How queer: What defines Catholic identity in 2014 at the nation’s Catholic universities and colleges…

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Thank goodness the nation’s institutions of Catholic higher education have become so much more inclusive and diverse that those institutions now take pride in providing an intellectual climate where LGBT studies thrive. At least that’s the case at the nation’s largest Catholic university, Chicago’s DePaul University.

That’s not The Motley Monk’s opinion. No, it’s that of Elizabeth “Beth” A. Kelly, professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. In a 2010 interview with The Windy CityTimes, Kelly said:

If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would be a professor teaching the courses that I teach, developing the courses I develop as a publicly professed lesbian at the nation’s largest Catholic University I would have found that completely incomprehensible.

An Irish Catholic who lapsed from the Church prior to Vatican II, Kelly had misgivings about coming to teach at a Catholic university. That is, until she discovered DePaul’s academic administrators were serious about hiring for inclusion and diversity. So serious that since the early 1990s, the number of LGBT faculty has grown to the point where, Kelly observed, “today I know that I don’t know all of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faculty at DePaul.”

Since being hired in 1992, Kelly served as Director of the LGBT Studies Program from 1997-2003. Reflecting back on that role, Kelly noted, “What was interesting to me was the lack of opposition.” In that interview, DePaul’s President, the Rev. Dennis Holschneider, provided what Kelly called “amazing support” as did the Dean of School of Arts and Sciences. The one thing Fr. Holschneider did require was the inclusion of education concerning the Church’s position which Kelly said was “really not a problem.”

How possibly could including Church teaching present a problem, especially in courses like:

  • Feminist Theories;
  • Creating Change;
  • Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Politics;
  • Contemporary Knitting: Gender, Craft and Community Service;
  • Intro to LGBTQ Studies;
  • Sexual Justice: Lesbians, Gays, and the Law; and,
  • Queer Pioneers.

Each must surely be premised upon the inclusion of a full, robust, fair, and honest discussion of Church teaching as it relates to and critiques these topics, no?

What evidence is there to demonstrate that this is the case? Since secular progressives use academic freedom to protect the content of courses as well as classroom speech of professors, there is no solid evidence. Then, too, would a lapsed Catholic, lesbian feminist LGBT program director hire a heterosexual, conservative Roman Catholic priest to teach Feminist Theories? Of course not! How could he possibly be objective?

This outcome is not anything new and should not prove surprising. After all, Kelly’s hiring dates back more than two decades. Instead, it represents a long-term effort to redefine institutional Catholic identity in terms of a progressive, secularist agenda. To that end, academic administrators have required the “inclusion” of Church teaching–without specifying what that means so that it is “really not a problem”–and have built a critical mass of LGBT faculty who implement that agenda while peddling it as “Catholic.”



To read Professor Kelly’s interview/profile in the Windy City Times, click on the following link:

To read Professor Kelly’s curriculum vitae, click on the following link:

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:

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  1. Imagine the difficulties in obtaining paid employment for a recent grad with a BA in Lesbian Poetry in Pre-Columbian Meso-America.

  2. When I was in high school, one of the excellent teachers said, “The answers to every question/issue are ‘the Industrial Revolution’ and e = m c-squared.” It had some validity in 1964.

    Today, the post-modern, credentialed cretins would say, “Class, Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation” tell it all.

  3. This of course brings to mind the situation at the University of Illinois where an adjunct professor of religion was fired for presenting the Catholic teaching on homosexuality in a course on… Catholicism.

    Awhile back, a commenter here on TAC complained that Catholics were being too scrupulous in questioning the Vatican’s hiring of E & Y. I would suggest that the LGBT movement itself is nothing if not scrupulous in defending their teachings on the nature of sin, going so far as to chase down the wedding planners who dared to contract with wedding cake bakers and so forth. So I was pleasantly surprised that E & Y consented to be hired by the Vatican. Sitting down to eat with tax collectors and sinners and all. It signals a welcome shift in tone.

    But I doubt we can trust confessing LGBT professors to include relevant Catholic teaching in the course on Queer Pioneers at DePaul.

  4. St. John Chrysostom – “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”
    Penguins Fan – “Catholic college administrators are the chip and seal on that road.”

    I knew something was wrong with Catholic education when I was a kid in the early 1970s. DePaul should be ashamed of itself.

  5. Not sure what to mkae of this.

    Clearly, Catholics are more inclusive, tolerant, and open minded than the LGBT community. Catholics are making a good faith effort to understand these people and their particular set of woes, and by having them teach in our Universities, we demonstrate that we seek to understand, not judge. Clearly, Catholics do more to for true academic freedom than the secular dopes running the University of Illinois.

    This is a bad thing?

  6. From the first link:

    But her new favorite class is Lesbian Lives, Politics, and Communities, which she developed based on Alison Bechdel’s comic strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For.”

    Doesn’t that make you want to hug a Physics textbook? A college course developed based on a comic strip. I’m sure the class not only covers a lot of important information, but it’s completely different from her ‘Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Politics’ class. Hyeesh.

  7. Many American Catholics are lost souls. They have rejected the Magisterium
    for the progressive moral teachings of modern pagan loons, who will lead
    those poor souls to an unhappy end.

  8. Franco.
    While I was seeking to understand….suddenly I Understood!

    Your absolutely correct!

    Four years from now will be a prof that is a “minor attracted” person, and they will be breaking the barrier down so we start to appreciate the positive attributes of pedophiles. Opps…. I mean “minor attracted people.”

    Let’s not stop there…..bestiality 101 @ a progressive catholic university near you!

    The possibilities are endless for this enlightened culture.

  9. So this brings me to something that has bothered me for a long time. Who is paying for all this so called education? Sadly, it’s probably parents and grandparents who have no spiritual rigor. It’s no wonder they need to suck on their parents health insurance until they are 26. In my dreams I see a world in which students, and ONLY students are allowed to pay for their own education. That would cut this crap out real quick. Seriously…who would pay for this if it came out of their own pockets??? For one thing college would have to be delayed until one had saved up some money to pay for it by – I know…WORKING at some miserable job. These students would be more mature and would have a much better grasp on what they want to study and they would only be interested in paying for what is necessary to achieve their goal in the minimum amount of time. I don’t know any 30 year old going to college that is interested in any kind of naval gazing. It’s so easy to be a young, silly liberal if you don’t have to pay for it. In my dream world, those who want to wallow in liberal philosophy for 6 years to get a useless BA would be welcome to indulge whatever they can pay for. Praise God for the rise in on-line technical colleges!!

  10. “LGBT Studies?” What’s to study? Please, somebody enlighten me as to what can possibly be learned by entering that “field of scholarship” that makes one more productive, more stable and of deeper character.

  11. LGBT Studies?

    Well for one thing this course will help broaden the marketplace of those who feed upon the young, especially the kids that are unsure about there place in a world where “it’s all good if it feels good.”
    So by broadening the field of prey, due to complete acceptance brought about by thought police enforcing laws similar to the charge of ( homophobic language) and your top heavy Hollywood liberal mogul’s spewing this agenda like fertilizer to the weeds with there “craft” it’s enough to make run on sentences to say the least.
    Sodomites behold the power of a God that is Mercy…and of Justice!!!
    Justice is coming fools.

  12. “Catholic” means all that the Catholic Church teaches. It is that Church that can easily be identified by those bishops in communion with each other and the successor of Peter, the bishop of Rome, whom we commonly refer to as “the pope”.

    Whatever ‘this’ is, it is not Catholic.

    We are slowly witnessing a pruning of some institutions with Catholic names from the Catholic Church, and interestingly enough the government is strangely helping this process (although unintended) in the HHS mandate. It is a sad moment yet apparently necessary. I believe it is the Lord Who is the One Who is actually pruning His Church

    Remember, Cambridge, Oxford, the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and many others were once Catholic universities. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church survives

  13. Mary,

    The Devil sifts Peter, each and everyone of them, the saints, the mediocre ones, and the bad ones. Yet Christ’s promise to Peter remains with him and the Church in union with him, thanks be to God.

  14. Per suzn,
    by the time you are 30, you don’t want to waste time gazing at your own navel, let alone gazing at someone else gazing at her navel. Behold, the LGBTQ navel! Ever ancient, ever new!

  15. Kids today know that a bachelor’s degree, in anything, will get you further than a high school diploma will. The problem is that not every kid has what it takes to earn good grades in a real curriculum. We inflate grades, build more community colleges, do everything we can think of to get these kids a devalued degree, but for some reason everyone isn’t above average. And average + 12 years of public school =/= future mathematician.

  16. That’s true Pinky, not everyone can become a mathematical genius etc. However, one does not have to be a Thomas Aquinas to learn and grow in the Catholic Faith. At some point, Catholic universities, colleges and their faculties are going to have to come to grips with what the world calls “truth in advertising”. Are what they offering Catholic or not?

    In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Universities and their faculties used to be consulted all the time if and when theological questions arose. Even Henry VIII had a consultation of the Universities of the mainland (he was not pleased with the results). The Catholic universities (at least in America) for the most part cannot fill that role at this time. What a tragedy! What a travesty! In many cases we have neither academic excellence or Catholic faithfulness.

  17. Agreed, Botolph. The lack of intellectual rigor in modern academia is inevitable, and something like this program could only develop in an intellectually lazy environment, but that doesn’t mean that programs like this are inevitable at a Catholic university.

  18. Penguin’s Fan: I don’t think the style is the question. Different styles exist. Some difference is legitamet within the broader catholic church. There remain a few things that separate communions or traditions, and one of these is justification.

  19. • Feminist Errors
    • Creating Repentance;
    • Contemporary Christian Politics;
    • Contemporary Road Building: Gender, Craft and Community Service;
    • Intro to Christian Studies;
    • Sexual Justice: Men, Fathers, and the Law; and,
    • Christian Pioneers.

    “Courses not taught at DePaul University.”

  20. The overeducated will clearly have a confused value system and this will ruin what
    religious integrity they may have once had. Love the sinner-Hate the SIN

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