God. How else to explain the university’s acquiescence in allowing “The Vagina Monologues” to be performed on campus? Loyola’s President Rev. Kevin Wildes response to the play which features, among other things, glorification of lesbianism including an endorsement of statutory rape, was a limp-wristed e-mail message saying he couldn’t support everything in the play.

A view of Loyola’s web home page says it all: a student wearing a shirt proclaiming “Social Justice University,” depicting a university too busy rendering unto Caesar and confusing the eternal values of its faith with the lies of liberalism.

Regrettably, Loyola has joined a growing number of “Catholic” institutions of higher education which have been distancing themselves from supporting the ideas behind their faith. Too many “collared radicals” have become too enraptured with the “social gospel” while paying too little attention to the real Gospels.

A particularly appalling display along these lines came during the Louisiana Senate’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee hearing today, at its conclusion. A couple of religious testified in front of the committee negatively about SB 1, a bill which would restore tax deductibility of certain items. But from the sounds of their testimony, one would have thought this measure was un-Christian, simply allowing people to keep what they earn morally and fairly.

Catholics should be thankful that Archbishop Hughes has admonished Loyola to concentrate more on the eternal and less on the secular. There’s not much authority he has over Loyola, but he has indicated he will have a dialogue with Wildes about Loyola's vision of its Catholic identity. Hopefully this conversation will help Loyola more faithfully fulfill its mission as a Catholic university.

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