December 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two Catholic universities have hosted a series funded by gay rights leaders that criticized the Church’s stance against same-sex ‘marriage’ – after the schools’ presidents assured bishops that the event would not be used as a “vehicle for dissent,” the Cardinal Newman Society reports.
“More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church” is described on the Fairfield University website as “an unprecedented collaboration … to change the conversation about sexual diversity and the Catholic Church.” The seminar was held in October at the Jesuit Fordham and Fairfield Universities, as well as two Christian insitutions, Yale Divinity School and Union Theological Seminary.
“For too long, the conversation on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in the Roman Catholic Church has been only a monologue — the sole voice being heard is that of the institutional Catholic Church,” states the organizers. “We must engage in more than a monologue by having a 21st century conversation on sexual diversity, with new and different voices heard from.”
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In a special investigative report released this week, The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) provides evidence that the series amounts to “a well-orchestrated attempt to undermine the Church’s doctrine and its stand against homosexual ‘marriage.’”
According to the report, speakers at the events questioned Catholic teaching on homosexuality, alleged the Vatican’s “official repression” of gay priests, said that the Catholic Church would be much better off if all of its priests were having sex with each other, and disputed the necessity of priests for consecration of the Eucharist at Catholic Mass.
In addition to criticizing the Church’s sexual ethics, the series even provided a “CatholiQ Eucharist” – the “Q” apparently means “queer” – according to the CNS report.
Catholic theologian Janet Smith told CNS, “This doesn’t seem to be something worthy of a college campus.”
“They complain they only hear one side, and they’re the ones that are monologing. It sounds to me like it largely was a monologue of those who are against the Church’s teaching.”
Funding for the “More Than a Monologue” conferences was provided by the Arcus Foundation, a massive fund that stands behind several gay rights ventures, which lent $100,000 to the series. One of the Foundation’s leaders in charge of gay rights funding, Tom Kam, is “a former Roman Catholic priest,” according to CNS, and has advocated against Church teaching on homosexuality and abortion.
Publicity for the conferences was provided by a firm that works with such groups as Catholics for Choice, Freedom to Marry, Lambda Legal and the International Planned Parenthood Foundation.
CNS first raised concerns about the “More Than a Monologue” conferences in March, and in September sent letters to Archbishop Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the president and conference organizers at Fordham University. Archbishop Dolan issued a public statement on September 22nd, stating that they had met with the Jesuit presidents of Fairfield and Fordham Universities and had received assurances that the conferences, “while sensitive to the experience of the participants, will not be a vehicle for dissent.”
“It appears that the assurances given to Abp. Dolan and Bp. Lori were not met, which is a real shame,” wrote CNS in a press release Monday. “There are serious and legitimate pastoral concerns for people with same-sex attraction that could have been legitimately discussed in the context of Catholic teaching and the Natural Law—and a few panelists and sessions attempted to do this.” The group said that Dolan had been given a copy of their report on the series.
The full report is available here. Links to the conference videos are also available on the website.