Mayhem in Massachusetts

Eamonn Clark, STL

I really, really want to be on the side of Bishop McManus, due to the obviously righteous intention he has. But I am not convinced what he did was legal.

The Nativity School, a Jesuit-run middle school in Worcester, Massachusetts, has been (and still is) flying a “gay pride” flag and a “Black Lives Matter” flag in front of the school building. The problems, as stated by the Bishop, are serious and evident. So, Bishop McManus has issued a decree revoking the right of the school to call itself “Catholic,” along with some connected matters. It has been lighting up the world of Catholic news.

But the Jesuits are a religious order of pontifical right. They have public juridic personality, and not from the local bishop. While they need the local bishop’s permission to found a school, it is unclear that the local bishop can revoke a school’s Catholic identity when run by such an organization. In fact, it seems clearly to be the opposite. The late Cardinal Grochelowski agrees, in a speech given at Fordham in 2008, wherein he stated: “I should like to note that religious institutes too, which are public ecclesiastical persons (I am referring to the second case), need the consent of the diocesan bishop to found a school (can. 801); however, in such a case, the consent regards only the possibility of having a school, and not that it be Catholic. In fact, a school, if directed by a public ecclesiastical juridic person, can only be Catholic. Public juridic persons, according to the norm of can. 116 § 1, fulfill their mission ‘in the name of the Church’: therefore, all the activities they carry out have to have such a dimension.”

For the canonically minded among my readers – any hot takes? Law matters. Processes matter. Rights matter… even when those rights are being misused. Just imagine were things reversed, with some conservative school run by a traditionalist-leaning order having the rug pulled out from underneath for NOT flying such flags… or some such silliness.

Prayers for all involved – most of all, for those who seek to make cheap use of ridiculous virtue-signals laden with values antithetical to Christian morals to the effect of much scandal, that they may see the light and repent, that their souls may be saved on the Last Day.

3 thoughts on “Mayhem in Massachusetts

  1. I’m reminded of St. Thomas Moore as quoted from the film “A man for all seasons”.

    Roper: “So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!”

    Sir Thomas More: “Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

    “Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!”

    “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

    It is important to fight evil wherever it is found, but it is also important to fight evil the right way. Evil can triumph over good with mere technicalities, and it is important to show that Good is not willing to become evil to fight it.

    We must fight evil the right way–even if we have very little hope of winning. The witness of the fight, and the witness of fighting the right way–can convert souls. Otherwise we give people more reasons to shriek “hypocrisy” and suppose that that invalidates the Truth of the Church.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a college educated Catholic woman whom God has allowed to be faithful for all my life. I don’t know the “law” but I know the bishop has responsibilities that I don’t have. But to see a Jesuit school supporting what parents are trying to protect their children from is a scandal.

    Liked by 1 person

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