By Peter J. Smith

SAN DIEGO, July 18, 2008 ( – In a stunning reversal, the University of San Diego has informed LifeSiteNews that it has rejected the selection of a radical eco-feminist theologian to an honorary chair in its Catholic theology department.

  Just last week LifeSiteNews had reported that Professor Rosemary Radford Ruether, who calls God “Gaia,” supports abortion and contraception, and a host of other views that put her in conflict with essential Catholic and Christian beliefs was going to assume USD’s honorary Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for the 2009-10 academic year. (

  LifeSiteNews had contacted USD for comment about the reasons for Ruether’s selection. Today USD Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Pamela Gray Payton contacted LifeSiteNews via e-mail and stated that Ruether will not assume the honor.

“Upon review of the specific purpose of the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology, the University of San Diego is no longer considering the appointment of Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether as the 2009-2010 Chair holder,” Payton informed LifeSiteNews. 
“The appointment of a chair for the 2009-2010 academic year will be announced in the future.”
  Ruether’s selection to the Theology chair came just months after the Benedict XVI’s April visit to the United States in which the pontiff told Catholic educators to be faithful to Church teachings and not to use academic freedom in a way that “would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission.”

  A USD press release had said Ruether is a “leading Church historian and pioneering figure in Christian feminist theology” and would be teaching one undergraduate course in the fall semester of 2009 and also deliver the annual Portman Lecture.

  LifeSiteNews reported the selection was an oddity since Ruether has a rather undisguised rejection of and antipathy toward Christianity, especially the Catholic Faith.

  Ruether is also a member of the pro-abortion dissident group, Catholics for Choice, which has been condemned by the US Catholic bishops as “not a Catholic organization” and “an arm of the abortion lobby in the United States and throughout the world.”

  The removal of Ruether allows the USD to select a candidate that actually embraces the Catholic mission of the university – besides the core tenets of Christianity – and embodies the principles behind the establishment of the theology chair.

 When USD created the Portman Chair for its theology department in 2000, then-president Alice Hayes had stated, “It will be a strong and palpable symbol of the depth of the university’s commitment to Catholic theology as an academic discipline and another sign of the Catholic character of the university.”

  To contact the University of San Diego about its decision:

  USD President Mary E. Lyons, Ph.D

  University of San Diego
  5998 Alcalá Park
  San Diego, CA 92110-2492

  Office: 619-260-4520
  Fax: 619-260-6833
  E-Mail: [email protected]

  See previous coverage by

  Catholic University of San Diego Honors Radical Non-Christian Feminist With Theology Chair