BREAKING: Providence President Lashes Out at Conservative Media, Condemns Threats against Pro-Family Student

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In a letter released Monday, Providence College President Fr. Brian Shanley responded to demands that he condemn the harassment and threats of pro-LGBTQ students against Michael Smalanskas, a Resident Assistant who posted pro-family literature on a campus bulletin board on March 1.

Before Fr. Shanley gets around to condemning the threatening behavior of pro-LGBTQ students, he lashes out at the “angry, accusatory,” and “uncharitable” defenders of Smalanskas, as well as what he deems to be inaccurate reportage on the controversy “mostly on conservative social media sites.”

Most remarkably, Fr. Shanley takes exception to the suggestion that “Providence College has abandoned its Catholic identity and fidelity to Church teachings, particularly with regard to the sanctity of Marriage, and has succumbed to ‘political correctness.'”

What is significant about the charge Fr. Shanley dismisses here is that it is exactly the charge that was levied by his local ordinary, Bishop Thomas Tobin, less than a week ago.

As LifeSiteNews reported at the time,

Tobin’s letter also said Providence College is at a “crossroads and now has to make a conscious decision about which road to travel,” wondering if Providence College, abbreviated as PC, will become “p.c. – politically correct.”

Read Fr. Shanley’s full letter below.

Dear Members of the Providence College Community:

I am writing to follow up on my communication of March 19 and to address again the controversy that is currently roiling our campus.  Since I wrote my first message, the College has been the subject of much discussion and negative publicity, mostly on conservative social media sites.  Much of what has been reported is not accurate.  My office has been barraged with phone calls and e-mails that have been angry, accusatory, and ironically uncharitable.  Many suggest that Providence College has abandoned its Catholic identity and fidelity to Church teachings, particularly with regard to the sanctity of Marriage, and has succumbed to “political correctness.”  In order to address several of the issues that have surfaced, I would like to make the following points:

1.      The College always has, and always will, remain faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  We will do everything in our power to proclaim and explain these teachings to our students from the pulpit, in the classroom, and in the day-to day life of our campus.  We will, however, do this in a spirit of Christ-like charity and compassion. This is especially important and challenging in difficult matters related to human sexuality.   For those who do not accept the premises of the Church’s teaching on marriage and human sexuality, the doctrine can appear to be hard to accept or even harsh.  Our challenge is to dialogue respectfully with those who disagree with the Church.  This is especially a challenge for those on our campus who are members of the LGBTQ+ community.  What I hear from members of that community is not that they expect us to disavow the Church’s teaching, but rather to find a way to help them feel included in the light of our Catholic identity and in a way that recognizes their inherent dignity as created in the image and likeness of God.   Our collective challenge is to find a way to be faithful to our Catholic identity and to be inclusive.

2.      I am distressed by the way Michael Smalanskas has been vilified and ostracized by many of his peers.  While some might not agree with how he tried to express Church teaching, he is entitled to the same respect, charity, and protection that is due any student.   There can be no place on our campus for bullying, harassment, or intimidation.  The drawing of him that was posted in the St. Joseph Hall men’s room was odious and reprehensible.  The Providence Police were notified, and the Office of Public Safety is attempting to determine who was responsible.  If you have any information about this, I would encourage you to contact Public Safety.

Let me conclude by saying that I believe that the challenge to be faithful to our Catholic and Dominican identity and to be inclusive appears daunting.  It is a challenge on every Catholic campus and in the Church as a whole.   We are not alone.  I take heart in the belief that God’s providence will guide us through our challenges as a community.  It is my hope and prayer for our community that as we enter into the Church’s holiest time of the year, we will find the gift of a Resurrection that brings healing, reconciliation, and peace.

Fr. Brian Shanley

President

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Stephen Herreid is Managing Editor Online at CatholicVote.org, and Executive Producer and Host of the CatholicVote Radio Hour. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHerreid.

7 Comments

  1. Those taking aim at Providence College are on a fools errand, definitely misguided by their own pharisaical underpinnings. In the end, it is you people who will tear the church to shreds while those like Brian Shanley are left to deal with the havoc you have created. The young man who is festering in this issue and refuses to acknowledge all of the ways the college has attempted to help him is a poor excuse for a Catholic man and not the champion he thinks he is.

    • Your last sentence shows a complete disdain for the young student. I feel sorry for him. – & fr. Shanleys letter is OK…

    • if it were’nt’ a pro gay thing he were defending it would be diffferent. Amazing how Leftist ‘Catholics’ and their gang, fly to anything that hits the LGBT. Thjey/you don’t do as much for the unborn, the persecuted Middle Eastern Christians, the suicidal, addicts. but if its a gay issue (or Muslim) , you go bananas, it’s your obsession, you forget about all other groups.. i suspect many many pro gay men, have a personal gay problem. It reigns in the Church today. You’d think you’d have the decency to feel first for the victims, rather than to protect Shanely. His words have been very clear, THe only thing is, he took a cheap shot at the wrong kid! THis is not the first time Shanley has defended anti-Catholic cause (Esolen!). The young man should be proud of himself, few can defend themselves that way. His presentation is excellent. if it s a problem on a Cathoiic campus, then take down the Catholic name. Our youth have been listening to bs for decades.. they should demand refunds galore.. for false advertising in their College calendar.. a big rip off. All Shanley had to way was, it’s Catholic teaching, so there’s no problem here. He didn’t do that!– read his first letters…another Snowflake clergymen. We’re getting sick of that.. and we won’t tolerate it, its gone on too long. Astounding that thousands of young people had their lives ruined by leftist-homo priests.. i saw it all!… and yet so few care about them!.. talk about misplaced compassion. I wouldn’t send my pet budgies to PC. What do the latter want, that the Church grant marriage status to men who can’t even conceive? Then, i hereby declare my budgies married. ..

  2. Too little too late. There is a different between inclusion and allowing those who live a life of immorality, intolerance and anti-Catholic beliefs have carte blanche at this school. This is not the first instance of the President rolling over for secular opinions. If this is a Catholic college, it should make it clear that they will not be a party to anything that is against the teachings of the Church, against the teachings of Christ. The LGBT e i e i o crowed wants total acceptance of immoral behavior, period. Grow a spine, be truly Catholic. If you know what that means. Choices need to be made and made now. Either be Catholic or remove the name from your school.

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