The following appeared Nov. 8 on the website of the National Catholic Register.
More than 100 faculty members at the University of San Diego have presented their president with an ultimatum: Reinstate a canceled visiting fellowship for a British theologian or face potential public questioning of your capability to lead.
The faculty of the Catholic university’s College of Arts and Sciences made the move Tuesday in response to president Mary Lyons’ cancellation of a fellowship for Tina Beattie, a theologian known for her work in contemporary ethical issues.
Beattie was scheduled to begin a fellowship at the university’s Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture on Tuesday. Lyons, who alleges the theologian publicly dissented from church teaching by suggesting Catholics could support civil same-sex marriage, canceled the appointment in an Oct. 27 letter.
In a meeting of their academic assembly Tuesday, the University of San Diego faculty agreed to ask Lyons to reinstate Beattie’s appointment immediately or face a possible vote of no confidence in her leadership.
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The following appeared November 6 in the NC Register, two days earlier than above story.
….Among those protesting Beattie’s appointment was Thomas McKenna, president of the San Diego-based group Catholic Action for Faith and Family, a non-profit organization backed by Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s supreme court.
In a statement emailed to NCR Monday, Lyons said that her decision regarding Beattie’s fellowship was made “without regard to pressure groups or donor influence,” but also mentioned the role of benefactors to the founding of the university’s Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, where Beattie was to have been a visiting fellow.
While Lyons and a university spokeswoman denied that pressure from outside groups had influence on the decision to cancel Beattie’s invitation, McKenna and another San Diego man known for his conservative Catholic viewpoints said in interviews with NCR that they had widely expressed displeasure with Beattie’s appointment.
Among those they said they contacted were current and former members of the university’s board of trustees, San Diego coadjutor Bishop Cirilo Flores, the editor of the diocesan newspaper, and the Cardinal Newman Society….
University of San Diego alumnus Charles LiMandri, a local attorney, protested Beattie’s appointment. LiMandri has served on the university’s alumni board, was president of the national alumni association, and chairman of the university’s annual fund.
LiMandri also created a website, “Alumni for a Catholic USD,” which protested last April a series of student events focused on gender identity, one of which featured a drag show.
McKenna’s organization, according to its website, has two episcopal advisors: Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former archbishop of St. Louis who currently serves at the Vatican as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura; and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, a San Diego native who also serves as the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ subcommittee for the promotion and defense of marriage.
LiMandri told NCR in an interview Nov. 2 that he began publicly expressing his displeasure about Beattie’s appointment after it was brought to his attention “a little over a week ago.”
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