Monday, May 07, 2012
To the President of Anna Maria College: Please learn the difference between a holy and an unholy distraction
atheistic humanist Victoria Kennedy to speak at its 2012 Commencement. Now the Catholic Free Press is reporting that Sister Yvette Bellerose, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, and Jack P. Calareso, president of Anna Maria College, have asked Bishop McManus not to attend the Commencement either. It has been asserted that the Bishop would be a distraction.
What of it? No doubt Victoria Kennedy would have been a distraction for students who actually accept the Church's teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that, "..a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to." (2729). Not all distractions are bad. Some are even holy. As Raissa Maritain, writing about Saint Thomas Aquinas, notes: "When he wept and prayed in this way, or when he was trying to find the answer to a difficult question, very often he did not hear nor feel what was going on about him. So one day, when he was at the table of the King Saint Louis, the two saints seated side by side, Brother Thomas, forgetful of the circumstances and the place, rapped loudly on the table and cried out: 'So much for the heresy of the Manicheans!' 'Master,' said the Prior who accompanied him, 'be careful, you are at the table of the King of France.' And saying this, he pulled at his cloak to bring him out of this state of holy distraction." (See here).
In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10 verses 38-42, we read: "As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.' The Lord said to her in reply, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.'"
A distraction reveals to us what we are attached to. By the grace of God, there are still people who are attached to truth or those who promote and defend it. Like Mary who sat at the very feet of Truth, they are attracted by the beauty of truth and by its sheer power.
Now Catholic News Service is reporting that: "Pope Benedict XVI called on America's Catholic colleges and universities to reaffirm their Catholic identity by ensuring orthodoxy in theological studies and accepting the oversight of bishops." If officials at Anna Maria College honestly accept the oversight of Bishop McManus, wouldn't they want Bishop McManus in attendance?
The CNS article continues: "While he [Pope Benedict XVI] acknowledged recent efforts by America's Catholic institutions of higher education to 'reaffirm their distinctive identity in fidelity to their founding ideals and the church's mission,'" he also said that "much remains to be done." And the Holy Father is quoted as having said that, "discord harms the church's witness and, as experience has shown, can easily be exploited to compromise her authority and her freedom."
The CNS article notes how, "U.S. bishops have clashed with the administrations of Catholic colleges and universities on a number of occasions in recent years, with some of the most prominent cases involving invited speakers who dissent from Catholic moral teaching.
In March, Anna Maria University in Worcester, Mass., retracted its invitation to Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to speak at the university's commencement, after Bishop Robert J. McManus objected to Victoria Kennedy's support for legalized abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage."
I don't believe for one minute that officials at Anna Maria College are really concerned about Bishop McManus being a distraction to their 2012 Commencement proceedings. Their request that the Bishop not attend smacks of passive aggressive retaliation for his courageous decision to ask school officials to rescind Victoria Kennedy's invitation.
The real distraction in this whole sordid affair has been the unholy distraction which was created when Anna Maria officials decided to invite an atheistic humanist to speak at the school's Commencement.
What a shame.