The president of the University of San Francisco (USF), the Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J., recently announced in a campus-wide email his plans to retire.
Fr. Privett became president of the Jesuit university in 2000.
In 2007, The Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly wrote a letter to Fr. Privett after his decision to invite pro-abortion politician Nancy Pelosi to speak at commencement ceremonies. “You are publicly allying a Catholic university with leaders of what Pope John Paul II called a ‘Culture of Death.’”
The Cardinal Newman Society’s request, however, was ignored.
The university also hosted the lewd Vagina Monologues play on numerous occasions during Privett’s tenure as president.
In a piece that appeared on the university’s website, Fr. Privett seemed to think the definition of a Catholic institution was elastic. “When people ask about the Catholic character of the university, I think it is important to understand you cannot find it in any single place,” he said. “You can’t find it only in Jesuits who wear collars. That’s not what makes us Catholic. Is that a part of it? Yes. But no one piece by itself is the key.There is no cornerstone without which you don’t have a Catholic university.”
Just this year, Catholic Education Daily reported that several departments at USF not only encouraged students to take part in the city’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Pride Parade on June 30, but also provided free t-shirts to students and their guests who signed up for the event.
USF philosophy professor Raymond Dennehy wrote in 2009 that, "Calling USF a Catholic school is like saying Hillary Clinton is a Carmelite nun. USF has chosen to go its own way, and there is no one here to stop them.”
Fr. Privett will reportedly serve until the presidential search committee finds a successor.
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