The Roman Catholic Providence College in Rhode Island has canceled a lecture by John Corvino. The openly gay philosophy professor from Wayne State University in Detroit was suppose to be speaking on same-sex marriage.
The college cited a document stating that “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”
Which is rather reminiscent of the way in which the Church back in the Dark Ages treated knowledge. Pretty much, hide and ignore anything that does not meet with the Church’s teachings. In his novel “The Name of the Rose”, semiotician and philosopher Umberto Eco explored those themes.
The cancellation came at an unfortunate time. It came the day after Pope Francis called on the Catholic Church to refrain from the obsessive condemnation of homosexuality. What is more, other Catholic colleges have welcomed Corvino and his discussions on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. His invitation to Providence College was sponsored by nine departments and programs.
Provost Hugh F. Lena, the senior vice president of the college, said that the college’s policy “dictates that that both sides of a controversial issue are to be presented fairly and equally.” He made that comment while announcing the cancellation of Corvino’s appearance.
Dr. Corvino has crossed swords with various anti-gay activists including Maggie Gallagher. He has also authored the book “What’s Wrong With Homosexuality?” Corvino was invited to speak at the college by Christopher Arroyo, an associate professor of philosophy.
Corvino has said that he likes going to speak at conservative campuses saying that “I want to convince them that same-sex marriage is not only possible, but is also a good thing, for the couple and good for society at large, but I also want to engage in a deeper dialogue about issues that we agree are important.”
Corvino trained to be a Capuchin Franciscan priest before leaving the order upon reconciling his feelings about being gay. It is not the first time that his lecture at a Catholic college has been canceled.
Provost Lena said that he would be willing to reschedule the event if another person was added to provide the alternative argument against same-sex marriage. Apparently Lena had not heard that Corvino had, in fact, suggested such a thing already and that the organizers had added theologian Dana L. Dillon to the event to make it a true debate. Of course, pretty much every time that Corvino has faced off against someone arguing against same-sex marriage, he has managed to thoroughly obliterate their points.
President of the Faculty Senate at the college Fred K. Drogula noted that there is no college policy which dictates that every argument provide both sides of the debate, and that it was wrong to use the bishop’s document, which was cited by Lena, since that applies to politicians. Drogula stated that “The job of any quality academic institution is to teach students how to think critically, which includes challenging, testing and defending our ideas.”