The Nov. 24 Spokesman-Review article, “Group claims Gonzaga University losing focus on Catholic identity,” maintains that 1887 Trust “wants Gonzaga to adhere to a more rigid ideology.” 1887 Trust advocates for Gonzaga not “rigidity,” but “truth in advertising.”
There are objective markers of Catholic identity, established by the church, that define faithfulness to Catholic identity. Among those markers are a majority Catholic faculty and appropriate speaker policies. 1887 Trust encourages Gonzaga’s leaders to be faithful to those objective standards, some of which are unmet. For example, the article’s assertion that “about half of Gonzaga’s … faculty members are Catholic” is a speculative claim that cannot be substantiated. Gonzaga doesn’t track religious affiliation of faculty. We have reason to believe the percentage is much lower than half.
1887 Trust’s concern about curriculum is that revisions currently under consideration would result in, as Gonzaga’s professor Douglas Kries has pointed out, a situation where “students graduating from GU would not necessarily have taken any courses in Catholicism; they would be required to take only one course in Christianity generally.”
The issue at Gonzaga is not whether its leaders are Jesuits or laypersons. The issue is whether Gonzaga’s leaders will commit GU to an authentic Catholic identity.