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Catholic Education Daily


Vatican Says Univ. of San Diego Drag Show Caused Scandal, New Show Planned Next Week

The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education has said that a drag show that occurred last year on the campus of the University of San Diego (USD) caused “scandal,” according to a letter revealed by the group Alumni for a Catholic USD.

Nevertheless, the student organization PRIDE at USD will again be hosting a drag show next week called “Celebration of Gender Expression: Supreme Drag Superstar” on the campus of the Catholic institution, according to the group’s Facebook site.

“Transgender & Transsexual? Gender expression & gender identity? Drag queen & drag king? What do these terms mean?,” the group asks. “At this Changemaker event, we'll explore these questions and how they impact the USD community and our lives. We will celebrate our diversity and the inclusion of *everyone* in our community. Join PRIDE for an evening of music, pageantry, and fabulosity!”

The official letter from the Congregation for Catholic Education was in response to communication from attorney Charles LiMandri, who founded Alumni for a Catholic USD, and Thomas McKenna, founder and president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, who filed petitions with the Vatican to review the situation.

In the letter, the Congregation stated, “in view of the gravity of the case, it is worth mentioning that in light of the show and the scandal that it caused, this congregation intends to act through administrative channels to the competent ecclesiastical authority in San Diego.”

The drag show at USD was first held in 2012 and repeated in 2013.  LiMandri, a past president of the USD Alumni Association, originally went to the University with his complaint about the event, saying that "it was not in line with Catholic principles nor the Catholic values and vision of the University's founders."

But USD defended the drag show and released a statement in 2013 saying, “The event supports the Church's teaching on the innate dignity of the human person, and by illustrating cross-dressing, it does not promote either behavior or lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of the Church.” The Congregation’s letter would seem to contradict the University’s position.

McKenna, who attended both events with students, said, “I witnessed many examples of behavior and statements on moral issues which contradicted or ignored magisterial teachings."

LiMandri and McKenna said they decided to make the Congregation’s statement public after consulting with Vatican officials, when it was learned that the third annual drag show is scheduled for April 10, 2014.

They have also written to the University president again this year, asking that the show be cancelled.

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