Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Do gays face 'stained glass ceiling' at Catholic colleges?

That was the headline of an article in yesterday's USA Today. It was an incredibly one-sided interview (shocker) and didn't give a single authentic Catholic a voice in the article's nearly 3,000 words. Below is the beginning portion of the story. You can read the whole thing here if you have the stomach for it.

Meanwhile, this afternoon we will be interviewing Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society about this year's Catholic Commencement season. It's good news. It appears that more than 95 percent of our Catholic college leaders this year have taken the high road, and Catholics should applaud that. For 17 years, the Cardinal Newman Society has encouraged the renewal of Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and universities. CNS has publicly identified Catholic institutions that choose commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients whose public actions and statements are contrary to key teachings of the Catholic Church. Recent years have seen a marked decline in these scandals, from 24 in 2006 to just nine this year.

Do you think Patrick might get into USA Today's Rolodex? We can only hope.

Here's the start of the USA Today piece:

"W. King Mott, associate professor of political science and gender studies at Seton Hall University, clearly has earned respect from colleagues at the Roman Catholic institution. He has tenure. He recently finished a term as chair of the Faculty Senate. He served on the search committee for a new president.

But he's quite certain he'll never be an administrator. "There is no way the current hierarchy will allow a gay person to hold a position of authority unless they are closeted and self-loathing. They will never permit a scholar who publishes a point of view" promoting gay equity to hold a position of real authority, he said. Mott was demoted from associate dean back to the faculty ranks in 2005, the day after he wrote a letter to the editor of a New Jersey newspaper in which he questioned church leaders for criticizing gay men while "permitting and hiding pedophiles within the priesthood."

Mott is facing scrutiny once again — this time for a course he is planning on the history of the legal and political fights over marriage, in which he will discuss gay marriage and his views as a gay man in favor of it. Although the new course went through standard approvals, it is now being subject to an additional review by the Mission and Identity Committee of the university's Board of Regents. That review was requested by the Rev. John J. Myers, archbishop of Newark, who denounced the course for seeking "to promote as legitimate a train of thought that is contrary to what the church teaches."

Catholic colleges are of course regularly the site of debates over the role of religious teachings in the context of American higher education. At commencement time, most notably last year at the University of Notre Dame, honorary degrees for or speeches by political leaders who support abortion rights are questioned by some church leaders. Valentine's Day is an annual barrage of press releases and counter-releases about productions of "The Vagina Monologues" on Catholic campuses."

Read more here...

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