I once heard the story of a women named  Kara Walton , of Claymont, Delaware who “sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000 . . . plus dental expenses.”

While this story seems to be an urban legend, I was sort of left with the same feeling after reading about the most recent civil war going on in the Catholic Church, this time between Catholics for Choice and the Cardinal Newman Society .

Catholics for Choice, a group who’d like to enter Catholicism through the bathroom window without having to subscribe to any Catholic belief or doctrine about contraception, abortion, or homosexuality, has recently released its ” Opposition Notes : An Investigative Series on Those Who Oppose Women’s Rights and Reproductive Health”, deeming The Cardinal Newman Society “The most unhappily and inappropriately named society on the planet.”

While the Newman Society’s mission is “to promote . . . a truly Catholic university education and to seek the faithful implementation of  Ex corde Ecclesiae ,” Catholics for Choice seems to think that the CNS is not living up to the inclusivity of its “freethinking namesake.” They should be more inclusive, says CFC, but not so inclusive as to include the official Church document Ex corde Ecclesiae which CFC defines as, “a document that was an attempt to close ranks in Catholic education after years of openness to modern society, especially in the United States.”

“There are important debates to be had about furthering Catholic higher education,” says CFC, “but healthy debate seems to be the main target of the CNS. The question is—should Catholic institutions be judged by a narrow set of criteria imposed by one self-appointed judge of orthodoxy?”

While University of Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins is correct that The Cardinal Newman Society has “no ecclesiastical standing and no academic standing,” and at times, i’ll admit, does give off an overly-eager “watchdog” vibe, the Society “enjoys a significant level of approval as working within the official teaching authority of the church.” That’s more than Catholics for Choice can say.

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