Skip to main content

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.


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

Popular posts from this blog

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling. I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road.

I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become so …

United Breaks Guitars

This guy is really talented and what a creative way to get your message across. I think he captured the "indifferent employee" perfectly. They don't just work for airlines. I think I ran into them at Walmart on Friday!