Rev. Brian Shanley: Statement on Providence College Controversy


Dear Members of the Providence College Community:

In the light of the latest controversy to roil our campus, I would like to share some thoughts about how to move forward.

It belongs to the nature of a Catholic institution of higher education to explore the beauty and intelligibility of what the Church teaches. That includes the Church’s view of human sexuality and marriage. The Church’s teaching ought to be explored intellectually, especially in the classroom, and proclaimed from the pulpit. Additionally, it belongs to a Catholic college to consider the views of those who disagree with the Church’s teaching in the spirit of the disputed question.

Precisely because the nature of human sexuality and marriage is a disputed question, the dialogue that we have on our campus needs to be respectful of different points of view. For those who cannot agree with the Church’s teaching or who find it even offensive, it would be uncharitable to describe it as homophobic because the Church teaches that homophobia is a sin. In a similar way, those of us who profess what the Church teaches need to do so in a charitable way that recognizes the human dignity of every person as created in the image and likeness of God and in a way that does not foster the exclusion or marginalization of members of our community, like LGBTQ people or divorced and remarried Catholics, who find the Church’s teaching difficult to accept.

We will never eliminate the tension between what the Church teaches and what modern secular culture professes about human sexuality and marriage. Our challenge is to create a campus climate that will enable us to explore our differences dialogically with mutual respect and charity. In the opening prayer at Mass today we asked to “walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death.” Let us walk and talk eagerly in that charity as we go forward.

Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.


  • Melissa

    Bravo Fr. Shanley. You are a beloved and capable shepherd for the PC community.

  • Jordan Faust


  • Frank Hannon

    Father, would you allow the university to entertain the proselytizing of neo-Nazis? Their worldview is a disputed matter also, after all. Here’s a guess that you would not, but then again, neo-Nazis are disfavored by polite society, so kowtowing to them would be unhelpful to the topmost priority which you place on accommodating the school to the secular world, and thereby attract as many of the prep school rich kids as you can who do not get accepted into BC or Holy Cross, and whose families are yet willing to pay PC’s obscene annual freight.

    As to the particulars of the case at hand, your implication that the courageous RA who advanced the Biblical (and sole) model of marriage did so uncharitably is thoroughly beyond the pale, when it is exactly, and only, the response to him by the “Diversity” thugs whom you’ve enabled and continue to embolden that begs the correction.

    Father, your conniving disingenuousness is surpassed only by your sheer cowardice.

    • Melissa

      Fr. Stanley is brave and good. Don’t be like Frank.

    • e_i_l_e_e_n

      Thank you for speaking the truth, Frank, and shame on Fr. Shanley for his cowardly, dissimulating statement on this sad case. Professor Anthony Esolen is also a brave, truth-telling academic formerly in the den of vipers called Providence College!

  • Richard Bucci

    Shanley is nothing but a coward. $$$ are his worry not the faith. Saint Domenic must be turning over in his grave. Thank God for the lay faculty and their courage.