jueves, 23 de abril de 2015

Notre Dame and Latin American bishops sign memorandum of understanding

Notre Dame forms partnership with CELAM University, Latin American Episcopal Council will collaborate on academic, pastoral initiatives

Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, left, and Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins sign a partnership agreement March 24 in South Bend, Ind. Photo courtesy of the University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame and the Latin American episcopal council are embarking on a partnership aimed at broadening the understanding of the Catholic Church as a worldwide entity — one that will bring the university and the council together on a variety of academic, pastoral and administrative initiatives.

Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, Notre Dame president, and Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico, president of the episcopal council, signed a memorandum of understanding about finding ways to collaborate in a March 24 ceremony held on the campus in South Bend, Indiana. The episcopal council, known as CELAM, represents the bishops’ conferences in 22 Latin American countries.

“One of the things we take seriously at Notre Dame is providing service to the Church in a manner appropriate for a university,” Father Jenkins said. “Many of our students and faculty members are eager to bring their learning to bear on the pastoral challenges and opportunities today present in Latin America. We’re grateful for the openness of the leaders of CELAM to this partnership.”

Archbishop Aguiar expressed gratitude to Notre Dame for “helping us to unify and strengthen the communities and organizations of the Church,” and said that such individual initiatives as this agreement were “like small streams of water which join other small streams until they become mighty torrents. Such torrents and currents give life to the whole ocean.”

At the ceremony, Father Jenkins said, “In the Catholic Church, international community and cooperation are crucially important. What binds us together is deeper than culture and language, and this agreement will help Notre Dame bond more closely with the cultures, communities and institutions of Latin America.”
‘Same goals’

CELAM and Notre Dame began exploring ways to work together last year when a group from CELAM visited the university, according to Chuck Lamphier, lead adviser to the vice president for mission engagement and Church affairs at the university.

“It became clear that CELAM and Notre Dame had many of the same goals: to bring the highest level of research to bear on practical issues faced by millions of people; to create opportunities for learning; and to serve the Church while creating a more just world,” Lamphier said.

Eduardo Pisa, a member of CELAM’s economic advisory committee, said the group is hoping for three main areas of engagement, the first of which will likely be academics, with students and faculty from Latin America visiting Notre Dame and vice versa, he said.

CELAM already has its own study center that grants certificates and degrees, and working with CELAM will also help Notre Dame forge connections with institutions under CELAM’s member conferences, Pisa said. “The agreement doesn’t say exactly what we are going to do,” he said. “The agreement talks about starting a collaboration.”
International outreach

Peter Casarella, associate professor of theology at Notre Dame and a visiting researcher at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, agreed that this is just the beginning when it comes to the new memorandum of understanding.

“Nothing has been set in stone yet,” said Casarella, who will serve on the committee aimed at developing projects. “The first real planning meeting will take place in the late fall, although I am hoping to make an exploratory trip to Colombia before then. On the CELAM side, they have, for example, a large formation program with some degrees of its own and extensive partnerships. So when we meet we will be exploring links or modes of sharing.”

One possible link is the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Casarella said.

“Kellogg’s strengths in promoting human rights, democracy and integral human development can hopefully provide new synergies for CELAM’s work in these areas,” Casarella said. “In my area, formation, I also see great opportunities for collaboration. The department of theology has strengths in Latino theology and theology of migration, a new doctoral concentration in world religions/world church, and a joint program with the Kroc Institute in Peace Studies. The Caminos de la Fe online catechetical initiative in the Institute for Church Life may also afford us a platform for outreach. All in all, I see this new development as a wonderful chance for Notre Dame to broaden the international and intercultural dimensions of its academic work while also deepening its long-standing commitment to Catholic mission.”
Strong partners

While the new agreement is historic, Casarella said, it represents another strand in a web of engagement between Notre Dame and the Church in Latin America. “The agreement allows us to take a step forward in a new direction,” he said in an email. “First and foremost, it allows us to partner with 22 episcopal conferences with the hope of building up a single, unified ecclesial identity in America. The CELAM offices in Bogotá will also provide us with potential partnerships.”

Father Jenkins said this agreement fits with Notre Dame’s long-standing commitment to international engagement. “We believe that the world has much to offer Notre Dame, and that Notre Dame has much it can offer the world,” he said. “This partnership with the bishops of Latin America is one outgrowth of this conviction. ... Notre Dame’s identity as a Catholic university strengthens our commitment to internationalization.”

Pisa agreed that CELAM has much that it can teach Notre Dame, including allowing its faculty and students to learn about the theology of the Church in Latin America, as well as to see what CELAM and its member conferences are doing to address problems such as poverty and violence.

Holy Cross Father William Lies, vice president for mission engagement and Church affairs at Notre Dame, agreed.

“Since the middle of the 20th century, CELAM has been prophetic in its calls for peace, justice and evangelization,” he said. “Notre Dame is grateful for the opportunity to learn from the Church in Latin America’s experience, and [we are] hopeful that our faculty and students can contribute to the vibrancy of the Church there and across the globe.”

Part of the value of the agreement will come not with specific projects, but the opportunity to create ongoing relationships, Casarella said.

“While the agreement focuses on the areas of academics, social development, peace-building and institutional administration, it also creates a structure for regular communication and conversation between Notre Dame and CELAM in hopes of finding mutually beneficial ways to collaborate,” he said. “By formalizing a relationship which was already quite strong, we ensure that these two institutions will work together well into the future to address important issues of pastoral and social concern.”

Catholics in Latin America 

  • 425 million Catholics live in Latin America — by far the most in any region in the world.
  • 39% of the world’s Catholics live in the countries that make up Latin America.
  • 69% of the region’s adults identify as Catholic.
  • 84% of Latin America’s adults say they were raised Catholic.

Source: Pew Research Center


Catholic Education Daily Articles - Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s Father Jenkins Joins with Divisive Journalist for Conference on Polarization
The University of Notre Dame has invited divisive journalist Michael Sean Winters to serve on a panel with Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., speaking about—of all things—polarization among Catholics in America.

Winters is a columnist for the heterodox National Catholic Reporter, which its local bishop declared to have no legitimate claim to its “Catholic” label. By his caustic attacks on bishops and lay Catholics, Winters has encouraged divisions between his readers and those who are faithful to the Church.

Winters will join Fr. Jenkins, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, and two academics for a panel headlining the April 27 and 28 conference at Notre Dame, “Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal.” The panelists will address the question, “How can we heal the division and reestablish the virtues of solidarity, love and humility at the heart of the Christian message?”

“Notre Dame has made a strikingly poor choice of Michael Sean Winters as a panelist alongside Father Jenkins,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society. “Winters’ publication features prominent dissidents and works against Christian unity, and he has used his own columns to attack the Church’s most loyal sons and daughters.”

Prominent CEO Carolyn Woo Speaks Out for Faithful Catholic Education
“When salt loses its flavor, what does it become?”

That’s the question that Dr. Carolyn Woo asks of Catholic colleges, echoing Christ’s warning to believers who allow their faith to become stale. Woo isn’t one of them. Recently, she has had all the zeal of an apostle for faithful Catholic education.

The accomplished educator and nonprofit leader took to the pages of America magazine a few weeks ago to urge the University of Notre Dame to retain its theology requirements for undergraduates, which may be threatened by proposals under consideration as part of the University’s 10-year curriculum review.

“To form leaders of faith, to be the places where the Church does her thinking, to fight against the caricature of God proposed by our secular culture, Catholic universities must offer more than ‘Theology Lite,’” Woo wrote. “In all the efforts to define learning goals for a Catholic university, how about ‘to know God’ as a starter?”
Indiana Protects Religious Freedom, but Does Notre Dame Want the Protection?
A new law recently passed in Indiana could serve as legal protection for the University of Notre Dame if it chooses to reverse its policy of providing employee benefits to same-sex spouses, but it remains unclear whether such a reversal will occur.
Notre Dame’s Compromised Legacy on Life Issues Depends on Faculty, Alumni Say
The University of Notre Dame has had a more-than complicated history with right-to-life issues. The pro-Catholic identity alumni group Sycamore Trust recently observed that the University’s pro-life character depends on ensuring a majority of pro-life faculty on campus, but studies have shown minimal support for the issue among professors.
Notre Dame to Host Former Irish President as Visiting Scholar despite Dissent
As previously reported by The Cardinal Newman Society, while claiming to be Catholic McAleese has suggested that the Church is "in denial over homosexuality" and criticized the Church regarding its teaching on homosexuality and homosexual acts.
Notre Dame Professor Wants Church to Rewrite Teaching on Sexuality and Marriage
The Catholic Church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage is “philosophically untenable and theologically unnecessary,” according to Gary Gutting. The Notre Dame philosophy professor is recommending that the Church abandon its teachings on marriage and human sexuality.
Notre Dame Professor Continues to Criticize Pope Francis, Undermine Church Teaching
Candida Moss, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, recently criticized Pope Francis for calling attention to the destructive potential of “gender theory.” Moss alleged that the Holy Father “consistently sells women down the river.”
Supreme Court Tells Lower Court to Reconsider Notre Dame HHS Mandate Case
Momentum is on the side of religious organizations against the HHS mandate, Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is arguing, in light of the latest U.S. Supreme Court move directing a lower court to reconsider its ruling against the University of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame Hosts Politicians Opposed to Catholic Teaching at Fr. Hesburgh Tribute
The University of Notre Dame invited several politicians to a recent event commemorating the late Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh’s contributions to the University. Unfortunately, several of the politicians have taken public stances opposed to Catholic teaching.
Notre Dame Launches Online Theology Program for Hispanic Catholics
Esther Terry, the program director for Camino, stated in the release that the program’s ultimate goal is to use technology and social communications "to walk with others and lead to an encounter in Christ."
Professor Charles Rice, Who ‘Epitomized All That Is Best’ at Notre Dame, Passes Away
Dr. Charles Rice, emeritus law professor at the University of Notre Dame, passed away on February 25, The Cardinal Newman Society learned in correspondence with law school faculty. Rice impacted many lives and contributed greatly to Notre Dame’s Catholic identity.
Marriage Benefits for Same-Sex Couples Morally Indefensible, Argue Notre Dame Faculty
The recent expansion of employee marriage benefits to same-sex couples at the University of Notre Dame and other Catholic colleges is indefensible and severely compromises the responsibility to provide moral formation to students, argued three Notre Dame professors.
Notre Dame Scandals under Fr. Jenkins Are Rooted in Diminished Catholic Faculty, Alumni Say
Notre Dame alumni spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society to share their reflections on how the University has damaged its Catholic identity and how it can pave a way forward by facilitating an increase in faithful Catholic faculty.
Authentic Masculinity, Femininity in Focus at 10th Annual Edith Stein Conf. at Notre Dame
The project's mission is to address "various issues of gender, sexuality, and human dignity by exploring what it means to be authentic women and men," according to the website.
Notre Dame Trustees Elect Fr. Jenkins to Third Term as President despite Catholic Identity Concerns
The University of Notre Dame recently announced that Father John Jenkins, C.S.C. has been elected by the Board of Trustees to serve a third five-year term as president of the University, despite the many instances of Catholic identity abuse that have occurred during his tenure.
Notre Dame Grads Offer LGBTQ Scholarship, Ask Students about Activism Experience
The two recipients of the new scholarship will receive $2,500 from GALA, but must "identify within the LGBTQ community," according to the scholarship application which can be downloaded from the GALA website.
New Club Seeks to Unite Students in Faith at Three Indiana Catholic Colleges
A new club created by students from Saint Mary’s College in Indiana is seeking to foster a Catholic “tri-campus friendship” by linking students at Saint Mary’s, the University of Notre Dame, and Holy Cross College through Catholic faith support and fellowship.
Faculty Concerns Mount for Notre Dame’s Catholic Curriculum
Several faculty members expressed their concern to the National Catholic Register that theology courses at Notre Dame would not be given priority during the review.
Notre Dame Students Attend 2015 March for Life
Approximately 700 students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the University of Notre Dame are participating in the 42nd annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., today, according to a University news release.
Notre Dame Should Have Canceled ‘White Privilege’ Course, Says Prominent Alumnus
The University of Notre Dame’s spring semester course preparing students for a “white privilege conference”—which features speakers opposed to Church teaching—should have been called off, said William Dempsey, chairman of the Sycamore Trust.
Thanks to Notre Dame, Mario Cuomo’s Speech Became ‘Holy Writ’ for Pro-Choice Catholics
The University of Notre Dame helped to damage the pro-life cause and also provided a valuable resource to pro-abortion Catholics when it hosted late New York governor Mario Cuomo for his infamous speech more than thirty years ago, said William Dempsey, chairman of the Sycamore Trust.
Concerns Remain about Notre Dame ‘Crossroads’ Project, Impact on Catholic Mission
The $400 million project includes the construction of three additional buildings as expansions to the University's football stadium, which some argue is a materialistic detraction from the University's Catholic mission.


Will Notre Dame Continue to Betray its Catholic Identity?

Indiana has shown that it values religious freedom. The University of Notre Dame has a moral obligation to embrace it.

On Thursday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which says that government may not “substantially burden” religious exercise, except when using the “least restrictive means” of advancing a “compelling government interest.”

It’s similar to the federal law with the same name, which has been cited in a number of federal court cases involving religious freedom. The federal RFRA was central to last year’s Hobby Lobby ruling, in which the Supreme Court exempted certain private companies from the Obama administration’s requirement that employee health plans must cover sterilization and contraceptives, including some that cause early abortions.

Church leaders and attorneys also hope that RFRA will protect faith-based employers from any overreach resulting from laws redefining marriage, particularly attempts to require spousal benefits for same-sex couples even when it violates the employer’s deeply held beliefs. The results of RFRA claims in such cases are far from certain, but RFRA gives religious freedom a fighting chance.

There’s one catch: the federal RFRA applies to laws, regulations and actions of the federal government but not the states, where marriage is being redefined. So 19 states, now including Indiana, have passed state-level RFRA laws to place proper limits on the authority of state and local governments.

But last October, when a federal appeals court in Chicago struck down the state’s law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, there was no state RFRA protecting Indiana’s religious employers. The University of Notre Dame quickly offered spousal benefits to same-sex couples, insisting that it agrees with Catholic teaching in support of traditional marriage, but nevertheless claiming that it must comply with “relevant civil law.”

Of course, it was never quite clear what “relevant civil law” Notre Dame was referring to. As South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades pointed out in his public statement lamenting Notre Dame’s decision, there has been no clear indication that Indiana will force religious institutions to change their employee benefits in violation of their own beliefs.

What is clear, Bishop Rhoades suggested, is Notre Dame’s obligation as a leading Catholic institution to oppose laws that violate religious freedom—especially when that freedom “is threatened in potentially numerous ways by the legal redefinition of marriage.”

Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) said it clearly while doctrinal chief for the Vatican: “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”

But Notre Dame chose not to exercise that right. Five months later, Notre Dame has done nothing to assert its Catholic identity over an unjust law, whether real or perceived.



The Mind of Father Jenkins


I am not personally acquainted with the Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., the current president at the University of Notre Dame (where I was a graduate student in philosophy nearly a half-century ago). Not possessing an intimate knowledge of the workings of his mind, I can only speculate as to what he was thinking when he invited President Barack Obama to give the 2009 commencement address at his school.

But if I don’t know Father Jenkins as an individual, I know him as a type — or rather, as two types: He is a post-Second Vatican Council priest (post-VC), and he is one of the leaders — along with bishops and the heads of other important Catholic colleges and universities — of the Catholic Church in the United States.

Let’s begin with Type No. 1, post-VC priests. One of the marks of the typical post-VC priest is that he has always been determined not to make the mistakes made by pre-Vatican II (pre-VC) priests. The simplest way to accomplish this is for the post-VC priest to do the opposite of what the pre-VC priest would have done. If the old-school priest would sermonize often about human sinfulness and rarely about Divine Love, the new-school priest would do the reverse. If the old-school priest was preoccupied with the evil of sexual sin, the new-school priest would give the impression that he didn’t really mind sexual sin at all; he had more serious things to think about, such as the equal rights of women in the Church.

One of the great failings of pre-VC priests and bishops was their sympathy with right-wing regimes in Europe. “Communism is the great enemy of the Church, and right-wing regimes are anti-Communist; therefore we churchmen should endorse, or at least not oppose, right-wing regimes” — that was the logic found all too often in the minds of pre-VC priests and bishops. In Germany, official Catholic opposition to the Hitler regime ranged from very mild to nonexistent. (The emphatic denunciation of the regime by Pope Pius XI in his letter “Mit Brennender Sorge” did not create much of an echo in Germany.) In Spain, and indeed throughout the Catholic world, the leaders of the Church regarded General Franco as a great Christian hero — if not a new St. Louis then at least a new Charlemagne. (There were some honorable exceptions to this generalized applause for Franco: Jacques Maritain in France and Commonwealmagazine in the United States, among others.) The attitude of Catholic leadership was close to being this: “No enemies to the right.”

Now, the easiest way of avoiding this “no enemies to the right” mentality is to adopt a “no enemies to the left” mentality. I suspect that Father Jenkins, along with many other post-VC priests and bishops, has done something very much like this. President Obama is a man of the left. That is to say, he favors national health care; he’s against poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, and global warming; he disapproves of American “arrogance” in world affairs; he thinks the United States should rely more on diplomacy and less on military force; he wants to see more electric autos on the road; he wants us all to reduce our carbon footprint; he wants to put more money into public schools, etc. According to a typical post-VC priest, any politician who favors all these excellent things must be fundamentally okay. And if he happens to support public policies that facilitate the killing of more than a million unborn human beings per year, well, nobody’s perfect. Despite being a Protestant, President Obama has a “good Catholic” grade of at least an A-minus. Shall we keep him out of Notre Dame because he happens not to have an A-plus.

But Father Jenkins is not simply a post-VC priest. He is also, as the head of America’s most famous Catholic university, Type No. 2: one of the leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States. In general, the leaders of the Church have never understood the historical significance of the abortion-rights movement (and this can be said of the gay-marriage movement as well). What the abortion-rights movement wants is not simply the right to kill millions of unborn babies; what it also wants is the utter destruction of Christianity.


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