How dare you, how dare you point out the elephant in the room!
Stephen A. Privett, S.J. is upset. Privett is the president of the University of San Francisco and he has a bone to pick with George Weigel. A few weeks ago Weigel wrote a column entitled “Some Questions for Father General” In the column, published in the Denver diocesan newspaper, he asked some basic questions of the Jesuits who were then in the middle of the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus (GC 35).
Weigel asked some very basic questions of asked the new Jesuit Superior, Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., although they may be questions that an alarming number of Jesuits might not like to answer publicly. They questions surrounded four key areas:
[Deal Hudson]Jesuit obedience, the Catholic identity of Jesuit educational institutions, the Jesuit attitude toward the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, and the order’s theological commitment to the “unique salvific role of Jesus Christ.”
Anyone even superficially familiar with the history of the Catholic Church since Vatican II would not be surprised by these questions. The issues of Jesuit obedience and Catholic identity were raised by the secular media in its coverage of the recent election of the new Father General.
In other words, duh!
Privett said that Weigels column represented “a mean-spirited assault on a religious order that has served the Church, not perfectly but well, for almost 500 years,” You know when they call it a “mean spirited attack” you can bet dollars to donuts it hits home. In particular, Privett accuses Weigel of making unfounded allegations about two Jesuits in particular, Rev. James Keenan, S.J., and the late Rev. Robert Drinan S.J. is to deny the obvious, which is to say, lie. Hudson gives us the skinny.
I’m sure that Weigel would be surprised to hear that he needed to document the career of Father Drinan, whom I call in my recent book the “Jesuit priest who invented the pro-abortion Catholic politician.”
Perhaps Father Privett needs to be reminded that, after being elected to Congress in 1970, Father Drinan wrote in support of Roe v. Wade and Clinton’s veto of the ban against partial-birth abortion. After being forced by John Paul II to leave Congress in 1981, Father Drinan continued as a pro-abortion lobbyist both within the Democratic Party and as head of Americans for Democratic Action.
Father Privett also takes issue with Weigel’s description of Father Keenan’s highly publicized testimony before the Massachusetts legislature in support of homosexual marriage. Father Keenan’s argument, according to Weigel, was ” that the principles of Catholic social doctrine did not merely tolerate ‘gay marriage,’ they demanded it.”
But again, Father Privett objects: “He did not do so. Father Keenan testified against unjust discrimination against gay couples. He did not testify in support of gay marriage or approve homosexual activity.”
What Father Privett does not make clear is that Father Keenan, a moral theologian at Boston College, argued for gay marriage on the basis of homosexuals’ possessing a “right” to be married. Weigel is correct.
I find this new trend of Jesuits, and particular the Jesuit leadership, trying to deny that there is any issue between the Jesuits and the Church rather amusing. It is reminiscent of John McCain’s current pitch to conservatives regardless of all the evidence to the contrary. “What? Me? I have been with you guys the whole time! I’m one of you. Let’s close those borders!”
I’m not buying that one either.