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Georgetown's sudden concern with "Catholic" identity

Joseph Bottum offers commentary about Georgetown University’s decision to ban outside religious ministries from the Georgetown campus. They cannot use the campus for meetings or use Georgetown in their name.

But now, at last, Georgetown has rediscovered its Catholicism, at least long enough for a Protestant employee of Campus Ministries to send a letter to six evangelical groups, kicking them off campus. The story made the Washington Post and the Washington Times this weekend, with the kind of headlines the public-relations office hates to see: “Georgetown Bars Ministries from Campus,” “Georgetown U. Ejects Private Ministry Groups.”

According to the Washington Times, “the decision—which affects a few hundred students belonging to six Christian groups—forbids the ministries from having any ‘activity or presence’ on campus, including worship services, retreats or helping students move into their dorms. The groups also are prohibited from using the Georgetown name in publicity.”

Mr. Bottum suggests a rather nefarious motivation for this policy:

The problem, of course, finally boils down to this: The evangelical groups represent only a few hundred students, but they are strongly pro-life and opposed to homosexual marriage. The mainline Protestant employees of Campus Ministry find such things embarrassing, and so they kick the evangelicals off campus, employing the power of the officially Catholic chaplain’s office and the rhetoric of the school’s Catholic identity.


Georgetown explains its actions as a way to consolidate its Protestant students under the wings of its Protestant chaplaincy. This will also give the school control over the use of its name as associated with student groups.It cannot ensure outside groups are in concert with Church teachings. I suppose it might be uncomfortable to have the Georgetown Wiccans or the Georgetown New Age seekers having a presence on campus. However, Evangelical Christians threaten Georgetown’s “Catholic” identity?

The school’s concern about controlling the use of its name might be believable if it didn’t lend its name to Georgetown University Pride Do you mean to tell me Georgetown has a problem with Evangelical Christians affiliating with the university but have no problem with a gay pride group using their name? From the GU Pride web site (accessed from the school’s main web site)

GUPride provides educational and support services to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) communities at Georgetown University. We also provide support and referral services to those exploring their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and other individuals sharing an interest in these issues.

We do this by:
- Promoting the elimination of prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Providing access and referrals for all individuals to the resources of the LGBTQ community.
- Providing opportunities to develop individual well-being and community cohesiveness.
-Providing educational resources and events for the Georgetown population at large about the LGBTQ community.


Nothing on the web site promotes living chastely according to Catholic teaching. It has extensive links to outside organizations supporting the gay culture and lifestyle. No links to groups like Courage that support those with same-sex attractions as they live according to Catholic moral teachings.

Sadly, as much as I would like to give Georgetown the benefit of the doubt, this sudden concern for Catholic identity is probably as Mr. Bottum surmises, a reaction to the Evangelical Christians’ closer adherence to Catholic moral standards than the University as a whole.

Comments

Rosemary Bogdan said…
I could cry. When will the bishops weigh in on such issues??
Course this one is a little slippery.

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