SF Catholic University President Responds to Criticism over Honor for Condom-Pushing Bishop: “Take i

By Kathleen Gilbert

SAN FRANCISCO, California, May 6, 2009 ( - After concerned (LSN) readers contacted University of San Francisco (USF) president Fr. Stephen Privett over the school’s decision to honor a bishop famed for promoting condom use, the president replied that the bishop is "in perfectly good standing" with the Church, and should not be criticized.

"Bishop Dowling is in perfectly good standing with the Pope," wrote Fr. Privett.  "If you have a problem with USF’s honoring the bishop of the poorest diocese in South Africa for his heroic ministry to the sick and dying, especially those with HIV/AIDS, take it up with Rome. 

"Those who have dedicated their entire lives to serving the poorest of the poor are free to criticize him, the rest of us would do well to emulate his charity," he added.

Fr. Privett did not address concerns raised over the speaking invitation to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, a leading opponent of Proposition 8.

Yesterday LSN reported that USF invited Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenberg, South Africa as the homilist at the May 21 Commencement Mass, as well as the honorary degree recipient and commencement speaker for humanities and science students’ graduation ceremony from the College of Arts and Sciences May 22.

Bishop Dowling became famous in 2001 for defying the Catholic Church’s doctrine of contraception as a grave sin.  He says that in his HIV-ridden diocese, which has a large prostitution problem, the "only solution" is condoms, and told Boston College that the Church’s policy against condoms is a “death-dealing code.”

"Abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in a marriage is beyond the realm of possibility here," Dowling told the Chicago Tribune in 2005.  "The issue is to protect life." 

Dowling has been rebuked by the Vatican, the South African papal nuncio, and the South African Bishops Conference, but has not publicly retracted his views.

To express concern:

Archbishop George H. Niederauer, D.D, Ph.D
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
One Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 614-5500
[email protected]

Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski
Congregation for Catholic Education
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 3
00193 Roma, Italia

Fr. Stephen Privett, USF President
Office of the President
LMR 415
2130 Fulton St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
phone: 415 422-6762
e-mail:  [email protected]

See related coverage:

Jesuit U. of San Francisco to Honor Dissident Bishop Famed for Pushing Condoms

Get FREE pro-life and pro-family news. Sign up today!

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most.

Select Your Edition:

Finished reading? Want to make an impact?

Your donation today helps bring the truth to MILLIONS.

Share this article