Providence College Faculty: PC Should Support Smalanskas and Affirm Marriage

We are faculty at Providence College. We would like to make the following statements in response to events at the College since March 1, when Michael Smalanskas, a senior and a Resident Assistant, posted a bulletin board in support of marriage between one man and one woman. (See the report by Larry Gillheeney, The Ocean State Current, March 15).

  • The bulletin board posted by Michael Smalanskas faithfully and thoughtfully represents the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage.
  • We reject the notion that the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, or its teaching on homosexuality, is bigoted or homophobic, or that these teachings present a threat to the wellbeing of homosexual persons. Rather, those teachings, which some of us address in our courses, are rooted in two millennia of reflection on the Gospel and on human nature and aim at the flourishing of all persons.
  • An academic institution must foster authentic academic freedom. This includes the freedom to present the view that marriage between one man and one woman is natural and divinely instituted. A Catholic college, in particular, has the responsibility to create an environment in which the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and sexuality can be openly presented, debated, and defended.

We call upon Providence College to state clearly and publicly that both the content of the bulletin board that Michael Smalanskas posted and his posting of it are consistent with the Catholic mission of the college. We further call upon the college to state clearly and publicly that faithful, thoughtful expressions of Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality are welcome on campus and are integral to a mission-animated approach to diversity and inclusion. The words of Pope John Paul II are fitting: “If need be, a Catholic University must have the courage to speak uncomfortable truths which do not please public opinion, but which are necessary to safeguard the authentic good of society” (Ex corde ecclesiae).


Robert Barry, Theology
Giuseppe Butera, Philosophy
Joseph Cosgrove, Philosophy
Matthew Cuddeback, Philosophy
Gary Culpepper, Theology
Philip Devine, Philosophy (emeritus)
Paul Gondreau, Theology
Raymond Hain, Philosophy
James Keating, Theology
Sandra Keating, Theology
Patrick Macfarlane, Philosophy
Paul J. Maloney, Finance
Jay Pike, Chemistry and Biochemistry

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