Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

I am slowly deciphering some of the written materials left by the late Msgr. William J. Awalt. For review and comments, they are being posted at my BLOGGER PRIEST site.


Msgr. Awalt was the pastor of St. Ann’s Church in NW Washington , DC for just over 30 years, retiring in the year 2000. I was honored to preach at the Mass celebrating his 60th anniversary as a priest in 2007. His pastorate was marked by a deep devotion to the Eucharist and a never-ending preoccupation with preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith.

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Dr. Kenneth Howell, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Champaign, who taught classes on the Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought, was fired for teaching and explaining in an email to students the Catholic teaching on homosexuality. While the Catholic position is based upon the clear Scriptural prohibition, the meat or substance for our position is a reasoned stand applying Natural Law.

The universal catechism is very clear:

[CCC 2357] Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

The context of the current controversy was an upcoming test on the theory of utilitarianism. He contrasted it with the Catholic appreciation of natural law. Apparently, the university wanted him either to be silent regarding such Catholic teachings or to encourage dissent. Because he honestly taught what he was charged to teach, he was terminated. A friend of the student complained that the explanation he gave amounted to “hate speech.” This is precisely the kind of repercussion that we were told by liberals would not happen when legislation redefined such speech. Professor Howell has also suffered the loss of his position at the campus Catholic center. I suspect that the school will now seek out lapsed and/or bad Catholics to replace him. No “good” Catholic would take such a position since that school has unveiled its blatant anti-Catholic bias. 

The professor wrote:

  • In short, to judge an action wrong is not to condemn a person. A person and his/her acts can be distinguished for the purposes of morality.
  • Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY. In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same.
  • Men and women are complementary in their anatomy, physiology, and psychology. Men and women are not interchangeable. So, a moral sexual act has to be between persons that are fitted for that act. Consent is important but there is more than consent needed.
  • One example applicable to homosexual acts illustrates the problem. To the best of my knowledge, in a sexual relationship between two men, one of them tends to act as the “woman” while the other acts as the “man.” In this scenario, homosexual men have been known to engage in certain types of actions for which their bodies are not fitted.
  • I don’t want to be too graphic so I won’t go into details but a physician has told me that these acts are deleterious to the health of one or possibly both of the men. Yet, if the morality of the act is judged only by mutual consent, then there are clearly homosexual acts which are injurious to their health but which are consented to. Why are they injurious? Because they violate the meaning, structure, and (sometimes) health of the human body.
  • Thus, people tend to think that we can use our bodies sexually in whatever ways we choose without regard to their actual structure and meaning. This is also what lies behind the idea of sex change operations. We can manipulate our bodies to be whatever we want them to be.
  • Natural Moral Theory says that if we are to have healthy sexual lives, we must return to a connection between procreation and sex. Why? Because that is what is REAL. It is based on human sexual anatomy and physiology. Human sexuality is inherently unitive and procreative. If we encourage sexual relations that violate this basic meaning, we will end up denying something essential about our humanity, about our feminine and masculine nature.
  • I know this doesn’t answer all the questions in many of your minds. All I ask as your teacher is that you approach these questions as a thinking adult. That implies questioning what you have heard around you. Unless you have done extensive research into homosexuality and are cognizant of the history of moral thought, you are not ready to make judgments about moral truth in this matter. All I encourage is to make informed decisions.

To read the complete email, go to:  THE GAZETTE

This honest and good teacher taught for nine years at the University of Illinois. He told his students that they would be tested on their understanding of Catholic teaching, not judged upon their personal acceptance or beliefs.

The setting for the controversy was one of his lectures in the Introduction to Catholicism course. He wrote an email in May to his students in preparation for an exam regarding the application of natural law theory to a practical social issue, i.e. like judging the morality of homosexual acts. Despite acknowledging that many might disagree with Catholic doctrine, and the notion of natural law (like Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan), the good professor gave an accurate application to a pertinent issue from Catholic social teaching. Nevertheless, the school insisted that the teachings and email violated their standards of inclusivity.

Today, certain concerned administrators of the school have asked that the faculty committee determine whether or not academic freedom was violated. I suspect for many of us, even those unsympathetic to such views, would regard this as a no brainer. It seems obvious that a pro-homosexual litmus test usurped such freedom and an accurate, if offensive to some, Catholic teaching. Would he have also been fired for the application of natural law to the abortion question? Liberals hated Justice Clarence Thomas for his paper in such an application, drawing an analogy with the question of slavery and the violation of the innate dignity of human personhood.

It amazes me that a facility dedicated to open education could be so closed-minded. What are they saying to their students?

Truths are relative, unless they are liberal truths.

Judge no one but we can judge you.

All ideas are welcome, except those which are not politically correct.

Exercise your faith, unless you are a conservative Christian or Roman Catholic.

This professor was hired to teach Catholic thought. This university has not only wronged this man but sends the bigoted message that Catholic thinking is unacceptable on their campus. Perversion (my word, not that of the sensitive and gentle professor) is tolerated but no insinuation that such actions might be judged morally wrong. I suspect that this speaks ill both for the religious studies and the philosophy departments. If religious tenets and philosophical/ethical questions cannot be freely addressed, then any insistence of academic freedom becomes a hypocritical sham. Discussions about homosexuality, fornication, and abortion would be limited to the left or made taboo. The teacher gave a forthright answer. The students could have argued and disagreed with it. Instead, the professor was silenced. He attacked no one. He merely gave the Catholic position on a question of conduct.

Faithful Catholic students should complain that they are not really welcome to be fully engaged in the life of the school. Parents should consider sending their children elsewhere. I know one Catholic university which hired a renowned atheist philosophy instructor. The students and other faculty members often delighted in debating with him. They respected each other. But here is a case where a believer is punished precisely because he teaches views which non-believers or secular students will not tolerate. It is ironic that those who are the most fanatical about toleration are so often incredibly intolerant.

Dr. Kenneth Howell is an award winning educator (recognized by the university in 2009) and a convert to the Catholic faith. He has taught there for nine years. The word is out that even the local bishop is requesting his reinstatement. The professor was very careful to admit that he was a faithful practicing Catholic and thus he was sympathetic to the subject matter he was hired to teach. He slandered no one and even admitted that a critical eye to certain actions should not be interpreted as condemnation or hatred against others. Rather than a professional and academic debate, anonymous students and “politically correct” co-workers decided they would simply get rid of him. It reminds me of the spoiled child who takes his ball and runs home when he starts to lose in a game.

We are told that the university president, Michael Hogan, has received over 100 emails. Now he has asked that the matter be reviewed. Maybe more of us should say something about this as well?

UI President

Executive Offices


Ethics Office

My suggestion is that the professor be rehired or that the public school make it very clear that Catholic teachings are neither welcome in the classroom nor in regular discourse.  If they do the latter, they should also forfeit tax dollars and public support.  They can hang a sign on their doors, saying, “Catholics are only welcome if they shut up and compromise their faith and values!”  

Further, if he is reinstated, I would recommend that those administrators, faculty members and students who violated his academic and personal rights face, themselves, some sort of disciplinary censure.  They violated this man’s academic freedom, religious freedom and freedom of speech.  Where he was open to rational discourse, they were not.  He gave a coherent presentation of the subject matter he was charged to teach, Catholicism, without any foul language or attacks upon persons.  Those who fired him were not so noble or magnanimous. 

Is it not interesting that a liberal atheist professor at another university faced no reprimand when he urge the theft and desecration of the Eucharist while mockingly name-calling Christians and Catholics?  However, when a Catholic professor who stresses respect for persons and freedom for intellectual inquiry, shares ideas which are found offensive by a radical minority over-sensitive about homosexual rights, he is quickly terminated. 

Finally, I would urge other Catholic professors, students and those sensitive to matters of academic freedom, to take Dr. Howell’s email and to sign it themselves.  At present, he is a man who stands largely alone.  He did nothing wrong.  This could be done online and with hard copies sent to the university.  This should not be anonymous.  That is the route of cowards, like the one who started this mess for the good professor.  We should stand up and be counted.

We love our homosexual brothers and lesbian sisters. 

However, Catholic teaching rightly stipulates that homosexual acts are disordered and a violation of our nature. 

In any case, even if you disagree with Catholic teaching, given the public setting and the classes he was hired to teach, those who favor academic freedom should also support him.

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The US Dept. of Education’s “Financial Responsibility Test” was recently announced. This test indicates that according to certain ratios, a private higher education institution may be at risk for failure. These schools are subject to extra monitoring on their use of federal student aid funds.

114 private, nonprofit, degree-granting institutions scored below 1.5, the passing level, and are thus in financial jeapardy. There are a number of Catholic institutions on the list as having financial difficulties:

Please note that Dominican College of Blauvelt (New York) which also scored a low 0.9 is no longer a Catholic institution. The college is very clear that it is an independent school with only a Catholic “heritage” or “origin”. I suppose schools like people can forfeit their souls.


All private colleges that award federal student aid must participate in the Department of Education’s financial-responsibility test, which is based on information from their audited financial statements. The department develops a composite score on a scale of 3.0 to minus 1.0, based on financial ratios that measure factors such as net worth, operating losses, and the relationship of assets to liabilities. Institutions with scores of 1.5 to 3 pass. In addition to extra monitoring for all institutions that “fail,” those with scores below 1.0 are required to post a letter of credit with the department equal to 10 percent of the federal student aid that goes to their students annually.

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teacherxratedLast Friday, a school teacher at Isabelle Jackson Elementary School in Elk Grove, Northern California gave her 24 students a DVD of class memories as they went off on summer vacation. The children were recorded sharing stories. By accident, a six second segment of her having sex on a couch was included. Although originally asked to return the recordings, a spokesperson for the school system has asked that parents now destroy them.

This is the height of bad judgment and incompetence.  Who knows what damage she did or might still do.  I feel sorry for her, but my concern is mostly for the kids. 



This brings up the question about the type of people to whom we entrust our children. It sounds as if there shall be no reprimand against the teacher. But, is not the violation of innocence a type of abuse?

Okay, it was an accident, and if she is married then she is entitled to relations with her husband, but is it moral to video record such intimacy?

If not married, then she is both sexually permissive and into sexual voyeurism. Years ago, such an event would cost the teacher both her good reputation and her job.

I suspect the school board would have done better to insist upon the return of the DVDs and to personally orchestrate their destruction. Potential future scandal is real. What if a depraved parent puts the video online or seeks to profit from it? What about the possibility of blackmail? This teacher has made a nightmare scenario for herself.

Her name has been withheld, but what about the good name of the other forty-five to fifty women who work at her school. Parents will talk and so all the immediate parents and their families will know about it. Everyone else will look at the school roster and wonder, which woman is it?

How can these kids ever look at their teacher again in the same way?


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Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like

(McCain supporters)
McCains the best candidate
With Palin as his running mate
Theyll fight for gun rights, pro life,
The conservative right
Our future is bright
Better economy in site
And all the world will feel our military might

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
Iran he will attack
We gotta vote Barack!

(Obama supporters)
But McCain and Bush are real close right
They vote alike and keep it tight
Obamas new, hes younger too
The Middle Class he will help you
Hell bring a change, hes got the brains
McCain and Bush are just the same
You are to blame, Iraqs a shame
Four more years would be insane

Lower your Taxes – you know Obama Wont
PROTECT THE LOWER CLASS – You know McCain wont!
Have enough experience – you know that they dont
STOP GLOBAL WARMING – you know that you wont

I want Obama
Stick with McCain and youre going to have some drama
We need it
Hell be it
Well do it
Lets move it

Im talking big pipe lines, and low gas prices
Below $2.00 that would be nice

But to do it right we gotta start today
Finding renewable ways that are here to stay

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

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Calendar of Events

  • 10/05  Red Mass
  • 10/06  Voter Registration Deadline (DC)
  • 10/09  Christ in the City
  • 10/12  Archdiocesan Marian Pilgrimage to the National Shrine
  • 10/14  Voter Registration Deadline (MD)
  • 10/26  Marine Corps Marathon Run for Vocations
  • 11/04  Election Day
  • 11/13  Christ in the City
  • 12/11  Christ in the City
  • 01/08  Christ in the City

News and Announcements

Annual Archdiocesan Marian Pilgrimage/Peregrinación Annual – We call your attention to an important announcement concerning the annual archdiocesan Marian Pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Sunday, October 12. All are invited to attend and show our love for Mary. The theme is In the Year of St. Paul, a journey of faith with Mary, Mother of Hope. Confessions will begin at 1:30 p.m.; Scriptural reflections at 2:00 p.m., the Rosary at 2:30 p.m. and Mass at 3:00 p.m. The Mass satisfies the Sunday obligation.

Elections 2008

The United States bishops’ document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, reminds us that “participation in political life is a moral obligation. This obligation is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all that we do.”

To assist parishes this fall, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has developed a website with extensive resources and ideas for parishes, individuals, youth and schools, www.faithfulcitizenship.org. In addition, the Maryland Catholic Conference has produced a booklet on parish guidelines for elections.

Please note that all of the USCCB materials are available in both English and Spanish.

Resource for Parish Websites – Help your parishioners stay connected with Scripture. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has the complete Bible (New American) online, along with daily readings, video reflections on the readings and podcasts: www.usccb.org/nab/. This is a great link for parish websites.

World Priest Day (October 26, 2008) – The ninth annual World Priest Day, sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter in conjunction with the Serra Club’s Priesthood Sunday will be held on October 26. This is a day for families to celebrate and honor their Catholic priests and an opportunity for parishioners to thank, affirm and share their love and support for all of our priests. For more information about how you can participate, please visit www.priestsunday.org. Please forward the attached letter to your parish council president.

Voter Registration Deadline Coming Soon – You must be registered in order to vote in November’s general election for president and U.S. Congress. The deadline to register to vote in Maryland is Tuesday, October 14. Basic requirements include American citizenship, Maryland residency, and being at least 18 years old by the election. For more information or to register, please visit http://www.elections.state.md.us or call 1-800-222-8683. The deadline in the District of Columbia is October 6. Voter registration is online at the website of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, www.dcboee.org or call 202-727-2525.

Fall is the Time to Apply to a Catholic High School! – Families of 8th graders: Fall is the time to apply to a Catholic high school. Catholic high schools emphasize strong academics, faith, values and service and offer a wealth of enriching activities such as athletics, art, music and cultural events. See your principal or parish catechetical leader in September to obtain a directory profiling the various schools. Visit www.CatholicSchoolsWork.org for a schedule of open houses, links to high schools’ websites and other information.

Christ in the City (for Young Adults) – Christ in the City is a ministry of the Office of Young Adult Ministry that specifically focuses on spiritual growth and provides an opportunity to establish a relationship with Christ truly present in the Eucharist. On the second Thursday of each month, young adults from across the city congregate at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 10th and G Streets, NW, Washington, DC to pray and worship. Stop in for a few minutes or join us for the entire service. Either way, your prayer life will be enriched by the experience.

The evening starts with a 7:00 p.m. Rosary. From 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., there will be Eucharistic Adoration, Praise and Worship, Confession available and Reflection. St. Patrick’s is Metro accessible via Metro Center’s 11th Street exit or Chinatown’s 9th Street exit. Free parking is available at the parking garage on Tenth Street between G and H. Bring your ticket to the sacristy for validation. Dates for Fall/Winter 2008: October 9, November 13, December 11 and January 8.

Conference to Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem – Twenty years after Pope John Paul II issued the path-breaking apostolic letter on the dignity of women, Mulieris Dignitatem, leading scholars from the United States, Europe and Canada will gather during a conference in Washington, DC, October 3-4, to reflect on both the progress and the future of women and men. Civil and canon lawyers, philosophers, theologians and others will address each of the themes offered by the document: the importance of the feminine vocation for humanity; women and international rights; Christian anthropology and equality; original sin and its effects upon the male/female relationship; motherhood, virginity and the family; and the mystery of the Church as the bride of Christ. In a final roundtable discussion, scholars and participants will reflect upon the tasks ahead in order to realize the promise of the dignity of women.

The conference is co-sponsored by The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and Ave Maria School of Law. For more information, go to http://www.avemarialaw.edu/conference or call 734-827-8073.

Marian Conference at Mt. St. Mary’s – Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD is hosting a conference in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday, October 11. The day will begin at 9:00 a.m. with Mass and conclude at 5:00 p.m. Participants will be able to choose four Marian presentations from a total of 11 talks. Topics include The Blessed Virgin in the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, Pope Benedict XVI’s Teaching on the Blessed Virgin as Model of Faith, Mary and the Social Doctrine of the Church, The Perpetual Virginity and Divine Motherhood of Mary, and Consecration to the Blessed Virgin according to St. Louis de Montfort. For more information and to register, visit www.mount2008.com/symposium/ or call 301-447-5017. Please join us!

Chastity Events for Teens – and Parents – All teenagers from 7th-12th grade and parents are invited to attend Chastity Day: Real Freedom, True Love. Jason Angelette, a national chastity speaker will speak to the teens. At the same time, parents are invited to a session specially designed for parents to learn new ways to support your child in living a chaste life. For more information, go to www.adw.org (under events) or contact the Department of Life Issues at 301-853-4555.

  • Sunday, October 19, 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m., Our Lady of Perpetual Help Panorama Room, Wash, DC
  • Sunday, October 19, 6:15 p.m.-7:45 p.m., Jesus the Good Shepherd Church, Owings, MD
  • Monday, October 20, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Mark the Evangelist Church, Hyattsville, MD
  • Tuesday, October 21, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., St. John Church, Hollywood, MD
  • Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m., St. Patrick Church, Rockville, MD

All teenagers from 7th -12th grade and parents are invited to attend Chastity Day: Real Freedom, True Love. Jason Angelette, a dynamic chastity speaker will be talking to teens and new this year will be a session with a speaker for parents.

John Carroll Society Lecture for Year of St. Paul – Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America, will deliver the annual John Carroll Society Lecture on Tuesday, September 23, 6:45 p.m., at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The title of the lecture is “The Journey Continues Today: Year of St. Paul.” Free admission. A concert prior to the lecture will begin at 6:15 p.m.

“Moral Life: Living with Hope Within Us” – Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi continues his series of lectures on “Moral Life: Living the Hope Within Us” on Thursday, October 2, 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Little Flower, 5607 Massachusetts, Bethesda. The second of a nine-part series, this lecture is entitled “The First and Second Commandments: Liberating Words of Faith.” The morning lecture (with coffee and bagels) will be in the Rectory Meeting Room and the evening lecture in the Music Room of Little Flower School. Admission is free. For information, call 301-320-4538.

Lyra Russian Folk Ensemble Concert – Lyra, the Russian Vocal Ensemble of St. Petersburg returns to Little Flower Church, 5607 Massachusetts Avenue, Bethesda, MD, on October 10, 7:30 p.m. These young, talented musicians have a repertoire of sacred, classical and folk songs. Admission is free (free-will offering). For information, call 301-320-4538.

Weekend Retreat for Women: Explore Religious Life – The Sisters of Bon Secours invite single Catholic women, ages 20-45, to learn more about religious life during a weekend retreat, October 25-26 at Bon Secours Spiritual Center, 1525 Marriottsville Road, Marriottsville, MD 21104. You will have the opportunity to be with sisters as you learn about their life, and will meet and share with other women who are exploring religious life as a life option. This weekend offers time for reflection, discussion, liturgy, relaxation and one-on-one conferences with a sister. There is no charge. To register or for more information, call 410-442-3172, toll free 1-877-742-0277 or visit http://www.bonsecoursvocations.org/journeywithus/pop_comeandsee.html.

Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation Conference – The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) was established in 1998 by an ecumenical group of Christians who sought to raise awareness about the plight of the indigenous Christians of the Holy Land. The HCEF 10th annual international conference will be held October 24-25, National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016. The conference title is A Decade of Seeking Peace: Pursuing Hope, Security and Human Dignity. For more information, contact Zachary Wales at HCEF, 301-951-9400 x 211.

Have Fall Travel Plans? – It’s easy to find a Mass at your destination. Just visit www.masstimes.org.

Awaiting the Resurrection of the Body at Catholic Cemeteries – Many of us recite the “resurrection of the body” line of the Creed without focusing on the fact that the body being referred to is our own! Yes, our faith in the Risen Christ points to an eternal future not just for our souls, but for our bodies as well. This consoling belief of the Church is the reason why Christians have always buried their dead together, awaiting the resurrection of every body on the last day. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese exist for this purpose: to await the resurrection of the body with family members, friends and fellow parishioners. To secure a “waiting place” for your family at the Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Washington, kindly contact the manager of a Catholic Cemetery nearest you or visit www.ccaw.org.

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