Tag Archives: Secular

Beware the brainwashing at Secular U

“Oh, it’s okay, he’s grounded in his faith. And besides, he signed up for a religion course!” 

I heard that reassurance from parents at my parish regarding their son, a solid Catholic kid being shipped off to Secular U. one autumn. I warned them about our universities, pleading that they send him to a serious Catholic college. 

When I asked around Thanksgiving how his college experience was going, they groaned. After listening to their litany about his thorough indoctrination on sexuality and gender, I asked how the “religion” course was going

“It’s awful!” they shouted. “It’s taught by an atheist!”

 Of course, it is. Who did they expect, Thomas Aquinas? 

I could go on and on.

A tearful Catholic mom told me about her six children: all products of Catholic schools, youth groups, and even one “Catholic” college (she put “Catholic” in quotes). All now vigorously support everything from Planned Parenthood to same-sex “marriage” to Facebook’s 71 gender options. “Much worse,” she added, “is that they’re all six clearly anti-Christian.” She notes the conventional wisdom that “things will change” as they get older and have kids. Hasn’t happened. 

She explained in a word where this permanent rebellion occurred: college.

 I could list those six colleges here, but there’s no point. They’re representative of any 600 or 6,000 colleges taking down the culture. If you’re not sending your children to a real Catholic/ Christian college, then you’re risking their souls. And paying for it. 

History’s worst radicals long looked to the universities to sow discord and implant destructive ideas.

“Give me four years to teach the children,” asserted Vladimir Lenin, “and the seed I have sown shall never be uprooted.”

The atheist philosopher/educator Richard Rorty candidly stated that the job of professors like him is “to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own” and “escape the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents.” Rorty’s message to parents: “We are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable.” 

What a testimony to our universities, where impressionable freshmen are putty in the hands of fundamental transformers who teach them to redefine everything from unborn life to marriage to family to sexual orientation to gender. Those who resist are “bigots” who—in the name of “tolerance”—must not be tolerated.

Tragically, if these professors fail to get hold of these young minds in the K-12 years, they eventually get them in the universities, where the parents pay huge fees for a re-education completely contrary to what they inculcated at home for 18 years. Modern universities are hotbeds for courses like “Queer Citizenship” and “Exploring Homophobia” within programs like (to name just one) the University of Maryland’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies Program.

And it isn’t merely cultural extremism that students learn. I’m often asked where the sudden support of socialism among youth comes from. The answer is obvious: education, especially at the university level.

What’s the antidote to this? There’s no easy fix. The vast majority of Americans (Catholics included) will funnel their children into these universities, seduced by prestigious names or scholarships that, nonetheless, can do serious soul damage. But you can at least address your own family.

For recommended real Catholic colleges, see the crucial lists published by the National Catholic Register and Cardinal Newman Society. Think carefully. Ask hard questions. Do research. Don’t be duped by admissions people who insist their college isn’t hostile to your values.

This is serious business. The souls of your children are at stake. 

PAUL KENGOR is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, PA. He is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century

Catholic medicine’s prophetic witness — strong prescription for secular Christianity

One of the greatest challenges of our age is what Thomistic scholar Servais Pinckaers called “secular Christianity.” In The Sources of Christian Ethics, he defines it as “the temptation to adapt to the world and its spirit in the name of sharing its values and hopes.” This is a major threat to Catholic health care. Industry standards, market consolidation, government regulations, financial realities, and medical standards apply serious pressures. Medical associations and public policies misappropriate “dignity,” “rights,” and “treatment” to encourage, demand, and even coerce participation in immoral practices like abortion, sterilization, contraception, “sex reassignment,” and physician assisted suicide. In an effort to keep Catholic ministries going in our pluralistic society, “common values” with non-Catholic entities are quickly emphasized. It becomes easy to conflate the fundamentally Christian notion of dignity with damaging secular doppelgangers.

The integrity, vibrancy, and distinctiveness of the Catholic faith as expressed in health care ministries are paramount. In its 2014 guidelines on collaboration, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted that Saints Cosmas and Damian, physicians martyred because of their faith-driven manner of caring for the sick, are examples of the prophetic witness and evangelical spirit that should suffuse Catholic health care. This goes beyond experts identifying the technicalities of what “could be legitimate” or “hasn’t been explicitly condemned by the Magisterium.” It means refocusing on the Church’s primary mission and supreme law: salus animarum, the salvation of souls. With this goal, then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s words to his brother bishops in 1984 ring true: “morality requires not the specialist, but the witness.

The importance of witness is reflected in updates to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, released last year in its sixth edition by the bishops of the United States. Part Six, dealing with affiliations between Catholic and non-Catholic health care organizations, now repeatedly calls on Catholic health care leaders to consider how their decisions impact efficacious witness. For example, it must be determined whether any alignment with a non-Catholic organization, no matter how promising, “will risk undermining the institution’s ability to fulfill its mission of providing health care as a witness to the Catholic faith.” This is not a simple box to check. It demands careful consideration of the spiritual goods at stake for patients, staff, local communities, and the Church.

What are some ways Catholic health care could give prophetic witness with a view to the salvation of souls? Standards incompatible with the Christian understanding of human dignity— now encountered more frequently—must be identified and firmly rejected as harmful, physically and spiritually, to patients and society. Sound alternatives to immoral practices must be sought and promoted, along with the providers who offer them. A notable example would be fertility awareness-based methods for avoiding or achieving pregnancy, rather than contraception or in vitro fertilization. Education and resources for staff, patients, and the community should be offered, including moral and spiritual concepts. The depersonalization of care delivery—for both doctors and patients— should be minimized. Social and political influence must be directed to protecting providers and patients from unjust policies, while advancing ones that enable the Catholic vision to flourish in health care.

We are living in a challenging time for the Church and for U.S. health care, but also an exciting time. Change is happening. If Catholic health care aims to merely get along with common values, it will end up conforming to this age: the salt will lose its flavor. If it heeds the call to witness, it can help transform society according to the law of the Christ, the Divine Healer.

JOHN A. DI CAMILLO, PH.D., BE.L., is a staff ethicist at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. He earned his bioethics doctorate and licentiate degrees at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He lives in Lancaster County, PA, with his wife Serena and their five children.