Who is discriminating against the Church?

June 08, 2015
Source: District of the USA

Is discrimination against Catholics who stand for the Faith coming from just outside the Church?

The not-so-conservative Cardinal Wuerl of Washington D.C. described in a recent pastoral letter how words are being used to stifle our Catholic liberties:

The Catholic faith is deemed intolerable today, while ‘tolerance’ is held up as the supreme civic virtue. Prejudice has been all but outlawed, anti-Catholicism gets a pass.”[1]

The cardinal outlined in particular how the word “discrimination” is now being applied to Catholic teaching thereby attempting to limit the Church in her apostolic work, such as with education or medical services:

While people may disagree with us and choose to follow their own moral path, respect for freedom of choice should not require that we set aside our own faith convictions and freedom in order to satisfy every demand of those who have other beliefs… The Church has the right to recognition and protection of her true Catholic identity.”

Cardinal Wuerl’s most interesting comments though concern how the “true Catholic identity” and adherence to the Church’s teachings were neglected in the wake of Vatican II:

When I was a young priest in the 1960s and 1970s, there was much experimentation and confusion in the Church. Teachers and clergy were encouraged by some to communicate an experience of God’s love, but to do it without reference to the Creed, the sacraments, or Church tradition.”

As a consequence of that time, Catholics have been too weak to stand against a “tsunami of secularism” that has battered the Church over the last few decades, resulting in the loss of many souls (an echo of Pope John Paul II’s alarm about the silent apostasy afflicting the Church).

The irony of the Capitol’s Cardinal’s lamentation that Catholics no longer understand the Faith, is that His Eminence was the one in 2012 that sent a priest packing from his parish after he upheld the Church’s law on the distribution of Holy Communion to a publicly-avowed sinner (let alone his refusal to deny Communion to politicians who favor immoral laws).[2]

But swinging to the other side of the American continent, we can truly see today the outcome of Cardinal Wuerl’s post-conciliar observations in San Francisco, California, where Archbishop Cordileone struggles just to have teachers in a Catholic school agree they will teach only Catholic teachings.

In early March of this year, the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors (of the public school system) stated Archbishop Cordileone was discriminating against his archdiocesan teachers by insisting they sign contracts to always publicly uphold the Catholic Faith, particularly on the subjects of morality.

LifeSiteNews reported that:

Eight San Francisco-area lawmakers sent Archbishop Cordileone a letter telling him his efforts ‘conflict with settled law, foment a discriminatory environment, violate employees’ civil rights, send an alarming message of intolerance to youth, infringe upon personal freedoms, and strike a divisive tone.’”[3]

Not to be intimated by the accusation of “discrimination”, the Golden Gate City Archbishop replied:

asking whether they would hire a campaign manager who advocates policies contrary to what they stand for, and who shows them and their party disrespect. ‘My point is: I respect your right to employ or not employ whomever you wish to advance your mission. I simply ask the same respect from you.’”

Coming to his defense the Cardinal Newman Society (whose mission is to promote and defend Catholic education) stated:

These protests against common-sense policies only confirm the great need for Archbishop Cordileone’s efforts to shore up his schools’ Catholic identity. The Archbishop is doing a service to students, but these protesting teachers pose a serious threat to students’ Christian formation.”

Unfortunately, this same tack is not being taken in Somerville, New Jersey, where the local ordinary, Bishop Paul Bootkoski of the Metuchen Diocese, has acted against a teacher holding to Catholic morality—while citing Pope Francis in support![4]

The case concerns Patricia Jannuzzi, a theology teacher who via Facebook, attempted to defend the Church’s teachings on matrimony, or more precisely, that the arguments favoring same-sex marriage are untenable. The Catholic school decided not to renew her teaching contract and the bishop, under considerable public pressure (such as the intervention of actress Susan Sarandon that went viral on the Internet), approved of her getting the boot.

The absurdity of this affair was well summarized by columnist Rod Dreher at The American Conservative:

This is a Catholic school that answers to a Catholic bishop canning a Catholic teacher for holding Catholic opinions [sic] that run contrary to the spirit of the age. And it will have been carried out by a Catholic bishop who is more afraid of mouthy celebrities than he is loyal to his people or his principles…

This is not a culture war outside the Catholic Church. This culture war is taking place within it. And not all the bishops are on the same side.”[5]

With these contradictions in mind, we must ask, from whence comes the greater discrimination against the Church and her right to freely exercise the Faith in all of its aspects?


1 The following citations from Cardinal Wuerl come from the LifeSiteNews article of May 29, 2015, "We need strong Catholic identity to face ‘tsunami of secularism’: Cardinal Wuerl".

2 For details, see the LifeSiteNews article of February 29, 2012, "Archdiocese of Washington reprimands priest for denying communion to a lesbian".

3 LifeSiteNews, March 6, 2015, “City of San Fran. tells archbishop his school reform is discriminatory: considering legal action”.

4 LifesiteNews, March 23, 2015, “Bishop backs Catholic school’s removal of teacher over pro-marriage Facebook comments: cites Pope Francis”.

5 The American Conservative, March 21, 2015, "Patricia Jannuzzi & the Catholic Future".