The invitation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to speak at Georgetown University is yet another indication of that school’s compromised Catholic identity. The Archdiocese of Washington strongly criticized Georgetown with an editorial in the Catholic Standard, calling the university’s response to Sebelius “disappointing, but not surprising.”
Another disappointing signal this month was the letter signed by nearly 90 faculty members and priests at Georgetown University. They criticized Rep. Paul Ryan’s visit to campus, saying his budget plan represents a “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching” because it allegedly hurts the poor.
In 1999, hard-core pornographer Larry Flynt spoke at Georgetown, with no letter of protest from the faculty. The Archdiocese of Washington was not pleased, saying the decision provided “a platform which furthers the degradation of women, immoral behavior and the anti-religious opinions Mr. Flynt represents.” In 2003, 70 faculty members signed a letter protesting a speech by Cardinal Francis Arinze when he defended the traditional family at his commencement address; they were angry that he cited abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, fornication, adultery, divorce, pornography, and homosexuality as negative elements.
In 1997, the Washington Archdiocese publicly criticized Georgetown for refusing to put crucifixes in the classrooms. In 2010, years after the crucifixes were restored, the university hid them, and other religious symbols, at the request of the Obama administration; Obama’s advance team did not want the president to speak with Catholic symbols visible.
Georgetown welcomes pro-abortion clubs on campus. There is “Hoyas for Choice,” and “Georgetown University Law Students for Reproductive Justice” (formerly run by Sandra Fluke). There have been no letters of protest from the faculty about the “misuse of Catholic teaching.”
It’s time they held a campus forum on their identity, inviting representatives from the Washington Archdiocese, alumni, and non-Catholics to participate. They can begin by stating what makes Georgetown University different from George Washington University.