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Group blasts DePaul University over 'queer studies'

By Matt Abbott
Catholic Online

The following letter comes from Catholic Citizens of Illinois (

April 21, 2006

Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., President
DePaul University
55 E. Jackson Blvd., 22nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60604

Dear Rev. Holtschnieder

According to the Chicago Tribune article published February 20, 2006, DePaul will be offering a minor in "Queer Studies" which we are writing to ask that you cancel at once.

The article says, "The minor requires that students take an introductory course and five electives, which can include courses in queer theory, history of sexuality in America, queer pioneers and gay and lesbian literature." The article mentions how, "several students in the class said they are planning for jobs in lesbian and gay activism..." As this article suggests, and later comments on National Public Radio confirmed, DePaul's program is training the next generation of pro-homosexual activists.

1. "Queer Studies" is Contrary to DePaul's Stated Mission

This is totally at odds with the mission you claim at your own website: "We were founded by the Vincentians in 1898 and have grown to become the country's largest Catholic university. The principal distinguishing marks of the university are its Catholic, Vincentian, and urban character."

Your website goes on to say "By reason of its Catholic character, DePaul strives to bring the light of Catholic faith and the treasures of knowledge into a mutually challenging and supportive relationship. It accepts as its corporate responsibility to remain faithful to the Catholic message drawn from authentic religious sources both traditional and contemporary."

"The university derives its title and fundamental mission from St. Vincent de Paul, the founder of the Congregation of the Mission, a religious community whose members, Vincentians, established and continue to sponsor DePaul."

2. "Queer Studies" is Contrary to Clearly Articulated Catholic Catechism

Please allow us to remind you that the Catholic Catechism speaks very clearly on the issue of homosexuality, and that your efforts to affirm people in this sinful lifestyle are utterly despicable and scandalous.

Matthew 5: 27-28: You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

From the Catholic Catechism - Second Edition, 1994 - Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

3. "Queer Studies" is Contrary to Ex Corde Ecclesia


Article 4. The University Community

§ 1. The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities (including, when the positions exist, the Chancellor and/or a Board of Trustees or equivalent body), it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law.

Article 5. The Catholic University within the Church

§ 1. Every Catholic University is to maintain communion with the universal Church and the Holy See; it is to be in close communion with the local Church and in particular with the diocesan Bishops of the region or nation in which it is located. In ways consistent with its nature as a University, a Catholic University will contribute to the Church's work of evangelization.

§ 2. Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character. If problems should arise concerning this Catholic character, the local Bishop is to take the initiatives necessary to resolve the matter, working with the competent university authorities in accordance with established procedures(52) and, if necessary, with the help of the Holy See.

Article 6. Pastoral Ministry

§ 1. A Catholic University is to promote the pastoral care of all members of the university community, and to be especially attentive to the spiritual development of those who are Catholics. Priority is to be given to those means which will facilitate the integration of human and professional education with religious values in the light of Catholic doctrine, in order to unite intellectual learning with the religious dimension of life.

4. "Queer Studies" is Contrary to the Clear Teachings of St. Vincent DePaul

"He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature, deserves to be called a beast rather than a man."

"As it is most certain that the teaching of Christ cannot deceive, if we would walk securely, we ought to attach ourselves to it with greatest confidence and to profess openly that we live according to it, and not to the maxims of the world, which are all deceitful. This is the fundamental maxim of all Christian perfection."

"Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord's words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become as Saint? Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills."

We have heard repeatedly from your faculty - in print and more recently, on National Public Radio - that the "Queer Studies" program is within the "Vincentian" spirit. Having had recourse to the writings of St. Vincent, we believe these statements by your faculty are a malicious insult to St. Vincent's profound hatred of sin and self-centeredness. If this is truly the "spirit" that animates your order, it has no business supervising a university in this Archdiocese.

(For more quotes by St. Vincent,

5. "Queer Studies" is Contrary to the Clear Teachings of Cardinal George

Cardinal George's consistent teaching on the subject of homosexuality is clear. He has refused communion to Rainbow Sash homosexual activists and directly participated in rules adopted by the Catholic Bishops that preclude homosexual men from entering the seminary or Catholic priesthood. Cardinal George has consistently defended Catholic theology regarding chastity and sexuality. We suspect that by this time he has either directly or indirectly communicated his disapproval for this scandalous program and many other courses in blatant contradiction of Catholic doctrine.

6. "Queer Studies" is Contrary to the Clear Mandate Given to Trustees

It is the duty of your elected Trustees to "preserve and promote the university's Catholic and Vincentian identity" and to "establish and review policies for the overall management of the university"

Given the fact that this program is contrary to Catholic Catechism, Papal direction, the wishes of your Cardinal, and the teaching of St. Vincent DePaul, you leave the Trustees no choice but to become involved publicly in this scandal in the event that you refuse to resolve this issue by your own authority.

For these reasons, we ask that you immediately cancel the so-called "Queer Studies" program, and that a sincere effort be made by the Vincentians to comply with the spirit of Ex Corde Ecclesia and the teachings of your founder, St. Vincent DePaul going forward.

If this is not a course of action you are willing to under take, you leave us no choice but to elevate this matter to Cardinal George as outlined in the norms of Ex Corde, and to the Vatican for their assistance. It will also be our pleasure, under those circumstances, to demand that the Vincentian order be invited to leave the Archdiocese of Chicago and that the supervision of DePaul be delegated to a more responsible and Roman Catholic order.

For the Board of Director of
Catholic Citizens of Illinois

Mary Anne Hackett


Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archdiocese of Chicago

Mr. John B. Simon, Chairman
Jenner & Block

Ms. Mary A. Dempsey, Vice Chairman
Chicago Public Library Trustees

Mr. William L. Bax
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Mr. William E. Bennett

Judge Anne M. Burke
Illinois Appellate Court
Mr. Martin R. Castro

Mr. Gery J. Chico
Chico & Nunes LLP

Mr. Frank M. Clark Com Ed

Mr. Robert A. Clifford
Clifford Law Offices P.C.

Mr. James W. Compton
Chicago Urban League

Rev. James B. Cormack, C.M.
St. Catherine Laboure Church

Mr. Curtis J. Crawford XCEO, Inc.

Ms. Anne S. Drennan

Mr. Richard H. Driehaus
Driehaus Capital Management Inc.

Ms. Sue L. Gin
Flying Food Group Inc.

Mr. Robert E. Goldberg
Chicago Board of Trade

Rev. Paul L. Golden, C.M.
DePaul House

Mr. Howard S. Goss
Transco Inc.

Mr. Jack M. Greenberg
Retired, McDonalds Corp.

Mr. Richard A. Hanson
Mesa Development LLC

Mr. William E. Hay
William E. Hay & Co.

Ms. Sondra A. Healy
Turtle Wax Inc.

Mr. Richard A. Heise, Sr.
Heise & Company

Ms. Carrie J. Hightman
SBC Ameritech Illinois

Mr. James M. Jenness
Integrated Merchandising Systems LLC

Sr. Anne C. Leonard, C.N.D.
Congregation of Notre Dame
Mr. John W. Martin, Jr.
Retired, Ford Motor Company

Mr. Mike M. Murad
International Bank of Asia, LTD

Mr. Ernesto Nieto
The National Hispanic Institute

Ms. Patricia J. Parson
AmerInd Inc.

Mr. Peter Pesce
DiamondCluster International

Mr. Roger L. Plummer
Plummer & Associates Consulting

Rev. Prudencio Rodriguez, C.M.
DePaul House

Mr. Robert E. Ross
Northern Trust Bank

Mr. Lawrence C. Russell
Retired, The Director's Firm

Rev. Charles F. Shelby, C.M.
St. Mary's of the Barrens

Mr. John C. Staley
Retired, Ernst & Young LLP

Mr. Harrison I. Steans
Financial Investments Corporation

Mr. Errol L. Stone
Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosentthal

Rev. James E. Swift, C.M.
Congregation of the Mission

Mr. Richard E. Terry
Retired, Peoples Energy Corporation

Mr. John J. Vitanovec

Mr. John G. Weithers
Corporate and Community Director


(Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He is a columnist for and/or contributor to Catholic Online,,,, and He can be reached at


Matt Abbott IL, US
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