By Michael Baggot

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, April 11, 2008 ( – At the same time as Pope Benedict XVI reportedly prepares to exhort Catholic colleges to greater fidelity to Church teaching, two Catholic schools have recently stood fast to their Catholic identity and refused to support figures opposed to traditional life and family values.

The president of Michigan’s Aquinas College, Ed Balog, announced his decision on Thursday to cancel homosexual activist Jeff Corvino’s “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?” presentation after its initial postponement.

“I’m not trying to keep people from seeing him. I’m trying to prevent the college from sponsoring an event that displays an attack on Catholic teaching values,” Balog explained.

Balog announced that he had met “with members of the Programming Board, staff members from Campus Life, and other students to discuss the establishment of a policy regarding events on campus that might conflict with Catholic moral teaching.”

A committee will gather to create a policy “designed to provide guidelines for speakers and activities, including performances of various descriptions.”

Given the great amount of time such a policy will take to draft, Balog decided it best to cancel, rather than postpone Corvino’s presentation.

“We want to explore the issue from an academic perspective, not from the perspective of an antagonistic attack to core Catholic values,” said Balog.

The talk was organized by the student group Tree Top Productions, who said they still hope to host Corvino off-campus.

“Combining philosophical rigor with sensitivity and humor, Corvino examines and dismantles the most common arguments against homosexual conduct – including those based on nature, harm, and religion. In the process, he challenges those from various sides of the debate to rethink assumptions about both homosexuality and morality,” states a Wayne State University website concerning Corvino’s lecture.

“The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles, stated the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in their 2004 document Catholics in Political Life. “They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, explained to that lectures place speakers in the honorable position of teachers to students.

While students should be familiar with the arguments against Church teaching, he said, giving students such knowledge does not require inviting prominent individuals whose intention in visiting the college is to advance their work against the Church.

Even when speakers are invited under the pretext of better understanding opposite views, there is always the danger of bringing added “visibility to a person or organization” opposed to the Church, Reilly went on to explain to

Reilly suggested that Catholic colleges have students learn arguments against Church teaching and engage in debates among themselves, rather than feel the need to invite outside figures who could cause scandal.

In related events, the Illinois Mater Dei High School retracted their invitation to Rep. Kurt Granberg to enter their “Hall of Honor” for accomplished alumni, due to Granberg’s voting record.

“The school called me (this week) and informed me . . . that they had serious concerns about my voting record,” stated Granberg.

“I said, ‘Why is that?’  They said they were very concerned I wasn’t ‘pro-life enough.’”

Granberg voted for House Bill 138 and 139, both of which support embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.

Mater Dei principal Dennis Litteken described the situation with Granberg as a “misunderstanding.”

Litteken told that it was the policy of the committee of faculty, alumni, and citizens who reviews nominees to the “Hall of Honor” not to reveal the reasons why a particular nominee to the “Hall of Honor” is or is not inducted.

Contact the president of Aquinas College:

Ms. Jan Sommerville
  Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary to the Board of Trustees
  Office: (616) 632-2881
  Fax: (616) 732-4589
  E-mail: [email protected]

Learn about speakers on Catholic Campuses:

Learn more about important pro-life legislation in Illinois: