Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila said Regis University Provost Janet Houser used her position of influence to advance gender ideology in several ways at Regis University that conflict with the Catholic faith.
Guidance in an October 26 email from Houser in conjunction with the university’s Queer Resource Alliance encouraged faculty to attend a student drag show, avoid using gender-specific pronouns and phrases reinforcing the gender binary, urged assigning texts from “queer, and especially transgender, authors,” and warned teachers not to take attendance using the official roster, since this might involve accidentally using a student’s “dead name.”
Houser also encouraged faculty to attend other campus events commemorating the “Transgender Day of Remembrance” on November 15.
Regis University never discussed any of the initiatives with Aquila or his staff, the archbishop told the Regis community and other lay faithful in a November 13 open letter via the archdiocesan website, and “this guidance is not in conformity with the Catholic faith, despite the attempts made to justify it as rooted in Jesuit values.”
“On the contrary,” Aquila said, “Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the promotion of gender fluidity as a type of ideological colonization.”
“Why is Regis University promoting and teaching an ideology that is contrary to what we know from the Scriptures?” he asked.
Houser responded in a November 16 email to faculty, saying, “I do not intend to change my position of support for our faculty and students.”
Her comeback and that of Regis University President Jesuit Father John Fitzgibbons to Archbishop Aquila’s letter was covered in a Catholic News Agency report.
Fitzgibbons answered Aquila with Pope Francis in a letter, using Francis’s Church as field hospital reference and the pope’s accompaniment and mercy adages to defend the gender guidance.
Quoting LGBT-affirming Jesuit Father James Martin, Fitzgibbons said, “It is important for the institutional Church to understand the lived experiences of gay, lesbian and transgender Catholics. It is also important for this group of Catholics to understand what the Church believes and teaches.”
Fitzgibbons insisted Regis maintains balance between supporting LGBT-identifying students and doing so critically, and said that while the student-performed drag show might seem out of place, it opened an allegedly safe and merciful space for homosexual and gender-confused students.
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[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Lisa Bourne and first published a Lifesite News. This is not an endorsement of the theology of Lifesite News]