The University of San Diego has canceled a visiting fellowship for a British theologian less than two weeks before her scheduled arrival at the university because of pressure from financial contributors, according to a letter from the university’s president.
Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic studies at London’s private University of Roehampton known for her work in contemporary ethical issues and Catholic understandings of feminism, received notice of the cancellation Oct. 27. She was scheduled to take residence at the university on Tuesday.
Beattie — who also serves on the board of directors of the British Catholic weekly The Tablet and is a theological adviser to the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development, the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales — announced the withdrawal of the invitation in an email to friends and other theologians Thursday.
Beattie said in an interview with NCR that cancellation of her fellowship was “symptomatic of something very new and very worrying.”
“It’s unheard of, certainly in Britain, for a theologian in my position to feel threatened by this kind of action,” Beattie said. “It’s not about me; it’s about some change in the culture of the Catholic church that we should be very, very concerned about.”
Prominent theologians in the U.S. and the UK called the university’s treatment of Beattie “an insult” and “dispiriting” and worried that it might have a chilling effect in the academic world. Several said they had written directly to university president Mary Lyons about the matter.
- Nuns And Theologians Issue Challenge To Paul Ryan (huffingtonpost.com)