Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Moral Muddle at Georgetown

For years I have had the special burden of knowing that I wrote a book on the dust jacket of which there appeared a glowing endorsement by Fr. Robert F. Drinan, SJ. Fr. Drinan has been the New York Times step-and-fetch-it Catholic dissident for decades. He was a Massachusetts congressman for ten long years, until he was ordered to resign by John Paul II. During his time as a congressman and since he has served as an always reliable “Catholic” proponent of abortion and just about every other feature of the libidinous-Left agenda.

Admittedly, at the time I wrote the book I had not entirely cleared my head of the (illiberal) "liberal" pieties which hung like a fog in the air, but even then I found the Drinan kudos embarrassing. Though the endorsement was replaced on the paperback edition by ones from slightly less aggressive dissidents, the fact that Fr. Drinan found the book to his liking (had he read it more carefully, he wouldn’t have) is symptomatic of the sundry reasons I don’t much mention the book in public any more. It was written to argue for the great value of the work of RenĂ© Girard and, in passing, to persuade secular liberals that their best ethical principles derive from the Gospel and that their worst ethical blunders derive from their refusal to take the Gospel seriously. If the dust-jacket endorsements are any indication, the book failed in this latter effort even if it succeeded in the former one. I’m pained to say that. Why do I bother to say it?

Well, because at a ceremony on October 23rd, Georgetown University Dean T. Alexander Aleinikoff announced the establishment of the Robert F. Drinan, SJ, Chair in Human Rights. Fr. Drinan has argued persistently and forcefully against the banning of partial-birth abortion, and he has taken the most un-Catholic position on the central moral issue of our time. For decades he has fought against the legal recognition of the "human rights" of millions of innocent children who have been killed in the wombs of their mothers. He is the incarnation of the crisis in American Catholicism, an insult to the Church he was ordained to serve and a special scandal to the Jesuit order, which can find no honor too lofty to confer upon him.

Now that the aging figures that have so betrayed the Church and so contributed to the moral confusion of the last two or three generations of Catholics are reaching the age when perfunctory honors are bestowed, we had better prepare ourselves for more of this. But this move by a Jesuit university that was once Catholic in more than name only, is as mind-boggling as it is deeply disheartening.

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