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DePaul President Responds to Cardinal George on Gay Promotion Charge

Thomas F. Roeser 30 October 2007 6 Comments

Keep Your Hands Where They Belong—Off our Propagandizing for

Gay Rights No Matter What the Church Says.

But Understand We Intend to Keep Mis-Advertising that We’re a Catholic University, Caveat Empteor!

DePaul President Reverend Dennis Holtschneider, C. M. responded last week to The Catholic New World column written by Francis Cardinal George critical of the university for promoting the “Out There” conference for teachers and students to make them “sensitive” to homosexual behavior. While the archbishop stressed the obligations of all Christians not to be hateful to others on grounds of sexual orientation, he nevertheless pointed out that portions of the conference promoted gay behavior.

The response acknowledges this but is as intellectually dishonest as is possible to be, evading Holtschneider’s own and his misnamed “Catholic” university’s obligations and hiding behind the tattered fabric of “academic freedom.” His naked rationale has become a part of secular universities. But for so-called Catholic universities to violate the bases on which Judeo Christian education in the West have been taught since the era monastic orders first ushered in academia is intolerable.

Essentially, Holtschneider tells the prelate that he’s entitled to his own opinion and the DePaul faculty and stuff which overwhelmingly stresses anti-Judeo Christian propaganda theirs.

Of course, Chicago’s twin pillars of liberal political correctness in journalism, the Tribune and Sun-Times saw no need to refer to the Cardinal’s criticism of DePaul, their so-called “religious reporting” centering on meaningless trivia as feature stories about nuns who collect baseball cards. But for the great number of Chicagoans interested in the future of higher education, The Observer ran the Cardinal’s letter.

The response by Fr. Holtschneider was sent to The Catholic New World which buried it under the fold in a light italicized headline that could easily be missed.

Here in its entirety is the insolent letter along with interpretation of liberal academic jargon in English.

Statement on Out There Conference

October, 2007

Cardinal George has written of his concern that the “Out There” Conference, taking place at DePaul University will promote ideas that are inconsistent with Church teaching. It appears that he is correct. The descriptions indicate that some sessions will faithfully convey the Church’s teaching but that some others will propose that student life personnel encourage students to ignore that teaching.

Catholic universities, like all universities, protect freedom of inquiry.

(NOTE: Which means that we as a university are powerless to stress the truth but must accompany it with equal time for falsehood. This is in contradistinction to the historic obligation of the university to (a) assess and compare differing views and then transmit them to students emphasizing the distinctions but also the truth as the Church sees it, consonant with their providential responsibilities).

This freedom is a requisite for any search for the truth and DePaul will honor the right of our faculty and staff, as well as visiting faculty and staff, to speak of these issues at the conference.

(NOTE: Evading the question. No one quarrels with the right in academia to compare different views but the goal of the Catholic university until recently has been to assess them fairly and convey the Church’s historic mission of outlining clearly what it believes. The balderdash that we “honor the right of our faculty” is obfuscation and dishonesty. Fr. Holtschneider knows full well the academic tradition and chooses to veil it in liberal mystery language).

In this case, however, the conference is not merely an intellectual exploration of a topic.

(NOTE: No? What is it, then? An advocacy conference?).

The conference also seeks to propose strategies for university personnel to serve LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer) students on their campuses.

(NOTE: Answer—Yes. Meaning the objective truth must not be weighed versus the propaganda but to determine how to deal with the propaganda including using the very language of the militants—LGBTQ. This takes precedence over the intellectual inquiry.)

To the degree that these strategies differ from the Church’s teaching the Cardinal quite understandably exercises his own duty to remind the participants of that teaching.

(NOTE: In other words, the Cardinal has his views but we have ours as represented in the subjective advocacy of the militants which we have adopted—LGBTQ ).

His words and concerns are welcome at DePaul.

(NOTE: At least as equally received as Ward Churchill’s whose anti-American speech delivered under official auspices was fortified by a made-up resume which later got him kicked off of the University of Colorado).

It is the university’s hope that the conference participants will also welcome these concerns and use them as they explore these important and complex issues.

(NOTE: There, we’re off the hook and we will go ahead and advertise to unsuspecting consumers that we are a Catholic school.).

A final observation: In any other institution, an insolent rebuke like this would be followed by an order from the chancery ratified by Rome stripping DePaul of its right to call itself…and advertise itself as it does widely…as a Catholic university.


Thomas F. Roeser is chairman of the editorial board of The Chicago Daily Observer.


  • Freidrich March (author) said:

    Holtschneider revels in relavatism. According to his letter, De Paul is less concerned with the Truth than in the road to Truth.

    Should a Catholic University know and teach the truth (as the Catholic Church knows it), or should De Paul allow every abberation of the truth blossom?

    De Paul is not the way to Truth. It is the way to good feelings.

  • John Hetman (author) said:

    Sooner or later, DePaul President Reverend Dennis Holtschneider, C. M. will have to face that unenviable moment when the truth is laid bare for each of us–without having any recourse to cheap retorts to the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago.

    As a Catholic priest, I assume that Father Dennis still has a tad of regard for his God and Creator. Even if my assumption is misplaced, it is the damage that this priest and the administration of DePaul is doing to young people who enroll there for what they expect is a Catholic education. And that damage is that he is causing scandal to others–especially those who are in his care–and for that I do not envy him his ultimate encounter. Let us pray for his poor soul.

  • Dan Kelley (author) said:

    I corresponded with Father Holtschneider on this same subject in May. His reply was slow in coming and as evasive, polite and weak as water.

    It is difficult for me to identify with DePaul as a Catholic institution.

  • Dan Kelley (author) said:

    I corresponded with Father Holtschneider on this same subject in May. His reply was slow in coming and was evasive, polite and as weak as water.

    It is difficult for me to identify with DePaul as a Catholic institution.

  • SVDP (author) said:

    Not the worst response from Father Holtschneider. Can anyone think of another time when

    1) The President of a Catholic University admits that a conference he is holding is in contradiction to the teachings of the Church.

    2) The Catholic New World publishes even the least bit of controversy/diversity of opinion.


    I offer a quiet bit of applause to Fr. H, and a big round of applause to Cardinal George for this.

  • Teresa said:

    I was recently hung up on by St. Vincent DePaul’s church receptionist when I called to inquire if the message to LGBTQ community also included a call to repentance. I was not hostile, I am Catholic come home and trying to be sure our priest follows the Catholic teachings. I was told to “get over it” we do not mind “tweaking these things” (referring to the scriptures and catechism) and that many homosexuals work at the church. Then she hung up on me. Not sure about the coming home thing.

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