First in a series of three articles published in The Wanderer, the oldest national Catholic weekly in the United States. They will be republished here after they are available in Wanderer hard copy. TR.
From the December 20, 2007 issue.
By Thomas F. Roeser
CHICAGODePaul University should be stripped of its designation as a Catholic university.
And not just for the reason that makes it no different from all other.
Sure, as with many other venerable Catholic schools, it waters down the teachings of the Church into a one-of-many optionsan amalgam of viewswithout singling out any one objective truth. That goes for most of the colleges called Catholic. But with DePaul there are decidedly other factors, as this long study engaged by mea former DePaul graduate student and an adjunct professor there and at a host of other schools, secular and Catholic for more than 30 yearsproves.
The rap on DePaul that should deny it the name Catholic is this: In theology as in academic practice it is a psychedelic mockery of what a university is meant to be. It has gone berserk with at least two major derelictions.
First, on moral, not theological grounds, it provides seduction of the innocent by serving as an incubator of sexual decadence. It offers an academic minor in Gay Studies (a/k/a gay rights, lesbian, transgender and queer studies). Masquerading as academic studies they are the ultimate in hard-core and sexual explicitness.
Second, it denigrates the very idea of a university. It violates centuries of tradition of the university as a haven of academic freedom. It serves not as a colloquium of the open mind but fosters persecution of students and faculty dissenters and in more than one case has actively punished those who object to anti-Semitism.
As a third article in this series will show, it purveys in its gay course hard-core stuff that could easily be cited by such feminists as Dr. Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin. They have criticized pornography as dehumanizing women and men which can be reasonably suspected as possibly causing violence against them. Such studies can in my estimation contribute to domination, humiliation and coercion of both genders, reinforcing sexual and cultural attitudes complicit in rape, harassment and objectification of men and women.
Although by current standards of academic decadenceshown by Tom Wolfes realistic novel I Am Charlotte SimmonsDePaul ranks with the degradation spurred by so-called Ivy League schools, allowing it to continually use, as it does, the label Catholic serves as an insult and degradation of the Church. Under canon law, a university run by a religious order is accountable to the order to which it is affixed, in this case the Vincentians. But the bishop of the diocese in which it is situated has been recognized traditionally as having the right to approve or withdraw the label Catholic.
The archbishop in this case is Francis Cardinal George OMI, of Chicago. He has already criticized the university for its celebration and indoctrination of the gay lifestyle and it has responded with a slap in his face, saying it shall be the judge of its own activities. Very well: the next step should be initiation of a process to remove the Catholic label as being unacceptable in this archdiocesea step that will indubitably cause it harm by interfering with its false marketing as a presumed Catholic institution.
This is not to exonerate Catholic parents who out of their own culpable ignorance do not understand the turmoil that has happened to the Churchs universities in the past three decades. But it is to show that if they continue to support the university they will have no one to blame but themselves.
This recommendationto scrub the Catholic label from DePaulis made by this writer, one who is a graduate school alum and twice-hired professor there. More than that: I have been an adjunct professor in political science at a number of universities throughout the country and the world for more than 30 years in addition to my full-time work as a vice president of a major Chicago-based corporation, The Quaker Oats Company.
These teaching assignments include two stints, at different times, at DePaul where earlier I had attended graduate school. At all times with the exception of a fellowship at Harvard, I taught at the schools in addition to pursuing my regular corporate duties.
I list these universities here not to preen academically but to show the reader that perhaps I know what I am talking about as I compare DePaul with other Catholic and secular universities.
My teaching experience includes service at:
Northwestern Universitys graduate school of management, the Kellogg School (two years); the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics (fellow) at Harvard (full-time six months in Cambridge, Mass.); the Wharton School of Financ, University of Pennsylvania (once weekly for two years); Loyola University-Chicago (two stints); University of Illinois-Chicago; St. Johns College, Oxford (twice); Philips Exeter academy; a series of special week-long assignments under the sponsorship of the Woodrow Wilson International Fellows program of Princeton, N. J including Reed College, Portland, Ore.(the nations most gloriously self-declared anti-establishment school) and the University of South Texas, Georgetown, Texas.
This concluded with an assignment as Distinguished Fellow of the Franklin D. and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt University, Chicago (second year running) with an offer to continue in that capacity.
My relationships and fellowships at all these schools including DePaulwhere I co-taught political science with the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee (a friend), David Wilhelmhave been positive.
It proves Im not unused to teaching in schools whose faculty opinions differ from mine. Most of the schools would be categorized as liberal in politico-socio culture with the exception of Reed (radically left). Most (with the exception of Northwesterns Kellogg School) pursue a regimen of resolutely liberal, secular, even in some cases, left-wing ideology. Particularly Harvardalthough there I was admitted to teach after an extensive interview with none other than Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) who gave me his warmest support, allowing it would be good for the Kennedy Institute of Politics to have diversity for which I thank him.
But let me tell you, of all these schools with the possible exception of Reed (where as adjunct professor I was summoned before a rump student inquisition to defend so-called exploitation of the poor by my company, Quaker Oats which indictment I beat by citing that the company sells oatmeal for two-cents per serving, DePaul takes the all-time record for radicality and blockage of academic freedom in my three-decades-long-plus teaching experience.
One anecdote of many: Only at DePaul did a militant student organization for reproductive choice stage a raucous demonstration by invading my class to shout down my guest, Cong. Henry Hyde, House Judiciary chairman, all the while the faculty snickered behind cupped hands and closed doors. None of this act of discrimination against free speech happened to Hyde or any of my other guests at any other of the above-mentioned institutionsonly at DePaul.
This recommendation that Catholic be stripped from DePaul will come in three parts. The next one, the second, deals with an injustice meted out to a banned teacher, Tom Klocek, from the faculty because of his expressed views.