By Kathleen Gilbert
SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, February 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino has condemned Misericordia University for "seriously failing" in its Catholic identity by inviting homosexual rights advocate Keith Boykin for two lecture appearances scheduled for today.
"Bishop Martino wants Catholics of the Diocese of Scranton to know of his absolute disapproval of Misericordia University’s hosting Mr. Boykin," reads a statement from the diocese of Scranton.
"By honoring this speaker through allowing his positions, so antithetical to Catholic Church teaching, to be broadcast on its campus, the University has rejected all four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning," which are "its Christian inspiration, its obligation to reflect on knowledge in light of the Catholic faith, its fidelity to Catholic Church teaching and its commitment to serve the people of God.
"The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, the Bishop observed, should be in no doubt that Misericordia University in this instance is seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity," the statement concludes.
Keith Boykin, a classmate of President Obama’s at Harvard Law School and a former assistant in the Clinton administration, is an avid supporter of homosexual rights and was president of the National Black Justice Coalition, an organization established in 2003 to organize African American support for same-sex "marriage" rights.
Boykin is the New York Times best-selling author of "One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America," in which he discusses his own "coming out," his first sexual experience, and the lives of prominent black and homosexual individuals. Boykin’s three books have all been nominated for a literary award from Lambda, a pro-homosexualist legal group.
Boykin’s talks at Misericordia were scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Bevevino Library and 8 p.m. in the Lemmond Theater at Walsh Hall.
Bishop Martino called Boykin’s beliefs "disturbingly opposed to Catholic moral teaching," according to The Times Tribune.
In response, Misericordia issued a release Monday that Boykin’s appearance "is not meant to be a forum for advocacy on any singular issue," and that the university "is committed deeply to its Catholic Mission" but is also "an academic institution where ideas and positions are explored critically and freely."
The Cardinal Newman Society, which reported on the planned lectures last week, praised Bishop Martino for calling Misericordia to task in the abuse of its Catholic identity.
"We join with the families of Misericordia students and other concerned Catholics, who no doubt will be praying that the university responds admirably to Bishop Martino’s pastoral call and lives up to its Catholic identity," said Patrick Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society.
To contact Misericordia University:
Michael MacDowell, President
301 Lake St.
Dallas, PA 18612