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May 03, 2006

Invented Controversy For Condi Rice Honarary Degree

At Boston College.

Two leading theologians at Boston College have written a stinging letter objecting to the college's decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at graduation and to give her an honorary degree.

Nearly 100 faculty members have signed the letter, according to the theology department, which declined to release their names.

The letter, which will be delivered to the president and board of trustees, has set off a fiery debate.

Kenneth Himes, chairman of the department of theology, and the Rev. David Hollenbach, who holds the Margaret O'Brien Flatley chair in the department, titled their letter ''Condoleezza Rice Does Not Deserve a Boston College Honorary Degree," and sent it to the entire faculty inviting members to sign on. The writers said they were distressed with the university's decision to invite Rice to commencement May 22. Her selection was announced Monday.

''On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work," the letter said. It pointed out Pope John Paul II's opposition to the war in Iraq.

''I have no objection to her coming here to speak -- I am in favor of free speech -- but I don't believe we should be honoring her with an honorary degree," Hollenbach said.

Apologies: Seems I crossed a line in offending Catholics, which wasn't my intent. I was attempting to point out the hypocrisy of left-leaning "leading theologans" who demand Rice perfectly observe Catholic teaching, while apparently not noticing that some in the Catholic heirarchy haven't been perfect examples themselves.

The crack was:

"If perfect respect for 'the traditions and values of Catholics and Jesuits' is the most important criterion here, then BC should be giving an honorary degree to Michael F'n' Jackson."

Anyway, Bart's always on my case, but it was the objection from very longtime reader Hondo that stung.

You guys know sometimes these cracks aren't very carefully thought out, right?

The Raven expressed the intended point in a much better way:

I wonder if BC has a Gay/Lesbian club. That wouldn't be consistent with Catholic teachings either. And of course, I assume the Democratic Party, as an instrument of outspoken support for abortion, is forbidden from holding pro-choice events on campus.

I can't imagine BC would ever be so hypocritical as to award an honorary degree to anyone who supports abortion or the gay lifestyle.

That's what I was getting at. If you're going to be sticklers for Church orthodoxy, you'd better be sticklers across-the-board, not just as regards people you disapprove of for political, not theological, reasons.

Don't use theology as a ruse to make your political objections seem nonpartisan and objective and, indeed, compelled by God Himself. If you can make, errr, allowances for the heterodoxies of those you approve of politically, you can make allowances for the heterodoxies of those you don't approve of as well.

And It's Shaky Theology, Too: For every liberal-leaning Jesuit who claims to know absolutely that God's Law forbade the Iraq War, there is a conservative-leaning priest who believes it is, or could be, justified by, say, the Just War Doctrine.

There is debate on this issue in the Church.

On the other hand, it is fairly well established that the church forbids abortion, homosexuality, etc., as commenters point out, and yet these self-righteous Warriors of God seem to view those as, at most, "guidelines" which may be suspended or observed according to one's conscience.

Not to re-offend, but these selectively-strict Jesuits seem to be followers of the cafeteria-style theological code most perfectly formulated by Chief Wiggams in the Treehouse of Terror episode where Marge was a witch in Salem:

(as they're about to kill Marge for witchcraft)

LISA: Doesn't the Bible say "Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself?"

GOODMAN WIGGAMS: The Bible says a lot of things, kid. Push her off the cliff.

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posted by Ace at 02:33 PM

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