Volume > Issue > The Piper Must be Paid — and Other Bad News

The Piper Must be Paid — and Other Bad News


By John C. Cort | December 1989

The New York Times for Sept. 29 was something a gloom-and-doom type should not have missed; though I would describe myself as too cheerful to qualify as such, that issue nearly converted me.

The big front-page news was that 64 Democrats in the House had joined 175 Republicans in voting for a major cut in the capital gains tax and another victory for greed and stupidity. I’ll return to this later.

According to another news item in that issue, a committee of the American Associa­tion of University Professors charged Catho­lic University with violating the academic freedom of Fr. Charles Curran because it would no longer permit him to teach theolo­gy there after the Vatican had declared him “not suitable nor eligible to teach Catholic theology.” The AAUP committee is trying to repress the University’s freedom of religion, which includes the Catholic Church’s ability to teach in matters of faith and morals. This is a pontifical university, after all, which means that it has been canonically author­ized by the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education to award degrees; hence deference to the Church’s teaching authority is even more obligatory than it would be in the case of just any old Catholic university. Sadly, I have no confidence whatsoever that the AAUP’s convention next June will not uphold the committee’s action. Catholic University’s academic standing will thereby be seriously damaged.

A front-page headline in this same issue of the Times reads: “Limits on Abortion Seem Less Likely.” The news story is about a Times/CBS poll showing that U.S. citizens simply don’t know their own minds when it comes to abortion. The poll reveals that 43 percent believe that current practice — i.e., virtually unlimited access to abortion — should remain as is. Forty percent believe that abortion should be “legal only in such cases as rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,” and another 13 percent believe that abortion “should not be permitted at all,” which makes 53 percent in favor of changing Roe v. Wade, or a clear 10 percent majority. In response to other questions, the majority is even more substantial. Some 70 percent believe a girl under 18 should have the approval of her parents for an abortion, and 65 percent believe there should be a test to prove that the fetus is not viable before an abortion could be legal.

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