While the U.S. bishops responded to last week’s marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court by upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church, one Jesuit university chose to publicly celebrate the decision in direct conflict with its Catholic identity and mission.
Over the weekend, the University of San Francisco (USF), a Jesuit Catholic university, used its Twitter and Facebook accounts to celebrate the San Francisco Pride Parade and the recent 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.
[Update: Univ. of San Francisco President Deletes Tweet Celebrating Same-Sex Marriage]
“Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide in wake of #SFPride-@USF_LTMC #LoveWins,” read one of the messages from USF’s official Twitter account on Friday. The message was accompanied by a photo of the California State Capitol lit up in rainbow colors.
“I proudly attend a university that supports the LGBTQ community #Pride #USFCA #SF @usfca,” read a tweet from the University. Another retweet featured the USF mascot at the San Francisco Pride Parade, surrounded by several University students.
Ann-Marie Devine, senior director of media relations at USF, told Campus Reform that the University did not have an official statement on the Supreme Court ruling, but did not deny the University messages in support of the decision. Devine told The Cardinal Newman Society that she was looking into the matter, but no further response was received.
On the day of the Court’s decision, the Archdiocese of San Francisco—led by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who has taken a strong stance in defense of faithful Catholic education—shared the U.S. Bishops’ statement on the archdiocesan website. The statement, which upholds Catholic teaching, stood in stark contrast to the USF response.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, authored the official statement on Friday, calling the decision a “tragic error that harms the common good.”
The statement read in part:
Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again.
Several faithful Catholic institutions have expressed their dismay about the Supreme Court decision, in unison with the U.S. Bishops.
Franciscan University of Steubenville released an official statement on Friday, calling the decision a “setback for marriage” and promising to continue analyzing “the decision and its effect on the Catholic Church and Franciscan University.”
The statement read:
We can’t ignore the biological fact that children come from the union of a man and a woman, and marriage between a man and a woman has been the building block of both Christian and non-Christian societies for centuries. Maintaining this definition of marriage and affording it special rights and privileges enables society to flourish and respect God's mandate to be fruitful and multiply.
Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, president of Franciscan University, also noted in the statement that “the Catholic bishops of the United States have spoken eloquently and with firm leadership on this issue, and Franciscan University will continue to stand with them in defense of the true meaning of marriage.”
“We also will pray for those who disagree with us and ask them to pray with us,” he said, “that we may engage each other in charity and sincerity on this incredibly important and sensitive issue.”
In a recent speech on religious freedom, Wyoming Catholic College President Kevin Roberts stated his concern for the future of Catholic higher education in America in light of the Supreme Court rulings on the HHS mandate and same-sex marriage. “In a lot of media organizations over the past four days we have seen evidence of a corrupted understanding—or really an outright perversion,” of the First Amendment, Roberts said, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.
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