REPORT CARD: Event photo embarrasses Seattle U.; Buddhist instruction at St. Norbert College; and more…

Seattle U. president criticizes reporting on drag show which he approved

The Jesuit president of Seattle University, a Jesuit institution, criticized the student newspaper for running a photo of an on-campus drag show, which shows a performer in a low cut sparkly leotard spreading his legs, according to the Seattle Times.

University president Father Stephen Sundborg called the picture “indecent” and “obscene”—which is certainly was—but oddly still boasted of approving the event.

Another priest, Father David Leigh, an English professor, removed many copies of the newspaper from campus, as it was Accepted Students Decision Day and he was concerned about the arrival of new students and their families.

In an interview with the student newspaper, Fr. Sundborg said, “I thought it offended all dignity and respect of sexuality and of persons of bodies.”

“I think it was a mistake on the part of the editorial staff to put that on the cover,” he continued. “I was offended by it… Anybody who would see that who has a sense of propriety would find that offensive.”

Far from making him rethink his own decision, Fr. Sundborg boasted about allowing the drag show, even though many other Catholic universities wouldn’t. But he concluded that the paper’s decision to show that photo was taking it a step too far.

Rod Dreher writes at The American Conservative, “So Father Sundborg lets young men dress up like women and perform on stage for an audience, but he’s angry at the campus newspaper for showing a photo of what he, Father Sundborg, permitted on campus?! What a silly, silly man.”

Buddhist instruction at St. Norbert College

Tibetan Buddhist monks recently spent a week at St. Norbert College, instructing students on creating “sacred art” called a mandala, where each grain of sand is carefully placed on a wooden platform representing the Buddhist understanding of the universe, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

On the college’s website, Professor Debbie Kupinsky, an assistant professor of art at the college, specifically said that the art is “religious in nature and spiritually focused” and that students were encouraged to take part.

Far from saying that it is not promoting Buddhism, Kupinsky said, “Creating the mandala is like a form of meditation…When people come into the Norman Miller Center, [the sand mandala] is a sacred activity. It’s like a form of prayer.”

The good news, perhaps, is that St. Norbert’s College is bringing prayer into the classroom. Unfortunately, it’s not Catholic.

Bishop won’t attend Catholic school fundraiser chaired by same-sex couple

Bishop Michael Warfel of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings Montana will not attend a Catholic school fundraiser that is being co-chaired by a same-sex couple, according to KTVQ News.

Last week, a local parish priest posted comments on Facebook criticizing the decision by the Billings Catholic School Foundation to allow the two to serve as event co-chairs.

Bishop Warfel how now announced he will not be attending the event. “It’s an awkward situation,” he said, “and it’s better that I’m not in the midst of it.”

Providence College president condemns threats against pro-marriage student

Providence College President Fr. Brian Shanley, OP, finally condemned student harassment and threats against a resident assistant who posted the Church’s teaching on marriage on a campus bulletin board, according to Catholic Vote.

Over the past two weeks, many have called for Fr. Shanley to forcefully condemn the threats and bullying. In his comments, he first made some pointed comments at those critical of him, calling many of the messages, “angry, accusatory,” and “uncharitable.” He also alleged that much of the reporting from “conservative social media sites” was inaccurate.

Fr. Shanley’s response only comes after Bishop Thomas Tobin’s letter to the student commending him for his courage in which he also said that Providence College is at a “crossroads and now has to make a conscious decision about which road to travel.” He wondered if Providence College will become “p.c. – politically correct.”

But Fr. Shanley insists that “the College always has, and always will, remain faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Pope Francis encourages Catholic identity from Villanova delegates

Pope Francis told a visiting delegation from Villanova University, that included two-time national champion winning basketball coach Jay Wright, “It is my hope that in every aspect of its life and mission, Villanova University will persevere in its efforts to communicate the intellectual, spiritual and moral values that will enable young people to participate wisely and responsibly in the great debates shaping the future of society.”

According to the Catholic Register, the Holy Father also said Catholic colleges are “called to be workshops of dialogue and encounter in the service of truth, justice and the defense of human dignity at every level.”

University of Dallas unexpectedly changes leadership

The University of Dallas announced recently that the board was removing President Thomas Keefe at the end of this semester.

The reasons for the move are unstated. The announcement said that the university has “benefited considerably from President Keefe’s contributions over these past eight years.”

Board of Trustees Chairman Thomas Zellers said, “After careful consideration and prayer, the University of Dallas Board of Trustees has determined that the university would benefit from a change in leadership in order to continue to grow and maintain its position as one of the nation’s leading Catholic universities.”

The board reportedly plans to appoint an interim president and conduct a national search for its next president.

The Trustees asked the university community to join them “in remaining focused on our mission of education in pursuit of wisdom, truth and virtue that leads to the formation of leaders who act responsibly for their own good and for the good of their family, community, country and church.”

The University of Dallas is recommended in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

Notre Dame law professor laments ‘disastrous’ Fr. Jenkins decision

Gerard Bradley, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, wrote a piece condemning University President Fr. John Jenkins’ decision to have the university provide contraceptive coverage to students and employees, calling it a “grave and potentially disastrous error.”

Bradley’s piece was republished in the latest bulletin from The Sycamore Trust, an organization committed to encouraging the university named after Our Lady to live up to its stated Catholic mission. It was originally published at The Public Discourse.

“The harm to so many persons’ minds, bodies, and souls unleashed by Notre Dame’s embrace of contraception is great, and perhaps incalculable,” Bradley wrote. “But, in the course of rationalizing his decision, Fr. Jenkins supplied a primer about how Catholics should make all sorts of morally important decisions that is not only mistaken, but catastrophic for the moral life.”

“The crucial mistake in Fr. Jenkins’s rationalization is to use the hazy fog generated by a sonorous phrase—‘respecting’ others—to cover up what he is really doing, which is to violate in and by his own deed the moral truth that he seems to affirm (that contraception is immoral),” Bradley continued. “Neither Fr. Jenkins (nor I nor you) is permitted, much less obliged, by ‘respect’ for any other persons to choose to aid their immoral plans, because doing so makes Fr. Jenkins (or me or you) guilty of that same immorality—just as Notre Dame itself alleged under oath in its lawsuit over the course of several years. Thus Fr. Jenkins has most regrettably muddied what it means to say that any norm of morality is, simply, true.”

Catholic University students meet Pope Francis on spring break trip

Students in the Catholic University School of Canon Law had one of the more unique spring break trips, which culminated in a visit with Pope Francis during a study abroad trip to Rome. The 17 students — led by Professor Kurt Martens — spent time in Vatican City to learn about the inner workings of the Church.

During their brief meeting, Pope Francis advised the students to study hard and to always look at the roots of Church laws to fully understand the actions of Church leaders.

The Pope led the group in prayer, asked them to say a Hail Mary and gave them a blessing.

Sounds like a worthwhile spring break trip!

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