Can Marquette be a Catholic University?
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting this morning on another professor researching Gay and Lesbian issues from Seattle University who was offered the same job back in 2001. Great. First Milwaukee steals Seattle’s baseball team, then the Catholic University tries to become a clone of Seattle University.
Patrick McIlheran, in his column today for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, writes today about why a supposedly Catholic University like Marquette would try to be so un-Catholic.
The remarkable thing about Marquette University’s latest storm and stress is that anyone’s surprised by it.
The Catholic university hired as a dean a scholar whose work flies as fast as it can from the church’s understanding of sex and marriage. People are shocked at this hire. Those supporting the candidate, Jodi O’Brien, are shocked anyone’s shocked.
“I understand why they’re shocked,” said Marquette theologian Mark F. Johnson, whose department would have been under O’Brien had the university not botched things still further by withdrawing her contract. Her supporters are shocked, said Johnson, “because Marquette and other (Catholic) institutions have been going along with what everyone else had been doing.”
Marquette made this trouble for itself not just by ignoring O’Brien’s work but, as Johnson wrote the other day, by its “forty years and more of missed opportunities to engage, challenge and sanctify the world on matters of marital and sexual morality.”
O’Brien’s backers say academic freedom is at risk at Marquette. Yes, but not that of scholars such as Marquette theologian Daniel Maguire, whose 2001 book “Sacred Choices” proclaimed the goodness of abortion. Rather, the freedom at risk is this: That Marquette has made itself unfree to embrace its mission as a center of Catholic understanding.