When Catholic Universities Actively Assist in Sin

The University of San Diego, while claiming to be Catholic, provides resources to help student "transition," as well as obtain abortions, sterilizations, and vasectomies.

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It is disappointing—but not surprising—to read that the once-faithful Catholic University of San Diego is continuing to provide 100 percent of the costs related to “voluntary abortion” (see page 15 of the Benefits Summary for the specific coverage) for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in its Aetna Student Health Plan. 

More than a decade ago, the University of San Diego made a commitment to supporting “reproductive rights” on its campus through lobbying for abortion rights and encouraging abortion through advocacy organizations like Law Students for Reproductive Justice (now named If, When, How). Collaborating with Catholics for Choice, the USD chapter joined a long list of Catholic law schools producing a new generation of abortion advocates to enable Catholic women to access abortion.   

What is much more surprising now is that the University of San Diego School of Law Transgender Name and Gender Marker Change Clinic now provides counseling and legal assistance to those wishing to legally change their name and their gender.    

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According to the USD website:  

The Transgender Name and Gender Marker Change Clinic serves the needs of transgender and non-binary individuals in California by assisting participants with the process of obtaining name and/or gender-marker changes through the California court system. The Clinic itself exists virtually and is offered on a monthly basis, with pro bono volunteer opportunities for law students and licensed attorneys. The Clinic also partners with Pride Law and the Tom Homann LGBT Law Association (THLA) to host events, networking opportunities, and outreach regarding the LGBTQIA+ community at USD and in San Diego. Through our work and community events, we strive to make USD a more inclusive campus. Participants can reach out for appointments at [email protected].  

Claiming that “The fostering of legal expertise in all aspects of the law is consistent with the educational objectives of the University of San Diego School of Law,” Timothy O’Malley, then-the University of San Diego Vice President of University Relations (now retired) justified the pro-abortion advocacy organization on campus in 2013.   

Continuing the charade at the University of San Diego in 2023 is Lissette Martinez, Senior Director of Media Relations, who told a reporter at The College Fix that 

USD’s employee and student benefit plans are required to align with state and federal regulations…The services mentioned are typically those that are required to be covered, and individuals are encouraged to consult with their medical provider regarding the best treatment for any medical concern.

In addition to abortion and gender affirming care, the “services mentioned” that Martinez refers to include, not surprisingly, 100 percent payment for voluntary sterilizations and vasectomies, as well as all costs related to contraception. What is surprising is that the health coverage provided by the University of San Diego includes all gender affirming care—including 100 percent of the costs of transgender surgery and hormonal care for those students or employees wishing to “change their gender.” 

Claiming that the government “requires this,” Martinez did not acknowledge that every court case brought by a Christian college in California disputing this mandate has received a ruling in favor of the religious exemption of the college not to provide medical care that is counter to the Christian mission of the college. In these rulings, the court has ruled that the government cannot force a Church or any other religious employer to violate their faith and conscience by participating in funding abortion. “The government can’t force a church or any other religious employer to violate their faith and conscience by participating in funding abortion.”

Beyond abortion, neither the state nor the local government has required a Catholic university to provide gender affirming counseling and legal advice on transitioning from one gender to another. The government has never required a Catholic university to provide pro-abortion clubs on campus. The previous court cases protect all religious institutions from unwarranted intrusions into the mission of a Catholic or other Christian university. 

The problem is that it is unlikely that the University of San Diego can actually claim to be a Catholic university in any meaningful way. While the façade of Catholicism is there—like a Potemkin Village—replete with a beautiful chapel and crucifixes and statues of saints throughout the campus, the culture has been emptied of a Catholic commitment to the truth.   While the façade of Catholicism is there—like a Potemkin Village—replete with a beautiful chapel and crucifixes and statues of saints throughout the campus, the culture has been emptied of a Catholic commitment to the truth.  Tweet This

If the University of San Diego understood the truth of Catholic teachings, it would know that the current embrace of gender ideology has been described by Pope Francis as a form of “ideological colonization.” So concerned about gender theory, the pope has stated that “it harms children” and is “an attack against the family.” But such papal pronouncements seem to have little effect on those like the University of San Diego’s presiding bishop, Cardinal Robert McElroy, who has been calling for “radical inclusion” for the LGBTQ+ community.

The reason that the administrators at the University of San Diego have not asked for an exemption from government-imposed mandates for providing abortion services or contraceptive drugs or sterilization—and now, gender transition surgery—is because they know that they would be unable to claim that the university is Catholic in any meaningful sense.  

Author

  • Anne Hendershott

    Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH. She is the author of The Politics of Envy (Crisis Publications, 2020).

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