Catholic women’s college reverses decision to allow transgender students after public outrage

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A Catholic women’s college in Indiana apologized for saying it would allow male students who identify as women to enroll and announced that it had reversed its decision after public outrage.

Saint Mary’s College president Katie Conboy said in November that the college in South Bend, Indiana, would allow transgender women into the college as students for the academic year beginning in 2024.

“We are by no means the first Catholic women’s college to adopt a policy with this scope,” wrote Conboy, who said the decision was approved by the President’s Task Force for Gender Identity and Expression.

“In drafting the language for this update, I have relied on the guidance of the executive team and others to ensure that our message is not only in line with best practices for today’s college students but that it also encompasses our commitment to operate as a Catholic women’s college,” she added.

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Among those who criticized the decision was Bishop Kevin Rhoades, the bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who issued a lengthy statement admonishing the college for acting contrary to the church’s theology.

“The desire of Saint Mary’s College to show hospitality to people who identify as transgender is not the problem. The problem is a Catholic woman’s college embracing a definition of woman that is not Catholic,” said Rhoades.

“I urge the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s College to correct its admissions policy in fidelity to the Catholic identity and mission it is charged to protect and to reject ideologies of gender that contradict the authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the human person, sex, and gender,” he added.

On Thursday, Conboy issued another email saying the college had reversed its decision.

“When the Board approved this update, we viewed it as a reflection of our College’s commitment to live our Catholic values as a loving and just community. We believed it affirmed our identity as an inclusive, Catholic, women’s college,” wrote Conboy, according to the Pillar.

“It is increasingly clear, however, that the position we took is not shared by all members of our community. Some worried that this was much more than a policy decision: they felt it was a dilution of our mission or even a threat to our Catholic identity,” the letter continued.

She went on to re-affirm the college’s commitment to the “journey toward equity, inclusion, and justice.”

Here’s more about the controversy:

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