Wichita Catholic high schools announced this week that they are no longer welcoming Washburn University admissions officers on their campuses because the university has refused to remove a sculpture near the student union building, which is offensive to Catholics.
The announcement was made as hearings began Feb. 3 at a federal district court in Kansas City, Kan., on the issue. A Catholic professor and student brought a suit against the university and have asked for the removal of the sculpture, which depicts a Catholic bishop wearing a miter in the shape of a penis. A decision is expected before Feb. 20.
Archbishop James P. Keleher of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas testified at the hearings that the statue is a mockery of Catholic teaching and faith.
Bob Voboril, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, agreed that the statue is "clearly seeking to offend and insult Catholics."
Principals of all four Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Wichita said they had written the public university in Topeka with their concerns about the sculpture, but had not received a response, reported the Wichita Eagle.
Bishop Carroll High School principal Leticia Nielsen said the exhibit is just as bad as any sculpture that mocks blacks, Hispanics or Jews.
Patrick Forbes, principal of St. Mary's Colgan High School in Pittsburg, said his school would no longer furnish official student transcripts for the university if they were requested.
Principals said "Catholic-bashing" has become increasingly prominent in recent years and should not be minimized in comparison to other forms of prejudice.