The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s award goes to Molly Worthen, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Worthen breaks out the tickling feather to Joe Ferullo of the National Catholic Reporter, which has the distinction of receiving the first-ever Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Thomas Fox. Molly goes into the tired old diatribe about the domineering male hierarchy squashing “critical thinking”. Here is Worthen’s quote:

If the Democratic Party is not listening to liberal Catholics, it is partly because they are not in a position to speak very loudly. They are dodging the sights of a Roman hierarchy more preoccupied with smoking out left-leaning nuns than nurturing critical thinking. “Is liberal Catholicism dead?” Time wondered a few years back. The answer is no: in some regards, liberal Catholic intellectuals are flourishing. They are writing and teaching, running social justice initiatives at the church’s great universities, ensconced in professorships around the Ivy League. Yet a cozy academic subculture can be as isolating as it is empowering. The handful of nationally known Catholic political thinkers who might be called progressive, or at least compassionate and cosmopolitan — like the journalist-scholars Garry Wills and E. J. Dionne Jr., blogmeister Andrew Sullivan, or the feminist nun and blogger Sister Joan Chittister — are far outnumbered by the ranks of prominent Catholic conservatives in the trenches of activism and policy making.

OK, to kick things off, Worthen claims that liberal Catholics are not in a position to speak loudly due to the evil Roman hierarchy. If that was truly the case, they wouldn’t be driving around on campaign busses (nuns on a bus), or speaking at the Democratic National Convention (Sr. Simone Campbell). Sadly, very little action of any consequence will happen as a result of these loud and obnoxious displays of dissent. She then goes into the initiatives that these liberal Catholics are carrying out in the name of “social justice”. No mention is made of the confusion many of them are causing in the minds of the faithful.

I hereby grant the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, September 18, 2012 to Molly Worthen.