The report also expressed concern over conference organizer Paul Lakeland’s defense of a fake “CatholiQ Mass”—the Q standing for “queer”—that was celebrated during the Union Theological Seminary conference.
Both Jesuit universities, however, dismissed the report.
“The Cardinal Newman Society misses the pastoral dimension of what was a thoughtful, reflective, respectful and civil event,” said Bob Howe, director of communications for Fordham University.
“From the University’s perspective, the participants declined to promote the changing of church teachings, either by guile or misrepresentation,” Howe told CNA Dec. 6.
He added that the conference sessions were introduced “with extended and authoritatively stated church teachings.”
Society president Pat Reilly countered that the video record of the event “speaks for itself.” He cited instances of the speakers’ dissent from Church doctrine and insisted that the “examples are neither pastoral nor respectful of Church teaching.”
Martha Milcarek, assistant vice president for brand management and public relations at Fairfield University, maintained that “the position of the Church was fully and fairly presented” at the conference.
She told CNA that participants were presented with “all of the relevant documents of the Magisterium relating to this issue.”
Milcarek acknowledged that the conference participants were not all in agreement with Church teaching, but said “the discussion of disagreement is part of what Catholic universities exist for.”
Reilly disagreed in his comments to CNA, saying that the “purpose of a Catholic university is to teach and explore the truth, which is rooted in faith.”
“Simply pointing to Church teaching and then presenting speakers to undermine that teaching is not a discussion,” he said, but “a heterodox monologue.”
(Story continues below)
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