For Third Time, Catholic University of Dayton Rejects Freethinkers

For several years there has been a high-profile drive at this Catholic university in Ohio by a small group of students, who formed a group called the Society of Freethinkers, to gain university approval and support for this organization. This would have allowed them to promote their views by such means as having guest speakers there, as they employed university facilities and used the university’s name in association with their group. Many of its members identify themselves as atheists and agnostics. The university, finally, has denied such approval, without further appeal, saying that doing otherwise would conflict with the Catholic identity of this university.

Some additional information:


The denial of the Society of Freethinkers as an official University of Dayton student organization comes down to that little word with a big meaning, according to the Rev. Jim Fitz, S.M., university rector and vice president for mission.

“The concern we have is that SOFT has denied the faith side of the discussion, not allowing that to be part of the discussion,” Fitz said.

According to Fitz, the university is built on the tenet of “searching for truth, grounded in faith and reason.”

The issue of whether SOFT was denied due to going against Catholic values is not necessarily the case, Fitz said. He pointed out that there are student organizations that promote religions that differ from Catholicism.

(NB: the Flyer News is the student newspaper for the University of Dayton)

Freethinkers, my foot.

“The Catholic Church is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.” - G.K. Chesterton

Why did they choose a Catholic university if they are let alone not Catholic, but agnostics, atheists?

Good decision.

Nice to hear a Catholic University doing the right thing for once. Good for them.

One of our children went to the University of Dayton and received a well-rounded, excellent education in a Catholic environment. Many of the students who attended were there for a Catholic education as well as a degree but many are there because the university has an excellent reputation. I have not always agreed with everything the university has allowed to happen there but I have felt that they try to be Catholic first and foremost. A student who attends there goes in knowing it is a Catholic school and therefor, some of the freedoms permitted at public universities do not and can not exist. That doesn’t keep them from trying but as long as people like Rev. Fitz are deciding I expect the decisions to keep the university choosing to be faithfully Catholic.

IMO the “Freethinker” student group commits an all too common fundamental mistake in definitions. They surmise that since the catholic church asserts that the state must make allowance for the freedom of religion, then catholic institutions must provide student atheists, anarchists and other rabble free facilities and sponsorship for their troublemaking. This is, of course, nonsense. As usual, the freethinkers mistake freedom for an invitation to freeload.

Want to promote your radical ideas? Go build your OWN university system or at least have the decency to pay for your own facilities. Leave ours alone.

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