No surprise, McBrien cleared

No surprise, McBrien cleared

Not that I didn’t see this coming, but the chairman of the Notre Dame theology department said Fr. Richard McBrien was not guilty of plagiarism. This came up last month when I posted some comparisons between a McBrien syndicated column and an Eileen McNamara column in the Boston Globe about the Menino-Catholic Charities affair. The Cardinal Newman Society took the ball and ran with it, filing a complaint with Notre Dame.

Of course, it’s no surprise that McBrien would be cleared, especially when you read the department chairman’s description of CNS:

[T]he complaint “was publicly lodged by the Cardinal Newman Society … a militant right-wing Catholic interest group lobbying for the most stringent standards of orthodoxy to be used in courses and curricula at Catholic colleges and universities,” Cavadini wrote. The group, he said, had already “targeted Fr. McBrien as a dissident priest who should be required by the university to leave his teaching position.”

Gee, do you think the outcome was pre-ordained?

Regardless of the outcome, the whole episode reveals the intellectual bankruptcy of the liberal establishment. They’re left to recycle the same tired cliches that we’ve heard a million times. And so it’s proven again that if you’ve read one liberal, you’ve read them all.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
12 comments
  • I’m sure you have seen this already, but Amy alerted her reading public of a website created by some Notre Dame students to discuss acedemic freedom and Catholic identity.  I’m guessing that if Notre Dame has any hope of reform it will come from the ground up.

    http://freedomnd.blogspot.com/

  • I submit, humbly of course, that Jesus was a militant ring-wing Jew preaching the most stringent of orthodox standards (i.e., the narrow road) that went beyond the mushy over-ritualized and obsessive-compulsive Pharisees and Sadducees, and to be used in ensuring that the Gospel reached every person on the earth, Jew and Gentile alike.  While He told his followers to respect those dissident Pharisees who disagreed with Him, as they were heirs of Moses, He also told them not to pay too much attention to their words as their actions were mostly hypocritical.

  • I’d be interested to see what the whole article reads and whether this quote is taken out of context.  I know Prof. Cavadini personally.  He’s not a liberal, he’s not the kind that throws around accusations.  In fact he is probably the most humble, holiest, theologians I know.  He’s a father of 8, and is the reason that Notre Dame’s Theology faculty has been increasingly better over the last 8 years.

  • To be excruciatingly accurate, the “article” is in the National Catholic Reporter, and it selectively quotes a five-page letter issued by Cavadini.  Perhaps StephenND really meant to say that he’d like to get a look at the original letter, since perhaps Cavadini said more than just what was quoted by the NCR.

  • Have people missed the fact that this whole incident is based in A.) a Catholic University that B.)requires people to pay a considerable amount of money for what they call a Catholic Education from the Theology Department?

    Should this whole incident have even happened in such an environment. Makes one wonder why one would spend so much money to attend a “Catholic University” when you can get the same rhetoric and maybe even higher academic standards for a lot less at any state university, at least from what I can see in the article.

    According to the article, which quotes the letter, Dr. Cavadini labeled this group a militant right wing Catholic interest group. While McBrien, whose words VOTF proudly displays on page 4 of their annual report is not militantly left wing?

    Finally, I am so happy that, according to the article, one can consider carelessness of a professor who writes a column for which he gets paid is a higher standard at Notre Dame than plagiarism. I know of jobs where carelessness will get your fired and others where it will get your imprisoned. Yet, still others where it can kill someone. Thank God these people do not work in a hospital.

    When McBrien influenced VOTF promoted the destruction of the reputation of priests who turned out to be falsely accused was that just carelessness too?

    Do people really pay to go to that school?

  • I agree with StephenND. Cavadini’s words must have been taken out of context… he’s not the type to throw that kind of speech around.

    Before everyone writes him off, know that Cavadini is the one who hired all of my best Theology profs (I am a Theo/Philo major). He is the only reason that the ranks of Associate Professors have turned the ideological corner, and will soon rise to replace the McBriens of ND.

  • Under the dome:

    Thanks for those words of hope!  Sounds great.  Good luck with school.

  • Maybe there was no plagiarism because McB. is actually the same person as Eileen McNamara and Cavadini is one of the few people in on the little secret he he he..

    But really using the same ubiquitous anti-Christian blurbs as McNamara is trivial compared to e.g., denying the resurrection of Our Lord on national television.

    Has anyone here taken a course from McB.?

  • They’re left to recycle the same tired cliches that we’ve heard a million times.

    A sentence that reminds me of the kettle and the pot.

  • Looks like ND opted to resolve this with a little bit of tap dancing and threw in a “shoot the messenger” (“militant right-wing Catholic”) package for good measure.

    Not to worry. McBrien (and ND) has certainly had to do some scrambling here as the pocket collapsed around him. He escaped the sack this time but he certainly felt the pursuit coming and he won’t have enjoyed the experience.

    Personally, I’m more ticked about the subject matter of the column in question (scorn and derision for anti-abortion protestors) than I am about the fact that he lifted it from one of his fellow travelers at the Boston Globe. He ought to have been shown the door for that alone,  more so than the plagiarism.

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