1887 Trust, an organization committed to promoting Gonzaga University’s Catholic identity, is pointing to the Jesuit University’s exclusion from the most recent edition of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s (ISI) “Choosing the Right College” to call the University to recommit to its Catholic identity.
The editor of the guide, John Zmirak, in an interview with the Trust, pointed to the decrease in Catholic identity since the departure of Father Robert Spitzer as president of the Jesuit university.
“Gonzaga had shown promise under the leadership of Father Spitzer,” he reportedly said. “The change of administration, and the termination of Father Spitzer’s policies, evidenced especially by the denial of club status to the Knights of Columbus, signaled that Gonzaga had retreated from the effort to strengthen Catholic identity and had become just another expensive liberal arts school.”
The Cardinal Newman Society reported extensively last year on the University’s refusal to recognize a Knights of Columbus chapter on campus, citing its restrictive membership to male Catholics. They eventually relented, however, and allowed the chapter to form.
The University also recently honored pro-abortion rights, pro-same-sex marriage, and pro-contraception Archbishop Desmond Tutu with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.
Gonzaga has hosted the lewd play The Vagina Monologues on campus several times with faculty, university officials, and others arguing that a performance of the play not only was permissible but "necessary" for an institution with Catholic identity.
The Trust stated that Gonzaga’s longtime inclusion in the ISI guide attracted some faithful Catholic families in the past. “The inclusion of Gonzaga in this important publication helped to give students and parents an inside look at what was best about Gonzaga and what aspects of the school they should be wary of,” the Trust said. “The fact that there were positive aspects to Gonzaga’s curriculum, as well as opportunities for Catholic faith development, helped to attract conservative and faithful Catholic students and parents to the University.”
Zmirak reportedly explained that in order for the college to make the grade to be named one of thirty five “outstanding lesser known institutions” it must “show the promise of doing something differently and, for Catholic schools in particular, that meant showing promise with regard to Catholic identity.”
The Trust has strongly implored Gonzaga to hire faithful Catholic faculty. “In previous essays, we have highlighted Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Ex corde Ecclesiae, and its call for a majority Catholic faculty,” they said. “Gonzaga needs a majority of faithful Catholics among its professors, as well as a strengthened commitment to its founding mission.”
Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.