Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is Clark University really committed to free thought?

Just recently, Pope Benedict XVI said that, "It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church's public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres."  One of those grave threats is discussed here.

Cardinal George Pell of Australia has correctly noted that, "Some secularists seem to like one way streets..Their intolerance of Christianity seeks to drive it out not only from the public square, but even from the provision of education, health care and welfare services to the wider community. Tolerance has come to mean different things for different groups." See here.

Indeed. And this intolerance of tolerance is in evidence at Clark University in Worcester.  At its website, we read that:

"Clark students

•Are passionate about ideas, causes and events beyond themselves.

•Embrace issues and take action.

•Approach life with open minds and a global perspective."  See here.

And yet, because I questioned the research findings of one of Clark University's professors, Dr. Abbie Goldberg (see here), one of the university's approved student groups - the Clark "Freethought" Society, posted my photo with the following commentary from Clark Student Brian Seitzman: "He's a delusional nutter who spends a lot of time posting photos of aborted fetuses on FB [Facebook]*...He also appears to have some major persecution fantasies...In short, the guy's pretty much of an ass.... but you'd likely figured that much out already."  Apparently Mr. Seitzman would consider Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Pell - not to mention a growing number of the Church's hierarchy - to be "delusonal nutters" who suffer from "persecution fantasies."

Pope John Paul II reminded us in Centesimus Annus that, "Authentic democracy is possible only in a State ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person. It requires that the necessary conditions be present for the advancement both of the individual through education and formation in true ideals, and of the 'subjectivity' of society through the creation of structures of participation and shared responsibility. Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and sceptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life. Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends. It must be observed in this regard that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism."

Authentic Christians have always and everywhere accepted a "healthy pluralism." At the same time, such Christians have also understood that they have an obligation to acknowledge their beliefs and to preach the moral message given to them by the Lord Jesus. The follower of the Lord Jesus possesses a qualified certainty regarding the tenets of Natural Law and other truths which are revealed by God and help guide the conduct of man. Consequently, the authentic Christian understands that Christian ethical principles inform human society. Secular Humanists and those committed toward advancing the radical homosexual agenda have their own agenda and will do everything in their power to censor the Christian view.

The authentic Christian [or any person of good will] will reject the sophism of those who declare that anyone who does not buy into the Dictatorship of Relativism (a pluralism of opinions which rejects any and all absolute truth or even its possibility) is a "fanatic" or a "fundamentalist." On the contrary, such people will defend the truth in a positive manner. And while respecting persons and living out charity, they will proclaim the truth without fear.

This is the mind of Christ. As Pope John Paul II taught us in his Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, No. 95:

"The Church's teaching, and in particular her firmness in defending the universal and permanent validity of the precepts prohibiting intrinsically evil acts, is not infrequently seen as the sign of an intolerable intransigence, particularly with regard to the enormously complex and conflict-filled situations present in the moral life of individuals and of society today; this intransigence is said to be in contrast with the Church's motherhood. The Church, one hears, is lacking in understanding and compassion. But the Church's motherhood can never in fact be separated from her teaching mission, which she must always carry out as the faithful Bride of Christ, who is the Truth in person. As Teacher, she never tires of proclaiming the moral norm... The Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm. In obedience to the truth which is Christ, whose image is reflected in the nature and dignity of the human person, the Church interprets the moral norm and proposes it to all people of good will, without concealing its demands of radicalness and perfection...

In fact, genuine understanding and compassion must mean love for the person, for his true good, for his authentic freedom. And this does not result, certainly, from concealing or weakening moral truth, but rather from proposing it in its most profound meaning as an outpouring of God's eternal Wisdom, which we have received in Christ, and as a service to man, to the growth of his freedom and to the attainment of his happiness."

Clark University's "Freethought" Society has one post after another on Facebook ridiculing religious belief (especially Christianity) and has numerous links to radical secularist groups which seek to drive Christianity out of the political and cultural spheres and to relegate it to the margins of society.  In short, far from encouraging authentic dialogue and a healthy pluralism, the university-approved student group apparently has the sole purpose of demonizing any and all religious expression.

Free thought?  Or slavery to what Pope Benedict XVI has referred to as the "Dictatorship of Relativism"?  And why is the institution slandering Pope Pius XII?  See here.

*  For the record, in some three years on Facebook, I have posted two photographs of aborted babies.  Therefore I do not, as Mr. Seitzman has falsely asserted,  spend "a lot of time posting photos of aborted fetuses on FB."  But why should photographs of aborted babies upset Mr. Seitzman so much?


Wendy said...

I am beginning to see that Clark is really fostering an atmosphere of hatred and hostility toward Christians in general and Catholics in particular. We shouldn't let our tax dollars fund such institutionalized hate.

Stewart said...

Seitzman is an anti-Catholic bigot. I guess Clark condones such behavior. Not surprised though given the colleges' attack on Pope Pius XII and the agenda to portray any institution which opposes gay marriage as "anti-gay."

I don't see how Clark can be taken very seriously now.

Jonathan said...

The so-called "free thought society" only has some 60 members. I certainly understand why. But the fact that this student organization has been approved by the college is positively chilling. What's next at Clark, an approved Neo-Nazi group? Maybe NAMBLA? Are there any standards there whatsoever?

Ellen Wironken said...


Hatred and anti-Catholic bias in the name of Secular Humanism.

1921Diner said...

Spirit Daily posted this today from The Tucson Citizen:

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has become one of the first Roman Catholic bishops in the nation to openly defy the Obama administration over new rules forcing employers to include access to contraceptives and sterilization procedures in health-insurance coverage.

Although the Catholic Church itself is exempt from the proposed regulations, Olmsted believes the federal government’s decision is an attack on religious liberty. He is encouraging church members to actively oppose it.

Rob DeFrancesco, spokesman for the Phoenix Diocese, said that even though the diocese, its parishes and its schools will likely all be exempt from the rule, the bishop is concerned about “many other organizations,” such as charities and hospitals, that are Catholic in belief but may not fall under the diocese’s administrative umbrella.

Olmsted, who was not available for comment, was among a handful of bishops to release letters late this week expressing opposition to the mandate. The Phoenix bishop went further than some others by saying Catholics should not comply with the law.

“This is an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the church in the United States directly and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty,” Olmsted wrote in the letter, which is expected to be read this weekend at Catholic Masses.

Persecution fantasies? Brian Seitzman's comment is itself delusional.

Annette said...

I was planning to apply to Clark next year (I am Catholic and live in Worcester), but now I am re-thinking that decision bcause of your posts scrutinizing what is going on there...I am now thinking about Fitchburg State.

Jennifer Goguen said...

Seitzman and others who have engaged in hateful personal attacks against you because of your Catholic views should be disciplined by the university. Their conduct is not something the university should tolerate.

Wendy said...

Annette, you would be better off at Fitchburg State. That college has its own problems as well but, compared to Clark, it's more sound. Clark doesn't value reason and sound philosophical argument. That much is obvious based upon what we've seen from some of its professors and much of its student body. One thing for sure is that as a Catholic you would only be exposing yourself to animosity at Clark.

ShrewsburyCatholic said...

Yesiree, love that "free thought" in action. Dsagree with my ideas or agenda and I will hurl insults at you and throw a tantrum. Juvenile.

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