Jesuit: The Withering of the Catholic Soul at Georgetown
Robert John Araujo, SJ, a graduate of Georgetown University, writes a very powerful piece at the Mirror of Justice blog, saying that the time is running short before the Jesuit university will have completely separated itself from the Catholic Church.
Clearly, Georgetown’s invitation to pro-abortion rights HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at a commencement ceremony was the impetus for the piece, but that is only a jumping off point. The Sebelius invitation is only the latest evidence of a carelessness with the university’s Catholic identity. The piece was clearly difficult for Fr. Araujo to write, as he recalls his “fond memories” of his alma mater from almost fifty years ago. But he admits, “ I don’t think I would have the same experience today if I were matriculating in the present day.”
Fr. Araujo writes forcefully about Georgetown’s future and the university’s relationship with the Church:
During Eastertide, we recall the teaching of Jesus Christ in his farewell discourse that he is the vine and we are the branches. Our Lord builds upon this theme by reminding his disciples that the branches which do not bear fruit but wither are collected and burned. John 15:1-11. But before the withered branches are removed for incineration, they are pruned in a good-faith effort to revive them. This is the imagery which I think Archbishop Michael Miller had in mind when he spoke at Notre Dame in 2005 (and then later, Boston College in 2006) and used the image of “evangelical pruning” that necessitate positive institutional changes by an educational institution if it is to remain faithful to the institution’s Catholic mission and identity [here]. However, if the pruning is unable to remedy the problems, it is reasonable to conclude that the institution is not an asset but an obstacle to the Church’s mission of education where the faith and reason are complementary and essential partners.
Fr. Araujo writes that he fears “much will be lost” if this, the oldest Catholic university in the United States, takes that final step and severs itself from the Vine of Christ. But notice he says that it’s Georgetown that is taking that step. It’s Georgetown that is separating itself from the Church, not the bishops, not even the cardinals or the Vatican. It’s up to Georgetown whether the university wants to be Catholic or not.
“The evidence of the withering of the Catholic soul has grown during the passage of time. I cannot say if there is still time for Georgetown, and other schools pursuing the same path, to self-prune, but I pray for this,” he writes. “Being an optimist, I want to say there may well be a final opportunity, but the time is growing short, very short, for this to happen.”
You can read Fr. Araujo’s entire piece here: mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2012/05/apostolic-apathy.html