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Academic Freedom? Not for Catholics evidently!

A US professor is fired for teaching traditional Catholic moral theology as it regards homosexuality... and is fired. The fact the course was called 'Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought' didn't seem to be sufficient grounds for Kenneth Howell to keep his job. Neither evidently is the much hyped 'academic freedom' under which opinions contrary to the common consensus of the day have been defended and protected.

The University of Illinois decided that his teaching this traditional position, which was rooted in natural law (I know, Lady Janus... grin!) was a contravention of the inclusiveness policy of the University.

And people keep on saying that the voice of religion is not menaced in today's public square. (sigh)

Read the full article on the First Things website.

Article | First Things


  1. "In a form letter sent to those who expressed concern over Howell’s dismissal, President Hogan wrote: 'This is a very complex situation, with allegations coming from a number of different corners having to do with academic freedom, discrimination, and "hate speech." Consequently, I think it important to reserve judgment until all the facts are in and the review is complete.'"

    Excuse me??? That would have gone down a lot more smoothly if he had actually practised in the first place what he just preached!!! He didn't bother to make much of a review at all before he fired the professor, did he?

    Okay, Tim...on record: I would not have fired the professor. He was doing his job -- teaching his students how to think for themselves and how to apply what they learn to their own lives. He was not, in any way, saying that they had to agree with the philosophy that homosexuality is "bad" -- just that this is what Catholicism apparently teaches (and even I know that most Cathlics disagree, but that does not stop it from being "official policy"). This might very well be useful knowledge to someone who is trying to decide upon a religion to follow -- based on such philosophies, would this religion be an appropriate fit? If the seeker is gay, probably not a good fit, no.

    "Howell contends that he wanted his students to engage the questions of truth. Whether they could agree on the truth was a different question. They could, and might, disagree on truth for the rest of their lives."

    YES! And that is as it needs to be.

  2. Lady Janus: Once again I find myself in agreement with you. The University acted inappropriately. Thank you for the concise statement of the argument.

    Fr. Tim


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