Archbishop Aquila issues letter to Regis University community

Denver Catholic Staff

The Archdiocese of Denver and Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila have issued the below letter in response to recent reports of the Provost of Regis University promoting teaching practices and urging faculty support for gender fluidity. These actions were not approved by the archdiocese and they do not conform with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

November 13, 2018

Dear Regis University community and all concerned faithful,

It recently came to my attention that Provost Janet Houser is using her position of influence to advance gender ideology in several ways at Regis University that conflict with the Catholic faith.

These efforts were detailed in an October 29th email to faculty members from Provost Houser and the Queer Resource Alliance (ORA). The provost and QRA’s guidance includes encouraging faculty to attend a student drag show, not using gender-specific pronouns in class, avoiding phrases that reinforce the gender binary, such as “ladies and gentlemen,” assigning texts from “queer, and especially transgender, authors,” and warning teachers not to take attendance using the official roster, since this might involve accidentally using a student’s “dead name.”

Some of the lay faithful of the archdiocese have brought this matter to my attention, since as Archbishop it is my responsibility to ensure that Catholic institutions maintain their Catholic identity. I want you to know that Regis University never discussed any of these initiatives with me or my staff, and that this guidance is not in conformity with the Catholic faith, despite the attempts made to justify it as rooted in Jesuit values.

On the contrary, Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the promotion of gender fluidity as a type of ideological colonization. Speaking to the bishops of Poland in 2016, he said, “In Europe, America, Latin America, Africa, and in some countries of Asia, there are genuine forms of ideological colonization taking place. And one of these – I will call it clearly by its name – is [the ideology of] ‘gender.’ Today children – children! – are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this?”

I echo the Holy Father’s question. Why is Regis University promoting and teaching an ideology that is contrary to what we know from the Scriptures? In Genesis we read, “God created mankind in his image … male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).

In Amoris Laetitia 56, the Holy Father addresses the errors of this ideology in greater detail. He wrote, “Yet another challenge is posed by the various forms of an ideology of gender that ‘denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family. This ideology leads to educational programmes and legislative enactments that promote a personal identity and emotional intimacy radically separated from the biological difference between male and female. Consequently, human identity becomes the choice of the individual, one which can also change over time.’ It is a source of concern that some ideologies of this sort, which seek to respond to what are at times understandable aspirations, manage to assert themselves as absolute and unquestionable, even dictating how children should be raised. It needs to be emphasized that ‘biological sex and the sociocultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.”‘

This deconstruction of human sexuality has already introduced great confusion into society and it is not in conformity with the Catholic faith. As Pope Francis emphasizes in Amoris Laetitia 56, we must “not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.”

For those who struggle with their sexual identity, it is important to accompany them with compassion, helping them to encounter Jesus Christ, who can bring them healing and lead them to their true identity as sons or daughters of the Father, unlike the false freedom promoted by gender theory.

Jesus teaches us in the Gospels both the importance of listening and speaking the truth with charity, as seen in his encounters with the Samaritan woman, Peter and the apostles, the woman caught in adultery, Zacchaeus, and so many others. Truth and charity are inseparable, and one cannot claim to be acting charitably while disregarding or leading others away from the truth.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L.
Archbishop of Denver

COMING UP: Archdiocese of Denver’s news publications honored with 15 Catholic Press Awards

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Coverage of the More Than You Realize conference and reporting on social justice issues were among the 15 honors the Catholic Press Association awarded the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Catolico at the recent Catholic media conference in Florida, June 18-21.

Bishop Jorge Rodriguez was also awarded first place for a regular column by a bishop or archbishop in a Spanish publication.

The Denver Catholic received seven awards, including first place best news writing on a local or regional event for the staff’s collaborative coverage of the MTYR conference June 11, 2018, at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.

El Pueblo Catolico received eight awards, including first place for reporting on social justice issues for a story on preventing suicide, and second place for in-depth analysis for a story on the debates surrounding “caravans” of immigrants coming to the United States.

Staff writer Vladimir Mauricio-Pérez, who was recently named the new editor of El Pueblo Catolico, took home four awards – two for articles in the Denver Catholic and two for articles in El Pueblo. For the Denver Catholic, he received a second-place editorial award for a story on the Facebook privacy scandal, and an honorable mention award for a feature story on Blind Faith Brewing.

The publications were also honored with awards for layout, design, interviews and reports.

“I want to congratulate the staff of the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Catolico for their accomplishments over the past year and the much-deserved recognition they’ve received for their incredible talents,” said Aaron Lambert, Managing Editor. “More importantly, I am thankful for each of their witnesses to Jesus Christ, without whom we would not be able to carry out this mission we’ve been entrusted with. Last but not least, I want to thank the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver for their support, encouragement, comments and feedback, and most of all, for allowing us to tell your stories.”

Denver Catholic

1st Place – Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event – “Be Not Afraid” https://denvercatholic.org/past-25-years-remembered-next-25-anticipated-at-more-than-you-realize-conference/

2nd Place – Best Editorial on a National or International Issue – “Facebook privacy scandal a wake-up call for Catholics” (Vladimir Mauricio-Perez) https://denvercatholic.org/facebook-privacy-scandal-a-wake-up-call-for-catholics-experts-say/

2nd Place – Best Annual Report http://read.uberflip.com/i/1079667-financial-report-2018

2nd Place – Most Effective Use of Small Space – Bethlehem Handicrafts (Simona Fava, Kim Grace)

3rd Place – Best Print Circulation Promotion Campaign – Julia Greeley Anniversary Mass (Simona Fava)

Honorable Mention – Beat Feature Writing – “Blind Faith Brewing: the new Catholic taproom in town” (Vladimir Mauricio-Perez) https://denvercatholic.org/blind-faith-brewing-new-catholic-taproom-town/

Honorable Mention – Best Layout of Article or Column – “From the Passover Seder to the Eucharist” (Vladimir Mauricio-Perez, Simona Fava)

El Pueblo Catolico

1st Place – Best Reporting on Social Justice Issues – “El suicidio es prevenible, pongamos manos a la obra” (Mavi Barraza)

1st Place – Best Regular Column by a Bishop or Archbishop – “Joven, Cristo te necesita” (Bishop Jorge Rodriguez)

2nd Place – Best In-Depth Analysis – “Mas allá del debate político la ‘caravana’ son nuestros hermanos” (Vladimir Mauricio-Pérez)

2nd Place – Best Coverage – ‘”Bautiza a tu hijo’ Insistió su amiga. Hoy él es sacerdote.” (Carmen Elena Villa)

3rd Place – Best Reporting – “Propuesta de matrimonio en una obra de teatro” (Carmen Elana Villa)

Honorable Mention – Best Interview – “Monseñor Romero me enseñó que vale la pena sacrificarse por el Señor” (Caren Elena Villa)

Honorable Mention – Best Personality Profile – “Maria Antonia: madre que siempre supo decir sí a Dios”(Vladimir Mauricio-Pérez)

Honorable Mention – Best Cover Magazine or Newspaper – El Pueblo Catolico (Simona Fava)