Saturday, December 8, 2007

Archbishop Flynn Responds to Kersten Column in the Strib

Katherine Kersten's column of Dec. 4 ("Battle for soul of St. Thomas takes a turn for the worse") was an inaccurate and slanted portrayal of the current and future Catholicity of the University of St. Thomas.

I simply wish to make two points about the statement she quoted as being from our "Archdiocesan spokesman":

First, the statement we e-mailed and faxed to her was headlined as being a "Statement of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis." It came from me, not from our "spokesman."

Second, and more important, Kersten used only the first sentence of my statement in her column. The other two sentences were ignored. They read as follows: "The Saint Thomas board will always include bishops or priests. Any rumors or speculation about the 'de-Catholicization of the University of Saint Thomas are ill founded, inaccurate and ludicrous.'"

The editing of my statement leaves open to question her motivation in writing this one-sided and inaccurate column.



Anonymous said...

A couple of observations:

I have no doubt there will be a priest on the board of St Thomas for many years to come, but I don't think that means it will follow and instill Catholic teachings. For example, they name Fr. Leo Tibesar to the board.

The other thing I was wondering is if Archbishop Flynn has ever written a stinging reply to a column by Nick Coleman? I would guess that Nick has written dozens, if not hundreds, of columns criticizing Catholic teachings and leaders. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a letter from Flynn defending Archbishop Nienstedt from Coleman's attacks, but I guess that's asking too much.

Anonymous said...

Was it really worth even writing the letter? Why does he even care that the article misquoted him when she didn't even state that it was from him?! How about a letter to every current student, parent and alumni assuring them that the Archbishop Nienstedt will be directly involed at St. Thomas.

swissmiss said...

I guess I was expecting something different from Archbishop Flynn, but still along the lines of, "St. Thomas is all fine and happy and still Catholic." *cough*

I didn't expect the Archbishop to reply like this to an article that wasn't attacking the Faith, as so many others have done (and like anon mentions), but an article that seemed more concerned about the direction UST is headed.

Very disheartening.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother and Sisters in Christ,
I share many of your frustrations, but please keep Archbishop Flynn in your prayers.

It's easy to second-guess these sorts of things and while it may seem harmless to engage in these conversations... remember he is our Shepherd assigned by Jesus Christ Himself.

Give thanks to God that He has given us such a Holy and Grace-filled man, including our Coadjutor, Archbishop Nienstedt.

I strongly encourage anyone who has a concern to write a respectful letter to him (he reads everything he receives)... and be sure to thank him for his service to God and the people of this Archdiocese.

Never forget that the evil one is always looking to cause dissension and undermine authority...ESPECIALLY amongst the pious faithful.

Peace In Christ and may God richly Bless you this Advent season.

swissmiss said...

I appreciate your gentle reminder about the Archbishop. All our priests need our prayers, as do our Catholic universities.

I wouldn't want Archbishop Flynn's job for anything!

Anonymous said...

For those of you concerned about the Catholic idenity of St.Thomas, I suggest your concern may be just a bit misguided. The majority of the 235 Catholic colleges in the United States have a layman heading their board. The three most conservtative Catholic colleges boards are headed by laymen. St. Thomas will have an Archbishop as board chairman for the next 5 years. The current St. Thomas board has two Cardnials, two priests two nuns and soon two archbishops. The Catholic nature of St. Thomas is well in hand

Unknown said...

Nazaerth Hall said

St. Thomas will have an Archbishop as board chairman for the next 5 years. The current St. Thomas board has two Cardnials, two priests two nuns and soon two archbishops. The Catholic nature of St. Thomas is well in hand.

Mr Hall:

Archbishop Flynn may resign next May upon his 75th birthday. At the same time, he may also resign as President of the Board of Trustees of the University of St. Thomas.

There is no guarantee in the by-laws of the Board of Trustees that Archbishop Nienstedt will be appointed to assume Archbishop Flynn's role as President or Member of the Board of Trustees.

According to the web page of the University of St. Thomas, there are no Cardinals on the Board of Trustees.

These are the members who are in religious orders:

Archbishop Harry Flynn (it does not indicate after his name that he is the President of the Board of Trustees).

Rev. Dennis Dease, President of UST

Maureen Fay, O.P. Retired President of the University of Detroit

Sr. Carol Keehan, President and CEO of the Catholic Health Association

Rev. Edward Malloy, retired President of the University of Notre Dame

Rev. Kevin McDonough, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis

As I count, there is one Archbishop, three priests and two nuns.


The Cardinal Newman Society, which monitors such things, has the following list of Catholic colleges and universities that have subscribed to the mandatum of the Church, indicating that their theology departments are orthodox.

The Colleges

Joyfully Catholic

Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia

The College of Saint Thomas More, Fort Worth, Texas

Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, Ohio

Magdalen College, Warner, New Hampshire

Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California

The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Merrimack, New Hampshire

University of Dallas, Irving, Texas

University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas

Born from the Crisis

Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Florida

Holy Apostles College & Seminary,
Cromwell, Connecticut

John Paul the Great Catholic University, San Diego, California

Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy,
Barry's Bay, Ontario, Canada

Southern Catholic College, Dawsonville, Georgia

Wyoming Catholic College, Lander, Wyoming

Fighting the Tide

Aquinas College, Nashville, Tennessee

Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, North Carolina

Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas

The Catholic University of America,
Washington, D.C.

DeSales University, Center Valley, Pennsylvania

Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, Maryland

St. Gregory's University, Shawnee, Oklahoma

Anonymous said...

After reading the article by Katherine Kersten, it is still not clear to me after reading the responses by both Fr. Dease and the Archbishop Flynn, how this radical change in the board will not lend another significant step toward the loss of the Catholic identity and character of St. Thomas. I would encourage individuals to read through James Burtchaell's book, THE DYING OF THE LIGHT to see how religious affiliation has become distanced in many universities in our country. Such identity is not created by the presence of a good school of theology (or seminary), or a few good priests and religious (even on the board), but that the ways of life communicated throughout all departments, throughout campus life and campus ministry, are fully living from and breathing within the Catholic tradition. This is why the overwhelming majority of leaders on campus, including professors and board members, should be faithful, practicing Catholics who love their Church, their Magisterium and its teachings, and their sacramental life. This change in the board as far as I can tell fits the long term pattern of an institution that is losing its religious identity.

David, the Alum