Dr. Howell writes his version of the story

I wrote a blog about the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign firing Dr. Howell for simply doing his job and telling students that the Catholic Church believes homosexuality is immoral. He did his job by telling the students, who were in a class named – Introduction to Catholicisim, exactly what his professorial contract directed…. talk about Catholicism.

The course was not required for ANY student. It was an elective course taken by those who wanted to take it.

Dr. Howell provided his own response:Factual Description .

5 thoughts on “Dr. Howell writes his version of the story”

  1. The Associated Press report says he was “fired”. Is it important to note that his contract “was not renewed”? Is there a real difference? I don’t think so. Did he state that this was also his personal opinion? Again, does it matter, since he is a professed Catholic, and by the act of receiving Holy Communion makes public that agrees with everything the Church teaches.

    I think it was cowardly of the student who was actually in his class to get someone else to do the ‘dirty work’ and get Howell written up.

    1. MDW,

      Your question regarding “firing” versus “was not renewed” is an important one. I would argue there is definitely a difference between those two in specific terminology and execution. However, I would wonder if there is a legal precedent or rule regarding the reasoning behind the “not renewed” decision. For example, does there have to be a reason behind the non-renewal. Not sure.

      I agree with you regarding personal opinion. One important point that I tried to make clear…. this was an elective class. It does not fulfill a general education requirement at U of I, nor is it required to obtain a Bachelor’s of Arts with Religion Major degree. Any student who was in that class partook in the class of his/her own free will and should expect the professor to teach what the Roman Catholic church says about all issues. What if the question was about the death penalty, and the student felt strongly that the death penalty should be advocated for? The Church believes the death penalty violates the Natural Law. Would an offended student in this example cause the firing (or non-renewal) of said professor?

      Thank you very much for your comments! Stay tuned. The University is doing a review now as we speak (write)! <— 😉

  2. “The Church believes the death penalty violates the Natural Law. Would an offended student in this example cause the firing (or non-renewal) of said professor? ”

    However, the Church does not teach that applying the death penalty is an intrinsic evil, always and everywhere morally wrong. The Church has always taught that it is the right and responsibility of the legitimate temporal authority to defend and preserve the common good, and more specifically to defend citizens against the aggressor. This defense against the aggressor, by virtue of the principle of double effect, can resort to the death penalty.

    I think that the subject of same-sex attraction and “homosexuality” has become such a hot-button issue, that any defense of thought contrary to what some perceive as the cultural norm is automatically seen as homo-phobic and irrational, no matter how cooly and well-explained. I think perhaps the student who was offended just “didn’t get it”. He had the freedom to drop the course, which was an elective, thus not a great threat to his/her GPA I would presume (if dropped).

    I read the letter which has been sent to the U of IL Champaign-Urbana, and it clearly states that teachers in universities are protected under First Amendment rights. It will be interesting to see what transpires.

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