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There’s No Place Like Creighton University

Although it happened a couple of weeks back, it was bound to happen.

A President of a Catholic University has cited Pope Francis as an influential factor extending health benefits to same-sex “spouses” of university employees.

According to the Omaha World-Herald:

[The President of Creighton University, the Reverend Timothy Lannon, SJ] said the idea began to take root after Pope Francis took a different tone on gays in the church. He said he discussed it with campus leaders for a year before making the decision. Though he largely heard agreement on campus—Lannon said the university’s benefits committee approved it unanimously—Archbishop George Lucas was firmly opposed.

Lannon

The Reverend Timothy Lannon, SJ

In the article, Fr. Lannon is also quoted as saying:

I asked myself, what would Jesus do in this case? And I can only imagine Jesus being so welcoming of all people.”

So, in a letter to Creighton University Board of Trustees, President Timothy Lannon, SJ, wrote:

This is to inform you that I have decided that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits in 2015 to the same-sex spouses of our colleagues who have been legally wed in other states.

I have notified Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha of my decision, acknowledging his disagreement and disapproval of such a decision based upon a previous conversation he and I had.

Consequently, the decision was not made lightly. After much prayer and discernment, I believe the extension of benefits is the right thing to do at Creighton. The decision involves the tension between the Church’s teaching on same-sex marriage and social justice concerns for the care and well-being of our colleagues’ families.

Many other Catholic universities, including 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S., have done the same. I asked the University Benefits Committee to consider benefits coverage for legally married same sex couples. They were unanimous in supporting this change. The extension of benefits is not a statement of approval of same sex marriages but rather an acknowledgement of our responsibility to serve the needs of faculty and staff who faithfully serve our students and patients every day.

This decision not only reflects a commitment to our colleagues, but our ongoing commitment to health and wellness. It is important in today’s competitive workplace environment that values fairness and equal treatment and is consistent with our efforts to foster an inclusive, compassionate and respectful campus environment. Many major employers in the Omaha area as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the College of St. Mary all offer these benefits to their colleagues.

Marquette University theologian Daniel Maguire has summed things up pretty well, telling the Omaha World-Herald:

Pope Francis has softened the collective Catholic mood about same-sex relationships in the last year. The Jesuits are listening.

In a statement released October 27, Omaha Archbishop Lucas responded:

I am disappointed in Father Lannon’s announcement that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who have attempted marriage in states where this practice is legal. I disagree with the decision. Despite Father Lannon’s claim that this is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages, this is precisely the message that the University is giving. I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage. There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice. Both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love. When we experience tension in ensuring respect and just treatment for all persons, including those with same-sex attraction, we have a right to expect a Catholic university to help us see a just path forward, rooted in faith and founded on the rich Catholic intellectual tradition. Creighton has failed to fulfill this expectation in this expansion of benefits.

So, here’s the important question concerning the Catholic identity of U.S. Catholic higher education: What’s going to be done when academic administrators make decisions that fly in the face of Church teaching?

The answer: Absolutely nothing.

 

To read the Omaha World-Herald article click on the following link:
http://www.livewellnebraska.com/consumer/creighton-u-president-offering-benefits-to-same-sex-spouses-doesn/article_6f8c63fc-5df1-11e4-9cc9-001a4bcf6878.html

To read Fr. Lannon’s letter of the Board of Trustees, click on the following link:
http://www.livewellnebraska.com/the-rev-timothy-lannon-s-letter-to-cu-board-of/article_dc0480aa-5df1-11e4-b465-001a4bcf6878.html

To read Archbishop Lucas’ statement, click on the following link:
http://www.livewellnebraska.com/archbishop-george-lucas-response-to-lannon-s-decision/article_dec6e100-5e25-11e4-bc62-001a4bcf6878.html

To read The Motley Monk’s daily blog, Omnibus, click on the following link:
http://richard-jacobs-blog.com

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The Motley Monk

The Motley Monk is Fr. Richard Jacobs, O.S.A., a Professor of Public Administration at Villanova University. His academic specialities include: organizational theory; leadership ethics; Catholic educational leadership; and, U.S. Catholic educational history. Check out Fr. Jacobs' daily blog at http://www.richard-jacobs-blog.com/omnibus.html.

20 Comments

  1. “I asked myself, what would Jesus do in this case? And I can only imagine Jesus being so welcoming of all people.”

    If that is what passes for argument in Jesuit circles today then they are indeed a very pale imitation of what they once were. Jesus of course called all men to Him and called them to repentance, amendment and eternal life. This Jesuit, and his ideological think alikes, tell people that they need not repent nor amend their lives and lead them to Hell. The fact that he attempts to enlist Jesus in his enterprise is the very essence of blasphemy.

  2. Since Fr. Lannon cites this Pope as a major influence in making this decision,
    then I suppose if the next Pope speaks out to reinforce perennial Catholic
    teachings on homosexuality… Fr. Leighton would follow that Pope and change
    Creighton’s policies back again?
    .
    I had no idea the Jesuits were so eager to implement the wishes of our Popes.
    I must have been misinformed about their behaviors during all the previous
    pontificates since Vatican II.
    .
    (/sarc.)

  3. Giving aid and comfort to the enemy (the devil), being complicit in the commission of a sin is sinning. What part of “You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole strength and you neighbor as yourself” does creighton university not understand?
    .
    What a fast track to hell.

  4. “What would Jesus do?”

    Well…we know what he did with the woman caught in adultery…

    “Go your way…AND…SIN NO MORE.”

    When the Church affirms sin…the Church does a grave disservice to all.

  5. “What does Jesus want me to do?”
    …is more the better question…
    .
    y’know; Thy will be done, and all that.
    .
    But I’m wandering off topic….

  6. Yes, these actions are blasphemous.
    Do these priest academics still believe in God? Is God still Awesome?
    .

    I saw, unfortunately, Sean Card. O’Malley with Norah O’Donnell on TV last night.
    to quote a song from Hee Haw: “Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me. Deep Dark Depression, Excessive Misery….”

  7. I am disappointed in Archbishop Curtis’ response. It’s not enough for him to state the facts, the University must be stripped of its Catholic title. I am not sure if the Diocese funds the school or not, but I pray they don’t see a dime of the money we pledge to the Annual Appeal or the new 100% of the parish participation required “Ignite the Faith Campaign.”

  8. “I saw, unfortunately, Sean Card. O’Malley with Norah O’Donnell on TV last night.
    to quote a song from Hee Haw: “Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me. Deep Dark Depression, Excessive Misery….””

    Comment of the week Anzlyne! Take ‘er away Sam!

  9. From Ven. Fr. Solanus Casey; “God condescends to use our powers if we don’t spoil His plans with ours.”

    Seems to be a perfect fit for our SJ Timothy.

  10. I would imagine that priests will be asked which Catholic Church they belong: the capital “C” or the small “c”. Soon we will see the split in the Church and many will wonder where it all started. I guess the confessionals on campus must be pretty empty since there is no sin or it can be rationalized. Having a pastoral approach does not mean accepting the opposite position. Before they understand Jesus’ words of “Go and sin no more” the university needs to have a few classes in “What is Sin?” I wonder if there is a fault line under the university since it’s judgment will not go lightly.

  11. “Having a pastoral approach does not mean accepting the opposite position.”
    From Fr. Buchlien.

    Bingo Father. When the quake hits it might seem like the time of Noah, many wishing they had secured themselves to the new ark. Our Lady and Adoration of Our Lord. Shooting from the hip has its consequences. Church teachings taking a second to popular culture.

  12. We are living in an age when some of the laity are more, much more, catholic than the clergy. The most effective approach to end this madness is to make sure you deter anyone from going to Creighton and let the board of directors know your position. When the money flow into the institution starts to decline, the policies and staff will change. Money matters!

  13. “If that is what passes for argument in Jesuit circles today then they are indeed a very pale imitation of what they once were. Jesus of course called all men to Him and called them to repentance, amendment and eternal life. This Jesuit, and his ideological think alikes, tell people that they need not repent nor amend their lives and lead them to Hell. The fact that he attempts to enlist Jesus in his enterprise is the very essence of blasphemy.”

    Preach it DRM!! U sound like an old time Hell, fire, and brimstone Baptist preacher. We could use more truth stated plainly in this world.

  14. Hi Kate– I agree with you and I think Archbishop Lucas will do something about this. The archbishop Curtis you referred to is retired now. Archbishop Lucas came from Peoria, Illinois. At one time he was under the notorious bishop Dan Ryan and has thus had plenty of dealing with these kinds of issues. Archbishop Curtis had had similar run ins to this with Creighton, with Boys Town. I wonder if the retired archbishop will have some good words of advice for archbishop Lucas. The Omaha media really went after Curtis mercilessly.

  15. This Priest (and yes, even the Pope is still a Priest) should be censured immediately, if he will not recant and abandon this policy he should be defrocked and excommunicated.

  16. If these Jesuit priests find it more important to make people feel welcomed rather than repentant, then what are they priests for? And using “Who am I to judge?” as a rationale for mercy doesn’t make sense to me either. You first have to make an assessment or judgement call about whether something is worthy of mercy or not. Otherwise, what are you showing mercy to? It’s one thing to feel sad for or to pity someone; it’s another thing to use that sadness or pity to set aside the truths of our Faith and to enable someone in his erring ways. To do so would be false mercy and genuine sentimentality.

Comments are closed.