Why is a Catholic Jesuit group featuring Napolitano as a speaker?

A Catholic friend of mine sent me this –

I am personally offended that a Catholic group (see the “Who we are” section) would extend this invitation to Napolitano.  And I think it shows extraordinarily poor taste for Napolitano to accept this invitation given the disdain she has shown for principles Catholics hold dear.  Of course I am referring to her extreme pro-abortion record, to wit, she refused to defend our partial birth abortion ban in court even though she was statutorily obligated to as AG, she rolled over for the judges when they sent that girl to Kansas for a late term abortion that could not be obtained here, and she vetoed a bill that would have protected Catholic church affiliated-employers from being forced to offer contraceptive coverage against the tenets of their faith, a clear violation of the right of religious freedom.

And I might add, what about far leftist Rabbi Michael Lerner? Why are they joking about inviting Rush Limbaugh fans, is that supposed to be funny? It’s offensive.
28 August 2007
Jesuit Alumni in Arizona Newsletter 

Announcing some big names this year: Governor Janet Napolitano, downtown lunch, Oct. 2
Michael Lerner
, nation’s most exciting rabbi, Nov. 18
Tom Fox, emeritus editor National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 2
Robert Taft, SJ., Rome’s wittiest theologian Jan. 13
Roger Haight, SJ, famed Christologist, February 17
Richard Rohr, the nation’s most visible Franciscan, March 2
Wendell Rossman, fixing a misguided penal system, April 13
If you’re already sold on attending this entire series, and want to save time, you can reserve your places and pay a discount price ($120) for all seven events by clicking here right now…To know more about our celebrity speakers, please read on! ·

Gov. Janet Napolitano lunch at the Wyndham Hotel in downtown Phoenix, Central at Adams, Tuesday October 2 — noon to 2 p.m. Janet Napolitano needs no introduction. She is just one of the most popular governors in the history of the state, and a Jesuit product to boot, a graduate of the University of Santa Clara. She will talk with us about the state’s burning questions, immigration and health care — and whatever other compelling issues that are live when she meets with us for lunch at noon. And, we hope, she will answer some of our burning questions about Arizona’s future. You can sign up here — and with a credit card — pay for your place(s) at the governor’s luncheon. Seating ($32 a plate) is limited. You can also sign up here for the whole series at a big discount.

Rabbi Michael Lerner at Paradise Valley H.S. Auditorium, 3950 E. Bell Road, Phoenix 85032 4 p.m. Sunday November 18 — an interfaith event that we will co-sponsor with the Arizona Ecumenical Council, the Arizona Interfaith Network, and other faith groups around the state. Rabbi Lerner is a full-time rabbi at the Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley, California, the editor of Tikkun Magazine and the founder and director of The Network of Spiritual Progressives. His book The Left Hand of Godwas a national best-seller in 2006, and he gets more speaking requests than he can fill. He’s only coming to Phoenix because JAAZ has promised to help him spread his message here. Like our Hans Küng (who visited us in November 2005), Rabbi Lerner wants to get all the religions pulling together for a better world – not squabbling about “who’s number one.” He’d like JAAZ members to bring in a wide range of people: students, faculty, the young, the old and the in-between, professionals, union members, Democrats, Greens, Republicans, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, people who have or have not already read some of Rabbi Lerners’ work, people of financial means or people financially struggling, people interested in peace, ecology, and human rights. (Did we leave anyone out? Rush Limbaugh fans? We’d like them to come, too!) WE ARE APPEALING TO ALL JAAZ MEMBERS TO HELP MAKE THIS HAPPEN. PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS. You can sign up here with a credit card and reserve your places for the Michael Lerner event. You can also sign up here for the whole series (at a discount).
Tom Fox, longtime editor of NCR, at Paradise Valley HS Auditorium, 4 p.m. Sunday December 2 In a recent email, this emeritus editor and publisher of the award-winning National Catholic Reporter, writes: “Since leaving NCR, I have allowed myself the luxury of reading more widely in spiritual matters, and have pretty much flown the coup into a kind of Zen-like Ed Hays/Albert Nolan/Ken Wilber stratosphere. “As for our loving old assembly of traditions we call the Catholic Church, I see it in great need, its greatest challenge being the reformulation of its teachings in order to touch, converse with, maybe in, just a bit, guide the postmodern mind/soul. And that’s what I would choose to talk about in Phoenix. “To get a better sense of my own spirit wanderings you might go to the NCR Cafe website at www.ncrcafe.org and find the link to ‘all pod casts.’ There you will see a list of the people I have been conversing with in recent months. What I do is seek out what I consider to be ‘enlightened’ people, mostly spiritual guides, but occasional others as well.” [Tom sounds like a Catholic Bill Moyers, doesn’t he?] You can sign up here for the Tom Fox talk. You can also sign up here for the whole discounted series.
Jesuit Robert Taft, Roman scholar/wit at Paradise Valley HS Auditorium on January 13, Sunday at 4 p.m. Robert Taft is a New England Province Jesuit who has taught and pursued his scholarship for 43 years in Rome. By dint of his travels in Eastern Europe and his vast erudition, he long ago became one of the Vatican’s principal experts on Eastern rite churches. A list of his learned publications fill 14 pages in his c.v. He is also something of a great human being, with an emphasis on the word “human.” The Vatican reporter John Allen has called Taft “a cross between Yves Congar and Lenny Bruce…the kind of man who, during a three block walk to dinner on a wintry Roman night, can move seamlessly from singing bawdy English drinking songs, to explaining why the Orthodox misinterpret the Fourth Crusade, to praising the Arnold Schwarzenegger shoot-’em-up classic True Lies.” We’re bringing him all the way from Rome to give us an unsparing view of Orthodox/Catholic ecumenism today — and what can be done to advance it. You can sign up here for Father Taft’s talk. You can also sign up here for the whole series (at a discount).
Jesuit Roger Haight, on major Jesus questions, 4 p.m. Sunday February 17 at Paradise H.S. Auditorium, Phnx Haight’s has a real scholar’s courage to face up to some of the major questions that thinking Catholics, indeed, thinking Christians, are asking about Jesus these days. “Is Christ the world’s only savior?” “How should the Catholic Church relate to other religions?” “What is the role of a Christian missionary in non-Christian lands?” His very asking of these questions has made Rome nervous. Indeed, Haight has been given “a Notification” — something a little short of a condemnation for heresy — by the Holy Office and told he may not teach in a Catholic university. That bothered the entire board of the Catholic Theological Society of America, which defended Haight’s work. Indeed, Haight is a former president of the CTSA. The Notificazione doesn’t seem to bother Haight. He teaches now at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and lives with his Jesuit brothers at America magazine while he continues to write and speak around the nation, as he will be speaking to us, helping us think (and re-think) our theology. You can sign up here for Father Haight’s talk. You can also sign up here for the whole series (at a discount).
Franciscan Richard Rohr on the kind of Jesus who speaks to our times — at Paradise H.S. Auditorium, 4 p.m. Sunday March 2 Richard Rohr is founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.M. Last December 18, he told National Public Radio… “I believe in mystery and multiplicity. To religious believers this may sound almost pagan. But I don’t think so. My very belief and experience of a loving and endlessly creative God has led me to trust in both. “I’ve had the good fortune of teaching and preaching across much of the globe, while also struggling to make sense of my experience in my own tiny world. This life journey has led me to love mystery and not feel the need to change it or make it un-mysterious. This has put me at odds with many other believers I know who seem to need explanations for everything. “Religious belief has made me comfortable with ambiguity. “Hints and guesses,” as T.S. Eliot would say. I often spend the season of Lent in a hermitage, where I live alone for the whole 40 days. The more I am alone with the Alone, the more I surrender to ambivalence, to happy contradictions and seeming inconsistencies in myself and almost everything else, including God. Paradoxes don’t scare me anymore.” Father Rohr will be coming directly from his Lenten retreat to meet all of his friends, old and new, in Phoenix. You can sign up here for Father Rohr’s presentation. You can also sign up here for the whole series (at a discount).
Wendell Rossman, philanthropist, at Paradise H.S. Auditorium, 4 p.m. Sunday April 13 In retirement, Mr. Rossman, the architect (now retired) who has designed many of Phoenix’s churches, has been doing research and a great deal of thinking about ways of bringing humanity into the penal systerm in Maricopa County — i.e., into our Lord High Sheriff’s jail. Before his talk, in future newsletters, we will have more to report about Mr. Rossman’s ideas (which we think are mightily informed by the Gospel). For now, a teaser: He says, “There are currently 37,000 inmates in the county jail system. Many of them do not belong there.”


The tab for Gov. Napolitano’s luncheon: $32 in advance. (No walk-ins.) For the other events: $25 at the door on the day of the event. However, you can save money by mailing us a check right now — or, pay here, by credit card — at the advance price of $20 per seat per event (except for the governor’s lunch, which will cost $32). Mail your check to: JIM BOYLE 8103 E. SOUTHERN, #186 MESA, AZ 85209-3515 Or, you can sign up for the entire package – all seven of these events – right now with your credit card (or by check). Total package: $120. That’s $62 off the single ticket at-the-door price and even a $32 savings off the single ticket advance price. It’s a simple one-minute procedure to pay by credit card. If you haven’t already, just click here: 123Signup Please forward this note to your friends, whether they are Jesuit alumni or not. (See the “Forward email” item at the very bottom of this announcement.) P.S. If you know any Jesuit alumni who are NOT getting this newsletter, please tell them to write us and sign up. Our email address is JAAZ850@aol.com

Robert Blair Kaiser Program Chairman Jesuit Alumni of Arizona Please make an extra effort to turn folks out for the Governor’s lunch meeting with JAAZ. We’d like to see at least 800 there. So far, few have signed up for this event. Sheesh.

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Who We Are

JAAZ, Jesuit Alumni in Arizona, is an IRS-exempt
501(c) 3 educational organization. Our members,
graduates of some 28 Jesuit universities and 47
Jesuit high schools in the United States, meet
periodically to celebrate our Jesuit backgrounds, to
stimulate and encourage one another to be thinking
members of our Church, our city, and our state, to
have life and have it more abundantly.

P.S. We have no membership dues.


  1. Frankly, Jesuits and Catholics have, since the mid 60’s, been travelling separate paths!

  2. Is abortion really the most important issue to the Jesuits? Honest question, I am more along the lines of the Franciscan line and we view poverty as the most important issue. Not to say the deaths of thousands of babies is trivial or not worth debating or anything like that. OR that abortion is not worth a blank check on NOT voting for a politician who supports abortion BUT I do wish those protesters outside of those abortion clinics would spend a little bit more time in reflection and helping the poor and homeless and less time getting involved in politics.

  3. I agree with you Cindy. I do believe that there are a large number of Jesuits that find abortion to be one of the most important issues (See http://www.mirrorofjustice.com – disclaimer, they are not all Jesuits). However, my personal experience on the issue is that many Catholics are not a part of the evangelical religious right because of the lack of caring for the poor that the religious right exhibiyd. I know that I personally think it is a tad unfortunate that so many people are pro-life (which I am), but then if you are born, they do not support health care, WIC, etc. for these now born children.

  4. This is a private organization conducting intellectual and spiritual exploration by inviting knowledgeable and interesting people to challenge their ideas and to explore areas of common purpose. A community must exist with multiple points of view. Those that would divide this community, weaken it, and lose any opportunity to constructively teach and learn from one another. Why would any dialogue cause such affront? It saddens me.

  5. The name of the organization is Jesuit Alumni in Arizona. Napolitano is a graduate of a Jesuit university. I see no problem here with having her speak.

  6. Unfortunately my experience with the Jesuits (BCP’01) has shown to me a considerable amount of schism in the Jesuit community with respect to political and theological philosophy.

    I have known Jesuits firmly committed to pro-life causes, personal responsibility, and individualism while at the same time have known some who have advocated ‘soft’ revolutions for the purpose of wealth ‘equalization’, an abolishment of property ownership, and abortions on demand. This has been my experience with priests, laymen teachers and volunteers, and students brought up in the Jesuit educational system.

    For what its worth this has been the truth throughout history, Jesuits have been known as the Kings confessors while at the same time aiding rebellions in colonies.

    Still I consider the Jesuit order to be the only one I truly connect with due to their commitment to learning, critical analysis, and commitment to the truth wherever they find it.

  7. Cindy, this is the first time I have ever heard criticism of people who are usually saying the rosary outside an abortion clinic, and that they should spend less time in politics. Anyone who tries to help the poor or homeless has to get involved in — you guessed it — politics. Same with abortion, crime, property, education…

  8. Actually, despite the above commentary, we’re called as Catholic to know, love and serve God!

    This will ensure our eternal salvation,the major goal of our existence here on earth!

    The vertical should always precede the horizontal!

    We seem to have forgotten that (with the rest of tradeitional catechesis over the past foty or so years)

    Hopefully a Restoration of Faith will take place but I rather doubt that the Post VII version of Jesuits (or Dominicans & Franciscans for that matter) will play a major role.

    For all practical purposes, they’ve been secularised!

  9. The National Council of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) has used the donations from parishioners to pay for the NCCB’s decision to disobey the law and hide homosexual priests who molested children. (They did nothing to stop the practice they had to have known existed.)

    They are now using the donations that remain to continue to break the nation’s laws on their way to importing a culture of corruption while they destroy our justice system which has been the light of freedom to the world. They are an arrogant world unto themselves telling the citizens of the United States that they know better and therefore have the right to ignore or laws. We have no power to stop them. The only power we have left is to refuse to fund their attempt to subvert the laws of our country.

    They may help to destroy my country and do great harm to my religion, but they are no longer going to do it with my dime. My wife and I have agreed to hence forth only give our share of what we believe to be necessary to support the religious objectives of the Church. Those objectives do not include socialism, liberation theology, government redistribution of wealth and property, open and insecure borders, or a larger government bureaucracy controlling more and more of our religious, social and economic lives.

    The religion of liberalism has infected many of the congregations of the world as exemplified by the National Council of Churches, Interfaith Network, Office of Peace and Justice, etc. These people seem to be united in using religion to change the political framework of our country to reflect their own ideology which they have been unable to achieve through the political process. (We are very concerned that the same liberal ideology is now being taught in the Catholic schools.)

    These religious leaders are advancing the homosexual agenda and the culture of death through the churches. We refuse to allow our contributions to be used in this manner any longer nor be silent about it any longer.

  10. Rob:

    In short, they’ve made a decision to serve Marx instead of God and employ the philosophy of the Frankfurt School rather than that delineated in the dogmatic Councils of Trent and Vatican I.

    Tom B.

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