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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Ed Peters

150 honorary degrees. LOL. So much wallpaper.



Sandra Miesel

I wish everyone who tries to invoke married priests in the Church's past would realize that those clerics had been married before ordination and could not ever have marital relations after ordination. Neither they nor their wives could marry if widowed. (Eastern or converted priests had to have been married before ordination but the other rules don't apply now.)


"I have no problem with females... as priests, but I realize that the majority of the leadership in the Church would. But what's important is that people get the sacraments."

So his solution to getting the sacraments to people is "ordaining" people who wouldn't be actual priests and thus unable to confect the Eucharist or give absolution.

Good call, Hess!

Is it any wonder Catholic higher education is in the pits with clowns like this in charge?


What a lame interview. It goes to show that when it comes to spotting poor leaders, it takes one to know one. Here's how I would have answered the first question:

WSJ: In your day, the Church produced figures such as Bishop Sheen and Father Drinan and Pope John XXIII. Who are the Catholic leaders today of their caliber? Are there any?

Dan: Of course there are but before answering your question let me correct your erroneous assumption that Father Drinan was an effective Catholic leader. He was not. On the contrary, he caused grave scandal by using his position to promote legalized abortion. As for the high caliber Catholics of today, we presently have a saintly pope of extraordinary capabilities. Indeed, I would say Pope Benedict is not only one of the world’s top intellectuals but also has no equal as a leader on the world stage today. Here in the United States we are blessed to have Archbishop Chaput, who has demonstrated great leadership ability, and a number of other very fine bishops. On the intellectual front, the vibrancy of American Catholicism is evidenced by the liveliness of publications such as First Things and the output of Ignatius Press.


Fr. Hesburgh's comments are par for the course for the Congregation of Holy Cross.


Although I do not know this priest, most of the priest who are for "ordaining women" are the problem. Normally priest and bishops who support something that is totally impossible(ordination of women)are the great cause of young men turning away from the call -it's also not typically the only crazy idea that they support. We seek truth and when a priest doesn't even understand something so basic it's discouraging(to some).

On a married clergy in the Latin Rite. We already have some married priest in the Latin Rite. I think allowing married priest could be a good idea, but I'm not sure about allowing it in this age of divorce- you imagine the scandal that could be brought.....but I do think it should be considered and discussed. I think the Eastern Catholic/ Orthodox tradition makes a lot of sense on this issue and even our own till around 1000...some called to be celibate and some called to be married. They do have a much different culture that supports a married clergy and the priests family...our culture is not shaped in that way....just my thoughts


If those "many other churches" have non-celibate and/or female clergy, then the introduction of such into the Catholic church would not seem to provide much of a solution.


The CSC, despite the hand-wringing of its seminarians about their perceived personnel crisis, has many fine priests. Numerous fine things can be said about Fr. Hesburgh. One true statement that likely doesn't fall in that category is that he might be the most over-rated person in the history of the United States, and definitely in American Catholicism. His legacy at ND has consisted of hideous buildings, obsession over worldly fame by secular standards, and parietal violations. He seems simply to have waltzed into fame simply by means of longevity and personal kindness. But he really ought not to be allowed to do things like talk to the press.

Ed Peters

"Numerous fine things can be said about Fr. Hesburgh."

The same thing could be said about virtually every human being who ever walked the face of this earth. What's the point?

Ed Peters

Oh, and Sandra, quite right. See also: If you'd like a copy, contact me at SHMS.


Well, that interview certainly goes a long way toward explaining the enduring presence of Father Richard McBrien...

Mark Brumley

1. With all due respect, Father Hesburgh's comments regarding women priests help us to understand why Notre Dame for so long had some of the problems it had.

2. Indeed, he comes across as if the question of the male-only priesthood does not have deep theological import, as if it were simply an institutional policy issue. The majority of the leadership of the Church, says Fr. Hesburgh, has a problem with women priests but Fr. Hesburgh doesn't. Whether you reject the 2000-year old Catholic Tradition on the matter, along with the theological underpinings of the Church's teaching regarding the nature of gender, the nature of ordained ministry, and the divine authority of the Magisterium, or whether you hold to all of these things as the Church understands them, the issue is not a "some say yes, some say no" matter. If women can be priests, then it seems that a grave injustice has been done and, even worse, continues to be done to them. If women cannot be priests, because the priesthood is an essentially male reality, then it is wrongheaded and destructive of the Catholic faith to push for women's ordination. Either way, it is no small matter; it should generate more than an "I have no problem with" it outlook.

Let's hope that Father Hesburgh has been misquoted or taken out of context.

3. Why, one wonders, is it most important, as Fr. Hesburgh states, that the people get the Sacraments? It is not a self-evident proposition or a deduction from universally accepted philosophical premises or a matter of scientific induction that this is so. Whether it is so rests on revelation and the reliability of the Church's claim faithfully to convey that revelation. The same Church that says, as a matter of revelation, that it is important for people to receive the Sacraments also insists that the objective reality of the gift of the Sacraments is dependent upon, in various ways, the validity of the ordination of priests. What's more, that same Church also authoritatively and definitively teaches that the validity of the ministerial priesthood depends on the maleness of the one who would be ordained.

Now, you may reject that proposition but it is not at all clear that, having done so, you can still consistently and coherently maintain the rest of this supposedly revealed business about the important thing being that people get the Sacraments. As Christopher Derrick observed in Church Authority and Intellectual Freedom, the question is not, "What would happen if a bishop attempted to ordain a women as priest?", but, "What grounds have we for thinking anything happens when a bishop attempts to ordain a priest?".

4. Interestingly enough, some radical feminists who still associate themselves, however vaguely, with the Catholic Church, recognize, in their own way, the force of this problem. Which is one reason some of them have ceased advocating the ordination of women to the priesthood. They now regard the whole notion of a ministerial priesthood, in the traditional sacramental sense, as erroneous and as reinforcing hierarchy, which they judge to be inherently wrong and oppressive.

Having repudiated any theological grounds for thinking Christ established a ministerial priesthood or if he did that his decision in the matter should be determinative for us, they now have little reason to desire that women be priests or think that priesthood is a position worthy of being sought.

Some would see such radical feminists as extremists; others would seem them as simply working out the logic of their premises.

scotch meg

The question of married priests and divorce is not theoretical. I know a woman, married to an Eastern Orthodox priest, whose husband abandoned her when she was diagnosed with cancer -- she wasn't "any fun" any more. And my thought was, there but for the grace of God goes my Church, as well. Of course, his action was not approved and he is no longer serving as an Eastern Orthodox priest, but the scandal...


I'd bet you money he has no problem with loving sex outside of marriage as well...


I always have to LOL at the old-hippie way of looking at the world which obviously Fr Hesburgh still holds: I.e., "I have no problem blah blah blah". 40 years ago, life revolved around whatever I did or did not have a problem with.
Today, I could care less what Father or anybody else in the Church has no problem with. Fortunately, I know that his opinion about who should be ordained in the Church is as worthless as his opinion about whether there should be gravity on just doesn't matter to me.

Sandra Miesel

Another historical note: in the 9th C, the last married pope's wife and daughter were raped and murdered by the brother of the papal archivist. Celibate clerics have fewer hostages to fortune.

Old ND joke: What's the difference between God and Fr. Hesburgh? God is everywhere while Fr. Hesburgh is everywhere but Notre Dame.

Tim Hughes

Fr. Hesburgh is the chief architect of the Catholic higher education's version of the separation of Church and state. This happened in the late '60s at the Land 'O Lakes Conference, during which the leaders of major Catholic universities declared their independence from Rome. So it is not surprising that his views on the priesthood are at odds with Rome's.

Ed Peters

150 honorary degrees. I still can't get over that one. Are there really 150 schools with so little imagination and sense of self worth that they have to line up for the honor of honoring Hesburgh, of all people? Are there REALLY? What are we talking here? Honorary high school diplomas? Honorary completion of eighth grade certificates?

Tim Hughes

To the comments editor: You put my comment under the name of Sandra Miesel, and assume that her comment was attributed to me!

Carl E. Olson

Tim: The comments are set up so that the name of the commenter is placed below their comment, not above. So the attribution should be correct.

Ed Peters

Tim I don't like where that line goes either (tho it is not as confusing as Mark Shea's visual). I wish IP would change it to put all data from/about one person within a single box, and not across a line. :(


I'm not surprised that 150 institutions wanted to paper Hesburgh's wall. He's probably the liberal Establishment's favorite Catholic academic: certainly no challenge to them.

Why, I'd be surprised to find 150 Catholic institutions that _didn't_ want Hesburgh.

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