Bishop Martino’s meeting with university conditional on Catholic identity report

Bishop Martino’s meeting with university conditional on Catholic identity report

Bishop Joseph Martino
Bishop Joseph Martino


Bishop of Scranton Joseph F. Martino on Wednesday announced that he will not meet with officials from Misericordia University until they make public specific information on the institution’s efforts to teach Catholic morality on sexuality and homosexuality. He also has required the school to discuss how it adheres to Catholic standards of higher education.

In February, the university’s Diversity Institute hosted homosexual rights activist and same-sex “marriage” advocate Keith Boykin, who was invited to speak at the institute’s annual dinner and as part of Black History Month.

According to the Diocese of Scranton, Boykin also addressed the intersection of religion and sexuality in at least one of his talks. Further, the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexual behavior was not presented at the event.

Bishop Martino had voiced his “absolute disapproval” for the invitation of Boykin, later asking that the school consider closing the Diversity Institute. He then requested the school provide information about its efforts to teach Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality.

He has also asked that this information be made available to Misericordia’s alumni and the public. According to a Wednesday statement from the Diocese of Scranton, the bishop has requested precise information such as courses, content and catalog numbers.

“The university has thus far refused to do so, instead requesting a private meeting with the Bishop,” the diocese’s statement says. “However, the scandal that led to the Bishop’s request was a public matter. Therefore, no meeting will be held unless Misericordia complies with the request for a public release of information.”

Citing Misericordia’s assertion that it is “committed deeply to its Catholic mission,” Bishop Martino said it is puzzling the school would not want to assure the public it is teaching Catholic morality and manifesting the characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning.

Referencing Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Bishop Martino has listed the “four essential characteristics” 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 “growing treasury of human knowledge” in light of the Catholic faith; fidelity to the Christian message as received through the Church; and an “institutional commitment” to the “service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage.”

“Bishop Martino believes the kind of information he is seeking should be easy to compile and readily available,” the Diocese of Scranton said, noting that Bishop Martino is obliged to address these matters given his canonical responsibility to evaluate and judge how Catholic institutions in his diocese are “upholding the principles of authentic Catholic identity.”

“In particular, it is his responsibility to ensure that institutions of higher learning which desire to call themselves Catholic are zealous in teaching Catholic faith and morals,” the diocese’s Wednesday statement said.

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