Professors Ellen Kennedy and Leigh Lawton had traveled together before for the University of St. Thomas. Where they slept was never an issue.
But last month, as they prepared for a long-planned trip with students to Australia, they got a call from a St. Thomas official asking about their "living" arrangements for the trip.
Kennedy, 57, and Lawton, 61, live together as unmarried, heterosexual partners. The university decided they could go to Australia only if they took separate rooms. They refused, considering it deceitful.
The flight left Friday with other faculty on board. The controversy won’t be leaving any time soon.
Kennedy and Lawton’s story is the talk among faculty and staff at the Catholic university. It comes months after St. Thomas told a lesbian choral director she couldn’t officially bring her partner along on a trip to France with a university choir.
That story, playing out the past few weeks in the campus newspaper, and the emerging account of Kennedy and Lawton have spawned a complex campus debate over Catholic doctrine, the teachings of Jesus and the university’s legal reach.
There’s no doubt where the church stands on homosexuality and unmarried couples living together. Others ask how far the university intends to go to enforce Catholic values.
"If sin and vice become disqualifying factors for university employees, then students might have to start teaching themselves," theology professor David Landry wrote in a recent faculty newsletter. [Source]
First off bravo for the university for not turning the blind eye that is so prevalent in Catholic education now.
Why am I not surprised that a theology professor could say something so stupid? What silliness for a associate theology professor at a university named after St. Thomas Aquinas. This is an argument you might expect from a teenager, or someone who has no understanding of the impact of sin both on both an individual and the Mystical Body of Christ. A view where scandal means nothing and Jesus’ words of "go and sin no more" get left out. Mark Shea says "Sin makes you stupid" and the corollary to that is that "Excusal of sin also makes you stupid."
Though no surprise that he links to the Jesus Seminar and also in an article where he for the most part debunks the Da Vinci Code says:
It is especially true, in my judgment, that the role of Mary Magdalene (and Jesus’ other female followers) was probably much more important than the canonical gospels allow, and that turning to other sources (such as noncanonical gospels) and utilizing feminist criticism of the gospels is one way to begin rectifying this injustice. Here is a case where good revisionist history would be both true and helpful. But I think it does not serve the cause of either Christian women’s liberation or the “feminine divine” to manufacture evidence, especially when that phony evidence only serves to turn Mary Magdalene into Jesus’ sex partner and wife, and the repository of his seed.
Just what we need "good revisionist history."
Update: Clayton has information related to Canon 810 on this subject.