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By Kathleen Gilbert

SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, March 6, 2009 ( – Scranton’s Bishop Joseph Martino continued a streak of outspoken teaching on Catholic life and family values this week, as he issued a reflection on the real meaning of “diversity.”

Bishop Martino issued the March 3 address in light of his recent injunction to Misericordia University to consider abolishing the “Diversity Institute” that invited a homosexualist speaker to the school last month.  The bishop noted that a great deal of student and community feedback objecting to Martino’s injunction praised the Institute’s work advancing harmony among different races and cultures.

Such goals are worthy, said Martino, and “All people of good will should work toward these ends.”  However, “precisely because it [Misericordia] is a Catholic institution, it also has a responsibility to transmit Catholic teaching to its students in ways that are not ambiguous or confusing.”

Martino reiterated a previous address to the college in which he stated that “viewpoints that are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching should not be presented under the guise of ‘diversity,’” due to an ensuing impression “that these viewpoints are acceptable, or that all morality is relative.”

The bishop elaborated: “As Catholics, we must distinguish between authentic tolerance and an ‘anything goes’ mindset. For example, would the Diversity Institute be justified in hosting a speaker who believes the Holocaust is a myth? Or one who believes slavery is okay because certain people are inferior? … There are people out there who actually believe this nonsense, and they would be perfectly willing to come to the campus to tell you why.

“Their views are certainly ‘diverse,’ but does that qualify them to be given a platform in the name of tolerance? Or should they be allowed to make a presentation without any retort from the Catholic perspective?”

On the contrary, said Martino, Catholics recognize that “there is an objective, moral Truth – given to us by Jesus Christ. This Truth is timeless, and it cannot be altered by the shifting tides of popular culture.”  If we are not rooted in this truth, he said, we risk acceding to the modern “dictatorship of relativism” as described by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – an ideology that “recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the ‘I’ and its whims as the ultimate measure.”

“As the Bishop, it is not only my right, but my obligation to ensure that authentic Catholic teaching is being provided in all Catholic institutions in this Diocese, and that viewpoints in opposition to this teaching are not being presented as acceptable alternatives,” Martino affirmed.

Martino clarified that he disapproved of the homosexualist speaker Keith Boykin “not because of his sexual orientation, but because he is a well known proponent of morality that is disturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching … Furthermore, no presentation was made to balance Mr. Boykin’s viewpoints with the teaching of the Catholic Church.” 

The bishop added that it was “regrettable” that Misericordia did not respond to his call for evidence that the school teaches true Catholic morality regarding sexuality, and again exhorted the school to fulfill its identity as a Catholic institution of higher learning.

Martino concluded with a postscript “to those who criticize me for taking public stances that may not be popular or “politically correct,” or may not agree with their own personal notions of what “progressive” Catholic doctrine should be.

“My job as a Bishop is to promulgate the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church to all the faithful. I will continue to do so.”

To see Bishop Martino’s full statement, go to:,2009.asp

See related coverage:

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Bishop Martino Again Rebukes Sen. Casey, Instructs Withholding of Communion from Pro-Abort Politicians

Bishop Martino Slams Misericordia University for Inviting Homosexual Rights Advocate

Bishop Martino Tells St. Patrick Paraders: Cathedral Off-Limits if Pro-Abortion Politicians Honored