Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bishop D'Arcy Shreds the ND "canon law" Response

Note how His Excellency's riposte is a fairly straight-forward and objective bit of thinking. Then contrast it to the bankrupt excuses that Fr. Jenkins provided. The focus here is on the 2004 USCCB statement and why it allegedly doesn't apply to the Obama invitation. And for those who wonder why Bishop D'Arcy is bringing it up, it's his job to do so.

Since the matter is now public, it is my duty as the bishop of this diocese to respond and correct. I take up this responsibility with some sadness, but also with the conviction that if I did not do so, I would be remiss in my pastoral responsibility.

So away we go . . .

When there is a doubt concerning the meaning of a document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, where does one find the authentic interpretation? A fundamental, canonical and theological principal states that it is found in the local bishop, who is the teacher and law-giver in his diocese. (Cannon 330, 375 §§ 1 & 2; 380; 381 § 1; 391 § 1; 392, & 394 §1)

I informed Father Jenkins that if there was any genuine questions or doubt about the meaning of the relevant sentence in the Conference’s document, any competent canonist with knowledge of the tradition and love for Christ’s Church had the responsibility to inform Father Jenkins of the fundamental principle that the diocesan bishop alone bears the responsibility to provide an authoritative interpretation.

Anybody have any luck getting a list of those canon lawyers that were consulted? Anybody? Bueller?

I reminded Father Jenkins that he indicated that he consulted presidents of other Catholic universities, and at least indirectly, consulted other bishops, since he asked those presidents to share with him those judgments of their own bishops. However, he chose not to consult his own bishop who, as I made clear, is the teacher and law-giver in his own diocese. I reminded Father Jenkins that I was not informed of the invitation until after it was accepted by the President. I mentioned again that it is at the heart of the diocesan bishop’s pastoral responsibility to teach as revealed in Sacred Scripture and the Tradition. (Lumen Gentium, 20; & Christus Dominus, 2) I reminded him that it is also central to the University’s relationship to the Church. (Ex corde ecclesiae, 27 & 28; Gen. Norm., Art. 5, §§ 1-3.)

This puts a pretty bad shine on Jenkins's character. It smacks of cowardice.

Father Jenkins declared the invitation to President Obama does not “suggest support” for his actions, because he has expressed and continues to express disagreement with him on issues surrounding protection of life. I wrote that the outpouring of hundreds of thousands who are shocked by the invitation clearly demonstrates, that this invitation has, in fact, scandalized many Catholics and other people of goodwill. In my office alone, there have been over 3,300 messages of shock, dismay and outrage, and they are still coming in. It seems that the action in itself speaks so loudly that people have not been able to hear the words of Father Jenkins, and indeed, the action has suggested approval to many.

It's ok. Fr. Jenkins said that it didn't, so that means it must be true. If we've seen anything from this episode, it's that appears to be the driving force in his personality. Which is why this next bit is not going to happen:

In my letter, I have also asked Father Jenkins to correct, and if possible, withdraw the erroneous talking points, which appeared in the South Bend Tribune and in other media outlets across the country. The statements which Father Jenkins has made are simply wrong and give a flawed justification for his actions.

I'd be very interested to see ND's engagement of His Excellency's points here if I thought there was any chance they'd try to offer some. I'm betting ND has reached the "cut bait" level here and nothing else will be said. Including anything to publicly challenge President Obama.

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