LOS ANGELES, CA, March 26, 2014, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The two finalists for the dean position at one of the colleges of Catholic, Jesuit-run Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles both have recorded ties to Planned Parenthood.
The candidates for the position of dean of the Bellarmine College of the Liberal Arts are Dr. Ramón Gutiérrez, a history professor at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Robbin Crabtree, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University, another Jesuit-run school.
According to the LMU alumni group RenewLMU, which identifies itself as “an alliance to strengthen LMU’s Catholic identity,” these two candidates have each been involved with Planned Parenthood, an organization directly opposed to Catholic morals and teaching involving abortion, contraception, and sexual ethics.
Dr. Crabtree’s curriculum vitae (begins page 43) states that she served on the advisory board and media relations committee for Planned Parenthood of Putnam County in Indiana from 1991-1993. According to his curriculum vitae, Dr. Gutiérrez served as a consultant to Planned Parenthood of New York concerning “Hispanic attitudes toward sexuality.”
According to the National Catholic Register, Crabtree omitted her affiliation with Planned Parenthood when she applied for the LMU position. However, Gutiérrez did not make any such omission in his application.
In addition to his work with Planned Parenthood, Gutiérrez is also a member of the Organization of American Historians’ Committee of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Historians and Histories, an organization that was vocally supportive of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Proposition 8, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman in California.
Because the Bellarmine School of Liberal Arts oversees the topics of theology, bioethics, philosophy and Catholic studies, these candidates are “very problematic,” according to LMU philosophy professor Chris Kaczor.
“It seems to me,” Kaczor told Catholic News Agency, “that the person who oversees these parts of the university needs to be someone very much committed to the Jesuit understanding of faith and justice, which includes defense of the unborn.”
RenewLMU has started a petition asking LMU President David W. Burcham to restart the selection process in order to hire a dean who is stronger in their support of Catholic morals and teaching. The alumni group states that “the search committee was either insufficiently diligent in checking facts or it lacked sensitivity to Catholic values in qualifying applicants for this most important position.”
The alumni group quotes Pope Francis’ message to representatives of the University of Notre Dame concerning the importance of Catholic schools’ adherence to Church teaching:
In my Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, I stressed the missionary dimension of Christian discipleship, which needs to be evident in the lives of individuals and in the workings of each of the Church’s institutions. … Essential in this regard is the uncompromising witness of Catholic universities to the Church’s moral teaching, and the defense of her freedom, precisely in and through her institutions, to uphold that teaching as authoritatively proclaimed by the magisterium of her pastors.
In a comment to LifeSiteNews, Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, warned against the loose hiring standards displayed by LMU.
“This demonstrates the inherent danger in hiring for a Catholic institution without prior established standards and qualifications rooted in Catholic identity,” he said. “It invites scandal and assumes the good intentions of the search committee, which at a place like LMU assumes too much."
LifeSiteNews contacted the Office of the President of Loyola Marymount University for a statement, but the office declined to comment, stating that this is “an on-going personnel matter” that they are “not ready to debate in public.”
“Of course … integration of our mission and identity is always … something that we are considering in our search process, especially for senior positions at our university,” they stated.
LifeSiteNews also contacted the Archdiocese of Los Angeles but received no response by press time.
This is not the first time Loyola Marymount University has acted in a way that may seem incongruous with Catholic teaching.
Last year, the university formulated a compromise to allow their employees to maintain abortion coverage in their insurance plans. While claiming to end elective abortion coverage, the university took measures to facilitate abortion coverage for employees who pay for it through third-party providers.
In 2010, LMU launched an LGBT office dedicated to the service of homosexual students. At that point, the office’s role was described as promoting "equality, visibility and inclusion of LGBT students within the LMU community" as well as "advocacy and support for the LGBT student community."
That same year, the university invited two abortion and same-sex “marriage” supporters to be the speakers at the school’s commencement exercises.
David W. Burcham, President
Loyola Marymount University
Office of the President
1 LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659