On April 14, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the ‘marriage’ of the coach of the women’s basketball team at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, Jennifer Azzi. Ms. Azzi, who has coached the team since 2010, announced that she was ‘married’ to Ms. Blair Hardiek on March 31.
The high-profile event made national news. It also offered an important opportunity for the ostensibly Catholic university to take a stand on one of the most important and non-negotiable battles between the Church and what St. Pope John Paul II correctly identified as the Culture of Death. The president of the university, Jesuit Father Paul Fitzgerald, missed his opportunity.
From the Chronicle article:
“USF President Paul Fitzgerald did not know Azzi and Hardiek were married, but was quick to offer congratulations the day after Azzi’s announcement.”
This is surprising, especially considering that at least one past statement by Father Fitzgerald could be seen as implying that he supports the natural, Catholic definition of marriage. A June 26, 2015 Twitter post from USF’s official Twitter feed, following the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex ‘marriage’ in Obergefell v. Hodges, said: “Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide in the wake of #SFPride: sco.lt/55xpGz – @UST_LTMC #LoveWins.”
Father Fitzgerald responded, and attempted to distance USF from its own Twitter post. He wrote, “A social media post concerning the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was posted on the University of San Francisco Twitter account in error. This post does not represent the views of the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university. While the university deeply respects and promotes the innate dignity of all gay and lesbian students, faculty, staff, and alumni as they are created in the image and likeness of God, it does not endorse views on marriage that are inconsistent with the teaching of the Church.”
Father Fitzgerald’s statement that the university “does not endorse views on marriage that are inconsistent with the teaching of the Church” invites the question: what is “the university”? A university is an artificial construct. It cannot endorse views at all.
But it is made up of people who can, people like the openly homosexual Jesuit Father Donal Godfrey, the then-executive director of USF’s University Ministry who told Catholic San Francisco on December 13, 2008 that he “personally opposed Prop 8”— a view on marriage inconsistent with the teaching of the Church. It is made up of people like the same-sex “married” Dan McPherson, who serves as Director, Graduate Student Services in the Office of the Vice-Provost for Student Life. McPherson “endorse(s) views on marriage that are inconsistent with the teaching of the Church” every single day. It is made up of people like the openly homosexual Rev. Vincent Pizzuto, who serves as Associate Professor of New Testament in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the Director of the Catholic Studies and Social Thought minor, and the Coordinator of the Ignatian Faculty Forum. Rev. Pizzuto, originally Catholic, is also an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. Pizzuto not only endorses same-sex “marriages,” he performs them.
And it is made up of people like university president Paul Fitzgerald, SJ, who “was quick to offer congratulations” the day after Ms. Azzi’s announced her “marriage.”