North America's Catholic Church has frequently turned a blind eye to moral issues when it comes to hard, cold cash. But church laymen are taking the new pope seriously, and they're not going to be silent. The Washington Post:
Fifty prominent Catholic educators have signed a letter protesting Catholic University of America’s recent acceptance of a $1 million grant from a foundation affiliated with the billionaire libertarian Koch brothers, saying the gift sends “a confusing message” that the brothers’ “anti-government, Tea Party ideology has the blessing” of a school created by U.S. bishops.
The letter, whose signers include deans and department heads of Catholic universities, was made public Monday but delivered last week to Catholic University of America President John Garvey and Dean Andrew Abela. It says the Koch brothers’ activism against unions and climate-change science, among other things, is in “stark contrast” to the church’s “traditional social justice teachings.”
Charles and David Koch have given hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative and tea party groups. The grant to Catholic will enable the university’s new School of Business and Economics to recruit and hire four visiting scholars to conduct research on “principled entrepreneurship.”
The protest letter says its authors “commend” the Koch brothers for their gifts related to arts and culture. “However, we must not ignore the stark contrast between the Koch brothers’ public policy agenda and our Church’s traditional social justice teachings.”
The university’s public affairs office issued a strongly worded defense Monday.
“The letter is presumptuous on two counts. First, its authors cast themselves as arbiters of political correctness regarding Charles Koch Foundation grants,” the statement said. “Second they seek to instruct The Catholic University of America’s leaders about Catholic social teaching, and do so in a manner that redefines the Church’s teaching to suit their own political preferences.”
The Koch Foundation grant to support “principled entrepreneurship . . . is fully consonant with Catholic social teaching,” the statement says.