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Archbishop criticizes Creighton for offering same-sex benefits

October 28, 2014

A Jesuit university in Nebraska has announced that it will offer benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who have been legally married in other states.

“I asked myself, what would Jesus do in this case? And I can only imagine Jesus being so welcoming of all people,” said Father Timothy Lannon, SJ, the president of Creighton University, according to an Omaha World-Herald report

“Many other Catholic universities, including 21 of the 28 Jesuit universities in the U.S., have done the same,” Father Lannon said in a letter to the university’s board of trustees. “The extension of benefits is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages but rather an acknowledgement of our responsibility to serve the needs of faculty and staff who faithfully serve our students and patients every day.”

“This decision not only reflects a commitment to our colleagues, but our ongoing commitment to health and wellness,” he added. “It is important in today’s competitive workplace environment that values fairness and equal treatment and is consistent with our efforts to foster an inclusive, compassionate and respectful campus environment.”

Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha responded:

I am disappointed in Father Lannon's announcement that Creighton University will extend healthcare benefits to same-sex spouses of employees who have attempted marriage in states where this practice is legal. I disagree with the decision.

Despite Father Lannon's claim that this is not a statement of approval of same-sex marriages, this is precisely the message that the University is giving. I am dismayed that the recommendation of the University Benefits Committee is thought to supersede divine law regarding marriage.

There is no tension between Catholic teaching and social justice. Both are grounded in the same truths about the nature of the human person, the complementarity of man and woman and the meaning of human life and love. When we experience tension in ensuring respect and just treatment for all persons, including those with same-sex attraction, we have a right to expect a Catholic university to help us see a just path forward, rooted in faith and founded on the rich Catholic intellectual tradition. Creighton has failed to fulfill this expectation in this expansion of benefits.


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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Oct. 28, 2014 10:21 PM ET USA

    We do not have the right to dictate what others should believe and do. They answer to God as we do and how they choose to use their benefits is between them and their Creator. We live in a free society,not Saudi Arabia.

  • Posted by: unum - Oct. 28, 2014 6:50 PM ET USA

    Creighton must be a university "in the Jesuit tradition" instead of "in the Catholic tradition". Otherwise the bishop would certainly have taken action to remove the Catholic designation of the institution.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Oct. 28, 2014 4:51 PM ET USA

    WWJD? Certainly not undermine the teachings of His Church. To invoke the Lord's Name for this betrayal is delusion.

  • Posted by: Defender - Oct. 28, 2014 10:48 AM ET USA

    From the article, "Lannon said the university stands with the church in its stance against same-sex marriage. But it also stands with colleagues who contribute to Creighton, regardless of the makeup of their marriage." This torturous logic is nothing but nonsense: standing with the Church but their "colleagues" are higher in the eyes of most Jesuits (if one looks at the number of Jesuit schools doing the same) because the pope is kinder and gentler towards homosexuals, the article states.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 28, 2014 9:19 AM ET USA

    What would Jesus do? How about, My house is meant to be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of (fornicators).