CatholicBuckeye’s post below about the drag queen follies at the “Occasionally” Catholic U of Dayton reminded me of a little project undertaken a few years ago by a good friend of mine, a layman. He wrote a letter to all the theology faculty at Xavier, U of Dayton, and Mt. St. Joseph, asking them whether they had, in compliance with the USCCB’s norms regarding Ex Corde Ecclesiae, applied for and received the mandatum from our local Ordinary.His letter was very polite and respectful, giving each professor the option of replying that it was personal and none of my friend’s business. What motivated him to send this letter, though he did not say so in the letter itself, was his growing concern over widespread dissent justified by Vatican II, or its “spirit,” among local theologians.

Of the 68 letters he sent, 13 faculty replied, and only 4 replied in the affirmative. Among the “no’s,” 4 faculty stated that this was none of my friend’s business, one was not Catholic,one was a student to whom the obligation did not apply (but who added (a) that ECC and the mandatum requirement were not looked upon very favorably at the U.D. Religious Studies Department, and (b) he had heard that they were being handed out merely upon request and without any investigation), one scolded my friend for not encouraging theologians “to participate more fully in the life of the Church,” one evaded the question and asked my friend why he wanted to know, and one huffed that he was “deeply offended.”

So, Your Excellency (Archbishop Schnurr, that is), now you know why, when you received your appointment here, I wrote to you in The Flying Buttress that you were walking into a hornet’s nest. I hope you’ve stocked up well on wasp and hornet killer…