Fired for defending Catholic teaching about homosexuality – Welcome to the Land of the….. Free?

I Wonder if they like Catholicism...?

Read here on American Papist the incredible story of Ken Howell, an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois. Mr Howell has been told that he will not be able to teach about Catholicism because his course “Introduction to Catholicism” mentions that Catholicism condemns homosexual acts; also that he has been so cheeky as to follow up with emails on the subject,  after one student’s strong opposition to this Catholic teaching.

The episode is disconcerting for several reasons:

1) The course is about Catholicism. You can’t ask Catholicism to be what it is not. You either “introduce people to Catholicism” or you don’t.

2) The University in question has – as it appears from Mr Howell’s letter – an “Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered concerns”. I kid you not. No trace whatsoever of an “Office of Catholic concerns”. The world has probably gone mad. Some universities certainly have.

3) The idea that people against a certain religion may find any “concern” about what that religion teaches is preposterous. Pure thought control. Not even I would have dreamt of saying that I have “concerns” with Hindus believing in reincarnation or Buddhists subscribing to metempsychosis.

4) Mr. Powell’s reaction is also entirely disconcerting. He presented the argument that if Catholic teaching about homosexuality is offensive, than he should be advised not to touch the matter in his course! This is an astonishingly weak reaction and one which defeats itself from the beginning.  If you accept the idea that Catholicism may be censored, you can’t complain when it is. The idea of an “Introduction to Catholicism”excluding the controversial bits is as ridiculous as saying that there should be no “Introduction to Catholicism”  if one is so bad as to……talk about Catholicism.

As always, the United States leads the way in political correctness gone mad. The case is now under judicial review and I do hope that the stance will be on the side of  “we are ready not to talk of anything which is of concern to lesbians, homosexuals, and other deviants”.

Kudos to the “American Papist” for having the guts to relate such extraordinary events instead of hiding behind the “we don’t discuss controversial topics” stance of so many Catholics, who are interested only in a quiet life and “going along to get along”  with everyone.


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43 Responses to Fired for defending Catholic teaching about homosexuality – Welcome to the Land of the….. Free?

  1. Benedict Carter says:

    The championing of homosexuality is the gravest symptom in my opinion of the attempt by the forces of hell to replace Christian morality with a new ‘morality’ based ultimately on the French Revolutionary principles which are wholly inimical to Catholicism.

    Homosexuality is a scourge and must be combatted with great strength. First by prayer. After all, Catholics are not terrorists. That is the province of a different, false religion.

    The enemy’s hatred of the Church waxes: there will be more persecution like this.


  2. Mundabor says:

    Agree with everything you say, Ben.

    What astonishes me (or rather, doesn’t do it anymore) is that the University itself should have such an exaggerated concern about what fringe-groups thinks. I’d say it is a mixture of ultra-liberalism and a massive dose of fear of their anger.

    Have you ever read anything from Tom Wolfe, Ben? His last novel, “I am Charlotte Simmons”, is a beautiful and -as always with Wolfe – very elegant attack on liberal thinking and the obsession with political correctness choking the academic world. I am told a new novel is expected this year.



  3. toadspittle says:


    The American People, taken one with another,
    constitute the most timorous, snivelling, poltroonish,
    ignominous mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever
    gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end
    of the Middle Ages.
    Mencken, 1922


  4. toadspittle says:

    Re Wolfe and books, I can also recommend ”The Human Stain,” by Philip Roth. Very disturbing.


  5. Mundabor says:

    Thanks toadspittle but….
    do you mean that if it is considered disturbing by you I will be fine with it? 😉

    On the Americans: I never could understand why a people so attached to freedom could end up with prohibitionism. Probably they couldn’t either and when they realised it, Prohibitionism was to an end ;).

    I think here somethign similar is happening: a minority of the population succeeds in letting its bollocks be believed in some way mortally superior and everyone else acquiesces because of sheer fear in order not to appear an “oppressor of progress”.



  6. churchmouse says:

    Mundabor — re your second paragraph on Prohibition. It started with the temperance movement in the 19th century, which was borne out of Protestant Evangelical pietism (i.e. forsaking strong drink and tobacco). This appealed to a great many people as it meant they would become holier and ‘better’ people if they forsook these substances. (You could still brew a limited amount yourself, though, at home — just wine or beer, however, not spirits, which are too dangerous for the home.) So, not unlike today, although the current movement is a secular one.


  7. Mundabor says:

    yes Churchmouse, it was clear to me that prohibitionism had its roots in ideals of Christian improvement. But I do think that the followers of “temperance” gained the upper hand because they succeeded in, so to speak, take the moral high ground. I can’t imagine a majoirty of Americans (or of thinking people) wanting to become better through forsaking liquors. It must have been a minority making their arguments in such a way that to oppose them must have looked so horribly out of place. I think environ-mentalism (another secular religion) worked with the same principle, with millions not believing, but afraid of taking the contrary stance because of the “moral inferiority” they tought it implied.



  8. toadspittle says:

    Mundabor: The Human Stain deals with certain tyrannies of political correctness coupled with ignorance and prejudice.
    I found it disturbingly accurate, like your post above. I was ‘fine’ with it and I imagine you will be as well. I thought it Roth’s best, which is saying a lot, because his worst is pretty good.


  9. churchmouse says:

    Yes, M, but perhaps you are missing the secular pietist movement today — anti-tobacco, anti-alcohol and anti-fatty food. And, you correctly point out that these movements, along with environmentalism, work with a ‘minority making their arguments in such a way that to oppose them must have looked so horribly out of place’. Think about the conversation we had about smoking the other night …

    All it takes are some high-profile personalities and someone to fund these guys (and gals) or give them credence. The temperance movement had Carrie Nation to start with and then they were bankrolled by John D Rockefeller. After booze was banned, they said that tobacco was next on the agenda. Today’s anti-smoking movement got its ‘puff’, if you will, with a chap named Stanton Glantz in the 1970s and is heavily financed by the Robert Johnson Foundation (of Johnson & Johnson). The environmentalists have Al Gore. The anti-transfat folks have Michael Bloomberg. And as the movements go along, they pick up more powerful and influential adherents, either through money or influence.


  10. Mundabor says:


    my personal inclination is to believe that the anti-everything movements of today come from a deification of healthy and security more than from the powerful support of well-known individuals. I have always noticed that when people stop believing in another life they become obsessively concerned with the duration of this one and as we have already seen, the “I am better than you and if you oppose me you’ll look very, very bad “- argument works out of the sheer force of conformism and cowardice. I think the celebrities rather “ride the tiger” after the fact, like the rock stars and actors adopting the one or other “good cause” as a constant source of headlines and positive media presence.
    The master of them all must surely be Bob Geldof. He recognised the power of conformism even among people up to then largely concerned with drugs and sex and provided them with a PR-system able to help them as he helped himself. He wasn’t a celebrity then, merely an obscure third-rate singer with dirty hair. But he understood the massive power of do-goodism.



  11. churchmouse says:

    Mundabor — This is what I wrote on the subject, from an ‘everyman’ POV. I see all this as a new idolatry. Would be interested in your thoughts (ta in advance!):


  12. Mundabor says:

    Churchmouse, you do write beautifully. And the quote from G.K.Chesterton was extremely apt.

    My views on the arguments you touch are as follows:
    1) on the new religion of health. I agree as we have said before. Very well put.
    2) on the slim/exercise madness: I think it is a reaction to morbid obesity. Countries without the second (Italy, France) also do not have the first. Americans go to health clubs to become lean machines, Italians to look for available women.
    3) smoking ban. I agree that the health implications are probably vastly exaggerated, but I do not agree that you should be allowed to smoke near me in a pub or a bus. Simply put: smokers stink, the air stinks and when I go home my clothes stink too. No health worries as far as I’m concerned, but I wouldn’t want a beggar to sit with his pint near me stinking of p*ss regardless of my (hypothetical) health concerns for him.
    Or you can put it this way: what he does with his lungs is his concerns and does not impact my freedom. What he does with the air I breathe, is mine and it certainly does.



  13. Brother Burrito says:

    Church Mouse, indeed I fully concur with your well crafted article, and I am a not uncommon creature: a doctor who smokes.
    If I wanted to live a long time I wouldn’t have pursued my profession: long hours, exposure to disease, under-resourced workplace, targets, work politics, frayed tempers etc. etc.
    Grabbing a ciggie during a quiet moment is a pleasure that can be indulged alone or in like company, takes minutes, clears the head and calms me down. I have a better mental and physical sickness record than my non-smoking colleagues, whatever their yoga, meditation, jogging and freakish food fads are doing for them. The fools will need joint replacements before me.

    Yes, I do smell of tobacco sometimes, but then have a sniff at anyone who has just completed 24 hours work. I love to see people not taking up the habit (eg my children), and if my habit drives away the obnoxiously self-righteous, then it has done me a favour. Their sulphurous reek is an offence to me too.

    (Typed while furiously puffing on a Marlboro red! hanging from my lip)


  14. Mundabor says:

    it is not about them escaping you.
    Not to impose your smoking habit on them in pubs and buses is probably more than enough.



  15. toadspittle says:

    ” I have always noticed that when people stop believing in another life they become obsessively concerned with the duration of this one.”

    Mundabor, I agree. I have what Hobbes ought to have said was;

    ”The life of man is solitary, poor, nasty and brutish – but, at least it’s short.


  16. Mundabor says:

    you seem not too concerned with either life.. 😉
    (It must change; I know you know that 😉 ).


  17. hopeful62 says:

    I think Toadspittle and Mundabor are too hard on the Americans. Afterall, when did you ever hear of a European academic criticizing homosexuality in any shape or form? The lowest point of Christian European subservience to our new secular masters was the Rocco Buttiglione affair. IIRC, this ‘devout, God-fearing, Catholic’ and ‘friend of Pope John Paul II’ was very quick to disassociate his personal view of homosexuality and the laws of the EU.

    Not much concern for the souls of those drawn into one of the sins ‘Crying out for vengeance from Heaven’ was there?

    Then again, nowadays, everyone goes to Heaven when they die anyway, so what’s the ‘big deal’.



  18. toadspittle says:


    I have never enjoyed this life as much as I have recently. It makes me feel a bit guilty because


  19. toadspittle says:


    As to this life,

    ”I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves. ” says Wittgenstein.

    I go along with that, full of Catholic guilt, because I enjoy myself far too much Down Here.
    As to the next life, I have no idea. Heaven and Hell both seem equally hellish. Recently someone on D******n’s blog , Bernadette, I believe (forgive me if I’m wrong, B) said she looked forward to discussing feminism Up There with Saint Paul, presumably for all eternity.

    We are doubtless all agreed that Hell offers an infinitely preferable alternative.

    (I believe it was Orwell who said that Graham Greene seemed to think that Hell was some sort of exclusive night club for damned Catholics.)
    Would have been regarding ‘The Heart of the Matter,’ I imagine.


  20. Brother Burrito says:

    Phew, glad you came back there TS. I thought you might have “passed on”, mid sentence.

    Graham Greene, another upper middle class Catholic deviant, like Cutley & Co, or am I being unfair?


  21. toadspittle says:

    As a ‘liberal’ I am against capital punishment.

    But I would gladly consider making exceptions for graffitti ‘artists’ (most particularly those who deface the walls of 12th-Century cathedrals.)

    The person who invented the CD, ‘jewel box.’

    And who ever is responsible for this Samsung computer, which cut me off in mid ‘post’ just now.


  22. The Raven says:

    Just to drag the discussion down to my level, if we are opposed to Jansenist prohibition, perhaps we should campaign for the worst failure of twentieth century political mismanagement to be repealed: the Misuse of Drugs Act. The criminalisation of narcotics has empowered generations of career criminals, has spawned a wave of petty crime and wrecked the lives of many weak, but otherwise innocent users of narcotics.

    We should teach our children, using parental authority, that only idiots do drugs, but criminalising them has proven ruinous to individuals and to society as a whole.


  23. churchmouse says:

    Working backwards … Raven, I so agree with you. Many parents would agree with your sentiments. Have read many of these on the ‘Your Freedom’ site.


  24. Brother Burrito says:

    (Sorry to keep agreeing with everyone, though I suppose it is because you are all such agreeable company).

    My feelings exactly, dear Raven. I use controlled drugs daily in my work. I often joke to patients that I am a state registered drug pusher, or that I am giving them some heavy dope, etc.
    I have met colleagues of various medical and paramedical specialties who are drug addicts, and a sad, rum lot they are. I have known not a few suicides in that group too.

    I think we should return to the medical management of drug addiction as it was handled before the Act. All addicts of whatever drug of pleasure must register with a doctor, and be supplied by them. Given the difficulty of curing such addictions, it is better to manage them. There are countless functional alcoholics etc in society already. Remove the stigma, supply the care, and take it from there. I am skeptical of secular twelve step programs. Addicts are not filth, they need to be very carefully reached out to. Their “highs” are often malformed attempts at reaching the transcendent, or an attempt to re-enter the womb. Many of them would benefit from some face-to-face with an experienced monk.


  25. churchmouse says:

    Toadspittle / Moratinos — I abhor the ‘jewel box’ phraseology. Errgh! Agree with you about graffiti on ancient, treasured cathedrals!


  26. churchmouse says:

    Brother Burrito — Relieved to read that you are a fellow smoker. 🙂 Agree with you that addicts should be registered with a doctor as in the late 1960s to receive their dose. I, too, have my reservations about 12-step programmes.


  27. churchmouse says:

    Brother Burrito — re Graham Greene — yes, could have been a neighbour of cutley’s … It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.


  28. churchmouse says:

    Brother Burrito — Thank you for your kind sentiments, much appreciated. Am reassured to read that you are in better health than your non-smoking counterparts. (Sorry for the extra post — inadvertently omitted from my earlier message!)


  29. churchmouse says:

    Mundabor — I was thinking of whom in the blogosphere I would invite for dinner. You were at the top of the list, but if you were unwilling to tolerate cigarettes (maybe you and BC have been discussing this offline?), well, I guess my offer of panfried foie gras with apricots followed by freshly prepared steak tartare and (then) homemade lavender ice cream would now go to Brother Burrito and Raven? After all, we have to stick together? 😉


  30. Mundabor says:

    May I add my voice to the orgy of agreements here by saying that the best way (and the most economical) to destry drug related criminality is to provide people with proved, medically ascertained drug addictions with drugs from the government, at a modic cost.

    Few people know that drugs are, in fact, extremely cheap and if the NHS produced heroine itself the cost would be negligible. What makes heroine, cocaine etc expensive is not that it is expensive to produce, it is that it is risky to sell it; you can see it at the cheap price of all sorts of acids and “recreational drugs” before they get banned.

    You do that and you leave the criminal organisations trying to get you addicted in order for you to get your drugs from…. the government.
    Hhhmmm….. not a good business is it….

    Or one chooses the hard line and decides for a big crackdown; but for that there is no sufficient agreement among the “voting classes”and the entire exercise would be extremely expensive.

    Coming back to older posts, prohibitionism also created a vast criminal industry which was simply cancelled when reason came back.


    P.s. Toadspittle, I have ordered the book. This should tell you whether I like you 😉


  31. churchmouse says:

    Precisely, Mundabor. And, the more sin taxes are raised, the more the ‘ordinary Joe’ looks to the black market.


  32. Mundabor says:

    Well Mousy boy, 😉
    if you are in the habit of smoking whilst eating, I do think you’ll have to invite dear Burrito, and I doubt that you’ll be able to see each other after half an hour ;). Pity because it sounded rather tasty 😉


  33. Brother Burrito says:

    Hmmmmmm yum!

    When? When?


  34. churchmouse says:

    Brother Burrito and Raven — When could we all meet up? Mundabor — Too bad you presume that I smoke whilst eating. I do have a pause between courses, though … Are you sure you wouldn’t reconsider? 😉


  35. toadspittle says:

    MUNDABOR AT 22.08

    How could I doubt it?

    Off to Avila for a couple of days, to find The Hand of Saint Teresa. So you all will have to provide your own spittle. Shouldn’t be hard…


  36. On this question of being anti- anything, I suspect it is part of a very widespread human failing: taking pleasure in preventing other people from doing things they like. It is excessively present in my home country, Scotland. But then Scotland has the Church of Scotland…


  37. Mundabor says:

    “Off to Avila for a couple of days”.

    For a self professed agnostic you are rather remarkable, toadspittle. Good for you!

    There is more rejoicing in Heaven for the prayer of one without faith, than for one hundred of those who have it. But in the end, the real approach is surrender: to stop our ego from having such a strong grip on us and abandon ourselves to the hope that we may – against all apparent odds – one day believe.



  38. Mundabor says:

    Thanks mousyboy,
    but for reasons many here do not understand I do insist on total anonimity. Much as I would like to meet you for a refined meal (provided you don’t smoke 😉 ) I am afraid our contacts will have to remain purely on the interactive side. I demand a full reports of your shenanigans, though 😉



  39. Mundabor says:

    “IIRC, this ‘devout, God-fearing, Catholic’ and ‘friend of Pope John Paul II’ was very quick to disassociate his personal view of homosexuality and the laws of the EU”.

    Hopeful 62,
    I for myself very much mistrust everyone who defines himself as a “friend of John Paul II” as the percentage of embezzlers and paedophile protectors seems to be rather high.

    Having said that, I remember Buttiglione simply stating that even if he has his own (Catholic) ideas about homosexuality, it doesn’t mean that he would break the law once elected a EU commissar. I found his defence of himself weak and the behaviour of Berlusconi – as almost always – ridiculous.

    In my eyes, Buttiglione should have said out loud what he stands for rather than apologising for his convictions, whilst dear “bold dwarf” (one of his nicknames in Italy, “nano pelato”, how politically incoorect! 😉 ) should have either shut up of fought the crusade. To announce the crusade and then give up after a couple of day was exactly like him: unprincipled, ridiculous, full of hot air. And I am Italian so I have read about the quarrel at the source.


    P.s. Buttiglione is one who gives a strong impression that his biggest love was, is and always will be Rocco Buttiglione.


  40. Caroline says:

    Dr. Howell was fired for doing his job!

    I am familiar with him and his books; he is being treated execrably.

    Please send emails to:


  41. Mundabor says:

    Thanks Caroline!

    Already sent mine!!


  42. raduzj says:

    I used not to worry too much about people smoking, although I never have myself.
    It was when my youngest brother died of a smoke related illness that I re-thought my entire attitude. He smoked over sixty cigarettes a day.

    Our respiratory system is a wonder of God’s creation. Not only that, we describe the work of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, as the breath of God. Breathing is a holy function of the lungs and related to the Spirit. St John’s Gospel places great emphasis on the Holy Spirit. In Greek as in Hebrew the same word stands for wind and Spirit. Jesus breathes on his disciples – He breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit…..” John 20:22. It seems very wrong to contaminate our lungs and those of people around us.


  43. Brooklyn says:

    Catholics are a sad group of people. I know, because I was raised Catholic. Jesus taught love, compassion and acceptance. He never said we should mistreat, humiliate and ridicule homosexuals.

    If “God” is the creator of all life, did he not also create homosexuals.

    So…it’s okay for a priest or a bishop to rape or molest thousands of children, it’s okay with the Catholic church to spend millions of dollars to silence the victims, and it’s okay to let these rapists, child molesters moved to other churches, where they will go unpunished and go on to do the same thing to other children…all that is okay with the catholic church….but it is not okay when a man falls in love with another man…or a woman falls in love with another woman, Love is love. Catholics: Stop spreading the seeds of hatred! GOD LOVES US ALL! YES! EVEN THE HOMOSEXUALS!


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