President Lyons’ response

Will this appease USD faculty?

Mary Lyons

The following came in a comment to CalCatholic submitted on Nov. 9.


The Office of the President distributed the following letter from President Mary Lyons by email today:

Office of the President

In recent weeks there has been considerable interest in, bewilderment, and anger about a decision I made to rescind an invitation given to Dr. Tina Beattie, a Catholic theologian from the United Kingdom, to hold an honorary fellowship in the University’s Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture (CCTC). While I have released several statements to our internal constituents explaining this decision, it is evident that my decision has raised questions about my commitment to the academic freedom of our faculty and, thus, the academic reputation of our university. Thus, my comments are offered with the hope of further clarifying my position and reiterating my support for academic freedom.

Dr. Tina Beattie was invited many months ago by the Director of the CCTC to hold a one-month honorary fellowship within the CCTC. A respected theologian within her own circle of scholars, in her own scholarly writings she has taken positions that many would say challenge Church teachings. Would this have been a reason to question her selection as a fellow in the CCTC by me? Absolutely not. However, in late October, I was made aware that, on August 13th 2012, Dr. Beattie had joined others in issuing a public statement within the UK stating that “it is perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.” Whether you agree or do not agree with this position, it is a stance in direct conflict with the Church’s own teaching. Dr. Beattie’s own bishop subsequently cancelled a lecture she was scheduled to deliver within his diocese. She herself reported that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had intervened, urging her bishop to take this action.

One academic theologian put the matter succinctly: “Theologians can, and indeed must, probe the tradition and raise critical questions. This is how a tradition develops and continues to speak with credibility and relevancy to succeeding generations. However, engaging in open defiance of the Church’s pastors by signing public letters designed to undermine the confidence of the laity in the leadership of their bishops is not an appropriate or responsible way of seeking to advance the development of the tradition.”

Given the above, why did I withdraw the honorary fellowship for Dr. Beattie?

First of all, Dr. Beattie was not invited to the university by one of our academic departments. She was invited to hold an honorary position and represent the University through the CCTC. Its purpose, from the beginning, was simply to be a resource for others, especially the faculty, inviting them to explore through the lens of their own disciplines and research interests how a scholarly life pursued within the context of a Catholic university provides a vast landscape for their intellectual pursuits, one that reckons with the reality of the sacred and rests upon the foundation of a rich and vital wisdom tradition. The CCTC’s purpose then is to present that tradition with accuracy and respect. With this mission in mind, I and the CCTC’s first Director solicited benefactors, generous men and women who were champions of our effort to enhance the Catholic identity of the university. Never would they imagine that their gifts would be used to provide honors to Catholic theologians who publicly dissented from the Church’s teaching in the matter that occurred here.

So, what does this have to do with my decision to rescind the invitation to Dr. Beattie? Her public position in opposition to Church teaching, as a Catholic theologian, is incompatible with the CCTC’s purpose. In addition, offering her an honorary fellowship would be a betrayal of those benefactors who supported the Center with that purpose in mind. The CCTC Director provided no notification of Dr. Beattie’s public action in August and the consequences that befell her within her own diocese. Thus, we only learned about this in late October, just weeks before her scheduled arrival, leaving no time for making other arrangements that might have ameliorated the situation. As we became more aware of the problems associated with honoring Dr. Beattie and as the time drew near for Dr. Beattie to begin her travel, it became my responsibility to notify her of the cancelled visit.

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  1. The kind of ideological-gangsterism President Lyons is having to defend herself against is explained in an article “Hate Crime Legislation – Back Door to Censorship” by James Simpson, “American Thinker”, 5-10-2009. (Search terms “frankfurt school hate crime”.)

    “One of [the Frankfurt School's] leading lights, Herbert Marcuse, opined that the prevailing Western social order is repressive by definition and discriminates against minorities simply by existing.

    “This creates a phenomenon he called ‘repressive tolerance’ because even though other views are allowed within Western culture — you know, by that insignificant little old thing called the First Amendment — the Capitalist view is still permitted. It goes without saying that Marcuse considered that to be unacceptable.

    “Instead, he proposed what he called ‘partisan tolerance,’ i.e. tolerating the views of those ‘repressed minorities’ only — who Marcuse assumes share his partisan hatred for everything noncommunist — while actively muzzling the views of the majority.

    “So now we have a word for Democrats’ eye-popping hypocrisy when they wrap themselves in the mantle of free speech while simultaneously attempting to suppress non-Leftist ideas. We have a word for the Left’s double standard in championing ‘repressed minorities’ only when those minorities share their politics, while savaging principled, accomplished minorities like Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell or Janice Rogers Brown. We have an explanation for why so many college campuses, supposedly the society’s heart of open-minded intellectual inquiry, actively, even violently intimidate conservative speakers — when they let them onto campus at all.

    “They have been practicing ‘partisan tolerance.’ That is, tolerance of the extreme Left and virulent intolerance of anything else.”

  2. Isn’t it a corporal work of mercy to admonish the sinner?

  3. Robert Bushlow says:

    We all need to support Dr. Lyons in this decision to support Authentic Catholic Teaching. How can we voice our support?

  4. All CATHOLICS are required to adhere to the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition”.

    Beattie is a self described theologian – - – without a Mandatum, – - – a heretic and schismatic – - – and has been excommunicated latae sententiae.
    (Code of Canon Law ” 1364 §1. an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication;)

    It is very important that we use the definition in the CCC 2089 in calling HERETICS and SCHISMATICS – exactly what they are.
    Language is critical.

    There needs to be an investigation, with the possible outcome of the Director of the ‘Center for Catholic Thought and Culture’ at USD being fired for cause.
    This director must not invite ‘Catholic Theologians’ who do not adhere to the CCC and Code of Canon Law.

    This entire episode must prove to the Board of Directors and Officers of USD that the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition” must be used as a required student text for all freshmen and sophomores.

    The Catholic Faith can not be taught accurately and in entirety without using the CCC.

  5. WOODY GUIDRY says:

    Lyons’ roar will soar above the shadows of some San Diego “thinkers”.

    • very good — “lyons’ roar.”

      i like it!

    • And may Archbishop Cordileone’s (heart of a lion) roar do so also. Like St. Paul that Great Lion of God, we need more of these good Lions. God bless you for your stand President Mary Lyons. It is better late than never. Stay strong and faithful, and god will reward you in the end more than any human can.

  6. Joan of El Cajon says:

    Rescinding Tina Beattie’s visiting fellowship is a good step in the right direction to cleaning out the pro-homosexual rot that has been festering at USD for more than 20 years. Now, Mary Lyons should take the next step and get rid of USD’s own openly lesbian theology and religious studies professor, Evelyn Kirkley, who for years has aided and abetted homosexual groups on campus. Kirkley was a major force behind the shameful “drag show” held at USD in April, as well as other pro-sodomy activities too numerous to name here. Lyons is finally beginning to feel the heat from devout Catholics who are appalled by the school’s leftward drift and are withdrawing their support; may it continue until the school is either restored to full, authentic Church teaching, or else is stripped of its fraudulent “Catholic” label.

    • Does Evelyn Kirkley have a Mandatum from Bishop Brom?

      If not, there is the door, and don’t let it hit you in the behind.

      If so, contact the US Papal Nuncio and the Vatican – and let them show Bishop Brom the door.

      • alan harris says:

        Dr, Kirkley is neither Catholic nor a theologian – rather a professor of American religious history. As such, she is not required to have a Mandatum.

  7. President Lyon bless you! I have sat through many a lecture given by Jesuit “theologians” who teach in direct opposition to Church teaching! Because I know my Catechism I recognize their forked tongue–however, there are many innocent that are led to the slaughter because they believe that Catholic Theologians always speak His Truth–not. Time to look at the credentials of those 100 professors, eh?

    Note to Bay Area Dioceses–you need to look more closely at speakers selected for “Faith Formation” conference in Santa Clara. Heresy spoken there.

  8. Thank God for this wonderful and brave woman that won’t allow false teachings to destroy the Teachings of the Real Catholic Church. It is no wonder that both our Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have little use for these so-called ‘modern theologians and scholars’ that are running around with their very limited knowledge of God and His Kingdom and confusing far too many Catholics. +JMJ+ Just a thought: doesn’t this Beattie even have a Catholic Bishop to correct her?

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      This is very interesting and revealing. How short the memories of some are, it was not long ago that Mary Lyons was righfully scorned for allowing LGBTs to hold a fair at the University.

      Aren’t we a little to easy in granting praise for these so called academics when under pressure they do something right?

      Does anyone know the principal of “taking one step backword in order to take 3 forward”?

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher

      • You and others, Kenneth, do bring up some very good points that some of us have forgotten. Nevertheless, let us encourage President Lyons along the right path, maybe not with an award but some type of encouragement. We all get a little week-in-the-knees sometimes.

  9. Well done by President Lyons. It is time to show these sheologians (as in sheol) the door.

  10. “Her public position in opposition to Church teaching, as a Catholic theologian, is incompatible with the CCTC’s purpose. In addition, offering her an honorary fellowship would be a betrayal of those benefactors who supported the Center with that purpose in mind.”

    very well put!

    when people pay for a kosher meal, they sure don’t expect pork sausages to be served.

    even so, the folks who financially support the CCTC don’t expect un-catholic teachings to be served up on a platter.

    • Love that line, Max, about the Kosher meat. How true? Really devout Catholics would never expect a Conservative or Orthodox Jew to serve them pork at their table or schools, and we rightfully expect the same kind of treatment for Catholic consciences in schools, businesses and organizations. It is the ultra liberals on the moral issues who do not understand since they think almost nothing is wrong to do, at least as far as sexuality is concerned.

  11. Cole Thornton says:

    Boy does Mary Lyons use a lot of psycho babble in this letter. The last paragraph is the only thing she needed to write and the rest is a lot of wasted words. Who taught her to write? The bottom line is “offering her an honorary fellowship would be a betrayal of those benefactors”, in other words she was afraid of losing MONEY from the alumni!

    • Cole Thornton, they used to teach in business English to make business letters short, sweet and to the point. Evidently, President Lyons is anticipating all the guff she is going to get from all sides and is trying to keep it at bay, which makes for a very long, boring article to most.

  12. I wonder how the faculty members at USD would describe or accept the policies, treatments and declarations of a medical doctor who examined patients whom he well knew were afflicted with deadly diseases and attempted to heal them by simply announcing that they were not sick? Apparently, they would applaud this action and accept the spread of these diseases throughout the population as a “normal and healthy” situation, just as long as they would not be faced with the embarrassing position of pointing out the doctor’s errors of judgment and obvious refusal to attempt to realistically care for the sick. Our Church has stood against the tide of popular contemporary efforts to normalise the use of artificial contraception, acceptance of civil divorce, and the sins of adultery, extramarital sex, promiscuity and homosexuality. The collateral damage of this social decay has lead to the acceptance of abortion as, first, a fail-safe for contraception when the human product of sexual activity is “unwanted”; second, a eugenic solution for destroying disabled or imperfect unborn children; and, third, a population control measure. The collateral damage of the acceptance and embrace of homosexual “marriage” is the intentional dissolution of the natural family and the catastrophic social oblivion which the true sacramental nature of marriage is now undergoing. If the University of San Diego intends to retain its identity as a Catholic institution, its president has made the only choice possible in refusing to entertain heresy and in refusing to promote destructive personal and societal sins that are being presented as valid “choices” by intellectuals like Dr. Beattie who mistakenly and recalcitrantly continues to describe herself as a theologian. We should fully support USD’s President Mary Lyons and her courageous and faithful action.

  13. A very Catholic letter from Mary Lyons. If Lyons and faculty solicited money from Catholics to have speakers who will “enhance the Catholic identity” of USD, then Lyons if doing her duty to prevent the abuse of those funds.

    Could we please get the names of the faculty members who want to destroy the Catholic identity of USD?

  14. Finally a Catholic Leader who leads… how refreshing.

  15. Richard Evert says:

    Thank you Mary Lyons for the clear and complete discussion and leadership on this issue. Please know many thousands are praying for you and thanking God for your faithfulness, and ACADEMIC integrity.

  16. I would like Dr. Lyons to use similar logic in decerning what programs should be allowed under a Catholic lense. All too often USD appears to allow the most abhorent displays of activities and speakers that are not aligned to the teachings of the Church.

    Too often we learn of families who have spent a large some of money for their children attend USD in hopes they will have a respectable education that is truly Catholic only to find that they have lost their faith entirely because ot the type of educators found at USD. It often produces moral and theological confusion. Is this the results of academic freedom? Perhaps a serious look at what is called academic freedom is called for. Academic freedom appers to have become nothing more than coercion by academicians to indoctrinate students to a world view that is everything but Catholic.

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