Male head of theology at Jesuit university marries male partner

07/12/2015 09:23

  • Dr. Patrick Hornbeck is the head of the Theology Department at Fordham University.
  • The day after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, Hornbeck married his partner, Patrick Bergquist, an Episcopalian youth minister.
  • The university released a statement recognizing that Catholic teachings don't support same-sex marriage, but declared that Hornbeck "is entitled to human dignity."

Jesuit Fordham University will apparently take no action regarding the gay marriage of Dr. Patrick Hornbeck, the chair of the school’s theology department.

Dr. Hornbeck and his partner Patrick Bergquist, an Episcopalian youth minister, participated in a marriage ceremony on June 27th, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Obergfell decision.

"Few Catholic universities are prepared for this situation, legally or philosophically."    Tweet This

In a public statement, the university recognized that “Catholic teachings do not support same-sex marriage,” but—in language resembling Justice Kennedy’s Supreme Court opinion—the university declared that Dr. Hornbeck “is entitled to human dignity.” The university went on to “wish Professor [Patrick] Hornbeck and his spouse a rich life filled with many blessings on the occasion of their wedding.”

The university’s public support for Hornbeck—who taught a course titled “Christianity and Sexual Diversity” this past spring—has been met with anger by those who say the university has abandoned its Catholic identity.

“A consistently faithful Catholic university can and should enforce moral standards,” Patrick Reilly, President of the Cardinal Newman Society, told LifeSiteNews. “But few Catholic universities are prepared for this situation, legally or philosophically. Not many have the employment standards in place, let alone the commitment to Catholic teaching, to take appropriate action to dismiss a professor who publicly defies that teaching.”

In a recent interview with the Newman Society, Dr. Andrew Abela, the new provost at The Catholic University of America, explained why it’s important for Catholic schools to hire faithful Catholic faculty.

“It’s important to hire faithful Catholic faculty because we have, as a Catholic university, a certain view of reality laid out in the Apostles’ and Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creeds,” Abela explained. “We promote this view of the world by hiring professors who share it.”

Fordham University’s mission statement says in part that the university “draws its inspiration from the dual heritage of Christian Humanism and Ignatian Spirituality, and consequently sees all disciplines as potential paths to God.” CR

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