Jesuit school bans Facebook criticism of Tim Kaine?

Matt C. Abbott
September 19, 2016
© Matt C. Abbott
Reproduced with Permission

It appears that officials of Brophy College Preparatory, a Jesuit high school in Phoenix, Arizona and part of the California Province of the Society of Jesus, aren't too bothered by "Catholic" Tim Kaine's support for legalized abortion and same-sex "marriage."

But they are bothered by an alumnus who recently pointed out on the school's Facebook page - under a post featuring a USA Today column that highlighted Mr. Kaine's Jesuit education - that the Democratic vice presidential nominee supports the killing of the unborn.

In an email to me that copied Brophy officials, Eric J. Halvorson wrote:

After reading the piece in its entirety, I proceeded to enter a comment to the effect that 'Mr. Kaine may be a 'man for others'; however, he is not a man for the unborn' - based on his public record and especially with whom he's running: Hillary Clinton. I then signed my name and stated that I was an '84 alum.

Several minutes later, I was sent a message by the Brophy Facebook manager requesting that I refrain from making 'political' comments on the school's page. I responded saying that my comments were not intended to be of a political, but rather a religious, nature speaking directly to the sanctity of life. I admittedly was terse toward the end of my response by stating to the manager that they might want to refresh their knowledge on this specific Catholic social teaching.

Well, later that afternoon, I discovered that as a result of my position and response, the manager had essentially banned me from the school's page. Basically, Brophy 'unliked' me and will no longer let me be one of its Facebook 'fans.'

Now I completely understand and realize that it's not my First Amendment right to comment on Brophy's Facebook page. I get that. I also get that Brophy has the right to control and monitor all content and comments on its page. However, Mr. Abbott, as a second generation Brophy alum, this really left me numb and with a horrible taste in my mouth. It made me sad as well.

Just days ago, the Church and Pope Francis made Mother Teresa of Calcutta a Catholic saint. I cannot think of another human in the history of mankind who modeled, exemplified and lived the seven themes of Catholic social teaching - especially the theme 'Life and Dignity of the Human Person,' as well as Saint Teresa did. Added to this, she was very outwardly vocal about her defense of the unborn.

Yet the perception I was left with is that Brophy is OK with featuring and celebrating Mr. Kaine's Jesuit education experience and service to others despite his public record on abortion.

I have found in my 50 years on this earth as a Roman Catholic that the sanctity of life for many millions of American Catholics (and I include so many Jesuit priests as well) has now become passé and a pick-and-choose exercise. They have caved in to the secular pressure of the 'pro-choice' crowd.

Now, in this country, even in many Catholic circles such as Brophy's, one is considered to be a pro-life 'freak' or 'radical' if one even dares to bring up protecting the innocent unborn. One is now scorned and banned in American Catholic circles if one discusses the unborn.

I reached out to those same Brophy officials for comment several days ago, but received no response.

Neither has Mr. Halvorson.

It's unfortunate that a pro-life alumnus of Brophy has apparently been banned from commenting on his alma mater's Facebook page merely for pointing out Mr. Kaine's pro-abortion position. If the school doesn't want people posting political comments on its Facebook page, the manager shouldn't be posting articles favoring (even indirectly) certain politicians. Simple as that.

On a related note...

A few days after Mr. Kaine pledged his support for same-sex "marriage" and suggested the Church will eventually change its stance on the issue, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of Richmond released the following statement :

More than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on marriage, and despite recent statements from the campaign trail, the Catholic Church's 2000-year-old teaching to the truth about what constitutes marriage remains unchanged and resolute.

As Catholics, we believe, all humans warrant dignity and deserve love and respect, and unjust discrimination is always wrong. Our understanding of marriage, however, is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator's original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one's rights, least of all those of children, who should not purposely be deprived of the right to be nurtured and loved by a mother and a father.

We call on Catholics and all those concerned for preserving this sacred union to unite in prayer, to live and speak out with compassion and charity about the true nature of marriage - the heart of family life.

Kaine is a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in the Diocese of Richmond.