A discussion of the need for "responsible" criticism of governance in the Catholic Church and lessons the church can learn from Benedictine monastic governance will kick off the Newman Foundation Distinguished Speakers series this year.
Sister Christine Vladimiroff, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pa., will speak on "The Church in America Today: From Crisis to Community" on Friday.
The Newman Foundation is an independent organization at the Catholic Newman Center near the University of Kentucky. Its goal is "to deepen and integrate personal, spiritual and intellectual development" at the Newman Center, UK and in the Catholic Diocese of Lexington. The Distinguished Speakers program has operated for 21 years.
The second speaker in the series is James Bacik, pastor and campus minister of the Corpus Christi University Parish at the University of Toledo, Ohio. He will present "Facing the Challenges, Seizing the Opportunities" on Nov. 29. Bacik has written a number of books on topics such as church tensions, campus ministry and significant theologians of the 1900s.
The final speaker, Tatha Wiley of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minn., will discuss "Leaving the Snake Behind: Original Sin Without the Myth" on March 4.(source)
Not exactly the distinguished speakers I might select. Unfortunately this is all too typical for Newman Centers. First we have Sister Christine Vladimiroff who defied the Vatican in the case of Sister Joan Chittister¹s participation in the Women¹s Ordination Worldwide. She was her prioress and not only condoned her participation but framed her refusal as " It is out of the Benedictine , or monastic, tradition of obedience that I formed my decision."
Next we have Fr. James Bacik, Ph.D., pastor of Corpus Christi Chapel and chairman of the Catholic Thought department at the University of Toledo. The Catholic Thought department was endowed by a prominent liberal Catholic family in Toledo on the condition that the studies program remain outside of the control of the diocesan bishop (now why should that be?). Fr. Bacik is also a proponent of women’s ordination and believes that abortion should not be criminalized. He has also spoken out against Bishop’s who would deny communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.