By Fr. George Welzbacher
June 27, 2010
By now it's no secret that I am a shameless fan of the Wall Street Journal. And for good reason. Its articles offer insight and a copious provision of fact, and on moral issues by and large the Journal's editorials to an astonishing degree are in accord with the teachings of the Church. A striking exemplification comes readily to hand in the issue of June 18th, with two major commentaries (plus an inspiring obituary reprinted from the London Times) that are so Catholic in tone that they would be inadmissible in much of today's "progressive Catholic" press.
Would you agree?
* * * * *Daddy Was Only A Donor
By W. Bradford Wilcox
The Wall Street Journal Friday, June 18, 2010
In "The Switch," coming later this summer, Jennifer Anision plays an attractive 40-year old professional who has given up on finding Mr. Right for marriage and decides to move straight on to motherhood with a donor father. The movie offers a largely celebratory treatment of donor insemination, as do two other movies out this year, 'The Back-up Plan" and next month's "The Kids Are All Right." Indeed, one of the bottom-line conclusions these movies are pushing is that the children turn out "all right' with DONOR DADS.
Hollywood is not the only industry peddling the story line that flesh-and-blood fathers are an OPTIONAL accessory in today's families. Plenty of academics-from New York University sociologist Judith Stacey to Cornell psychologist Peggy Drexler-also have been arguing that mothers can do just as well raising children with donor fathers as they can with real ones.
In her book, "Raising Boys Without Men," for instance, Ms. Drexler claims that "maverick moms," including single women who rely on donor insemination, are just as successful in raising boys as are mothers who opt for the older model of marriage and motherhood. All that is needed for parental success, according to Ms. Drexler, is a "caring and supportive" model of mothering.
Until recently, there was one primary challenge to the intellectually fashionable view that fathers are fungible. It came from scholarship showing that children did better---e.g., were much more likely to fmish school, avoid teen pregnancy and stay out of prison-in intact, married families than in homes headed by a single parent, most of whom are women.
Yet scholars such as Ms. Drexler were able to retort that much of the research relies on a comparison of middle-class married families with poor single mothers, so that differences in how children fare might be largely the result of socioeconomic differences. In their view, middle-class women who have a decent income and a good education can do just as good a job as a middle-class married mother and father.
That view ran into some major trouble this month, with the release of the report. "My Daddy's Name is Donor," by the Commission on Parenthood's Future (of which I am a member). The report is the first study to compare a large random sample of 485 young adults (18-45) conceived through donor insemination to 563 young adults conceived the old- fashioned way.
Significantly, the single women who chose to have a child by donor insemination were slightly better off [in terms of income] than the parents who had biological children together. So the study's results cannot be dismissed on the grounds that affluent marrieds were being compared to poor single mothers.
The study, which was co-authored by Elizabeth Marquardt, Norval Glenn and Karen Clark, paints a TROUBLING PORTRAIT of the children conceived by single mothers who chose donor insemination Young adults with maverick moms and donor dads report a sense of confusion, loss and distress about their origins and identity, and about their inability to relate to their biological father and to his kin.
Seventy-one percent of the adult offspring of these single mothers agree that: "My sperin donor is half of who I am," and 78% wonder "what my sperm donor's family is like." Half report that they "feet sad" when they see "friends with their biological fathers and mothers." Donor offspring with single mothers also are much less likely to report that they can rely on their family. Fifty-six percent of these offspring said they depend more on friends than family, compared to just 29% of young adults born to two biological parents. The study's fmdings echo recent commentary from young adults conceived through donor insemination. Writing in the Washington Post a few years ago, Katrina Clark reported that she envied friends who had both a mother AND a father. 'That was when the emptiness came over me, I realized that I am, in a sense, a freak. I really truly would never have a dad. I finally understood what it meant to be donor-conceived, and I hated it."
In the U.K., Tom Ellis recently decided to try to find his donor dad through a registry that attempts to connect children to their biological fathers. Without him, he told a reporter, "I will never feel whole."
SUCH A SENSE OF LOSS may help explain why the study found that adult offspring of single-mothers-by-choice were 177% more likely to report having had trouble with drugs and alcohol than children born to two biological parents. Perhaps in part because they did not enjoy the love, discipline and example of a flesh-and-blood father, young adults conceived through donor insemination to a single mother were also 146% more likely to report having been "in trouble with the law" before age 25.
So despite the latest propaganda in favor of a father-optional future, this study suggests two stubborn truths: Children long to know and to be known by their biological fathers, and they are much more likely to thrive when they have their own father in their lives.
On this Father's Day, men who have managed to be good flesh-and-blood fathers to their children should take some satisfaction from the findings found in "My Daddy's Name is Donor." Even if the Big Screen portrays them as superfluous, in the real world their kids are much more likely to turn out "all right" than kids who only know their daddy as Donor. [Mr. Wilcox is director of the National Marriage Project at the University.of Virginia and is a member of the Commission on Parenthood's Future].
* * * * *
Another Catholic University Fails a Litmus Test* * * * *
By Anne Hendershott
The Wall Street Journal of Friday June 18, 2010
Marquette University's decision to withdraw an offer to Jodi O'Brien, a setf- described "sexuality scholar," to become Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the Jesuit-led institution continues to divide the faculty. Although Ms. O'Brien reached a settlement with the University last week, her supporters maintain that she is the victim of homophobia. Teachers who criticized the initial job offer say that Ms. O'Brien's sexual orientation is not what disqualifies her, but rather the fact that her publications disparage Catholic moral teachings on marriage, sexuality and the family.
In a post-settlement letter sent June 9th to the Marquette community, University President Father Robert A. Wild wrote, "[We] have apologized to Dr. O'Brien for the way in which this was handled and for the upset and unwanted attention that we have caused to this outstanding teacher and scholar." Yet Fr. Wild also added that he stands by his decision to rescind the employment offer, a decision "made in the context of Marquette's commitment to its mission and identity."
The specific nature of the job at issue-as Dean, Ms. O'Brien would have been charged with helping to implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II's 1990 apostolic constitution intended to revitalize Catholic higher education-may have driven Marquette to back off this particular appointment. But the real story here is that in the upside-down world of Catholic higher education, there is more STATUS [in the eyes of the secular academic world] in hiring a sexuality scholar who DENIGRATES Catholic teachings on sexuality and marriage than in choosing a serious scholar who might actually support Catholic teachings.
Of the three finalists for the position, Ms. O'Brien was the first choice, even though her publication record was minimal in comparison with the others. Though all three had led academic departments, the two male candidates also had grant-writing success and prestigious publication records.
Ms. O'Brien published articles such as "How Big Is Your God? Queer Christian Social Movements." One of the male finalists wrote a book on the French Revolution that won an award from the American Historical Association. Ms. O'Brien published a "gender switching" article describing online homoerotic behavior entitled "Changing the Subject." One of the other finalists received funding for 17 major research grants and listed dozens of publications on his 19-page vita.
Ms. O'Brien's faculty supporters remain angry about President Wild's decision to rescind the job offer to her. About 100 faculty members (out of a total of 1,161 teachers) signed a full-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 24th demanding that the university apologize and award the position to Ms. O'Brien.
Others criticized Marquette from a different direction.For Professor John McAdams, who blogs at Marquette Warrior, revelations about the school's concerted effort to recruit Ms. O'Brien confirmed his belief that she was "pushed by some faculty and administrators as adding the right kind of DIVERSITY to the school "
Not surprisingly, the O'Brien fiasco has brought claims of homophobia at Marquette-and beyond. Scott Jaschik, of the online publication Inside Higher Ed, asks: "Do gays face a stained glass ceiling at Catholic colleges?"
Seton Hall Professor W. King Mott, who is gay, claims they do. "There is no way the current hierarchy will allow a gay person to hold a position of authority," Mr. Jaschik quotes him as saying, "unless they are closeted and self-loathing."
Mr. Mott, a tenured full-professor of political science, has served as chair of Seton Halt's faculty senate-the most powerful position a faculty member can hold. Hardly a marginalized man, Mr. Mott also served as one of 12 members of the search committee for Seton Hall's next president. There are openly gay men and women in leadership positions at a number of Catholic universities and colleges.
As for the charge of dissenting opinions not being welcomed, Marquette itself has a long history of respect for the academic freedom of faculty members who are willing to DENIGRATE Church teachings. Daniel Maguire, [AN APOSTATE priest AND] a tenured theology professor there, continues to call abortion a "Sacred Choice," that "sometimes ENDING incipient life is the BEST that life offers."
Indeed, there are enough faculty members with views like Mr. Maguire's that some observers regard them as a kind of fashion statement on Catholic campuses. At Marquette, Professor Emeritus Christopher Wolfe recently lamented that the school "has moved quietly but consistently AWAY from its distinctively Catholic roots. "
In a published statement, Ms. O'Brien stated that she hoped her agreement with the school would lead to a "legacy of community betterment at Marquette, including research and education regarding issues of gender and sexuality." Ms. O'Brien's faculty supporters say they "reject an intellectual litmus test for our faculty, staff and leaders in the administration."
Unless the Marquette community addresses the issue of whether candidates for senior leadership positions need to respect. and support the mission and identity of Catholic higher education, it is likely that hiring decisions will continue to be contested.
[Ms. Hendershott is head of the politics, philosophy and economics program at King's College in New York].
And finally, in this age of apostasy, an edifying obituary notice, reprinted from the London Times: "Teresa Jungman: 1907-2010: Bright, Young 'Baby'."* * * * *
Teresa ("Baby") Jungman, was the very last of the original "Bright Young People," a clique of restless debutantes and well-bom swells whose boisterous mischief proved a diversion for London society in the 1920s. She was also a heartbreaker and an early ardent but unrequited love of Evelyn Waugh's.
Mr. Waugh captured the joie de vivre and capriciousness of Ms. Jungman's world... and undoubtedly based some of his characters on her circle. Some readers have identified aspects of Ms. Jungman's personality in Julia Flyle, the leading female character in the novelist's 1945 opus about the aristocratic and Catholic Marchmain family, "Brideshead Revisited."
Ms. Jungman, who died June 11 at age 102, was the younger daughter of Nico Jungman, a Dutch-bom artist. After her mother, Beatrice Mackey, was remarried to the wealthy and well-connected Richard Guinness, Ms. Jungman became involved in a fashionable, decades- long social whirl.
But despite the prevailing party atmosphere, Ms. Jungman and her sister, Zita, were brought up strict Catholics, and this became a firm foundation throughout both their lives.
Mr. Waugh became infatuated with Ms. Jungman from their first meeting and dubbed her "the handsome Dutch girl." His early love life had been disastrous and after his divorce from his first wife, he pursued Ms. Jungman. The intractable problem, in the eyes of the devoutly Catholic Ms. Jungman, was that Mr. Waugh was still married in the eyes of their Church. But she also was quoted as saying, "Although I loved him very much, I was not in love with him and that made everything difficult." .......
In June 1940 Ms. Jungman married Graham Cuthbertson, a Scot serving with a Canadian regiment. But by 1945 and with two children, the marriage was over. Mr. Cuthbertson remarried soon after, but in keeping with her Catholic beliefs, Ms. Jungman never did. She returned to Britain in 1946, and, with Zila also divorced, the sisters lived together.
In 1953 Mr. Waugh visited them in their Gloucestershire cottage and said suggestions that they were poverty-stricken were wide of the mark, though he did remark on their "destitution and privation."
But nothing could persuade Ms. Jungman to sell or show anyone her huge cache of letters from Mr. Waugh, despite their value.
In 1995, Teresa and Zita moved into a beautiful garden cottage built for them in the grounds of Leixlip Castle, Guinness's Irish estate. There they lived their last years together in comfort.