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Catholic Education Daily


USD Hosts Radical Theologian’s Radical Mentor

Just two weeks after the University of San Diego withdrew a fellowship for theologian Tina Beattie, the University reportedly honored Beattie’s mentor, University of Bristol theologian Ursula King, who also advocates abortion rights and women’s ordination. King was selected to present UCSD’s prestigious Eugene M. Burke, CSP, Lecture on Religion and Society.

The University, according to its website, hosted King for a “Women in Catholic Education Since Vatican II” event. The description of the event reads:

Join us for an interactive discussion with a world-renowned theologian, whose hugely successful career has epitomized the joys and hopes as well as, no doubt, the griefs and anguishes of women working in Catholic education in recent times. Fall 2012 Burke Lecturer at UCSD, Ursula King, will share reflections on her personal experience and perspectives on how women have impacted and in turn been  impacted by Catholic education since Vatican II. The reflections will look back and, especially, look forward to the future.

Interestingly, Beattie was scheduled to take part in the event along with King. In fact, the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, which sponsored the event, offered an apology of sorts for Beattie’s absence while disavowing responsibility:

We regret to inform CCTC’s supporters that Tina Beattie will no longer be presenting at this event as her visit has been cancelled by USD President Mary Lyons, a decision which did not involve anyone working with the CCTC.

King, in a piece in The Tablet, pressed for the ordination of women. “Three women theologians Mary Grey, Lisa Usherwood, and Ursula King would use the opportunity to address the Pope directly to press the case for women’s ordination,”The Tablet reports.

“It seems that secular society has far more respect for the human rights of women…than does the Catholic Church,” reads the essay signed by King. “Nor can anyone imagine what the psychic wounding over the centuries has meant for the spiritual journeys of women.”

In that same essay, she says that she takes heart in liberation theologians and laments that “in fact no one believed that it would be that easy to topple patriarchy, a system reigning triumphant for 3,000 years.”

On the issue of abortion, King lamented anti-abortion laws in Nicaragua:

Today, any abortion performed in Nicaragua carries a criminal penalty of one to two years for the woman, or one to three years for the provider. Events in Nicaragua have two main lessons for advocates. First, they demonstrate the need for constant vigilance throughout the region, to protect even the most limited access to abortion.

USD President Mary Lyons has made it clear that she rescinded the invitation to Beattie because the CCTC honored her with a fellowship. But she said she wouldn’t object to Beattie speaking on campus.

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