Uproar Over Georgetown’s Campus Ministry Highlights Penchant for ‘Watered-Down Faith’
MANASSAS, VA (August 29, 2006) – Georgetown University’s eviction of vibrant Protestant groups from its campus appears to confirm the university’s continued penchant for “watered-down faith,” says the president of a leading national Catholic education association.
The Cardinal Newman Society, a national organization to renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education, decries Georgetown’s abrupt cancellation of longstanding relationships with six Christian groups, just three days before classes started. Georgetown says it wants firm control over all Protestant activities on campus—but others suspect bias against the largely Evangelical and more successful organizations.
On the other hand, the dispute should never have arisen at a university that claims to be Catholic. Georgetown’s campus ministry offers ministers and worship services for Protestants, Orthodox, Jews and Muslims. The campus ministry website proclaims, “Welcome. Shalom. Assalamu-Alaikum.” This only confuses students about the university’s commitment to its Catholic mission, by which the truths of the Catholic faith should inform all university teaching, programs and policies.
“Without questioning Georgetown’s appropriate interest in ensuring that sponsored religious activities on campus conform to the university’s standards, we are increasingly concerned by what appears to be the overriding standard: watered-down faith of any form,” wrote CNS President Patrick J. Reilly today in a letter to Georgetown president John DeGioia. “Georgetown’s campus ministry could much better reflect Georgetown’s Catholic identity by enthusiastically embracing and teaching the Catholic faith—and only the Catholic faith—while encouraging non-Catholics to worship privately on campus and gather publicly with off-campus groups, churches, temples, etc.”