Catholic College in Rhode Island Disinvites Gay Marriage Supporter from Speaking Engagement

Providence College, a Roman Catholic school in Rhode Island, has canceled a lecture by author, lecturer, professor of philosophy, and same-sex marriage supporter John Corvino, the NYT reports:

CorvinoThe lecturer, John Corvino, chairman of the philosophy department at Wayne State University, in Detroit, has spoken previously at more than 10 Catholic colleges and often appears in friendly debates with religious opponents of gay marriage. His appearance at Providence College had been co-sponsored by nine departments and programs, and some of the organizers said the cancellation surprised them.

The cancellation was announced by the college’s provost on Saturday, one day after the Roman Catholic Church was rocked by the publication of a long interview in which Pope Francis called for the church to “find a new balance” by refraining from frequent condemnations of homosexuality, abortion and birth control, and emphasizing mercy and love.

Said the college: “Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”


  1. JT says

    I don’t think Corvino has ever said to treat heterosexuals badly or different than gay people. He’s an intellectual, articulate, and smart kind of guy. In any lecture he would be presenting, if anything, an enlightened point of view, not slamming those who might have a different point of view. He’s an educator. I’m sure this is why these different departments were inviting him to speak. He asks questions and makes others think. Some people have just become so used to hating the gay and don’t want the good parts of the bible and the correct views of Christianity to permeate to the masses.

  2. says

    It is amazing to me that a college, an institute of higher learning, should want to block a speaker who has another point of view.

    Isn’t that what ‘exchange of ideas’ means ?
    So Providence College is nothing but a blinkered mono-theist propagandist ideas-dead school….not open to cross exchange of philosophies or educational ideas.

    Why not move to Russia……there’s plenty of scope for such ‘colleges’.

  3. woody says

    This happened because Providence has a very anti-gay bishop: Tobin. He hounded pro-choice congressman Patrick Kennedy (Ted’s son) out of office while Patrick was dealing with his father’s death and couldn’t take the heat from Tobin, and he fought gay marriage in RI tooth and nail, applying pressure on the catholic state senate president Teresa Paiva-Weed to keep gay marriage from going for a floor vote for years.
    If tobin weren’t there, this wouldn’t be happening.
    The problem is that even though the new pope doesn’t want the church to be involved in the culture wars, popes benedict and jp2 installed a lot of right wing bishops like tobin. They don’t like the new pope and are not taking his lead. Cardinal George in Chicago and Cardinal Chaput in Philly are critical of Francis’ recent comments and are behaving much the same way as Tobin. George is still leading a loud anti-gay marriage push in Illinois.
    The are “cafeteria bishops,” taking what they like from the new pope and leaving the rest.

  4. Geoff says

    “Religious college” = oxymoron. Corvino would be better served speaking at a REAL college. He’s a thinker. Religion and thinking cannot ever exist together. Ever.

  5. Mike Ryan says

    How embarrassing for Providence College. Any student attending should immediately reconsider and seek education elsewhere. Those funding this institution should cease to do so if not ask for their funds to be returned. This is not a school of higher learning but a cabal of bigoted religious fanatics.

  6. Cubs Fan in DC says

    This is a shocking incident and a terrible embarrassment to Providence, an otherwise quite respectable liberal arts college.

    This is all about the theater of the culture wars and some conservative guardians of orthodox Catholicism seeking a new cause. Obama at Notre Dame, Sibelius at Georgetown, it’s pure mischief. And weak leaders at places like Providence cave under the pressure.

    Shame on them.

    But shame also on the anti-religious bigots who call religious colleges oxymoronic. Leave aside that the Catholic monasteries were the centers of learning in Europe and the West for the thousand years between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, and that, until the 20th century, most universities in the West were religiously affiliated. The fact is that, religious colleges CAN be oxymorons if they are dogmatic and illiberal, as Providence is today suggesting it might be. If they are open-minded and committed to the relentless pursuit of knowledge, to allowing the questions asked to lead wherever the questioner can follow, then they are not oxymoronic at all.

    For those of you who would argue that a religious person cannot be a thinker, then how illiberal you are!

  7. says

    John Corvino has a lot of good in his heart and will probably talk about this in terms of outreach, forgiveness, and finding a higher path. Have to accept that not everyone sees eye to eye on activism.

    John, your lecture was cancelled due to one man’s bigotry. Dress it up however you like and forgive it as you please but that doesn’t change the fact that his dislike of you as a gay man is based on Church teaching.

    I’ve heard it too many times … ‘it’s my faith.’ ‘Religion’ is an invalid excuse to diminish anyone. No matter what the source of your bigotry, it’s still bigotry.

  8. emjayay says

    The post doesn’t mention that Corvino is an out gay guy, has a husband or partner, and maybe a kid (based on a Google Images photo). So they don’t just object to his opinions, but to him for being out and gay. He has a history of engaging the right on the marriage issue, but apparently in a very respectful way. He even wrote a book with (ugh) Maggie.

  9. Dimitri says

    That happened here in Grand Rapids, Michigan where John was invited by a student group to speak at (Catholic) Aquinas College. He was then “dis-invited” by the bishop of GR, but then was invited to speak at Fountain Street Church, a very inclusive church near downtown. So, there are alternatives. As for the Catholic institutions, let them stew in fear & loathing. There are other more inclusive places.

  10. PAUL B. says

    Cubs fan…I don’t think it’s that a “religious person cannot be a thinker”. That would imply a thought process in the first place. It’s just that they’re unable to “think” of a “thought” that a thinking person wants to hear. Am I thinking this thing through…or should I go talk to a priest who most certainly has already taken care of that to my complete satisfaction? Oh yeah.

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