"Anti-Gay" Speech?

(Cardinal Arinze Commencement Address at Georgetown University)

Welcome to Georgetown

CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter

March 29, 2003


Dear Friend,
Well, I've now written you two days in a row. Don't worry -- that won't normally happen. I don't like getting flooded with email any more than you do.

But I did want to write and tell you about a controversial talk given recently by a Catholic prelate.

Now I know what you're thinking -- just two weeks ago I told you about a priest, Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J., who made a presentation on "Catholic values" where he stood in support of laws endorsing same-sex marriage.

Well, the speech I want to tell you about today was quite different.

Francis Cardinal Arinze, Nigerian prelate and president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, gave the commencement address at Georgetown University's recent graduation ceremony. University dean Jane McAuliffe asked the cardinal to speak on Christian-Muslim relations, but the cardinal chose another focus for his address.

And his choice caused a firestorm.

Later, many professors voiced their outrage over Arinze's speech. A letter protesting the address was signed by 70 faculty members and sent to McAuliffe a few days later. One professor even left the stage where Arinze was speaking. Another professor (and priest) took it upon himself to apologize "on behalf of Catholics" for the cardinal's "insensitive remarks" which the professor said were "un-Christian." Still another professor said the presentation was "wildly inappropriate."

So what exactly did Arinze say?

Here's the offending passage: "In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce."

Now we all know that Georgetown claims to be Catholic while ignoring the Church's full moral teachings. Nevertheless, I can't help but be bowled over when I read stories like this. Here's a great leader for the Church, the kind of man that we've all been praying for in the wake of scandals where many American bishops have remained fearfully silent. Finally, a Cardinal we can respect for proclaiming the truth.

And all the Georgetown elite can do is cry, "Insensitivity!" while they scurry to strike his comments from the record. Their priorities couldn't be more obvious.

Well, there's no arguing with some people. If the professors at Georgetown believe that Arinze's comments are "un-Christian," rather than the heart of true Christian charity, there isn't much anyone can say to dissuade them. Most of them turned their backs on Christianity long ago.

I hope that the good Cardinal Arinze will continue to speak so fervently on behalf of life. And perhaps some of the graduates there that day took away a different message from Arinze's speech than did their professors...one that rejoices in their Catholic heritage and a true respect for life.

And that is by far the most important lesson they could have learned. Especially at a place like Georgetown.

Talk to you next week,


P.S. Remember that special e-report I told you about a few months ago called "12 Questions Every Catholic Should Be Able To Answer"? Well, it's almost done and I'll be sending it to you early next week. I think you'll like it.

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