A major newspaper recently accused a group—1887 Trust—committed to promoting Gonzaga University’s Catholic identity of pushing the Jesuit university “to adhere to a more rigid ideology and Catholic tradition.”
The 1887 Trust took exception to the categorization made by The Spokesman Review in their latest update:
It seems to be a standard categorization in modern journalism, even when stated without malice, that, if one wishes a Catholic institution to adhere to objective standards in accordance with the Church’s self-understanding, one is “rigid” and/or an ideologue. In truth, 1887 Trust asks that the university adhere to objective measures set out by the Church and its bishops in regard to markers of catholicity such as a majority Catholic faculty and board of trustees, a responsible speaker policy, and fidelity to the Christian message as interpreted by the teaching authority of the Church. This is not a call to“rigidity.” It is a call to “truth in advertising” on the part of Gonzaga as regards its Catholic identity.
Despite The Spokesman Review’s insinuation that the 1887 Trust is overly concerned that the university’s president is a layman, the Trust makes clear that is not the case. “There are many wonderful lay persons in Catholic higher education, some of whom are more faithful to magisterial teaching than are some Jesuits,” states their latest bulletin. “The concern we feel about GU’s Catholic identity stems from questions we have about the level of commitment to the Catholic mission of the school exhibited by its leaders and faculty members.”
They cite a “lack of attention to the acquisition and retention of a majority Catholic faculty and board,” the university’s quick surrender to the HHS mandate, allowing the performance of “The Vagina Monologues” on campus, as well as inviting problematic commencement speakers as the source of their concerns.
1887 Trust said they are hardly asking for Gonzaga to adhere to a “rigid ideology,”but only what the Church asks of Catholic colleges everywhere in its apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae, which states: “A Catholic University, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching, and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles, and attitudes.”
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