Love and thanks,
Steve St.Clair’s suggestions for Catholics with whom to build relationships during “The Year of the Catholics”
Already-Existent Relationship with “First Things”
The group of Catholics in the United States who are closest to His Excellency Pope Benedict XVI are the scholars associated with “First Things” magazine and the just-deceased Founder Richard John Neuhaus. They are already trying to reach out to us, and my hope is that we will reciprocate in building those ties.
· When Mitt Romney was considering running for President in early 2007 First Things published an extremely favorable article about him written by the President of the Evangelical Theological Society Francis Beckwith: When the Saint Goes Swearing in. Dr. Beckwith very shortly after that left his Evangelical affiliation and became a Roman Catholic.
· Richard wrote a very favorable review of Robert Millet’s book “The Vision of Mormonism” in the November 2007: To those who are looking for an irenic presentation of Mormon faith and life, I recommend Robert Millet’s The Vision of Mormonism.
· During the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney In December 2007, when there was significant upset over his Mormonism, Richard John Neuhaus wrote a feature article responding to all of the issues: in A Mormon in the White House .
· In responding to Mitt Romney’s “Faith in America” speech in December 2007, Richard John Neuhaus came as close to endorsing him as a candidate as he ever has for anyone, in this glowing response: Mitt Romney on Faith in America .
· Three other First Things scholars also had very positive comments to the “Faith in America” Speech: George Weigel (First Things Advisory Board), Bill Donohue (President of Catholic League), and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver (frequent contributor to First Things). See it at this link: Catholic leaders respond to Mitt Romney’s speech on Mormonism .
· In October 2008, First Things invited a Latter-day Saint leader to be part of a dialog with an Evangelical on whether Latter-day Saints are Christian. The article by LDS First Quorum of Seventy member Bruce D. Porter and Gerald R. McDermott (the Evangelical scholar who co-wrote a book with Robert Millet).is on “First Things” at this link: Is Mormonism Christian?
· During the Proposition 8 debate, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times defending the Latter-day Saints from unwarranted attacks. See it at this link. Looking at the names of those who signed it, we see:
- Writer and Philosopher Roger Scruton, whose primary affiliation is First Things Magazine, to which he is a frequent contributor.
- Rick Cizik, Chuck Colson, and Robert Seiple, who are Evangelical drafters, along with Catholic Richard John Neuhaus, of the 1994 document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”.
- On the advisory board of the sponsoring “Becket Fund for Religious Liberty” along with LDS Senator Orrin Hatch, is Richard John Neuhaus of First things.
· In December 2008, following a Newsweek article making a Biblical case for Gay Marriage, the response the next week was called No Case for Homosexuality in Bible . This article was prepared by Joseph Bottum, First Things Editor, my good friend Philosopher John Mark Reynolds at Biola, and again Elder Bruce D. Porter of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Suggested Contact: Dr Michael M. Uhlmann, E-Mail: Michael.Uhlmann@cgu.edu, Telephone: 909-621-8210
We are fortunate that there is a local Catholic scholar who is affiliated with First Things Magazine; a frequent contributor to First Things, who teaches American law and politics at Claremont Graduate University. See a recent article by him on First Things at this link.
Replacement of Liberal Catholic Bishops by More Orthodox by Pope Benedict XVI
It is important to understand that many Catholic Bishops in the U.S. were among the first and longest to over-react to the 2nd Vatican Council. So a group of liberal leaders have been challenges to Pope Benedict XVI’s desire to bring the Catholic Church back to a “Center-Right” theological position.
See some interesting articles:
Significant opportunity to reshape the American church: Half of California’s bishops near mandatory retirement age (California Catholic Website)
Highest-ranking Hispanic bishop in western U.S.; Jaime Soto officially takes over as leader of Sacramento diocese (California Catholic Daily)
The Catholic Bishops in Los Angeles and Orange County are considered by many as being particularly liberal (When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano: Catholic Culture in America, First Things 2006), and have paid the cost in near-bankruptcies for sexual abuse charges. We can certainly count on their imminent replacements being more in synch with us on abortion, gay marriage, and homosexuals in the priesthood.
As an example, see new Hispanic Bishop of Sacramento Jaime Soto, who was moved there from an assignment as Orange County’s auxiliary Bishop. Here is a transcription of his 2008 address to the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries, “It is Sinful.” He looks and sounds like the future of Catholic leadership in southern California.
Catholic Higher Education
Much of U.S. Catholic Higher Education is also, according to people close to His Holiness, in serious trouble since the Educational Establishment declared independence from the Church Hierarchy in the 1970’s “in the spirit of the Vatican Council.” See some interesting articles:
Who Is Catholic? New conservative colleges say existing institutions lead students away from the true faith (Chronicle of Higher Education, 2004)
Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI’s Address to Catholic Educators: Truth and Freedom in the Catholic University (Cardinal Newman Center)
The Cardinal Newman Center identifies 21 Approved Colleges in the United States.
Two are in the Southern California area; and I would like to volunteer to contact them, during our “Year of the Catholic.”
John Paul the Great Catholic University
San Diego, California
Suggested contact: Obviously, President Derry Connolly, being contacted by Fred Woods of BYU, is already happening.
Suggested contact: Michael Barber, Professor of Theology, Scripture and Catholic Thought, He is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Theology at Fuller in Pasadena, CA. Blog: http://singinginthereign.blogspot.com/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, California
Suggested contact: Prof. Jeffrey S. Lehman, Professor of Philosophy; M.A. Biola University, formerly Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy and Theology, Biola University; e-mail: email@example.com
People who want their students to keep a love and appreciation of the Catholic Church and a belief in its teachings and willingness to follow its practices should probably send them somewhere else.
BYU Religion Department Professor with Ph.d. from Notre Dame University
Suggested Contact: Dr. Alonzo L. Gaskill is an Assistant Professor of Church History and Doctrine. He holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, a Masters in Theology, and a Ph.D. from Notre Dame in Biblical Studies.
Brother Gaskill’s books include Know Your Religions Vol. 1 – Mormonism & Catholicism
Brother Gaskill would be a perfect LDS Representative to Catholic scholars and Catholic leaders, or LDS Firesides and Public Affairs presentations.