In a Nov. 13 open letter published on his archdiocesan website, Aquila wrote that “this guidance is not in conformity with the Catholic faith, despite the attempts made to justify it as rooted in Jesuit values.”
“On the contrary, Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the promotion of gender fluidity as a type of ideological colonization,” Aquila wrote.
“Why is Regis University promoting and teaching an ideology that is contrary to what we know from the Scriptures?” the archbishop asked.
Two days later, Regis University president Fr. John Fitzgibbons, SJ, wrote to Aquila, saying that “no student or staff member who, in conscience before God, identifies as lesbian, gay, or transgender, should ever be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome in our company.”
“While a ‘Drag Show’ might appear out of place on a Jesuit, Catholic campus, once again, such events, like the Queer Resource Alliance, open a safe space, a merciful space, if you will, for LGBTQ students to show their care and support for one another.”
Citing Pope Francis’ image of the Church as a “field hospital,” Fitzgibbons said that “our LGBTQ students often come to use as the most deeply wounded of society’s citizens.”
“For us, to accompany LGBTQ persons with the mercy of Christ means allowing them the dignity of telling their stories and naming their experiences in terms that ring true for them, even while critically examining those terms in light of Catholic teaching.”
Citing the work of Fr. James Martin, SJ, Fitzgibbons wrote that “Regis University, like other Catholic universities, thus serves the Church by maintaining a holy balance between supporting LGBTQ students and doing so critically.”
The priest noted a number of programs at the university that “include sustained discussions of human sexuality, with Catholic teaching holding a prominent place in the dialogue.”
“I do not say that we embody our Jesuit, Catholic values perfectly, without error or room for improvement,“ Fitzgibbons’ letter concluded, adding that the university is committed to Catholic teaching and the formation of students.
“Our fidelity is not to ideologies, it is to persons and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Denver told CNA that the archdiocese has “received messages from Regis faculty, students, alumni and parents thanking Archbishop Aquila for his response to this situation.”
He added that the university and the archdiocese are working to schedule a meeting between Aquila and Fitzgibbons.
(Story cotinues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
The archdiocese is ”looking into what our other options are to address this situation, but are hopeful that we can have productive dialogue with Fr. Fitzgibbons first,” he said.