Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rev. Scott Pilarz, S.J., named as next Marquette University president

From a University press release.

Like everybody else, we are trying to figure out what sort of President he will be. The standard PR fluff shows him to be a good fund raiser who built a lot of buildings at Scranton.

We do note that he signed a statement emphatically rejecting a call by some leftist academics to boycott the State of Israel and Israeli scholars. Father Wild and Marquette are conspicuously missing from that statement.

Is Pilarz committed to the Catholic mission of universities like Marquette? The record shows he sometimes clashed with Scranton Bishop Martino, but Martino himself appears to have been rather abrasive and aggressive.

The University of Scranton did assure Bishop Martino that “Condoms are not available on our campuses and our student health services and centers do not provide oral and other forms of contraception.” That, of course, could be a bit of an evasion.

A search of the web site of the Cardinal Newman Society doesn’t show the University of Scranton to be one of the universities that that conservative Catholic organization finds flouting Catholic teaching.

However the University of Scranton ran afoul of the new Bishop (Joseph Bambera) for an “inclusion initiative” that invited a pro-abortion speaker (one Sara Bendoraitis) to campus. It seems that at Scranton, as at Marquette, “inclusion” applies only to suitably politically-correct views. Pilarz released a mealy-mouthed statement defending the “inclusion initiative” but also claiming “I want to make clear that the University does not endorse views or positions of speakers when such views are contrary to our mission and to the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

The truth, of course, is that the liberal bureaucrats who arrange these programs do endorse the views of pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality speakers. Much as Fr. Wild has done at Marquette, Pilarz has given them a free rein to promote their agenda at Scranton. Indeed, he has largely bought into their agenda. Under the guise of providing a “safe place” for GLBTQ students, and combating “homophobia,” Scranton, like Marquette, has pretty much said “forget Catholic teaching about homosexuality.”

If pushed to the wall, as Fr. Wild was in the case of Jodi O’Brien, would he stand up for the University’s Catholic mission, or cave? The truth is that we don’t know. But we will learn, hopefully not the hard way.

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