St. Thomas University in Minnesota has joined Notre Dame, Villanova, Boston College, and a host of other “Catholic” Universities who don’t want to make their Catholic identity too obvious. It seems that graduating senior Ben Kessler received a “Tommie” award and was invited to speak at the commencement ceremonies. He used the opportunity to reflect on some of the controversies and issues that had marked their academic career at St. Thomas. He correctly pointed out that faithfully following Catholic teachings would have eliminated these controversies. He also pointed out that we are called to an attitude of selflessness rather than selfishness. I guess some of the graduates and their families were not in the mood for a sermon and took offense to this address. The president of the university, Fr. Dennis Dease apologized for the speech finding it “inappropriate”. Endorsing Catholic teachings at a Catholic university is inappropriate?
American Papist has a good summary of the events as well as a video of the speech. Fr. Martin Fox wrote to the president of St. Thomas University expressing his disappointment that the university did not support Ben Kessler. He has posted Fr. Dease’s response here.
The good news is that Ben Kessler is receiving a lot of support in the blogosphere. I hope he is aware of it. This young man is in the process of becoming a priest. He has shown great courage and fortitude. He will make an excellent priest.