REPORT CARD: Pro-Marriage Club Survives at Georgetown; Dayton Honors Dissenting Theologian; Catholics Form New Academy for Life
Georgetown club permitted to uphold Catholic teaching
Georgetown University’s Student Activities Commission contemplated defunding and expelling a student club for supporting traditional marriage—sparking outrage around the country—but last Friday voted to allow the club to continue espousing basic Catholic beliefs.
Georgetown’s Pride group filed a petition to strip Love Saxa of its university funding and ability to operate on campus. The university’s student paper, The Hoya, then penned an op-ed accusing Love Saxa of fostering hostility and intolerance because it upholds Catholic teaching.
“This cowardly melodrama is currently playing out at our nation’s oldest Catholic university, where a student group has come under attack for taking the allegedly ‘hateful’ position that Christianity got it right when it said sexual relations were meant for marriage, and that marriage was meant to be between a man and woman,” wrote the Family Research Council’s Kelly Marcum, who was a founding member of Love Saxa. “When the utter complacency of the Georgetown University administration is combined with the insatiable appetite of social justice warriors, no strand of orthodox Christianity can be left unthreatened.”
Love Saxa’s funding and status as a university-recognized club remained uncertain after a Student Activities Commission meeting on Oct. 31 ended without a vote, according to The Hoya, but Catholic News Agency reports that a November 3 vote was 8-4 in support of the club.
Renowned author praises Catholic education
Noted author and speaker Aurora Griffin, now working for The Catholic University of America, is lauding Catholic education.
“In retrospect, I would have done well to more seriously consider a Catholic education,” the author of How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard recently wrote in the National Catholic Register.
Griffin said working at CUA has given her a “whole new appreciation for what a Catholic education can do for its students.
“Catholic University strives to instill virtues in the hearts of its students in addition to educating their minds,” she said, pointing to dorms separated by sex, 10 Masses a day offered on campus, as well as the college’s strong stance against the Health and Human Services contraception mandate.
“Unfortunately,” she said, “not all colleges are as deliberate about preserving their Catholic roots… You can’t expect to go to a [seriously or nominally] Catholic school, do nothing, and expect to passively keep your faith.”
Senate confirms Notre Dame University law professor
After coming under fire from Senate Democrats for her Catholicism, the Senate has confirmed University of Notre Dame Law School professor Amy Coney Barrett to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Washington Examiner reports.
Senate Democrats blasted Coney Barrett’s Catholic faith during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, but the Senate nonetheless confirmed her in a 55-43 vote. Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein infamously expressed concern that “the dogma lives loudly” in the professor’s life.
Nell Jessup Newton, dean of Notre Dame Law School, said in a statement that Barrett has been a “beloved teacher and outstanding scholar.” Newton said he is “confident she will be a wise, fair, and brilliant jurist as well.”
Barrett earned her juris doctor at Notre Dame Law School in 1997 and joined the law school’s faculty in 2002. Students selected her as Notre Dame’s “Distinguished Professor of the Year” in 2006 and 2016.
Pennsylvania court threatens Catholic school’s freedom
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected Chestnut Hill College’s request to reverse a lower court’s ruling that the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission was within its rights to advance a case against the college, according to Inside Higher Ed.
The HRC had found probable cause for a discrimination complaint from a student who was expelled after allegedly misspending money from a student production of “Raisin in the Sun.”
The Philadelphia-based college claimed that the HRC had no jurisdiction since it is a Catholic college, but the court cited a Supreme Court ruling that “colleges, as opposed to parochial schools, perform ‘essentially secular educational functions,’ thus reducing their religious character.”
That view contrasts with Ex corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education, which asserts the strong religious mission of Catholic colleges that remain faithful to the Church.
The college issued a statement saying it is considering its next step.
Dayton honors dissenting theologian
The University of Dayton has awarded its prestigious Marianist Award to Boston College theology professor M. Shawn Copeland, who served on then-Senator Barack Obama’s Catholic Advisory Council.
The university’s website says UD established the Marianist Award to “honor great Catholic intellectuals” who “had made outstanding contributions to Mariology in America.” However, the university later broadened the award to honor those who had made outstanding contributions to humanity and to the intellectual life.
Madonna University recently cancelled Copeland’s lecture there after a number of faithful Catholic groups protested the invitation, citing her confused gender ideology beliefs which don’t align with Church teaching.
Students: Use violence to stop free speech
A new survey shows a disturbing decline in support for free speech among students, with 20 percent saying it’s permissible to employ violence to silence a speaker making “offensive and hurtful statements.”
Catholic university leaders are aware of a lack of civility in politics, in media, and even in the way students regard “offensive speech,” according to a report in the National Catholic Register.
“You can’t have a university without freedom of speech,” said John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America. “If a university doesn’t allow free inquiry, it won’t be able to teach students well or make progress in knowledge. Building a culture that respects freedom of speech requires the practice of virtues like humility.”
Daniel Kempton, Franciscan University’s vice president for academic affairs, said faithful Catholic colleges balance respect for free speech with a mission-focused commitment to present the Catholic faith with clarity.
“Our faculty handbook says that the university is a privileged place for dialogue,” he added, noting that today’s students “are less comfortable hearing things with which they disagree.”
Lay Catholics form new Academy for Life
A group of Catholic academics have launched a new lay-directed Academy for Life after Pope Francis overhauled the Pontifical Academy for Life, founded by Pope St. John Paul II, according to LifeSiteNews.
The John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family will assume the original Academy for Life’s mission, which includes “defense of human life in all its stages” and the “study of marriage and the human family.”
The academy’s first president, Dr. Josef Seifert, is an Austrian Catholic philosopher who was recently removed from a Catholic university in Spain after publishing a critique of Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
Seifert said the new academy would adhere to the “eternal truths” and would not give in to the “false teachings” of the age.
DePaul student group distributes contraceptives on campus
A student group at DePaul University says it’s pursuing “reproductive justice” by passing out contraceptives and other sexual paraphernalia on campus in order to ensure “reproductive justice for all bodies,” according to The College Fix.
Members of Students for Reproductive Justice, an unrecognized student organization describing itself as “pan womanist and radical feminists,” take shifts every Friday night delivering contraceptives, sexual accessories, and pregnancy tests to students, according to The DePaulia, the university’s student-run newspaper.
A group spokesperson said members have “been having a lot of success in keeping our community safe with free contraceptives.…We recently received a donation of pregnancy tests and hope that if the funds allow we can provide emergency contraceptives soon!”
University College Dublin students remove pro-life president
The Students Union at University College Dublin, a university founded by Blessed John Henry Newman, has voted to remove its pro-life president, Father Matthew Pittam recently wrote in the National Catholic Register.
The vote came after the president, Katie Ascough, prevented the Union from publishing pro-abortion information in its student handbook.
More than 69 percent of the 6,600 students who voted wanted Ascough removed from office. Fr. Pittam urged all to celebrate and pray for brave students like Ascough against what he called “this prevailing tyranny.”
Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore expressed support for Ascough, according to The Irish Times, saying she should be commended for standing up for life.
Georgetown paper backs student sex workers
An article in Georgetown’s student newspaper implies support for students at the Catholic university who work in the sex industry. The disturbing piece titled “Behind the Curtain: Students in Sex Work” reports that “several students at Georgetown” engage in “sugaring,” which is essentially sex for gifts or money.
The article expresses hope that prostitution will be legalized to help these students, and it only alludes to the morality of prostitution in this odd statement about payment: “One client claimed he did not want to pay Eric/a for sex because he felt it would be like ‘exploiting’ them. Another pressured Eric/a to engage in sexual practices like bondage, which made them feel uncomfortable for safety reasons.”
“It’s difficult, because if I’m expecting something from an encounter, then that is part of consent, and if you’re not paying up, then technically you are violating my consent,” Eric/a said. “But that’s another problem, what constitutes consent? If you’re in this place and you have to act like you’re enjoying it, is it really consensual? It’s really morally gray.”
No. It really isn’t.
Lawsuit targets Trump’s rollback of birth-control rule
Two women’s groups representing three Notre Dame students among others have filed a federal lawsuit in Indiana, challenging President Donald Trump’s religious exemption to the HHS mandate.
The suit, filed in the local U.S. district court by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the National Women’s Law Center, states that because Notre Dame announced it is rescinding its coverage of abortifacients and contraceptives for employees and students, the university is violating the young women’s equal protection and due process guarantees of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the non-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act.
“Blocking access to basic health care that 99 percent of women use at some point in their lives is unlawful, discriminatory and harmful,” Fatima Goss Graves, CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement to The Sacramento Bee. “Everyone deserves birth control coverage, no matter where they work, how they are insured, or where they go to school.”