Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More than meets the eye

I recently came across an article from Lifesite with a provocative headline: "Notre Dame President Sits on Board of Directors of Pro-Abortion, Pro-Contraception Organization". My thoughts are: first of all, why has this not been in the news yet, and likewise therefore, is it really true? Secondly, I am not surprised to hear that there might be more going on here than meets the eye.

To the first point. It is clearly true that Fr. Jenkins sits on the board of Millennium Promise; that is plain from their website. The mission of Millennium Promise is to promote the 8 millennium development goals of the UN, in Africa. Among these goals are to "Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women", and "Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases". You could give them the benefit of the doubt, or just accept that this is newspeak for "Condoms and Abortion". I'm not saying that any of the other things they do are not good, but I am trying to show the specific things that this organization supports that could be contrary to the teachings of the Church.

Reading the front pages of their website, indeed, does not yield a lauding of how many condoms and abortions they have supported as an organization, but utilizing the search feature of the website allows for some more in-depth digging. Consider the Millennium Villages Handbook, where they make as a goal the promotion of safe sex (separate from monogamy). They even have a section suggesting village-level abortion services under "maternal and child health". That makes sense, because abortion is good for the health of persons.

So, I am fairly convinced, from my own searching of their website that they are a group which supports the distribution of condoms and the increase of availability of abortion services in Africa. [May I note here that I didn't actually read the whole Lifesite article until right now, and they addressed my concerns.]
Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic education watchdog organization, responded to the news of Fr. Jenkins' involvement in Millennium Promise, saying in an interview with LSN, "One has to wonder what Fr. Jenkins' opinion is of the Church's teaching on contraception."
Indeed. I am sure the reason he is on the board of this organization is to "engage" those who disagree with us. That's what he does, you know. Now, I don't think that, under pressure, Fr. Jenkins would even come out with a statement to the effect of "I think condom distribution in Africa is wrong", though I can hope I am wrong. The facts seem to be clear: Fr. Jenkins sits on the board of an organization which supports certain initiatives which are contrary to the teachings of the Church. I think that as a priest (never mind his prominence), he should make it quite clear that he does NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, support those aspects of Millennium Promise which are contrary to the Church's teachings, and, further, that he is doing all that he can as a board member to direct the actions of this group away from morally illicit activities. This would really be an absolute minimum and I think that it would be better for a Catholic priest to not serve on the board of such an organization, despite the many very good things they seem to also do.

I've had a sense that more was going on than meets the eye with the whole Notre Dame scandal. Now, it comes out that Fr. Jenkins has involvement with an organization which supports abortion and contraception. Unfortunately, it is probably not, then, that the University has put, as Bishop D'Arcy so aptly stated, "Prestige before Truth," but rather, they have put the false claims of modern culture before Truth. Now I must make clear, these are the musings of me alone, and could be completely false.

I don't think this will be very widely reported, and I'm sure everyone will forget all about is come Monday.

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