Thursday May 13, 2010

Uproar after Catholic Marquette U. Rescinds Job Offer to Homosexualist Prof

By James Tillman

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin, May 13, 2010 ( — An uproar among homosexualist forces has ensued after Marquette University President Father Robert Wild withdrew a job offered to an openly lesbian professor, citing her academic writings’ sexually explicit content as out of line with Catholic teaching. According to some reports, Milwaukee Archboshop Jerome Listecki’s input on the matter was a key influence his decision to withdraw the offer.

Jodi O’Brien, who is currently a Sociology professor at Seattle University, which is also a Jesuit Catholic Institution, had been offered the job of dean of the Marquette College of Arts and Sciences, before Marquette University rescinded the offer Thursday.

An examination of O’Brien’s writings – with such titles as “Wrestling the Angel of Contradiction: Queer Christian Identities” – quickly reveals matierial in dramatic conflict with the Catholic character of a Jesuit university.

In her 1996 article “Changing the Subject,” published in Woman and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, O’Brien discusses multiple sexual encounters, such as a lesbian who uses a sex toy to have sex with a gay man, in obscene detail. “What have they just done?” she goes on to wonder. “Is she having sex as a woman with a man? Is she having sex as a woman-man with a man-woman?”

One may read the rest of her article here. (Caution: extremely foul language.)

One professor, speaking to Milwaukee Magazine on condition of anonymity, said that Fr. Wild told the faculty that Archbishop Listecki had expressed an opinion on the matter that had a bearing on his decision. Upon being pressed for an account of how the decision was made, Fr. Wild reportedly declined to give any details.

When Archdiocesan Judicial Vicar Father Paul Hartmann wrote to the committee chair searching for a new dean, according to the Journal Sentinel, he wrote that some possible candidates were pursuing subjects of study “that seems destined to actually create dichotomies and cause tensions (if not contradictions) with Marquette’s Catholic mission and identity.”

“My greatest fear, as a priest, alum, and as president of a high school which sends dozens of new students to (Marquette) each fall, is that the important decision to be made in this moment will instead dichotomize university from Church and reason from faith,” Hartmann wrote.

An email sent to all Arts and Science Faculty, signed by Fr. Wild and Marquette Provost John J. Pauly, states that appointment as Dean “requires a unique combination of scholarly accomplishment, administrative experience, and the ability to both represent our Catholic identity and articulate the central role of Arts and Science education in the Jesuit pedagogy.”

“It is a very high bar to reach, as it should be.”

In addition, a Marquette University statement says that, while examining candidates, certain aspects of the candidates should have been subjected to “more careful scrutiny, and publications relating to Catholic mission and identity should have been more fully explored early.”

According to the New York Times, Father Wild said that the decision was not based on O’Brien’s homosexual identity, but on a reading of the candidate’s academic works. “We found some strongly negative statements about marriage and family,” Father Wild said.

Nevertheless, those presuming Fr. Wild had rescinded the job offer because of O’Brien’s sexual “identity” attacked him for the supposed discrimination.

“This is discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Marquette philosophy professor Nancy E. Snow, also a lesbian, “and is a complete betrayal of our commitment to human dignity and diversity.”

“I think the president [of Marquette] is responding to people who are concerned with what I represent,” O’Brien told the Seattle University Spectator. “I do not think the opinion of those people represents Marquette as a university.”

Others blasted Wild’s “veto and lies” as “cowardly and unethical.”

Thomas Peters of praised Fr. Wild and Archbishop Listecki for preserving the integrity of Catholic education despite the deluge of criticism, and urged Catholics to show their support.

“I believe the Catholic community is best when we publicly support brave defenders of our Catholic faith and values like Rev. Wild and Bishop Listecki,” wrote Peters. “The light of our faith is nothing if we hide it under a basket.”

To thank Fr. Wild:

[email protected]


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