One of my two graduate university programs of study was at Marquette University. I received a Master's degree in history from the Jesuit institution. Marquette has come a long way since the time when many of my graduate school classes began with the Rosary, or when a "permission slip" from the Vatican was read allowing us to read certain books. Some of my classes had three priests, two brothers, several nuns, and me. I have been proud of the changes that have taken place at Marquette, and that it did so openly and assertively. Marquette became a 21st century university ...until a few weeks ago.
I have also served as a vice president of a Roman Catholic college, and I am clear about certain sensitivies in the realm of Church actions. Though not a Catholic, I have interacted with priests from around the world, with bishops, archbishops. leading laity, ecumenical committees, abbots, etc. Now to the point of this blog...
A search committee was formed TWICE to find a dean at Marquette University in one of its colleges. On two occasions the search committees recently recommended a woman from Seattle University. Her academic and leadership credentials were excellent. She is a lesbian. No matter, Marquette has spoken out bravely in support of various minorities, including gays. The selected "new dean" was interviewed on campus and offered the position at Marquette, going from one Roman Catholic university in Seattle to another in Milwaukee. And then ...and then something very strange happened. For one thing, the local archbishop intervened with direct suggestions against the selection of the new dean. The new archbishop in Milwaukee has a history of being extremely conservative and rigid in his thinking ...some might say, as I do, that he is out of touch with reality. The offer to the new dean was withdrawn. Huh?
I shouldn't have to go through all this to indicate how wrong this decision is for Marquette and for higher learning generally. Some loyal Catholics say that Marquette is a Roman Catholic university and it can do whatever it wants. Wrong! Those people may want to read on charter laws in the state, read what every major accrediting agency says on this subject, read what other universities say in their periodicals, etc. And most importantly, read what Marquette itself has to say on the subject and consider that this woman was selected twice by a search committee at Marquette. Students and faculty at Marquette are extremely [and rightly] disappointed at the school's actions.
All this Catholic interference from the heirarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, comes on the heels of the wordwide pedophilia in that institution, the Church's own mishandling of the situation, and we have no idea how long this has been going on and how long the rape of children has been covered up by the Church heirarchy. How dare this Church heirarchy claim any moral or ethical ground?
Further, nearly 500 years after Nicolaus Copernicus offered that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of our solar system, he was immediately labeled a heretic, and now finally he will now be taken from an unmarked grave and laid in a cathedral. Copernicus was one of multitudes of people who were punished by the Church heirarchy for doing the right thing or holding the right position on fact. It took 500 years!
Do you know how inconsistent the Roman Catholic Church has been through the years? Do you know, for example, that there have been two and even three popes at the same time? Do you know that St. Sixtus I (Xystus) was the son of a Catholic priest? That Pope St. Innocent's father was a pope? That Boniface VI had been defrocked for immoral behavior twice before becoming pope? That John XIII was a teenage pope? That Adrian II was a married pope (there were others) and his wife Stephania and his daughter lived with him in the Vatican? That Innocent III claimed authority over the ENTIRE WORLD?
Do you know that marriage was optional for many years for priests in the Roman Catholic Church? There was a stop put to that when the married priests left their estates to their families and not the Church. The Roman Catholic heirarchy would have none of that!
Marquette University, come to your senses! The current Archbishop in Milwaukee is an unenlightened man. Look at his record in La Crosse and elsewhere. He is living out an 8th century fantasy. Marquette, I call on you to be true to your stated objectives, to what you claim as academic guidelines for yourself. It is time for you to act morally and ethically. Refusing a position to someone born a lesbian is not very different than refusing a position to someone because he/she was born with blue eyes or brown hair.