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Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Faithful Catholics Can Be Safely Ignored.

From victory to defeat: Lunch with Granholm is back on the menu.

The pleasant Freep columnist and reliable liberal Laura Berman (think Dickerson with a cerebellum and no fangs) reports on this reversal of fortune, starting with this howler:

But at Mercy -- whose mission is Catholic education, not politics -- the administration crumpled when the Stop Granholm contingent launched into full attack mode.

Abortion and Catholic education. Write your own punchline.

Board member Agnes Mansour -- a former Sister of Mercy who left the order over her own pro-choice stand -- resigned from the school's board of trustees. Mansour, who once headed the state's now-defunct Department of Social Services, said that Mercy had aligned itself with "that extreme element of the Catholic Church that uses a politician's public policy view on abortion as a litmus test."

Mansour had the integrity to leave--but that's pretty well where her integrity ends. Another ex-nun turned political exhibitionist. What the hell--it gets her quoted, doesn't it? Nuns who agree with the decision don't appear in Free Press columns. "Extreme elements"? Like, um, the Pope, and the American Bishops (on paper).

At Mercy, the mission is mercy, compassion, tolerance. And Monday, after much soul-searching, debate and publicity, the school announced that it had reversed its decision and re-invited the governor to be an auction item.

The school and governor paraded traditional virtues: humility, grace, generosity of spirit. Mansour praised the decision as "courageous," and said she would consider returning to the board, if invited. ("But I would be perfectly understanding if no invitation was forthcoming.")

Mercy, compassion, and tolerance: important values, very true. But Unitarians and atheists are supporters of the same values--nothing particularly Catholic about them. You can learn about these things in any private school.

What's missing? Something distinctively Catholic: The Gospel. It's completely absent here.
Goodness, can't mention that. "Merciful, compassionate and tolerant" American Catholics can never bring themselves to mention the Gospel, especially all that judgment stuff. Never the Gospel. Not anymore. Where's the mercy, compassion and tolerance for the unborn? Evidently such is unseemly at, uh, Mercy High.

"Courageous"? Insert expletives here:_________________. It takes no courage to ignore and offend the sensibilities of faithful Catholics. The Spirit of Vatican II crowd has been doing it since 1968. I mean, really: Mercy's decision has earned it three favorable columns in the largest circulation paper in the state. It takes "courage" to accept applause?

Don't worry, Agnes--your invitation's in the mail. Sisterhood trumps all.

Of course, if the Mercy Sisters had ever offered lunch with pro-life Catholic Governor John Engler, the protesters would be on shakier ground. But, of course, that never happened. In fact, it's a laughable idea. Governor Engler was, well, an icky hick from Beal City. Not the kind of fellow worldly-wise suburbanite nuns care to deal with. And, Goddess, his position on social issues--shudder....Nope, just not Mercy material.

The fact is, the Sisters are women first, and Catholics second. And the latter largely for tax purposes.

Now all we can hope for are two things: (1) parents decide to move their kids out of Mercy and into a Catholic school, and (2) dogged pro-lifers outbid everyone for the luncheon. Might as well make a teaching moment out of it--especially since it promises to be in the public eye.

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