.- Further responding to Misericordia Universityâs hosting of a homosexual activist, Bishop of Scranton Joseph F. Martino has written a reflection on the nature of teaching diversity and tolerance as it relates to the Catholic faith and authentic Catholic identity.
In February, the universityâs Diversity Institute had hosted homosexual rights activist and same-sex âmarriageâ advocate Keith Boykin, having invited him to speak at the instituteâs annual dinner and as part of Black History Month.
Bishop Martino had voiced his âabsolute disapprovalâ for the invitation, later asking that the school consider closing the Diversity Institute and provide information about its efforts to teach Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality.
In a Tuesday statement, Bishop Martino wrote that the advancement of âtolerance, understanding and harmony between people of different races and culturesâ are âworthy goalsâ which Misericordia University has a responsibility to advance âas a Catholic institution.â
âHowever, precisely because it is a Catholic institution, it also has a responsibility to transmit Catholic teaching to its students in ways that are not ambiguous or confusing,â he wrote.
The bishop repeated his statement that viewpoints âin direct opposition to Catholic teachingâ should not be presented under âthe guise of âdiversityâ.â
âDoing so within a formal structure sanctioned by the institution gives the impression that these viewpoints are acceptable, or that all morality is relative,â he emphasized.
âAs Catholics, we must distinguish between authentic tolerance and an âanything goesâ mindset,â he continued, saying that an invitation to deniers of the Holocaust, defenders of slavery, and exploiters of women would not be justified.
Though these views are âdiverse,â that does not qualify them to be given a platform or to be allowed to speak without any Catholic rebuttal, he noted.
Bishop Martino said that Catholics believe there is an âobjective, moral Truth given to us by Jesus Christ.â
Faith and actions not rooted in this Truth risk contributing to the âdictatorship of relativism,â the bishop wrote, quoting Cardinal Joseph Ratzingerâs homily given just prior to his election as Pope Benedict XVI:
âTo have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of âdoctrine,â seems to be the attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the âIâ and its whims as the ultimate measure.â
Bishop Martino added that it is his right and duty as a bishop to ensure that âauthentic Catholic teachingâ is provided in all Catholic institutions in the diocese and to confirm that viewpoints opposed to Catholic teaching are not being presented as âacceptable alternatives.â
He insisted that he had disapproved of Boykinâs appearance at the university not because of his sexual orientation but because he is a proponent of a morality that is âdisturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching.â
The bishop described as âregrettableâ Misericordia Universityâs response to his request to produce evidence of its commitment to Catholic morality. He said its brief statement did not convey such evidence.
Referencing Pope John Paul IIâs Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Bishop Martino listed the âfour essential characteristicsâ of a Catholic institution of higher learning.
These characteristics are a Christian inspiration of both individuals and the university community as such; a continuing reflection upon and contribution to the âgrowing treasury of human knowledgeâ in light of the Catholic faith; fidelity to the Christian message as received through the Church; and an âinstitutional commitmentâ to the âservice of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage.â
Bishop Martino closed by recommitting himself to his duty as bishop to âpromulgate the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church to all the faithful.â