Catholic No More

, Bethany Stotts, 1 Comment

Mount St. Mary’s College of Los Angeles
seems to have gone the way of most Catholic universities these days: politically correct, multicultural, and proud of it. The school President’s statement on diversity pronounces that “In the Mount community, we believe that diversity is part of excellence.” For President Jacqueline Doud, “The cherishing of diversity, as a CSJ, a Catholic, and an American ideal, is a common value that serves as a foundation for working together toward the common good.” A Google search of Mount St. Mary’s website brings up 19 pages of material covering issues of “diversity” but fails to provide a single link to the world’s largest Catholic fraternity—The Knights of Columbus.

In an attempt to promote diversity studies, the college founded the Center for Cultural Fluency, a resource and professional development center which “enable[s] teachers to become culturally fluent and to develop cultural fluency in their students.” The Center for Cultural Fluency’s website proclaims its mission to affirm “the fundamental moral equality of all human beings. . .eliminating racist, sexist, ageist, and homophobic attitudes in oneself and in society as a whole. . . Anti-bias is explicitly taught in professional development activities where participants learn to recognize prevalent stereotypes and to examine their own biases.” The Center for Cultural Fluency ministers not only to the college campus, but is designed to make its lesbian, bisexual, gay, transsexual (LBGT) and feminist-promoting resources accessible for K-12 classrooms in Los Angeles.

Is this the vaunted dogmatic, rigid Catholic doctrine we’ve heard about all our lives? Probably not. The Catholic Catechism, as released by the Vatican, states that homosexual acts “are contrary to the natural law. . . Under no circumstances can they be approved.” While Catholic doctrine urges believers to treat homosexuals “with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” it also maintains that “Sacred Scripture. . .presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity”—a far cry from the politically correct, multicultural demand that we accept, ponder, and embrace the unique tenets of alternative lifestyles.

Indeed, one might argue that the college’s attempts to prevent discrimination against the LGBT community amounts to little more than an integration of these values into official school policy. Mount St. Mary’s 2007-2008 handbook states that “[the college community] must take responsibility for our awareness of racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression. Bigotry will not go unchallenged within this community.” (emphasis added). Mount St. Mary’s College also appointed Reverend Guillermo Garcia as the college’s Director of Graduate Religious Studies. Reverend Garcia’s web biography describes him as “currently interested in Pastoral Theology, Hispanic Pastoral Ministry, (Hispanic) LGBT Studies and Latino Studies.”

Not everyone seems content with the campus’ institutionalized acceptance of homosexuality, however. It apparently is not thorough enough. An anonymous student on claimed in a June 7, 2006 post that Professor Eugene Frick “is [a] waste of space on the face of the earth with horrible comments that are on the lines of hate towards the gay community and the nuns and priests in general.” Professor Frick focuses his studies on World Religions, the History of Christianity, and the Philosophy of Religion. He is also member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies at the University of Hawaii and has a reputation for sarcasm and colorful language in the classroom.

Bethany Stotts
is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.