SAN FRANCISCO, December 12, 2008 ( – Yesterday the University of San Francisco, a Catholic institution, bestowed an honorary degree upon Irish President Mary McAleese, despite her public dissent from fundamental Church teaching on homosexuality and the male priesthood.

McAleese is the founding legal advisor to the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform, the Irish group that motivated the country’s parliament in 1993 to pass a law legalizing same-sex activity.

This past October McAleese spoke at a forum organized by the homosexualist group “Belong To,” where she called for an end to “homophobic bullying” and indicated that finding out that you are homosexual is akin to a “life discovery.”

At another conference in 2007, she said, “Although Ireland is making considerable progress in developing a culture of genuine equality, recognition, and acceptance of gay men and women there is still an undercurrent of both bias and hostility which young gay people must find deeply hurtful and inhibiting. For them, homosexuality is a discovery, not a decision.”

In addition to her support for homosexuality, McAleese has very publicly dissented from the Church by calling for women to be ordained into the Catholic priesthood.

In 1994 Pope John Paul II issued the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, declaring that the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women.  Then in 1995, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in his capacity as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed the doctrine and stated, “This teaching requires definitive assent.”

During a 1995 seminar on women’s ordination in Dublin entitled Women Sharing Fully, President McAleese delivered a speech in response to the Vatican declarations, stating: “They say the debate is closed. I think they had better turn up their hearing aids.”

She continued: “If I truly believed that Christ was the authority for the proposition that women are to be excluded from priesthood by virtue simply of their gender, I would have to say emphatically that this is a Christ in whose divinity I do not and will not and cannot believe.”

President McAleese again, in 1997, sharply criticized the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, comparing “defenders of the Vatican line” on an all-male priesthood to “Communist Party apparatchiks hawking redundant cliches” in an article for The Tablet.

The bishops of the United States in 2004 declared that “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

Cardinal Newman Society spokesman Adam Wilson commented that “USF’s choice of McAlesse to receive an honorary degree clearly violates the bishops’ speakers policy.”

“It is quite sad, though unfortunately not surprising, that a historically Catholic institution like the University of San Francisco would honor someone who has compared faithful Catholic leaders in Rome to ‘Communist Party apparatchiks.’”