Washington D.C., Dec 19, 2013 / 03:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic University of America has defended a $1 million gift from the Koch brothers against “presumptuous” criticisms that accepting the grant would cause scandal and obscure Church insight on economics.
“The aim of the Charles Koch Foundation grant – to support research into principled entrepreneurship – is fully consonant with Catholic social teaching,” the university said in a Dec. 16 statement.
“The negative attention to the grant has all been externally driven by organizations with a political agenda,” the university later continued.
In Jan. 2013, the Catholic University of America created a separate business school, drawing business, finance, and economic-related courses of study from the School of Arts and Sciences. The school later received a $1 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to go towards supporting the new school.
The gift was criticized in a letter organized by Faith in Public Life and in a petition drive sponsored by Faithful America receiving over 28,000 online signatures, claiming that CUA’s acceptance of the gift sent “a confusing message to Catholic students and other faithful Catholics” on Church teachings of economics.
The letter, addressed to President John Garvey and Dean Andrew Abela, alleged that the grant would give the faithful the impression that the university and the Catholic bishops have given “the blessing” to the “Koch brothers’ anti-government, Tea Party ideology.” The associated petition called the donations “incompatible with the educational mission of the Catholic University of America.”
In its reasons for opposing the grant, the letter criticized the brothers’ support of “sweeping deregulation of industries and markets,” and opposition to Medicaid expansion and sweeping deregulation of industries and markets, which the letter’s authors claim go against Church economic teachings.
The letter continued, saying that businessmen Charles and David Koch are trying to attain an “absolute autonomy of the marketplace” which the “Catholic intellectual and social tradition” critiques.
Catholic University called the claims “presumptuous” in their attempt to act as “arbiters of political correctness regarding Charles Koch Foundation grants” and their effort “to instruct Catholic University of America’s leaders about Catholic social teaching, and do so in a manner that redefines the Church’s teaching to suit their own political preferences.”
The letter, the statement said, overlooked the university’s strong background in Catholic social teaching and mission to promote “respect for the human person in economic life, based on the principles of solidarity, subsidiarity, human dignity, and the common (Read More)