By Kathleen Gilbert
SCRANTON, Pennsylvania, March 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After Misericordia University provoked a reprimand from Scranton’s Bishop Martino by inviting a homosexualist speaker to speak on campus, the bishop has said he will not meet with the school until they disclose a record of the school’s moral teaching on sexuality, as Martino had requested.
A diocesan press release yesterday stated that the bishop would not heed Misericordia’s request for a meeting “until they comply with his request for a public release of specific information on how the institution teaches Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality, and how it is adhering to the four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning.”
The dispute between the bishop and the school began after Martino condemned Misericordia’s decision to host a prominent homosexualist writer, Keith Boykin, for two speaking arrangements at the school. The recent statement explained that it had come to the bishop’s attention that Boykin took the opportunity to discuss advocacy for issues such as same-sex “marriage,” and to address the intersection of religion and sexuality; Catholic Church teaching on homosexual behavior, however, was not presented.
Martino expressed dismay that the school “in this instance is seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity,” by hosting a speaker “disturbingly opposed to Catholic moral teaching.” The school responded by calling itself “committed deeply to its Catholic Mission” but also “an academic institution where ideas and positions are explored critically and freely.”
Martino then called for the dissolution of the school’s Diversity Institute, which hosted the event, and a disclosure of the school’s moral teachings on sexuality. Misericordia responded only with a statement that it “welcomes the opportunity to discuss these matters with the bishop and his delegates at their convenience.”
But because “the scandal that led to the Bishop’s request was a public matter,” the bishop explained, “no meeting will be held unless Misericordia complies with the request for a public release of information.”
“Since Misericordia has asserted that it ‘is committed deeply to its Catholic mission,’ Bishop Martino said it is puzzling that the school would not want to assure the public that it is teaching Catholic morality and adhering to the four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning,” stated the diocesan release, adding that the bishop believes “the kind of information he is seeking should be easy to compile and readily available.”
The bishop also emphasized his obligation and authority as the local prelate to guard the Catholic identity of colleges under his purview.
“In particular, it is his responsibility to ensure that institutions of higher learning which desire to call themselves Catholic are zealous in teaching Catholic faith and morals,” read the statement.
To contact Misericordia University:
Michael MacDowell, President
301 Lake St.
Dallas, PA 18612
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Bishop Martino Issues Reflection on True Meaning of “Diversity” and “Tolerance”
Bishop Martino Calls for Dissolution of Misericordia U’s Homosexualist “Diversity” Institute
Bishop Martino Slams Misericordia University for Inviting Homosexual Rights Advocate