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Scranton Bishops Renew Request for Information from Catholic Colleges

May 20th, 2009
Diocese of Scranton (

Bishop Joseph F. Martino continues his efforts to ensure that the Catholic Colleges under his care are faithful.

SCRANTON, Pa. (Diocese of Scranton) - Bishop Joseph F. Martino and Auxiliary Bishop John M. Dougherty have reaffirmed their conviction that a meeting with the four Catholic institutions of higher learning in the Diocese of Scranton will not take place until the schools comply with the bishops’ request for specific information on various issues.

The bishops repeated their position in a letter mailed May 12 to Holy Cross Father Thomas J. O’Hara, president of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre; Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Anne Munley, president of Marywood University in Scranton; Michael A. MacDowell, president of Misericordia University in Dallas; and Jesuit Father Scott R. Pilarz, president of The University of Scranton.

The letter cited the fact that Misericordia’s Diversity Institute had hosted a speaker, Keith Boykin, who advocates for same-sex marriage and other practices that are opposed to Catholic teaching on morality. Misericordia subsequently was asked to provide specific information on how the institution teaches Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality, including courses, content and catalog numbers.

The university has thus far declined, instead requesting a private meeting.

The bishops have also asked the four institutions to provide information about their student health services to have assurance that no practice is occurring which would be in violation of Catholic teaching.

That request was prompted by an article in the student newspaper at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. The article described how the university, in its words, finds the “middle ground between Church doctrine and student healthcare.”

In that article, St. Joseph’s director of student health services said that the school’s location offers enough convenience and opportunity to encourage students to purchase condoms. She described this as a “fortunate” situation for the students. She also discussed the use of oral contraceptives.

The Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception is not permissible.

The presidents of the four local Catholic institutions responded by asking for a private meeting with the bishops.

In the May 12 letter, Bishop Martino and Bishop Dougherty state: “We repeat our conviction that the meeting with us which you and the other Presidents have requested in your letter of April 16, 2009, should be preceded by our receiving the aforementioned documentation.”

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