When MLA gets Religion Wrong

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

When professors do pay attention to religion, they usually get it wrong.

“Conservatives would rather have [social welfare] provided by religious organizations, which is incompatible with other aspects of Catholic social teaching,” Robin Sowards, an adjunct professor at Duquesne University told an audience at the Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Vancouver, Canada. Here are a few highlights from the history of Catholic Charities:

  • October 24, 1727—“Ursuline sisters arrive from France to open an orphanage, school for street girls, and health facility in New Orleans. It is the first formal Catholic charity in the present United States.”
  • January 1, 1845—“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the United States is founded in St. Louis.” “Members of the Society of St.Vincent de Paul (or “Vincentians” ) are men and women who strive to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to individuals in need,” according to the Society’s web page. As for St. Vincent himself, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Vincent’s charity was not restricted to Paris, but reached to all the provinces desolated by misery. In that period of the Thirty Years War known as the French period, Lorraine, Trois-Evechés, Franche-Comté, and Champagne underwent for nearly a quarter of a century all the horrors and scourges which then more than ever war drew in its train. Vincent made urgent appeals to the Ladies of Charity; it has been estimated that at his reiterated requests he secured 12,000 livres equivalent to $60,000 in our time (1913). When the treasury was empty he again sought alms which he dispatched at once to the stricken districts.”
  • January 1, 1900—“By the new century, more than 800 Catholic institutions provided care to children, the aged, disabled, and the ill” in the United States.
  • October 24, 1923—“NCCC publishes A Program for Catholic Child-Caring Homes, a work of the Conference on Religious to improve standards.”
  • August 1, 2005—After Hurricane Katrina, “Catholic Charities USA received and distributed more than $163 million in donations for disaster response in the Gulf” of Mexico.