WBUR

BC Won’t Renew Contract Of Controversial Professor

BOSTON — Several students are protesting the decision by Boston College to not renew the contract of an adjunct professor in its School of Theology and Ministry who has openly questioned why the Catholic church won’t ordain women.

The Boston College mission statement on its website talks about the Jesuit foundation of the school that makes it unique. It reads: “No other institution so explicitly embodies the fundamental human desire to know.”

But after Father John Shea, a professor of pastoral care and counseling, asked church leaders for a theological explanation for why women are not being ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic church, he was let go. After nine years, Shea will leave his position at the end of this semester. He refused to comment.

The school says, as a matter of policy, it does not discuss personnel decisions*. But several of the BC students who are protesting the decision say there’s a climate of intolerance at the Jesuit university around openly discussing sensitive issues such as the ordination of women.

“I think the reason he was let go was because he was causing trouble,” said John Falcone, who worked as a graduate assistant with Shea.

Last year Shea wrote directly to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, telling him that he would step aside from active ministry until women are allowed to be ordained. Falcone says Shea has since paid a price for this position.

“I think the university, by any means necessary, is tying to avoid any kind of trouble or implication that the School of Theology and Ministry is not impeccably right wing orthodox,” Falcone said.

Recently, after Shea was told his contract would not be renewed, he wrote again to O’Malley, and to other Catholic leaders across the country, asking why the church won’t let women be priests.

Boston College said Shea’s contract was not renewed because his position was changed to a tenure-track job, a change the School of Theology and Ministry has sought for some time. But students in the program, including Paul Shoaf Kozak, are protesting his termination.

“John Shea is a highly respected faculty member,” Shoaf Kozak said. “He is, in fact, one of the only members of our department who teaches pastoral counseling. His classes are always full. He typically receives high evaluations from students.”

Shoaf Kozak signed a student-drafted letter to Boston College President William Leahy expressing disappointment with the decision not to renew Shea’s contract. The letter says there is an underlying message in the decision: you can’t disagree with Catholic teachings.

“There’s some suspicion, for sure, especially given the fact of the atmosphere right now of our church,” Shoaf Kozak said. “And at our school we’re not fully permitted to discuss issues in the public forum about homosexuality, female ordination, those issues that are very important for our generation of Catholics, here in a North American context.”

Boston College says this is not true. Spokesman Jack Dunn says the school doesn’t shy away from any conversations.

“Unfortunately some students apparently are upset over a personnel issue and while I’ll never discuss personnel issues, I can assure you that anger is misguided,” Dunn said. “It’s a terrific school, it’s a school that’s embracing the issues of the day, as a school of theology and ministry should.”

The Vatican has been clamping down on priests who have advocated for the ordination of women. Last year, a priest from the Maryknoll order was excommunicated because he took part in a women’s ordination ceremony.

Suzanne Thiel is the president of an origination known as Roman Catholic Women Priests, and is one of approximately 100 women who have gone through ordination ceremonies and call themselves priests. Thiel said the Catholic public has accepted female ordination, but church officials won’t talk about it.

“I think we have plenty of male priests who are open to women balancing out the ministry but they just are afraid for all kinds of reasons,” Thiel said. “Probably their retirement, especially, and just their whole priesthood from being cut off, because that’s how this hierarchy has been functioning.”

The primary theological explanation the Vatican gives is that women can’t be priests because a priest has to represent Christ, and women can’t do that because they’re not male.

Students in Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry say they expected an atmosphere that welcomes dialogue and values professors who embody the Christian spirit. They have asked BC President Leahy for an explanation of his decision not to renew Professor Shea’s contract.

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this post said BC does discuss personnel decisions. As a matter of policy, it does not discuss personnel decisions.

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  • Mamaclak

    As a student of the STM, I find it a very open atmosphere. The issue comes up often.

    • Guest

      An open atmosphere?  Highly doubtful.  

  • Clarkgarden

    Validly ordained women priests worked in Eastern European countries during the Communist regime. After the fall of communism, they were instructed to no longer offer Mass and they did comply. My understanding is that this idea may have originated with Cardinal Mindzenty in Hungary.

  • Ferraras1

    Is the opening statement correct?

  • ckg

    This is a phenomenal article. Thank you for opening up a venue to speak about John Shea’s dismissal!

  • Anonymous

    Academic freedom is incompatible with religion. 

  • Anonymous

    Shouldn’t  the opening statement read ” Several students are prostesting the decision by Boston College not to renew the contract of  an adjunct professor?”  The fourth paragaaph is also misleading . Sometimes people are so anxious to write that they forget to proofread their work.

    Just my two cents.

    • tdubois

       therefore it should be “paragraph”.
      I’m just sayin’.

      • Anonymous

        Correct  tdubois,
        I recognize my typo, but they are held to a higher standard. The point is, the article could be easlily misread.

        • 19247

          Wow. Yet another typo. Let us see if you can spell well enough to find it!

    • Rock

      Indeed.  Look at your spelling of paragraph.  Why do people take the time to call people out on relatively insignficant items when the larger issue is what is worthy of debate.  However, people and place (apparently like Boston College) don’t want to have the debate.  Let’s all make sure we use the proper cover page on the report, but the report itself never gets read.

  • STMer

     The idea that his contract is not being renewed simply because he asks controversial questions is unfounded and an excellent example of projection.  I think that BC is a great program that is deeply committed to applying the Catholic faith to contemporary issues–without suppressing any conversation.  People who agree with his opinions see this as a martyrdom when it simply could be that the university does not believe he is the best person for the new tenure track position (i.e. does not meet the qualifications of the new position).  His course evaluations were not all aglow.  I know I took his class, which was egregiously overflowing, not because I was interested in taking a class from him, but because he was the only person who taught a required course. 

  • Ctwood2

    So predictable…a spineless RC university administration resolves the issue of pressure from the U.S. Bishops henchman by bot “re-hiring” a professor with the audacity to discuss a non-theological issue.

    The hierarchy dislikes being confronted with discussing an ancient miscarriage of St. Paul’s reality when women were priests and church leaders.

    So instead of ordaining women and married men, the U.S. Bishops, the sheep of the Vatican, continue to face the lack of U.S. priests by importing ones from Africa and India, who while holy and well meaning, barely speak intelligible English. Obviously, the sermon no longer serves an important purpose and relevance to parishioners the further the distanceis in time from Vatican II.

    Do the American RC leaders wring their hands and wonder how to deal with the fact that the second largest religious group in the United States, close behind Roman Catholics, is EX-Roman Catholics. I doubt it!

  • STMer2

    John
    Shea, O.S.A. is one of the most talented teachers I have ever had in my
    experience of Jesuit higher education.  Not only is he trained as a
    professional and as a pastor, he is also deeply committed to his students and
    fosters an engaging academic learning community where a conversation can
    happen.  Shea does not allow his views on women’s ordination to become
    manifest in class discussions or lectures; Shea was not once vocally critical
    of our Church in the class I had the privilege of taking with him.  

     

    I am
    disappointed and deeply offended by my fellow STMer  whose post below indicates that this is an
    “excellent example of projection.”  I did not sign the letter
    because I did not agree with the phraseology, but there are many students I can
    assure you in our community who are deeply troubled by this decision.  I
    would advise the school to begin a conversation soon about this pressing issue or there will be an imminently visible and vocal divide in our student
    body that will threaten the health of the STM community.  

  • Bikerfay

    As a graduate of BC’s  program back when it was the IREPM, I would encourage these students to look at the past and realize BC has a LONG history of caving like this to the hierarchy.  I was a student in the early 80′s when Bernard Law became cardinal.  The diocese disliked the Institute’s choice of several summer faculty who signed a NY Times ad stating they disagreed with the church’s stance on birth control.  They were not allowed to teach at IREPM after that.

    Over the last 30 years the church has increasingly cracked down on what it considers non-orthodox points of view.  Meanwhile the number of people, like myself, who no longer consider ourselves RC, grows larger and larger, while the number of priests grows smaller.  While this is not causal, it sure follows the same path.  Will the church look at this?  Of course not, then they would have to acknowledge they don’t have all the answers, and that their stance on the ordination of women is heresy.  After all, if the only reason women can’t be priests is that Christ was male and women aren’t, then all men who are not of Jewish and Semitic backgrounds should also not be priests.  After all, that is what Christ was, correct.

    What ever happened to:  “There
    is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is
    no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3.28 

  • STMer

    Imagine with me a scenario.  Friendly and beloved Asst. Professor X is up for tenure review.  His application is given to the tenure board and they make a decision based an certain metrics.  This process is certainly not purely objective, but it is based on metrics.  If the asst. professor is denied tenure then people who do not have access to the metrics are left to formulate their own theory of why tenure was denied.  Ergo I say projection–few people have access to the metrics used in this case.  [Aside: I find it interesting that people are willing to say things like "He typically receives high evaluations from students" which slightly implies that they have access to real data--which is very unlikely.]  Let’s return to Asst. Professor X.  If his actual metrics (the things upon which the decision rests) are low, then who would step up and say so?  Wouldn’t that just be mean and a violation of privacy?  If metrics like: class evaluations, peer evaluations, institutional evaluations, grade differentiation, successful defenses of mentored students, successful application of former students for further study, publications, continued professional development–things that only the review committee knows fully–are actually low, then they are unlikely to announce this publicly, to protect the Asst. Professor out of respect for his work.  This leaves the rest of us to surmise why beloved Asst. Professor X was denied tenure.   I do not have access to the metrics in the case of Fr. Shea, and I venture to guess that no one who is speaking publicly about this situation does either, but I can testify from previous experience in such matters of making unpopular personnel decisions–based squarely on metrics–that the surmising is usually quite off base and quite willing to assign pernicious motivations where there are none.

    • John F

       It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read the signs of the times.  Shea was not denied tenure.  He just doesn’t fit the profile that the school is building.

    • Cooolblue13

      You have every right to express your logic, but people are hurting. And you are perpetuating that pain and hurt because of your lack of sensitivity around this issue. What are you going to say about that?

      • STMer

        Yes, people may be hurting, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t speak my opinion on the matter, does it? 

        • STMer

           Also, do you not thing it hurtful to assume pernicious motivations from the administration and then accuse them of an unfair and unjust decision?  Or can only one side of this issue have its feelings hurt?

          • STMer

             *think

    • Concerned STMer

       John Shea, O.S.A. wasn’t denied tenure. He wasn’t even up for tenure. A tenure track position has been created in place of his non-tenure track. In order to occupy the tenure track position John would have had to apply. Projection may be present in this situation, but not as in the scenario you articulated.

      • STMer

         That is why I asked you to imagine the scenario…

        • Concerned STMer

          I think I understand now what you are trying to demonstrate with your scenario; correct me if I’m wrong. You are trying to demonstrate that in personnel decisions there is much more going on behind the scenes that those not involved will know. Thus, those not involved shouldn’t claim to know why a professor isn’t kept around.

          If this is your point, I see it as a valid logical point. However, what some of the students at the STM are doing is trying to express frustration over the continued faculty changes. Coolblue13 picked up on this strand-the frustration bit. Are they claiming to know all of the details? No. Do they expect to know? No. Do they expect to be involved in personnel decisions? No. But there is frustration present among some, and I believe an administration should honor that and attempt to engage in some sort of conversation. I could be wrong.

          I will add that in cases where people are hurting, whether or not others perceive it justified, a strict adherence to logic can compound the pain. Logic can be used with sensitivity to pain.

          You believe that the STM students are assuming pernicious motivations. Maybe the students are, but the written expression of frustration didn’t presume as much. It was more respectful than drawing black and white lines. The students are looking for conversation not accusations or incrimination. The above story deviated away from the intentions of the students who are voicing their frustration.

  • www.agapeparable.com

    For those interested in understanding more of the background behind these decisions, please go to my websight; http://www.agapeparable.com

  • Cbolser

    The indelible mark that separates a priest from the rest of the church is found in the penis/scrotum; circumcized of course.  Without these signs, priesthood is impossible.  With these signs then everything is possible. 

  • Nikki20

    It took BC years of student protest to allow a LGBTQ club at school and even not it is not permitted to use the word ‘activism’ in their statements and receives little funding. I can definitely say that the good old Catholic practice of shut up and don’t talk about it resides in the administration.

  • Anonymous

    Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck – BC is ducking the issue. Shifting positions – part to full, exempt to non-exempt, non-tenure to tenure – is an old and cheap trick to get rid of someone. May  or may not be the case here, we’ll never know but the broad brush response ‘they’re wrong, we’re a great school’ misses the point and offers no evidence of BC’s address of the issues of the day. That was a perfect opening to describe that BC does the address the issues, but alas slogans suitable to an uninformed politician. This is an issue that mystifies many, akin to gender biases in all the religions in its glib basis, especially at a time when the wisdom women could bring to the church could contribute so much. What would Jesus say?

  • NV from Sutton

    Its the same thing as on 60 Minutes last night.  Archbishop of Dublin speaks out on the Sexual Abuse of children in Ireland.  His superior, the Cardinal, isn’t very happy…  You know what, we need more people like Fr. Shea and Archbishop Martin who speak out about the lunacy of our church.  There are so many who are the “leaders” whose actions are pushing away the everyday Catholics.  Its not the hierarchy’s church, but the laity’s church.  The people have to lead the church for they are the church.  I love my Jesuit education (Le Moyne College) and would hope that the Jesuits keep speaking out about the immorality and hypocrisy of the current leadership.  We protect the priests, not the children, we ram ideas which we know are wrong, down the throats of the people, like women’s roles, and birth control, etc.  Nonsense!!! 

    • ohioguy

       First and foremost it is not the hierarchy’s Church, but it isn’t the laity’s Church either.  It is Christ’s Church.  We can’t describe the Church as another social organization because it isn’t just another social organization it is Christ’s Mystical Body.    When we look at Christ we see that his perspective is right and all the Church can do is protect Christ’s teaching.  For example the love between a man and a woman imitates the love Christ has for the Church (Eph 5) and the love Christ has for the Church is total, free, faithful, and fruitful, just look at the Crucifixion.  Contraception hinders that complete free gift of love; contraception holds something back.  The condom holds back the sperm so that the man doesn’t have a completely free gift of self to his wife.  Sex then loses a beautiful aspect.  That is what the Church promotes the free, total, faithful, and fruitful sex life.  Concerning Women’s Ordination, again, all we can do is follow Christ’s teaching.  Christ loved without bounds, he ate with sinners, cured the outcasts and conversed with women.  He broke all kinds of social boundaries.  He had no problem breaking these boundaries.  Why, then, did he only choose 12 men to be his apostles; the 12 are definitely set apart from the other disciples.  Why did Christ only choose men, I’m not 100% sure, but the fact is that he did and his Church has faithfully carried down this teaching for 2000 years.  The Church can only imitate Christ, she can’t go outside of Christ’s teachings to do whatever she thinks is right at that point in history.
      Ad maiorem  gloriam Dei!

  • STM Student

    John Shea’s departure isn’t the first personnel controversy the STM is facing this year.  You should try to see if you can get anyone over there to talk to you about what happened to Ed Vacek, S.J., another “controversial” professor who was asked to leave, though he had tenure, because he wasn’t orthodox enough.  The man has been a Jesuit for over 50 years and was one of the most beloved professors at the school.  Don’t know what’s happening over there…  

  • Gregory Norbet

    Dear John Shea,
    Thank you and bless you for your authenticity.

  • Anonymous

    - Not all of the S.T.M. are in agreement with this article…it sounded like all were in agreement, that it is a collective statement – it is not.  A lot of that audio has been ‘crafted’ innaccurately… The NPR bunch are always ready to jump on board with anti-Catholic church sentiment…

    - Too many liberal (far left) students and professors at the IREPM - need more ‘balance’ asap.

    - John Falcone is not a practicing Catholic person – he is divisive and tries to make trouble whenever possible…

    - Fr. Shea has been around the block a few times – he is well capable of making his own statements (and has done so).

    - The whole story is not known here…

    - I believe that this is not intended to be personal toward Fr. Shea – he is loved.  It is likely a business decision made by a CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY in order to protect the overall good of the entire university.  Business decisions cannot be taken personally.
     
    - Need to regain focus at the STM and certainly taking a few of the ‘far left’ out of the mix will create a little more ‘balance’ and the ability for the few who are loyal to church teaching to have more of a voice…WHICH THEY BARELY HAVE THERE NOW…

    - A few people who are, in reality, anti-Catholic church are attempting to make trouble all the time at the STM.  They want to make the Catholic church into what they want it to be – fruity tooty – swing with the times – they should know better.

    Boston College:   If you would like to change this recurring situation, think about conversing with those who do the hiring and with those who decide what professors and students to bring in?  Get some of your personnel on the hiring committees to create a little more ‘balance’ than there is now?  If you have liberal (left left) professors on a hiring committee seeking to take in liberal-minded (left left) students…to ‘further their cause’ what do you expect??  If you decide to get more involved we might have a better ‘mix’ and experience of peace instead of waiting for the next ‘attack’ from those who feel the need to be constantly organizing disruption.

     

    • John F

       I beg your pardon.  I am indeed Catholic, and I attend Catholic Mass almost every Sunday (when I am not overwhelmed with homework).  You should be very careful when discussing other people’s spiritual lives.  I am also a teacher, and have been a social worker and Jesuit Volunteer.  What kind of “trouble” do you think I have been making “wherever possible”?

    • Concerned STMer

       Dear 18275,

      I found myself agreeing with certain of your comments. And I found myself disagreeing with certain other of your comments. Is that a contradiction? Or is this evidence of the complexity of who we are as human beings and as religious persons?

      I agree that not all students or even faculty/staff at the STM will agree with the above article. People will fall in different places for different reasons. Or in the same place for different reasons. These things are complex. And as with any media piece, it will be crafted to a particular angle. That’s the limitation of the media, and dare I say it, human beings.

      I am confused by your second point. How do you define “liberal?” Is a liberal one who disagrees with even one point of doctrine in the Catholic Church as set forth by the Magisterium? Is a liberal one who critically approaches doctrine so as to understand how teachings can be relevant to lived experience today? If it’s the former, I don’t think there are any liberals left at the STM. If it’s the latter, I think most professors at the STM fall into that category. That’s a mark of deep faith in Christ, to critically examine the way things are in order to seek further conversion.

      John F. has already spoken up for himself. Good for him. He didn’t merit being singled out.

      I agree that the whole story is not known. Again, the limitations of the media and of being human. This story is complex! It seems that the story is trying to pick up on a pattern, though, of how faculty have been treated, and it asks why the faculty have been treated so.

      Whether or not this decision was personal against John Shea can’t really be known. “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business,” doesn’t seem remotely adequate to this situation. It’s down right insensitive, in my opinion. The STM is a Catholic institution that seeks to form people in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

      I am saddened that there is such a strict divide between “liberal” and “conservative” conveyed by your words. The way you present things make it seem like one or the other is expendable based upon relation to Church teaching and the hierarchy. I am also genuinely saddened to know that some at the STM don’t feel that they can voice aloud their questions, concerns, or thoughts. In essence people across the spectrum feel excluded. I wonder how the school can remedy such stark divisions. Surely it isn’t by simply getting rid of certain voices.

      What reality are you speaking of when you claim that “anti-Catholic church” people are speaking up? Can not speaking up against unjust practices be an expression of deep and profound love for the Catholic Church? Is not holding the Catholic Church to higher standards the way the Church becomes holier? And are not your criticisms indicative of what you think the Catholic Church should be? Each of us does have our own image of what the “best Catholic Church” is and as certain professors at the STM say, we wouldn’t even meet those expectations. Indeed the diversity can make relating to others difficult. But that’s the beauty of such a diverse Church. I am saddened by your judgmental remark: “They should know better.”

      As for your last segment on hiring…I’m not going to comment on those politics.

      I mean no disrespect by raising my questions. As you can see we agree on certain points and disagree on certain points. I’m certain I’m in error on some of my comments. But I don’t mean them as absolutes.

  • Kogut Linda

    If they won’t ordain us, might as well stop Baptizing us.

  • Anonymous

    Then I apologize that I must have misunderstood my B.C. friend…you must be a practicing Catholic if you say that you are…  But your recent Huffington Post article (and your responses to the responses) was not appreciated by many people at the STM and beyond, and you were told so…

  • legalizeddiscrimination

    I think if the Catholic church wants to benefit from the legalized job discrimination of not allowing female priests, then it should forego it’s tax free status. Even the Vatican ruled in 1976 that there is NO scriptural reason why women can’t be priests.

    If the reason is because “JC was a man, so a priest has to be a man,” Well then that same logic can be used as “The founding fathers were men, so no woman should be part of politics.”

    The Catholic Church: they’re more than happy to take women’s money, but not their minds.

    • Add57

      I have always wondered why women continue to participate without comment….God knows I have commented and been thrown out many times.What would happen if we quit giving money?

    • ohioguy

       Sure there is Scriptural Basis.  First lets remember that the Church isn’t just a social organization.  It has to follow the plan of Jesus Christ, not what we think is “fair”.  In scripture we see that Christ loved without bounds, he ate with sinners, cured the outcasts and
      conversed with women.  He broke all kinds of social boundaries.  He had
      no problem breaking these boundaries.  Why, then, did he only choose 12
      men to be his apostles; the 12 are definitely set apart from the other
      disciples (Mk 3:13-19; Mt 10:1-4; Lk 6:12-16).  Why did Christ only choose men, I’m not sure, but the
      fact is that he did and his Church has faithfully carried down this
      teaching for 2000 years.  What was revealed to the Apostles has been passed down in the written and oral tradition of the Church.  The Church can only imitate Christ, she can’t
      go outside of Christ’s teachings to do whatever she thinks is right at
      that point in history.  If you want greater detail read Ordinatio Sacerdotalis; its available on the Vatican website.
      God Bless

      • Bikerfay

         Ohioguy, you are presuming that the written history and system put in place of the “12 apostles” is not influenced by culture of the time, and is somehow “TRUTH”.  check your early church history, many women were leaders of communities and were the “priests”.  The gospels weren’t written down for a hundred years after Christ, and refined over many hundred years after that.  Those who write history affect how the story is told.  The church accepted what was “gospel” vs. not over several hundred years, and that was heavily influenced by who was in charge, and that happened to be men.
        Pay attention to who is telling the “Truth” and what might be influencing them.  Then you can begin to see the larger picture.

  • Kminnaugh

    I was recently discussing my issues with the “rules and regulations” of the Catholic church with my Aunt who has been a nun for 6o years.  She left me speechless when she told me that in the eyes of the church she is considered “laity”.  She has been a “bride of Christ” for more than a half a century.  Administering to the poor, teaching in rural areas and living a chaste life.  But even she is not considered an integral part of the all male club.  If I didn’t think that God was scratching his head and wondering what in the hell we are doing down here, I wouldn’t be able to continue worshiping with my church.
     

    • ohioguy

       What is wrong with being part of the laity??  Your speech creates the Church as a class system.  Why do you say that being part of the laity means that you aren’t an integral member of the Church?  We are all called to serve the Church in the way and your aunt does it in a radical way which is a beautiful.  Why does it matter if she has the title of “clergy” just because she serves in a special way? 

    • ms564

       You appear to be misunderstanding the meaning of the term “laity”. There is no question whatsoever, no implication whatsoever, that “the laity” is not an integral part of the church. This is complete ignorance of the meaning of the terms.

  • Anonymous

    I respect your comments – it is indeed a complex situation.  I did not mean to be judgemental nor do you, I can see.  I am frustrated – others are too.  I really really think we need a better ‘balance’; some people do not have a voice at the S.T.M. – that is not good at all.  Their grades are going to be affected if they speak up -one person said this to me.  “I’m going to look on the computer now, it will be a B-”.  This person honestly felt like she was not going to get a good grade in the course because of the position that she took on the paper and because of how she spoke up in class…  That is not right, it just is not right…  If even one person said this, how many think it…?  People can literally lose their voices, and if they are outnumbered forget about it…they feel as though they might as well say nothing at all…I watched them, sitting across the room looking at me – both of us KNOWING that we could not speak, literally could not say what we thought.  This is why it was and is important to have more balance in the student and professor population.

    People who do ministry, who even attempt to serve Christ, are lucky to have the opportunity to do so and they know it and so do I.  Can we please work better together and stop fighting with one another?  Please.  If we focus on Christ wishes, we can do this, I think.  I’m done.  Thank you.

    There is diversity in community, and yes, we are called to love all.  It’s really hard to love the Catholic church and accept ALL of its teachings.  I might not even agree with everything myself.  But if I want to be a Catholic person, then I am one, wholly accepting of it – otherwise, why would I be a Catholic person.  Discussion is good, various points of view are good, it makes life more interesting!  But, it takes 500 years for my church to even think about change – that is not a surprise to hear.   If we are in ministry as Catholics, surely we have to be Catholics…be loyal to it.  It will not change easily.  If you are in ministry, your time is not never-ending – make good use of it I say – make your contribution!  Stop fighting and bickering with one another!  Hope that make sense.  I’m sure I am in error in part too – I’m far from perfect, have no doubt about that.

    The larger instituion at Boston College (which is still a Catholic University) would likely have some concern if people speak up against the basic teachings of the Catholic church.  They are going to lose their funding from various sources, no doubt about it, if they do not maintain some form of monitoring.  That is business!  If you lose the funding for your school, you lose a lot, and a lot of the funders are loyal – very.  So, I don’t think we need have any doubt what the variables are here…there is business involved too.

    On hiring?  On the taking in of students?  It is definitely a very liberal school, and everybody knows it…  We need a little more balance in some areas, that is all I would suggest…

  • STMstudent

    As an STM student, I am ashamed and appalled by mud-slinging members of my community who dare to call me “anti-Catholic” for my progressive views.

  • Delieres

    the catholic church can’t ordain women!!!  they are second class citizens!!!!

    • Jacob

      Yea! First class means you raise them in fatherless homes, with higher exposure to drugs, sexual assault and an unhealthy lifestyle so you can set them up for a life of cheap pleasures and having metal rods or acid stuck inside them to destroy a baby!

  • Anonymous

    Progressive?  ok “progressive views”…..  But you should think about being very respectful if you call yourself Catholic and want to be Catholic.  BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF and your own mud-slinging…there are people who will not sit back and listen to your mud-slinging without response, so bring.it.on.  I am quite willing to speak for hundreds who are afraid to speak up to you and your “progressive” views as it relates to our faith and loyalty to our Catholic church…

    • Ann

      I think people’s life experiences make them approach their faith in different ways and gives then a different understanding. I respect your loyalty to the church and williness to speak up for what you believe is the truth,  it is obviously dear to your heart. I am interested to know what you might think of a perspective I share in http://www.agapeparable.com. Feel free to respond to me at ann@agapeparable.com
      I would love to hear your comments!

      • Anonymous

        Hi Ann,

        I will read and respond, sure.
        Have a good week!

  • Anonymous

    John’s departure is not the first, this is correct.  There are some people who loved Ed.  And there are many people (a good number of Jesuits) who took moral theology courses at St. John’s seminary becasue they did not want to take a class with Ed Vasek.  They said “he is a terrible teacher.”  Ask the Jesuits…they might tell you the truth, or they might not…  That said, I am not aware of anybody who disrespected the man’s vocation to the priesthood and how committment to that, and I am not aware of anybody who disrespected him as a person.

  • Anonymous

    and “his” committment to that.

  • Mary Kay Kusner

    Outrageous!  As a graduate of the School of Theology and Ministry, it is clear that BC is fearful of reprimand from the hierarchy.  I find it sad that a school of its reputation is not encouraging open dialogue but rather, wants to silence one of its best faculty.  Shame on you, BC.

    Mary Kay Kusner

    • Jacob

      Yea! They should “have dialogue” and then, naturally, give in and adopt secular norms like all the leftist Protestant churches (which are dying and only ordain women as a last gasp publicity stunt). That’s definitely the road to future success!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=765058178 Anonymous

    I am not surprised..  This college is  run by Roman Catholic church which denied/buried/covered all the child abuse cases for decades. What they did?  Transferred those pedophiles to other places so that they continue work of god.   Do they have any soul?  Do they have a heart?  I doubt it..  Theology doesnt mean anything to them.  How dare Father Shea asks any logical, Intelligent question?  How dare he question the authority?  How dare Father Shea have a independent mind?  RC church doesnt like anyone who questions them in any ways.   Now it is time for Bible study.  Hallelujah, Praise the Lord.  If and only the Lord is listening.

    • Jacob

      So what should we do, pack up and all become bitter nihilist leftists like you? (I’ll take faith in God even if homosexual pedophiles invade the Church again!)

      So many leftists end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, sterilize themselves, murder their children in the womb and/or commit suicide that I wouldn’t feel safe partaking in that lifestyle!

      • Anonymous

        There were many female victims too.  Stop conflating homosexuality with pedophia.

  • Bob

    Fr. Shea goes too far. For Homoseual Marriage, Female ordination. Not just discussion but tota ladvocacy.

  • C.S.

    BC made the correct judgement by not renewing the contract. Shea’s heterodox views on marriage and ordination are not as problematic, in my judgement, as his unusual understanding of his own priesthood. Telling the Cardinal-Archbishop that you will not be ministering to the people of God (as a whole) because you have some particular faction to please (the so-called Women Priests) seems skewed. It shows his good intentions, but his abstention from ministry is nonetheless a distorted idea. The path to hell is paved with good intentions…

  • m22d

    maybe lady gaga should have launched her foundation at BC.  oh, wait…. they support bullying.

  • Charity toward the other

    By sheer coincidence the day this story emerged on NPR the day’s Gospel reading from Luke says: “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be merciful, just as your heavenly Father is merciful.’ Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven…For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

    No doubt this passage can be interpreted in countless ways. No doubt I fall prey to judgment. Yet, there’s an underlying theme: be imitators not just of Jesus, but of God who is love. So, disagreements will ensue over who is right and who is wrong. That misses an important point that as Christians we are called to a higher standard of love, which includes love of our enemies (that’s how some are viewed here, based upon the polarizing language that attacks “conservative” or “progressive” stances). I’m trying to be charitable. It’s hard. Why not from this point forward let God’s grace enable charitable responses?

    • Gabriel Austin

      “be imitators not just of Jesus, but of God who is love”

      In the Church Universal [though perhaps not at the Jesuit BC] Jesus is God.

      • Charity toward the other

        Yes, Jesus is God. I’m not doubting that. In the passage I cited above Jesus isn’t speaking of himself, but of God the Father. God the Father who is merciful. How do you explain the dynamics of the above passage? Is God the Father the same as Jesus Christ? Is Jesus really just talking about himself? Is God only one, thus the Trinity is unnecessary?

        No doubt I’m no expert on Trinitarian theology, but I’m not implying that Jesus is not God. Why the distinction, then? I could have simply stated: “Be imitators of Jesus,” which is common parlance in spiritual language. But Jesus isn’t the only person with whom we are called to be in relationship and who is to influence our lives as Christians. I should have stated: “be imitators not just of Jesus, but of God who is love (as 1 John writes), and the Spirit who is a gift of love from Jesus to his followers. But I didn’t believe it necessary to get into Trinitarian dynamics. I was mistaken. All three are integral to who we are as Christians.

        The “Church Universal” includes Jesuit Boston College. I’m sorry that you don’t see it that way. And I’m saddened that you looked past my invitation to charity by unfairly criticizing BC (and picking apart a tiny detail, which I may or may not have adequately provided further necessary explanation). As much as I’m frustrated with things right now at BC, I will not stand by as people criticize it for something it’s not doing, which as you believe it to be the case-not believing in fundamental Christian doctrine. How can you make such an unfair generalization?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, Christ says that we must love our enemies, and sometimes I wonder if (at least subconsciously) some folks take that to mean that in order to be a good Christian, you have to have enemies…  

      The trick to charitable responses is getting past the win-lose mentality — a difficult thing for either side to do.  It’s easier for folks to stay at the surface and remain resolute in their stance.  It’s a shame that the idea of a win-win situation doesn’t occur to many, especially those who tend to be more vocal.  It doesn’t matter which side folks take — conservative/traditional or liberal/progressive — the fact that they take a side at all contributes to the polarization.
      In our culture, very few individuals have the capacity or the ability or the desire to listen.  Most folks tend to hear what they want to hear, or they hear what they expect to hear.  The key to having a conversation, to having dialogue, is more about listening and less about adding emphasis to what you’re saying.  Too many folks are trying to win an argument, but it’s next to impossible to counter-argue beliefs and feelings, either with other beliefs and feelings or with facts and logic.  What we end up with is no one at all winning and then lots of folks get angry because they feel like they’re not winning.  And let’s face it, it’s a rare occurrence when someone who’s angry acts in any way that can be considered charitable.

      • Charity toward the other

        Thank you for your words, CAGrace. I thank you for your  gentle invitation to listen.  

  • Anonymous

    There are deeper issues at work here.  As a two-time alumnus of Boston College, I have watched the transition from IREPM to STM and have noted that the primary business decision was the “re-affiliation” of the Weston Jesuit School of Theology with Boston College.  In my opinion, the newly formed School of Theology and Ministry lacks integrity when it comes to both of core areas: theology — faith seeking understanding, and ministry — service to others that is anchored by one’s theology.  The climate at BCSTM encourages neither faith nor understanding.  This school is not about transformation, not about resurrection;  it’s not about changing lives, not about dying to old ways and rising to new life.  BCSTM is only about rules and doctrine and dogma.

    In this time we’re living in, a period of uncertainty and fear, the human reaction is to cling to certainty in order to alleviate anxiety.  No wonder there is such polarization among us, and there’s no need to look to political races for evidence, just look at BCSTM. Strict adherence to doctrine and dogma reinforces a sense of belonging — who’s in and who’s out — and it does nothing to encourage spiritual growth, spiritual experience, and spiritual formation.Richard Rohr cautions that “theological training without spiritual experience” is deadly.  Far too many individuals place all value on training, and none on the experience.  I wonder how much ministry can possibly be happening at BCSTM these days — you can only pass on what you have, and if you haven’t had much spiritual experience, you certainly won’t have much to pass on in your ministry.I’ve known John Shea the entire time he’s been at BC.  He is an excellent example of someone who has integrated theological training and spiritual experience.  He is also an excellent example of how to engage in theological reflection.  John has lived out what many Jesuit schools, including BC, claim to teach — question experience, look for deeper reasons, act with integrity.  This past Sunday, the Gospel reading told the story of the Transfiguration.  We must remember that Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah, the liberator and the prophet.  This is how he defined his ministry before going back down the mountain to be with the crowds.  Liberators and prophets sign up for hard lives.  In my view, John Shea has chosen to follow the path of liberators and prophets.

    By the way, for all you theologians and ministers out there, riddle me this, Batman — in the Gospel resurrection stories, why do all the women get to hear about the resurrection first and firsthand, and why is it that they are the ones instructed to tell everyone else?  And if the Lord’s supper was a Passover meal, aren’t those usually family affairs, so wouldn’t there have been women present, and as a good Jewish boy, wouldn’t Jesus be spending that time with his mother, so wouldn’t Mary have been there as well, and if all this is so, what would the implications of that be when you look at the Eucharist and the washing of the disciples feet?  Just wondering…

    • Catherine Bernard

      I endorse what has been said about Dr. John Shea. He is an exemplarary person who seeks the truth, does not shy from the real and the true.

      I have read about what the decision of BC and am saddened about what has taken place.
      Truly John  Shea has chosen the more difficult path, but I am sure will be blessed aboutantly for values he embraces..

    • Gabriel Austin

      Theological training without religious practice is indeed shallow. But what may one say of religious practice without theology? Is this not like medicine without the study of medicine?

      Fr, Shea tells his ordinary that he cannot continue as a priest. Would it not have been more priestlike to have done this quietly? His actions do smack of calling attention to himself.

      • Anonymous

        Both training and practice are important.  In the tradition of St. Ignatius of Loyola, both action and contemplation are important.  It’s a matter of both-and, yet so many individuals prefer either-or.  The term “duality” comes to mind, as does “polarity.”
         
        I like your analogy of medicine without the study of medicine, and I’d push it further to include the practice of medicine.  There are three dimensions — medicine and medical interventions, the study of medicine, anatomy, biology, physiology, psychology, etc., and the lived, physical experience of doctors, nurses, and healers.  Each piece is good, yet each piece is incomplete.  In terms of religion, spirituality, and faith, there’s ritual and tradition, the study of scripture and theology, and the practice of prayer and ministry.  In terms of the Church, there’s scripture, the magisterium, and the sensus fidelium.  These three pieces must work together and constantly inform each other.  Tradition informs teaching informs experience.  Teaching informs tradition informs experience.  Experience informs teaching informs tradition.  Every permutation has to happen in order for both the individual and the collective to grow and mature.  It’s not about fitting the pieces together;  it’s about each piece providing a little illumination to other pieces in a continuous and ongoing way.
         
        As for John Shea’s decisions and actions, my sense is that student reaction to John not returning to Boston College in the fall called attention to John.  I don’t get the sense that John in any way tried to call attention to himself.  If anything, I think he tried to call attention to an issue that he feels is important to his practice of his faith and to his role as a priest.

        In any relationship, whether it be corporate management and employees, teachers and students, parents and children, friends, spouses, whenever and wherever there is a power differential, those with power must look in a mirror in order to examine how they use the power that they have.  Without that self-examination, the chance of failing to use that power wisely increases.  As a priest, as an American white male, John Shea is quite clearly in a position of power;  perhaps  —I must emphasize that I do not speak for John nor have I spoken with him—  perhaps we might look at John’s actions as his attempt to step down from power.  Is this not what Christ did on the cross, step down from power and step into powerlessness, and do we not expect priests, and all Christians for that matter, to follow the example of Christ?  I am selecting my words carefully — my point is that I think John stepped away from power because he saw that he possessed power that others, in this case women, did not possess.  To look at scripture, after the transfiguration, Jesus did not stay up on the mountain;  he went down the mountain to be with the crowds.  It’s a metaphor, I think, for closing the distance between those with power and those without power.

        Another suggestion for all of us who have been vocal in this conversation is that we examine how we ourselves define the adjective “priestlike” and how we ourselves understand priesthood in the Catholic Church and the role of priests in the church.  Our own understanding of the priesthood, both conscious and unconscious, shapes and guides the way we respond.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, there’s hope for BC after all!

    Thiel demonstrates how she decides dogma: the Catholic public accepts it (at least the small public with which she surrounds herself.)  She claims the hierarchy fears loss of power, but that is because she is trying to grab power.  She views the priesthood not as a priest, the humble servant, but rather as a position of power that she wants to wield.  She has no theological point to offer, only slander.

  • Linda Schaller

    Unblievable.  I can’t believe how afraid the school is of the Vatican.  It’s about time we all stand up and be heard.

  • Pignatelli

    A priest not engaging in ministry until he gets his way in the Church is like a mother refusing to feed her children until their school changes its policies.  It shows his true priorities.  Prophetic?  More like solipsistic.

    Also, of course BCSTM can’t have its people so flagrantly opposing the local ordinary (Cardinal Sean).  If the courageous Fr. Shea wants to insult the local ordinary, he shouldn’t expect the institution (of which he is only an adjunct member) to act as human shields for him. 

    “impeccably right wing orthodox?”  The majority of professors at BCSTM are not orthodox (by orthodox I mean one can affirm that his thinking is fully coherent with the Catechism), and none are close to ‘right-wing’ orthodox, whatever that means.  If people are convinced that BCSTM is right-wing orthodox, those people are either willfully ignorant or BCSTM has pulled off the greatest deception since balloon boy.

    • Anonymous

      >>>”A priest not engaging in ministry until he gets his way in the Church is like a mother refusing to feed her children until their school changes its policies.  It shows his true priorities.  Prophetic?  More like solipsistic.”

      What if I refuse to buy an iPhone or an iPad until Apple changes its manufacturing practices?  What if refuse to give money to the Church until it spends money on schools and social services and keeping parishes open instead of spending money on court settlements?  Are those examples solipsistic?  Are those examples self-serving?  Are those examples of me trying to get my way?  Or are those examples of my refusal to participate in a system that I see as unjust?  How would you describe my true priorities in those examples.  I could understand your example if it was a teacher refusing to teach his students until their school changes its policies, but that wasn’t your example, so I can’t see how Fr. Shea was being solipsistic.  I’m just curious as to how you view the priesthood and the role of priests and the priorities they should hold.  If a priest engaged in ministry is the only way for people to be fed, then I have to question the quality of their belief NOT the quality of the believers.

      >>>”Also, of course BCSTM can’t have its people so flagrantly opposing the local ordinary (Cardinal Sean).  If the courageous Fr. Shea wants to insult the local ordinary, he shouldn’t expect the institution (of which he is only an adjunct member) to act as human shields for him.”

      If Cardinal Sean is insulted Fr. Shea’s actions, he must be thin-skinned indeed.  I would hope for more from a leader and prince of the Church.

      Also I thought Fr. Shea had no comment on the BCSTM’s decision not to renew his contract.  How do you know that he expected BCSTM to act as “human shields?”

      And for my own clarification, what do you mean when you use the word “courageous” to describe Fr. Shea?

      >>>”impeccably right wing orthodox?”  The majority of professors at BCSTM are not orthodox (by orthodox I mean one can affirm that his thinking is fully coherent with the Catechism), and none are close to ‘right-wing’ orthodox, whatever that means.  If people are convinced that BCSTM is right-wing orthodox, those people are either willfully ignorant or BCSTM has pulled off the greatest deception since balloon boy.

      Yes, you’re correct. BCSTM is not right-wing orthodox or whatever similar descriptor anyone wants to use.  BCSTM knows where the money is, and the money is coming from students and funders who want a more orthodox school.  It’s all about business, and in business, you are whoever you need to be at any given moment.  There is a growing conservative movement in this country, and if BCSTM is going to get any money from that movement, it needs to look like it’s more right-wing.  To keep Fr. Shea, or Fr. Vacek before him, is just bad business for BCSTM;  keeping either one of them around is a highly efficient way to lose out on potential income.

      • Gabriel Austin

        Some there are who believe that money is the answer – whether in BC or in those who will withold their contributions ot the Church. Do they really believe that God has need of their money?

    • F. Carlton

      Yes, I can hear the love in this post.  I don’t see the word, “love,” in this or any other posts, just malice and words of division.  Yup, that’s what Jesus taught.  Glad to see you understand and promote it- NOT.

  • http://twitter.com/EdM3rd Ed M. 3rd.

    These groups are heretics and such women so called priests are automaticaly Excommunicated from the faith.Women have as much right to be priests as I a male has to be a nun.Hines and Shea along with Falcone should be expelled not only from the school but should be bodily expelled from the faith. They should all join one of the tens of thousands of splinter tower of Babel Protestant sects springing up every other block with their self proclaimed interpetations of the Bible                                      .Leave and do not let the door hit you in the backside on the way out of BC and the Catholic faithObviuosly .it was the twelve apostles not apostalettes that Jesus chose to be his ministers bishops  and priests.Bhuddism under the Dalai Lama has nuns like the Catholic faith. Bhuddiism’s ministers such  as the Dalai lama  & Priests and monks are all celebate and Islam,, orthodox Judaism, Hindus. shinto and vallangong (China) have no female clergy at all. Eastern Orthodox, Bhuddism and Concervative  Anglican faith like the Catholic church has nuns.Obviously  if you do not like this THEN LEAVE..

    • Anonymous

      Ed M. 3rd, thank you for providing a concrete example of how
      someone understands religion as an instrument of belonging and
      identity.  Since you mention
      “self proclaimed interpretations of the Bible” perhaps it has not
      occurred to you that most translations of the Bible are indeed interpretations
      — translations from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  A flaw inherent in translations and interpretations is the
      inaccuracy.  I’d be interested to
      see your own translation of the Bible, particularly the sections of the New
      Testament in which you interpret Jesus’ instruction to expel individuals from
      the faith or for individuals to leave the faith if they “do not like”
      particular laws, rules, and doctrines.

       

      I would, however, try to see things from your perspective, to
      perhaps take the English translation of the Bible more literally.  I am reminded of Jesus’ instruction to
      “love one another as I have loved you” in particular.  Since the concept of “who’s in and
      who’s out” (my words, not yours) seems to be very important to you, as is
      a literal translation and interpretation of scripture, perhaps Chapter 25 in
      the Gospel of St. Matthew will be a place of some common ground.  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable
      of the goats and the sheep, the story of The Last Judgment as it’s described in
      some translations of the Bible, maybe the only place in the Bible that lists
      specific criteria for entry into heaven: 
      give food to the poor and hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the
      sick and imprisoned.  Note that
      intention and awareness don’t count; neither those on the left or on the right
      were aware of what they were doing. 
      Note that adherence to rules and laws and doctrines aren’t among the
      criteria listed.  Even prayer isn’t
      mentioned!  The only question that
      matters is this: how did you treat your brothers and sisters?

       

      You seem quite angry, or perhaps that’s my own
      interpretation of your post.  I’m
      not sure, however, what specifically has prompted you to call for
      excommunication and expulsion, and if you would be so kind as to clarify your
      position, perhaps simplify it so I might understand it, I would be open to a
      dialogue with you.

    • F. Carlton

      Once again, looked at through a lens of love.  Isn’t that what Christ invites us to, and promoted all his earthly days?  I do not understand how people can slam John Shea for promoting inclusivity in the name of love and justice.  Jesus embodied nothing but love and justice and these are Gospel values.  Have you ever read the Gospel?

    • Rebecks

      May I suggest you read the New Testament. The jewish community, of which Jesus was a member, also excluded women, poor people, and of course lepers. Jesus had numerous women friends and was known to touch them, forbidden by his religion. He had a very special ministry to the poor who were unwelcome in their place of worship because of lack of funds. Jesus broke many of the Jewish “rules” and never left his community. He died a Jew. Following Jesus if often difficult but like him, we choose to stay in our church.
      Joan 

  • Guest

    Both training and practice are important.  In the tradition of St. Ignatius of
    Loyola, both action and contemplation are important.  It’s a matter of both-and, yet so many individuals prefer
    either-or.  The term
    “duality” comes to mind, as does “polarity.”

     

    I like your analogy of medicine without the study of
    medicine, and I’d push it further to include the practice of medicine.  There are three dimensions — medicine
    and medical interventions, the study of medicine, anatomy, biology, physiology,
    psychology, etc., and the lived, physical experience of doctors, nurses, and healers.  Each piece is good, yet
    each piece is incomplete.  In terms
    of religion, spirituality, and faith, there’s ritual and tradition, the study
    of scripture and theology, and the practice of prayer and ministry.  In terms of the Church, there’s
    scripture, the magisterium, and the sensus fidelium.  These three pieces must work together and constantly inform
    each other.  Tradition informs
    teaching informs experience. 
    Teaching informs tradition informs experience.  Experience informs teaching informs tradition.  Every permutation has to happen in
    order for both the individual and the collective to grow and mature.  It’s not about fitting the pieces
    together;  it’s about each piece
    providing a little illumination to other pieces in a continuous and ongoing
    way.

     

    As for John Shea’s decisions and actions, my sense is that
    student reaction to John not returning to Boston College in the fall called
    attention to John.  I don’t get the
    sense that John in any way tried to call attention to himself.  If anything, I think he tried to call
    attention to an issue that he feels is important to his practice of his faith and to his role
    as a priest.In any relationship,
    whether it be corporate management and employees, teachers and students,
    parents and children, friends, spouses, whenever and wherever there is a power
    differential, those with power must look in a mirror in order to examine how
    they use the power that they have.  Without that self-examination, the chance of failing to use that power wisely increases.  As a priest,
    as an American white male, John Shea is quite clearly in a position of
    power;  perhaps  —I must emphasize that I do not speak
    for John nor have I spoken with him—  perhaps we might look at John’s actions as his attempt to step down
    from power.  Is this not what
    Christ did on the cross, step down from power and step into powerlessness, and
    do we not expect priests, and all Christians for that matter, to follow the
    example of Christ?  I am selecting my words carefully — my point is that I think John stepped away from power because he saw that he possessed power that others, in this case women, did not possess.  To look at scripture, after the transfiguration, Jesus did not stay up on the mountain;  he went down the mountain to be with the crowds.  It’s a metaphor, I think, for closing the distance between those with power and those without power.Another
    suggestion for all of us who have been vocal in this conversation is that we
    examine how we ourselves define the adjective “priestlike” and how we
    ourselves understand priesthood in the Catholic Church and the role of priests
    in the church.  Our own understanding of the priesthood, both conscious and unconscious, shapes and guides the way we respond.

  • teresa haliburn

    I refer to Bob’s one line comment that appeared 4 days ago  ;

    John Shea’s position on the ordination of women needs to be understood from a perspective of inclusion and not exclusion of women,from issues of gender equality and justice. 

     Does  such a position imply homosexuality ?-Aren’t both  different issues with no comparison? 

    .Perhaps reading and writing  beyond what is actually  stated in the article regarding BC and Fr. John Shea will  in no way clarify but misconstrue the truth for which Shea stands for and values.

    What is  included  in his position is “women being allowed to assist in the work of the Church as ordained priests - complimentarity in excersing the pastoral ministry of the Church which is ” continuing the healing work of Jesus Christ who is both God and Man ” women are also created in the image and likeness of God……

    John Shea is recognised in USA and abroad for his integrity ,outstanding pastoral concerns and engagenments to build the Body of Christ- The Church

    Teresa H

  • Serfacproghead

    guest

    reply to Delious 1 week ago.

    Mothers are women,  are they second class citizens? then all of us must be second class citizens because we are born from our mothers who are women . This applies to priests too….. I suppose?

  • Dkpv

    Father Shea was granted his goal in this matter.  He said he would step aside from active ministry until women are ordained.  The Church’s position is that priests represent Christ when addressing the congregations, and only a man can represent Christ in that role.  Therefore, women will not be ordained, so the only course was to grant Father Shea his professed wish.

    By David W. Keefe, a Catholic who believes that the authority of the Church rests with the Vatican in Rome, and not with every radical who would have the Church modifying its positions on every thing from ordinations to marriages and to permissivity in all manner of diviations from currently acceptable social behavior.

    • Elizabeth H.

      pause for a moment and consider what Christ would do. Not the church, which is human and fallible, but Christ, who was human and divine. Christ excludes no one and would never treat another human being the way John Shea is being treated by BC’s controlling patriarchy.

      • Mike

         While Jesus welcomed all, repentance was expected. He told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more (John 8: 2-11) and he also told the apostles – the Church’s first patriarchs! -  to shun the unrepentant sinner (Matthew 18: 15-17).   Inclusivity only went so far with Jesus.

        • Anonymous

          “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the
          two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so
          that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three
          witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if
          they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a
          tax collector.”  (Matthew 18:15-17, NIV)

           

          Yes, Mike, good point.  As you say, “Inclusivity only
          went so far with Jesus.”  Let’s follow your suggestion and treat
          people like John Shea as we would a pagan or a tax collector.  Hmmm…
          What specific guidelines should we follow…? Oh, wait, I suppose we could look
          at the stories Jesus told in order to teach people, or, and I know this could
          be a radical idea, we could even look at what Jesus did in those situations.

           

          Let’s start with what to do about pagans… Well, if I recall
          correctly, the Samaritan from the parable “The Good Samaritan” was a
          pagan.  What happened in that
          story?  Let’s start with the
          context of the story.  Jesus tells
          this story in response to a question about what to do in order to inherit
          eternal life.  The question, comes
          from an expert in the law, probably a lawyer.  Jesus asks him how he interprets the law, and the expert in
          the replies that the law says to love God and to love one’s neighbor as
          oneself.  (Let’s remember that
          these are not two laws, but two parts to one law;  you can’t love God without loving one’s neighbor, and to
          love one’s neighbor is to show love for God.)  Jesus hears the response, and essentially says that the
          expert is right, good answer.  The
          law expert pushes a little further though, and asks who is neighbor is, and
          then Jesus tells the parable. A traveler gets robbed and beaten, and as he’s
          lying half-dead at the side of the road, both a priest and a Levite (religious
          authorities) not only walk past the injured traveler, they cross the street to
          avoid him.  Now let’s try to understand their point of view. Remember that a lot of religious folks kept
          strict adherence to rules; they don’t stop to help the injured traveler because
          they’re on their way to the temple, and if they stop they would probably get
          dirty, and according to the rules then they wouldn’t be able to go the temple
          if they’re dirty. Well, in times like those you have to keep your priorities
          straight, right?  So then, a
          Samaritan, a pagan, whom the Jews despise, stops and helps the traveler.  After telling the story, Jesus asks the
          law expert, of the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan, who was neighbor to
          the injured traveler.  The law
          expert says “the one who showed mercy” — note that he can’t bring
          himself to even name the Samaritan. 
          And what does Jesus say then? 
          He says “Go and do likewise.”  If we’re supposed to follow the example of this Samaritan,
          this pagan, I suppose that’s how we should treat pagans, then.  You know, do unto others, etc, etc…

           

          And what about tax collectors?  And in the time of Jesus, tax collectors were pretty much
          despised.  How should we respond to people who are play the role of tax
          collectors in present time?  Perhaps like the Samaritan, we can just use a general description of individuals who are despised.  So, let’s go back to the Gospel of Luke.  Hmmmm… there’s the story of Zaccheus.
          It looks like Jesus welcomed tax collectors, visited and spent time with them,
          and even ate with them!

           Well, Mike, I like your citation of how to treat people who are
          “unrepentant sinners” — we should treat them like pagans and tax
          collectors.

          • nolaughingmatter

            I don’t see how this applies to Fr. Shea; he’s not being excluded from Christ nor is he being prevented from performing priestly ministry.  His contract is not being renewed; some are deducing it’s because of his stance on women’s ordination.  If he or others who do not wish to adhere to the teaching of the Church on this matter then they’re free to disagree.  Simple enough. 

  • Jennatlanta

    If women were to believe in their right to ordination, they are misguided in what true freedom is.  We don’t do the calling, we are not oppressed in not being able to follow a call.  We are called as women, to bring Christ to the world in the way God ordains.  Essentially, you tell Christ that he failed to reveal the full dignity of womanhood by not picking a woman as a priest.  Where women fail most is in identifying with Mary.  She had and has a hand in mediating grace yet she was not priest but mother.  (Wedding at Cana) When will women ever embrace fully God’s plan?? and I do think that women can work and be moms but the workplace won’t embrace that after HHS is done.  It all comes together.  Women, embrace your true self!  You are already made powerful by the very fact Christ already valued the feminine genius.  ”WHo is mother, brother . . . to me?  The one who does my will.”  All else is a distraction and a smoke screen for the real truth.  So much to know and the only way is to go deeper — the Church is not oppressive but has a proposal — will you believe??
    If you don’t even believe in the church than this post is irrelevant –but your heart is not irrelevant and no where but with God can one begin to know the depth of his own humanity

  • Gabriel Austin

    Interesting is the number of people who ask what Our Lord would do, and then go on to give the answer. Are these private revelations?

    Fr. Shea took a vow of obedience. He then went on to break the vow, giving his own private interpretation of Church teachings. Perhaps he also has had a private revelation. Have we not heard all this called private interpretation of the Bible? Fr. Shea comes across as a Protester. He should in honesty join one of the protester groups; or keep still.

  • Jmcjmc2

    When will I learn to never read the comments section? Fr. Shea is a wise and wonderful teacher, mentor and friend. BC is certainly losing an amazing resource, I am a better Catholic, social worker, and human being from having known him.

  • Mike Mineter

    I have read and reread John Shea’s books with intense gratitude for his wisdom, compassion and clarity of thought and expression.   That your students are now denied contact with him is a tragedy for them.

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