Thursday July 10, 2008

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

By Peter J. Smith

SAN DIEGO, July 10, 2008 ( – This year the University of San Diego (USD) has awarded an honorary chair in its Catholic theology department to a radical eco-feminist theologian, 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. The selection comes just months after the Pope’s April visit to the United States in which he told Catholic educators to be faithful to Church teachings.

The USD Department of Theology and Religious Studies says Professor Rosemary Radford Ruether is a “leading Church historian and pioneering figure in Christian feminist theology” and will accept the honorary Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for 2009-2010 academic year.

A USD press release says Ruether will be teaching one undergraduate course in the fall semester of 2009 and will also deliver the annual Portman Lecture on a date to be determined to USD students.

When the Portman Chair was established in 2000, USD President Alice Hayes said, “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.”

Oddly enough, however, Ruether has a rather undisguised rejection of and antipathy toward Christianity, especially the Catholic Faith.

A regular columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, Ruether boasts multiple professorships, twelve honorary doctorates, and an extensive list of books, including The Church Against Itself (1967), Sexism And God-talk: Toward a Feminist Theology (1983), Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing (1992), Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History (2005), Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World Religions (January 2005)and America, Amerikkka: Elect Nation and Imperial Violence (2007).

California Catholic Daily reports that Prof. Ruether is an advocate of women’s ordination and since 1985 has served as a board member for the pro-abortion dissident Catholics for a Free Choice – now Catholics for Choice (CFC). The group has been described by the US Bishops as “not a Catholic organization, does not speak for the Catholic Church, and in fact promotes positions contrary to the teaching of the Church” and is “an arm of the abortion lobby in the United States and throughout the world.”

In 2005 Ruether explained to an audience at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles her view that “Christianity is not necessarily worse than other religions, but it is the vehicle of Western Civilization.”

Reuther has stated Christianity is riddled by hierarchy and patriarchy that created a social order in which chaste women on their wedding night “were, in effect, raped by young husbands whose previous sexual experience came from exploitative relationships with servant women and prostitutes.”

In the CFC article “Sexual Literacy” from its Summer 2003 Conscience magazine, Ruether continued in this vein saying “The young bride went into marriage without knowledge of how to experience pleasure or prevent pregnancy.”

Ruether added, “the Christian Right, Catholic and Protestant, is trying to roll back the sexual revolution by returning to a patriarchal puritanism based on a classist separation of females into ‘good’ girls and ‘bad’ girls, exploiting the bad girls while denying the good girls personal freedom.”

Ruether has also rejected the notion that Man has a higher dignity than the animals in creation.

USD’s selection of Reuther to the honorary theology professorship is a rejection of Pope Benedict XVI’s admonition given to Catholic educators during his papal visit to the United States to be faithful to the Church and its teachings.

“Any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and the teaching of the Church would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission,” the Pope told Catholic university and college presidents in April.

Benedict also spoke openly about “the scandal given by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion.”

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