In Austin, Texas Bishop Gregory Aymond has objected to a planned lecture at St. Edward's University to be given by a priest who has previously been disciplined for dissent from Catholic teaching, the Associated Press reports.
The university invited Father Charles Curran, a professor of theology and ethics at Southern Methodist University, to lecture on Blessed Pope John XXIII.
The priest is controversial because in the 1960s he publicly dissented from Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae, which upheld Catholic teaching forbidding artificial birth control. He has since questioned church teaching on homosexuality, premarital sex, euthanasia, and in-vitro fertilization.
In 1986 Pope John Paul II removed him from his teaching position at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Fr. Curran has also been prohibited from teaching in Catholic schools or to calling himself a Catholic theologian.
Bishop Aymond explained his objections: "I believe that it does not foster the Catholic identity of a university to present him as a guest lecturer." He also emphasized the duties of Catholic professors, saying "theologians and teachers, whether they are clergy religious or lay, are empowered to teach the church's teaching and not their own opinion."
Whether or not the university accepts his offer, the bishop expressed a desire to work with the university in its selection of future guest lecturers.
The university reportedly explained Curran's dissent in its publicity for the event. According to LifeSiteNews.com, biographical information delivered to students identified Curran as a 'dissident theologian' and explained his removal from Catholic University and the controversy surrounding him.
Father Curran believed the bishop's attention was unlikely to hurt attendance at his lecture. "If you condemn a movie, you're going to get more people to go see it," he said.