Catholic university nixes feminist prof

Aug. 20, 2008 at 3:17 PM
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SAN DIEGO, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The University of San Diego has withdrawn its offer of an endowed chair to a Catholic feminist scholar who supports abortion rights.

The announcement that Rosemary Radford Ruether had been appointed to the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology was greeted with dismay by many Catholic and anti-abortion groups, the San Diego Union-Tribune said Wednesday. Ruether sits on the board of Catholics for a Free Choice.

University spokeswoman Patricia Gray Payton said that one person who did not object was the anonymous benefactor who endowed the chair.

"Her public position and the symbol of this chair are in direct conflict," Payton said. "This chair is a powerful, visible symbol of Roman Catholic theology, and in Roman Catholic theology abortion is disallowed."

The news that Ruether's appointment had been rescinded has created more controversy. Two Catholic women's groups have gathered 2,000 signatures on petitions asking the university to change its mind again.

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