<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Open Letter re Dismissal of Prof. Moni McIntyre ARCC
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Open Letter by the ARCC Board to 
President John E. Murray, Jr., Duquesne University,
concerning the dismissal of Prof. Moni McIntyre 
from the theology department 

link to image of letter

Text of the letter sent to President Murray:

Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy &  Religion
Mary Jo Ragan Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Chickasha, OK 73018
Tel: 405.224.3140 ext. 1312 (o)  405.224.3988 (h)  FAX: 405.224.3044 (h)
e-mail: ihs@ionet.net web: http://www.usao.edu/~facshaferi/  http://ecumene.org/ 

29 January 2001

Dr. John E. Murray, Jr., President
Duquesne University
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Dear President Murray:

I am writing you as the designated spokesperson for the National Board of the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church. 

We are deeply concerned about the reports that a tenured member of the Duquesne theology department, Dr. Moni McIntyre, has been relieved of her teaching duties and her books have been removed from the departmental display case because she has joined the Episcopal church and been ordained to the Episcopal priesthood.  We are appalled not only because Dr. McIntyre's contractual rights have been violated but because her students are being deprived of their rights to a balanced education.  In addition, Catholic theology itself is made to appear in need of protection from those who might hold opinions that are not officially sanctioned.  Theology taught in an atmosphere of repression and fear is not true theology.  It is indoctrination and the very antithesis of an academically legitimate pursuit of learning. 

If Dr. McIntyre were the only theologian in the department, one might perhaps try to make the case for her being a practicing Catholic.  However,  there are 13 members of the theology department at Duquesne and students have many opportunities to observe a healthy clash of interpretations and perspectives. In addition, absolutely nothing has changed since the time she was granted tenure in regard to Professor McIntyre, the scholar and teacher.  Her new denominational affiliation cannot retroactively invalidate her research and lectures. If her work was acceptable when she taught last fall, it is still acceptable in January 2001.

As for theological differences between Episcopalians and Catholics, let us keep in mind that the most acclaimed commentary on the Lectionary, a book used by countless priests throughout the English- speaking world as they prepare their homilies, was written by the Rev. Dr. Reginald Fuller, born in England, an Anglican priest, Professor Emeritus at Virginia Theological Seminary, and for many years a member of the Catholic Bishops' subcommittee on the Lectionary. Dismissing a faculty member from a Catholic university because she is now an Episcopalian and a priest has the potential of undermining decades of ecumenical progress.

In the university context, even at private universities in the Catholic tradition, Catholic theology is an academic field, and as such can be taught by anyone who has the academic qualifications to do so.  To expect professors of Catholic theology necessarily to be practicing Catholics makes no more sense than to demand that only Marxists will be allowed to teach about Marxism or Buddhists to teach about Buddhism. University teaching involves critical thinking; it involves teaching about a topic from multiple perspectives. Unless the distinction is made between evangelization and academic presentation, departments of theology will cease being legitimate academic departments, and that would truly be a tragedy.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Shafer, Ph.D., Vice President ARCC
http://arcc-catholic-rights.org/ and http://astro.temple.edu/~arcc/

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Ingrid H. Shafer, Ph.D.
e-mail address: ihs@ionet.net
Posted 30 January 2001
Last updated 10 March 2001
Copyright © 1999-2001 Ingrid H. Shafer
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