God and Woman at Georgetown

Georgetown University finds itself in hot water again, thanks to the controversy over Sandra Fluke, the law student who appeared before Congress at the invitation of Roman Catholic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi and Fluke both support President Obama’s mandate to the Catholic Church on contraception and abortion drugs. The Georgetown law student highlighted what she and Pelosi deem a great social injustice: that is, Republican opposition to the executive decree.

“Just last week,” lamented Fluke, “a married female student told me that she had to stop using contraception because she and her husband just couldn’t fit it into their budget anymore. Women employed in low-wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face the same choice.”

The Georgetown law student was aghast. In today’s progressive America, she protested, that female student ought to have “free” access to contraception—compliments of all federal taxpayers, regardless of religious objection.

Ms. Fluke’s statement, and thinking, is bad enough. It is patently outrageous. It requires no elaboration here.

Unfortunately, it got quite a bit of elaboration from Rush Limbaugh, who was so justifiably angry at Fluke’s statement that he unjustifiably called her some nasty names—and later apologized. Ms. Fluke, for the record, refused to accept Limbaugh’s apology. Why would she? Limbaugh gave Fluke and her liberal friends precisely the ammo they need in their campaign of agitprop—agitation and propaganda against Georgetown and the Church.

An unlikely participant in that campaign is the president of Georgetown. In response to the hoopla, the president blasted not Ms. Fluke, but Rush Limbaugh, and used some very harsh language against Limbaugh. The president rightly criticized Limbaugh for his language.

Yet, I would like to know why the president of Georgetown hasn’t asked for an apology from Ms. Fluke. After all, as Rush Limbaugh noted, Georgetown University is a Catholic institution. It has been for over 220 years. Imagine the presumption, the self-righteousness, of Ms. Fluke to demand that this Catholic institution suddenly reverse its values to conform to her values. She demands that Georgetown violate its sacred, long-held Catholic beliefs to fit her beliefs. And she is making a national example and mockery of Georgetown in the process.

So, how about an apology from Ms. Fluke? Or, for that matter, from Nancy Pelosi? Or President Obama? They started this; they’re pushing this. They prompted Rush Limbaugh’s outrage in the first place. Why must only Limbaugh apologize?

For that matter, Georgetown itself holds some responsibility for this. After all, why is the college admitting students that are so diametrically opposed to the college’s values and mission? Most religious colleges make clear their values, and ask applicants to explain how they support those values. The college where I teach does that. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s common sense, and especially if you’re a university with a mission.

Institutions have a mission. It’s best for everyone to have people at the institution who support the mission, or at least don’t seek to actively undermine it.

Does Georgetown have a Catholic mission or not? If it does, does it support it? When it doesn’t, students like Ms. Fluke arrive and aggressively undermine the institution with their own set of values.

Aside from the Sandra Fluke episode, another Georgetown moment sticks with me:

It occurred in April 2005. It was related to me by a former student of mine who was attending graduate school at Georgetown. It was shortly after the death of John Paul II. My student was among other students awaiting the announcement of the new pope. When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger stepped out, my student—excited to see Ratzinger as the new pope—was just as suddenly horrified at the litany of obscenities and insults shouted by his fellow Georgetown students. “Fascist!” one student yelled at the new pope, adding another choice “f” word to his insult. “Nazi!” screeched another.

My student, a former Baptist considering converting to the Catholic Church, halted the conversion process right there. If this was Catholicism, he wanted none of it.

Again, one wonders: Why would Georgetown have such students?

Let’s be honest: This is the doing of “social-justice” Catholics, of progressive Catholics. Such students—Ms. Fluke among them—are the natural, toxic byproduct of modern Catholic higher education. That education has corroded the Church, and now it corrodes America.

You reap what you sow. Georgetown is now reaping what it has sown.



  • Marsha

    Like it or not, “Liberal Catholics” outnumber “conservative Catholics.” If you want to get their attention, you’re not going to do it by attempting to shame them. The use of shame is an Old Testament concept. The use of compassion is a New Testament concept brought to us by Jesus. It would be wise for conservative Catholics to move out of Old Testament beliefs or they risk becoming relics.

    • Bruce

      Really? I’ve never seen a liberal Catholic at Mass. I only see Catholics there. As for shame being all “Old Testament,” you must not be familiar with Christ, who told Peter to get behind Him and called him “Satan.” I guess you missed that. You must also have missed the cleansing of the temple too. Gee…I wonder what else you’ve missed. Thanks for the “wisdom” nonetheless. I’m sure that will make us as hip as the baby boomers.

    • Curious

      Here is Marsha AGAIN trying to lead souls away from God to join the “popular” crowd. Oh, how Marsha treasures earthly treasures over the eternal Love of God. Here is one for you Marshs. It is from the NEW TESTAMENT. Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come!” Still praying for you Marsha. God Bless

    • Julie T.

      Marsha, there is no such thing as “liberal” Catholics. There are only practicing Catholics, dissenters, and dissenters who eventually become apostates.

  • Kevin J.

    Regis University also put out a March 8 statement criticizing Limbaugh and defending Fluke, linking to the Georgetown statement:

    “A Georgetown University law student was verbally attacked by radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, following her testimony to the U.S. Senate on the HHS contraception controversy—other similar attacks followed. We strive at Regis to model civil discourse in our classrooms and programs. It’s important that our community know that our fellow Jesuit university, Georgetown, has a similar expectation (see link to President John DeGioia’s response: (Link to The Hill website) ). Mr. Limbaugh’s outrageous conduct should remind us of the importance of respecting the dignity of others, even when we disagree.”

    How organized is this reaction, I wonder?

    University officials very rarely criticize people for being uncivil when they say the Church is “anti-woman.” Why no demand for reciprocity?

    • Antonio A. Badilla

      Kevin, while it is true that Rush did not use the virtue of prudence in what he called Fluke, neither has Maher when he has called worst names to conservative women like Sarah Palin, Anne Coulter, Michelle Bachman, Laura Ingrahm and others. The reaction to Limbaugh is very selective and when the President calls Maher on his obnoxious remarks, perhaps liberals in this country will be taken seriously when they express moral outrage.

  • Jim Mullen

    The writer is maybe not aware that when Jesus said: “feed my sheep”, He was not suggesting that we actually behave like sheep.
    Jim Mullen
    Georgetown University 1971

    • Bruce

      Surely Georgetown taught you about proper conscience formation and the infallible teaching authority of the Magisterium as being intrinsic to the Catholic Church Christ founded. Surely. Even in 1971. Yup. No question.

    • Curious

      Jim, Jesus did say, “Feed my sheep”. He NEVER said, “Poison my sheep.” God Bless

  • Jeremy

    Excellent article. Someone in the church MUST hold these institutions accountable for their actions. The administrations in these institutions are filled with CINO’s(Catholics in name only).
    These colleges/ universities are rotting with a perverted form of social justice. One that is much closer to communism/socialism than what is biblically-based.
    I went to a Catholic college-run by Jesuits no less. Parents must instill strong catholic faith into their kids when they are young- because a ‘progressive’ catholic faith is all that will be taught in higher education.

    • Julie T.

      Jeremy, not all Catholic colleges and universities are run by CINOs. That is why it is so important for faithful Catholics to do their homework and not allow themselves to be guided by past ties or nostalgia. CINO institutions shamelessly trade in nostalgia and long-ago reputations to lure new students from families that haven’t done their research. An excellent and easy resource is the Web site of the Cardinal Newman Society. You will learn there which colleges and universities are truly Catholic.

    • Antonio A. Badilla

      Jeremy, not only are most universities that label themselves “Catholic” filled with CINO’s but the same can be said about most chancery offices in most dioceses in the United States. CINO’s actively undermine the work of their own bishops and what comes from Rome is easily distorted and not given its proper importance.



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