The University of San Diego cancelled a British theologian's fellowship after an influential alumnus and a conservative watchdog group backed by a high-ranking Vatican official protested the appointment to the university's board of trustees, reports NCR Online.
Tina Beattie (pictured), a professor of Catholic studies at London's University of Roehampton known for her work in contemporary ethical issues, was to have begun a two-month fellowship at the university on Tuesday.
University president Mary Lyons informed Beattie that the fellowship had been cancelled, in an October27 letter.
Thirteen members of the Catholic university's theology and religious studies faculty and the 47,000-member American Association of University Professors raised concerns about the impact of Lyons' action in separate letters Monday and Tuesday.
In a letter to Beattie on October 27, Lyons alleged the theologian publicly dissented from church teaching. The rescission, which was made public by Beattie last Thursday, sparked near immediate criticism from prominent theologians in the US and the UK who expressed worries that it might have a chilling effect in the academic world.
Among those protesting Beattie's appointment was Thomas McKenna, president of the San Diego-based group Catholic Action for Faith and Family, a non-profit organisation backed by Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican's supreme court.
In a statement emailed to NCR Monday, Lyons said that her decision regarding Beattie's fellowship was made "without regard to pressure groups or donor influence," but also mentioned the role of benefactors to the founding of the university's Frances G Harpst Centre for Catholic Thought and Culture, where Beattie was to have been a visiting fellow.
FULL STORY Theologian's disinvite linked to Vatican-supported group (NCR)