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Archbishop George Lucas of the Omaha Archdiocese issued a statement on Monday in response to Creighton University’s decision to “offer benefits to same-sex spouses of employees,” noting his disappointment in the University’s decision and its failure to provide a proper example of Catholic teaching.

The policy change at Creighton will enable employees who entered into same-sex marriages in other states to receive health benefits from the University.

The Jesuit University’s decision was made known through a letter sent to trustees by Father Timothy Lannon, SJ, president of Creighton University. According to KETV’s transcript of the letter, Fr. Lannon knew of Archbishop Lucas’s disapproval of the move, but went ahead with it anyways.

In his letter, Fr. Lannon reportedly cited a “tension” between Catholic teaching on marriage and social justice concerns. The extension of benefits is “not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages,” he argued. Fr. Lannon also cited “today’s competitive workplace environment” as a justification.

Archbishop Lucas responded soon after in his statement, saying that he was “disappointed” in the University’s decision to offer same-sex benefits and that he still “disagree[d] with the decision.”

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“Despite Father Lannon’s claim that this is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages, this is precisely the message that the university is giving,” Archbishop Lucas wrote. “I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage.”

Archbishop Lucas continued:

There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice; both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love. When we experience tension in ensuring respect and just treatment for all persons, including those with same-sex attraction, we have a right to expect a Catholic university to help us see a just path forward, rooted in faith and founded on the rich Catholic intellectual tradition.

“Creighton has failed to fulfill this expectation in this expansion of benefits,” the Archbishop concluded.

Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society.