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.


One Response

  1. legunt illud, et flebitis

    January 22, 2014 5:00 am

    The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is encouraging its full-time employees (with a 35% discount off tuition) to take the graduate religious studies courses to be offered at Holy Family parish in Pasadena next fall, according to the Archdiocesan Catholic Center’s Feb. 23 Newsbriefs.

    The courses will be offered by the Graduate Religious Studies Department of Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. A required text “places the ethics of sex and gender relations within an illuminating context informed by feminist theory, contemporary biblical scholarship, Catholic moral theology, and social-scientific findings.”

    It is uncertain what faculty will lead the classes at Holy Family. But if the Religious Studies Department’s Dr. Laurie Wright-Garry will among them, students will sit at the feet of one who specializes in systematic theology “with a concentration on Feminist Liberation Theologies” and “whose dissertation focused on the Woman’s Ordination Conference between 1975-1994,” according to a Mount St. Mary’s faculty guide.

    In Fall 2006, Wright-Garry taught a “Sexual Ethics” class at Mount St. Mary’s. Lisa Sowle Cahill’s Sex, Gender and Christian Ethics was required reading for the class. A 1997 Christian Century review of the book says it “places the ethics of sex and gender relations within an illuminating context informed by feminist theory, contemporary biblical scholarship, Catholic moral theology, and social-scientific findings.” Cahill, says the review, argues against the notion of gender as “simply a social construct” but is “equally critical of the notion that moral judgments are timeless maxims of natural law.” Cahill argues “that the central moral norm of the New Testament is the building of an inclusive community of the marginalized … The church should interpret biblical passages on homosexuality, divorce, virginity and other issues of sexuality and gender in ways that promote such a community.”

    Wright-Garry’s other required book is James Nelson and Sandra Longfellow’s Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reform. Nelson, a United Church of Christ minister, has argued for full acceptance of homosexuality as a moral good.

    The director of Graduate Religious Studies is the Rev. Guillermo Garcia, who has been involved in pastoral ministry in the archdiocese. (He also is pastor of St. Gertrude’s in Los Angeles.) A systematic theologian, Garcia’s “current fields of interest,” according to Mount St. Mary’s, “are Pastoral Theology, Hispanic Pastoral Ministry, (Hispanic) LBGT Studies and Latino Studies.”

    An announcement for the Holy Family classes notes that the program’s graduate level curriculum fulfills the requirements to become a pastoral associate, parish life director, youth ministry director, religious education coordinator, and a religious studies teacher at the elementary and secondary levels.

    Sheesh, and I thought I had it bad here when I went for my Diocesan Catechitical Certificate, and I had to fight against the “Our Father and Mother, who art in heaven…” nonsense.

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