National Catholic Register


Campus Watch

BY John Lilly

October 1-7, 2006 Issue | Posted 9/27/06 at 10:00 AM


Religious Rights Upheld

THE LEGAL INTELLIGENCER, Sept. 8 — The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s dismissal of sex-discrimination claims against Gannon University, a Catholic diocesan college in Erie, Pa.

The plaintiff, Lynette Petruska, claimed that Gannon was guilty of sex discrimination in connection with her resignation in 2002 from her post as university chaplain. According to Petruska, she quit because she believed she was about to be replaced because she is a woman.

A lower court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that it involved a decision made in accordance with the Catholic university’s religious beliefs.

But that decision was vacated in May by a three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit, which held that “ministerial exceptions” for religious reasons must be “carefully tailored” rather than broadly applied.

Gannon’s lawyers applied for a rehearing, and a new three-judge panel unanimously reversed the May decision.

Stated the court, “Today, we join seven of our sister circuits in adopting the exception and hold that it applies to any claim, the resolution of which would limit a religious institution’s right to choose who will perform particular spiritual functions.”

Cartoon Apologies

INSIDEHIGHERED.COM, Sept. 18 — In the face of continuing complaints, the University of Virginia’s student newspaper has removed from its website two anti-Christian cartoons that it first published in late August.

The author of the cartoons, Grant Woolard, posted a personal apology on the Internet “for the offense that this comic has produced.”

The editors of The Daily Cavalier refused to apologize for publishing the cartoons when contacted in early September by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Steubenville Songbook

FRANCISCAN UNIVERSITY OF STEUBENVILLE, Sept. 19 — Catholic churches, schools and prayer groups can now obtain the liturgical hymnal used in Franciscan University of Steubenville’s chapel.

“Canticle: The Franciscan University Hymnal” can be purchased at the Ohio university’s bookstore or online at

In a press release, the university describes the hardcover hymnal as “a comprehensive selection of music styles including traditional hymnody and contemporary songs, as well as Gregorian chant and praise and worship songs.”

It contains more than 400 songs, along with Mass parts, Mass settings, and other service music.

For Wounded Athletes

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Sept. 18 — More than 400 people attended a Mass Sept. 17 at Duquesne University’s Old Main Chapel, following the shootings earlier that day of five members of the Catholic university’s basketball team.

The players were shot during an altercation after a campus dance. One of the players, Sam Ashaolu, was in critical condition following the attack and two others remained in the hospital as a result of their injuries.

The suspect in the shooting is not believed to be a Duquesne student, and it did not appear that the players had provoked the altercation, university officials said.

At the Sept. 17 Mass, basketball team members were escorted to the front rows of the chapel.

“We first and foremost offer our prayers for their recovery,” said Father Timothy Hickey. “Our prayers are with them and their families. Their healing is our utmost concern.”