Monday, June 22, 2009

Personal Aside: Thoughts While Shaving…(1) Fr. Ted Hesburgh…(2) Salary of Notre Dame’s President? Ever Wonder?


1. Fr. Ted Hesburgh, CHC. STD.

The man who…it can be said without exaggeration…single-handedly led the move to transform Catholic higher education from a God-centered enterprise to identicality with secular institutions where pro-abortion is supported with moral equivalence…is Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, CHC, STD, president emeritus of Notre Dame and who is in his 92nd year in residence at the institution. He was a public relations dream (not now, though as he’s almost blind and very-very deaf) because he had the Irish priest kind of look but inside was…and is…a consummate radical-liberal who for many decades has substituted relativist notions for orthodoxy concerning mortal sin.

I abruptly initiated a discussion with him in an impromptu and unplanned meeting in the Spring of 1976. I was dining in the Montpelier room of the Madison hotel in Washington when I saw the eminent Fr. Hesburgh in the corner dining with a layman. At that time he was, in addition to many other honorifics, chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, a leading philanthropic advocate of abortion and artificial contraception. I was then chairman of “Friends for Life,” a pro-life organization. Fr. Hesburgh was, of course, one of the key organizers of the Land O’ Lakes statement of Catholic educators which promulgated “true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical.” That document led to the rejection of Catholic doctrine that we have witnessed in such universities as DePaul, Loyola and Georgetown. DePaul has gone further and has instituted courses that advocate homosexuality (Queer Studies: 101) and Loyola has instituted similar courses as well.

As I walked over to him from across the dining room I was well aware that this handsome, iron-grey haired Irish priest not only willingly led a clever ruse to up-end the teaching of Catholic doctrine but had willingly aided the Rockefeller Foundation (then under David Rockefeller) to influence Paul VI to change the church’s moral teaching against contraception. In addition to lobbying Rome, Fr. Hesburgh used Notre Dame as a forum to disseminate propaganda against “Humanae Vitae.” In return, David Rockefeller named the smiling Irish priest to the board of Chase Manhattan Bank…following which he insisted that Fr. Hesburgh serve as chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. Hesburgh’s support of liberal programs was so well known that in 1972 Democratic Presidential Nominee George McGovern gave serious thought to an unprecedented act—naming Fr. Hesburgh as his vice president.

I asked Fr. Hesburgh politely if I could interrupt his dinner to ask a question…to which he willingly, charmingly, assented. But his Irish smile disappeared when I asked: “How do you justify your role as a Catholic priest with your chairmanship of a foundation that has long advocated abortion and has promoted artificial contraception? Am I as a Catholic to understand that you espouse those issues?”

I didn’t take down his answer but I can paraphrase it. It was not good, just a roundabout defense of the Rockefeller foundation’s support of anti-poverty and so-called humanitarian efforts. After which I asked: “Do you actually vote for birth control issues as chairman? Do you abstain? Recuse yourself?”

He responded by smilingly inviting me to write to the Rockefeller Foundation for ample documentation. At this point his lawyer dining companion also issued me an invitation—to cease and desist and get the hell back to my table since their dinner was getting cold.

Of course there was no mention of a vote or annotation of how the directors voted on issues in the annual report of the Foundation.

Just yesterday at Mass a senior priest at my church, Saint John Cantius, told me that as he was writing protest letters to officials at Notre Dame for having invited President Obama to address the graduation and receive an honorary degree, he also wrote one to Fr. Hesburgh. To his surprise, he received a response from Hesburgh which not only endorsed the action but went further—to praise Notre Dame’s professor of theology, Fr. Richard McBrien as America’s greatest Catholic theologian and probably one of the greatest theologians who ever lived. McBrien, of course, has written books that are not only brim-ful of dissent from orthodoxy but served as a priest advisor to Ron Howard in the filming of “The Da Vinci Code.”

It’s clear that Fr. Hesburgh is an articulate instrument of anti-orthodoxy in America or a quisling, named after Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Quisling [1887-1945] who dealt with the Nazis on their invasion of Norway and got them to convene a rump government and make him Prime Minister of Norway. His life was cut short on Oct. 24, 1945 when, after Norway was liberated, he was tried, found guilty of treason and summarily shot to death by a firing squad. His surname then was adopted in lower case as a synonym for “traitor.” Fr. Hesburgh is a quisling but he need not face a firing squad. He will face something far more draconian than that in the next world.

Salary of Notre Dame President.

Did you ever suspect that a priest of a religious order who is supposed to accept the triple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, receives a salary—not just payment to cover expenses but a lavish salary equivalent (there’s that old word “equivalence” again) to the CEO of a medium-sized corporation? Looking at the income tax form of the non-profit Notre Dame University for 2006 one sees that Fr. John Jenkins received that year a salary of $422,000 plus an expense account of $170,000.

It has been suggested that, yes, Fr. Jenkins receives that as a salary but everyone knows it is turned back to the University. Does everyone know that? Why pay him a salary at all if he is turning it back to the University? When I went to Saint John’s in Minnesota, the president was the Abbot of the Benedictine Order there and received no salary beyond his mere pittance as a Benedictine monk. I would be grateful if someone would explain why a salary is paid if it is immediately returned. I doubt it. I see some justification for the expense account which is considerable but probably necessary for the president’s travel to fund-raising events and his hosting of dinners etc. But even so—that’s a hell of an expense account.


  1. You are not God. You may judge Father Hesburgh as a Catholic, but not as a Christian. You cannot determine his reception in heaven. You will meet the same judge that he meets.

  2. Perhaps he turns it into his community, The Holy Cross Fathers. Now we know C. S. C. stands for "Come Sweet Cash!"

  3. It would be Hesburgh, CSC (Congregatio Sanctae Crucis), not CHC