Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Georgetown University:
Committed to "Inclusivity", Not the Gospel


I went to graduate school at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, studying Classics and Patristics there from 1990-1995. During this period the University was just starting to emerge from its nadir of the Curran-Byron years. Whereas now, under Fr. David O'Connell, the University is becoming vigorously and enthusiastically Catholic, while I was there that could not be said.

But even then it was joke among serious Catholics at CUA that you didn't have to go far to find a "Catholic" college even less Catholic than CUA: you just had to go across town to Georgetown. During the time I was at Catholic U., Georgetown gave official recognition to a pro-Gay student organization. During the mid '90's Georgetown's administration had to be arm-twisted by a group of alumni and students into placing crucifixes (which were paid for by donors) in classrooms. [corrected 9/10/03 7:11 PM]

So it didn't surprise me last summer that Cardinal Arinze provoked a firestorm of controversy by actually suggesting that Catholic teaching regarding sexuality and the family was true. His remarks were condemned as "out of place" and provoked a walkout of faculty and students who had become accustomed to Georgetown's complacent embrace of the world. I was used to the idea that Georgetown was an environment hostile to the Gospel.

Now the president of Georgetown has reiterated the university's "committment to inclusivity." (thanks to Amy for the story) President John DeGioia said yesterday that:
The commitment of this university and the underlying ethos with our commitment to the full inclusiveness and care of each individual has characterized this place since 1789...

"Committment to inclusiveness..."? Well, that's nice, but what happened to the committment to the Gospel? Not only does Georgetwon no longer see its mission as proclaiming the Gospel, but apparently the Gospel isn't even welcome there anymore. The university's adminstration and faculty view it as a problem when a Cardinal of the Church comes there and proclaims Catholic teaching, a problem which warrants reaffirming their fealty to the World, the Flesh , and the New York Times.

In place of the Catholic Faith, in the name of "inclusivity", Georgetown provides for its students things like a sex columnist in its official newspaper, The Hoya. Julia Baugher, who writes Sex On the Hilltop for the Hoya, has these gems of wisdom to impart to her fellow students:
"Do not fool around on the first weekend." [apparently it's OK to fool around afterwards]

"If you embrace the difference between love and lust — and feel that lust has a place in everyday life — hell, go ahead." [and indulge yourself in a "booty call"]

Go Hoyas! Embrace that Lust!

While I am sure that there are still some faithful Catholics among Georgetown's faculty and students (I did meet a few while I was in DC), can there be any doubt that, as an institution, Georgetown has lost sight of its identity and mission as a Catholic university?

Georgetown is an object lesson in the problem of so-called "Catholic" institutions losing their moorings that I discuss in my article The Bishops' Disciplinary Options:
Catholic institutions do not exist for their own sake, but in order to spread the gospel and nourish the faith and life of the Church's members. If they no longer do that, then they need to be reformed.

Georgetown, along with numerous other Catholic colleges and universities, is in desperate need of reform. If it won't be reformed, then it should at least have the integrity to stop calling itself Catholic. As things stand, places like Georgetown are being dishonest.

Who will reform Georgetown? Who will call it back to the Faith, or call it to be honest with itself and the world?