SCRANTON – Bishop Joseph Martino issued a new statement Tuesday elaborating on past comments about Misericordia University’s Diversity Institute and repeating his concern that the school fulfill its duties as a Catholic institution.
The university responded by repeating its willingness to meet with the bishop.
Martino’s statement opened by citing public and media attention to two earlier statements criticizing the Diversity Institute for hosting gay-rights activist Keith Boykin on campus.
On Feb 16, Martino warned that Misericordia was “seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity” by hosting Boykin. The university responded by insisting it “is committed deeply to its Catholic Mission.”
On Feb. 24, Martino urged the school to convey “its efforts to teach Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality,” and to consider closing the Diversity Institute.
Tuesday’s statement from Martino cited comments from students and others saying “how this Institute has furthered the advancement of tolerance, understanding and harmony between people of different races and cultures.
“All people of good will should work toward these goals,” Martino wrote. But Misericordia “has a responsibility to transmit Catholic teaching to its students in ways that are not ambiguous or confusing.” Catholics “must distinguish between authentic tolerance and an ‘anything goes’ mindset.”
Martino offered hypothetical situations in which the institute brings in speakers who say the Holocaust is myth or slavery is OK, then asked, “Their views are certainly ‘diverse,’ but does that qualify them to be given a platform in the name of tolerance?
“I voiced my absolute disapproval of Misericordia’s hosting of Keith Boykin not because of his sexual orientation, but because he is a well-known proponent of morality that is disturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching, such as homosexual relations and same-sex marriage,” Martino wrote. “Furthermore, no presentation was made to balance Mr. Boykin’s viewpoints with the teaching of the Catholic Church.”
Martino repeated his request that Misericordia show how it teaches Catholic morality, and urging the school to fulfill “the four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning” as promulgated by Pope John Paul II.
Misericordia responded with a statement saying it “is working diligently to schedule a meeting with the bishop and his delegates,” that it “respects the bishop’s position” and that it “looks forward to resolving these concerns directly with the bishop.”