SAN DIEGO — A British theologian claims that the University of San Diego has withdrawn a fellowship and revoked a speaking invitation because she signed a letter supporting civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom.
Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London, was to be a fellow at USD’s Frances G. Harpst Center of Catholic Thought and Culture, but said her fellowship was revoked by the Catholic university because she dissents from church teachings, reported the Associated Press:
University President Mary Lyons didn’t elaborate in her letter but her decision came less than three months after Beattie and 26 other Catholics signed a letter in The Times of London newspaper that said it was “perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.”
University of San Diego officials had no immediate comment Friday.
“I hope you understand the difficulties associated with this decision, one to which I arrived with great and thoughtful consideration,” Lyons wrote in a letter dated Oct. 27.
Beattie said the withdrawn invitation raises concerns about the school’s commitment to academic freedom.
Gerard Mannion, the center’s director, told AP he was “very surprised, shocked and deeply disappointed” by the university’s decision, and said that USD students and faculty were planning a series of protests.
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