The Sad Story at Marquette University

Most Catholics just don’t realize what’s going on at many of our Catholic universities: They need to read the sad story of Marquette University as told by Anne Hendershott in the Wall Street Journal. 

Marquette had made an offer to Jodi O’Brien to assume the position of Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  The offer was rescinded, presumably beginning with pressure from Milwaukee Archbishop Listecki.

Father Robert A. Wild (see above), president of Marquette, had to reach a financial settlement with Ms. O’Brien, a “sexuality scholar” for changing his mind about her appointment.

Of the three finalists for the position, Ms. O’Brien was the first choice, even though her publication record was minimal in comparison with the others. Though all three had led academic departments, the two male candidates also had grant-writing success and prestigious publication records.

Ms. O’Brien published articles such as “How Big is your God? Queer Christian Social Movements.” One of the male finalists wrote a book on the French Revolution that won an award from the American Historical Association. Ms. O’Brien published a “gender switching” article describing online homoerotic behavior entitled “Changing the Subject.” One of the other finalists received funding for 17 major research grants and listed dozens of publications on his 19-page vitae.

From reading Hendershott’s account, it becomes clear that both O’Brien’s sexual orientation and her dissenting beliefs were the reasons she was chosen over the better qualified candidates.

Yes, this is how perverse things have become at many of our Catholic universities.



Deal W. Hudson


Deal W. Hudson is ​publisher and editor of The Christian Review and the host of "Church and Culture," a weekly two-hour radio show on the Ave Maria Radio Network.​ Formerly publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine for ten years, his articles and comments have been published widely in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report. He has also appeared on TV and radio news shows such as the O'Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, NBC News, and All Things Considered on National Public Radio. Hudson worked with Karl Rove in coordinating then-Gov. George W. Bush's outreach to Catholic voters in 2000 and 2004. In October 2003, President Bush appointed him a member of the official delegation from the United States to attend the 25th anniversary celebration of John Paul II's papacy. Hudson, a former professor of philosophy for 15 years, is the editor and author of eight books. He tells the story of his conversion from Southern Baptist to Catholic in An American Conversion (Crossroad, 2003), and his latest, Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States, was published in March 2008. He is married to Theresa Carver Hudson, also a Baptist convert, and they have two children, Hannah and Cyprian who was adopted from Romania in 2001.

  • John

    Why is it so hard to admit that those educational institutions that used to be Catholic and are now secular progressive institutions should be forced to admit to the public that they have established themselves as crusaders for homosexuality and promiscuity in the New American World State. If parents seek a Catholic education for their children; the last place to look is a “catholic school”/

  • Jason Negri

    From reading Hendershott’s account, it becomes clear that both O’Brien’s sexual orientation and her dissenting beliefs were the reasons she was chosen over the better qualified candidates.

    This is pathetic. Marquette used to be a good school, I’m told. Now they’re just like every other avante-garde wannabe college substituting dubiously-credentialed misfits who spout their polemics for serious scholars.

    Glad I went to a real Catholic college that’s actually getting better on both the academic and spiritual fronts instead of worse.

  • Peter Freeman

    It’s hard to conjecture just why a department hires any particular individual.

    Having witnessed numerous tenure-track hires over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that these decisions are utterly unpredictable, inconsistent, and indecipherable.

    It might have been that Ms. O’Brien got the best feedback from student volunteers in the hiring process. She might have had the best teaching demonstration. She might have networks within the hiring committee or networks in the larger field that her department wants to tap into. Or it could be that the department ultimately decided it needed another female professor (the other two candidates were men). In other words, there might have been a lot of legitimate professional reasons to hire her beyond a conspiracy theory.

    And then, of course, there is always the “it” factor. She might just have been inexplicably more charismatic during her campus visit than the other candidates. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen candidates who seem to me like the leading contender get brushed aside by faculty who have for mysterious reasons fallen in love with the competition, while candidates who seem to do everything you aren’t supposed to do on a campus visit get first offers. The job talk, the teaching demonstration, and the interviews are sometimes not nearly as valuable as the shmoozing that goes on over alcohol during the informal session of a campus visit.

    • Patsy Koenig

      No. Like the author stated: her selection was due to her abberant beliefs. Those beliefs are promoted and rewarded by the Freemasons, who control the Universities…and every other instituion in the world, by now.

  • Kamilla

    “Christians for Biblical Equality” had a speaker at their conference last year who is a student at Marquette. Her bio for the conference says, “She is writing her dissertation on theological anthropology and intersex.”

    And the description for her workshop reads:

    “Gender Construction in Society and Church: What We Can Learn from the Intersexed **

    Because of the creation of Adam and Eve, most Christians assume there are only two sexes (male and female), and that these sexes work themselves out in two genders (masculine and feminine). Intersexed persons are those born neither clearly male nor female. Some intersexed persons and their advocates are calling for recognition of a third sex category and rejection of traditional understandings of male and female, an idea not yet adequately explored by theologians. Jesus

  • R.C.


    Perhaps Marquette just wanted to provide students like this young woman more resources for their studies?

    Perhaps so.

    But we are undoubtedly at a moment in the life of the American Church where dissent needs rather to be corrected than tolerated among those in teaching positions over the faithful, and most particularly in matters related to sexuality.

    As a consequence, when a person is considered for a teaching position, it is a moral obligation for Catholic institutions to do more, not less, than they might have done in former decades, to ensure fidelity to the Church’s teachings on human sexuality.

    Moreover, when the particular studies and interests of the candidate in question are largely focused on sexual matters, the need for careful “vetting” becomes more pronounced: Partly because that person, if hired, will clearly be teaching on those particular topics and must therefore meet a higher standard of orthodoxy in that area of Church teachings. But also partly because people who are engaged in scholarly studies of sexual matters in the last fifty years or so have almost uniformly been advocates for normalizing sexual perversion of one kind or another.

    Therefore, the fact that Jodi O’Brien’s scholarly pursuits are what they are should have led any decision-makers to (a.) be predisposed to reject her as a suitable hire out-of-hand, and (b.) be willing to give her a second chance only to the degree that interviews and reviews and her C.V. made her such a wonderful candidate in every other way that her sheer superiority to other candidates forced a deeper look. (But of course one of the highest priorities of that deeper look would have been to ensure faithfulness to the Church’s teachings. The last thing one wants to do is hire a charismatic and effective heresiarch.)

  • Kamilla


    I agree completely – I was being sarcastic with my last line.


  • georgie-ann

    …but doesn’t this probably also indicate MORE extensive problems of a deviant nature “under the bland surface” of what poses as the “Catholic” administration and faculty of this school,…surely there must be more “like her” already “in place” to be able to bring her “on board” so easily,…

    it’s what’s going on “under the surface” that is probably the even bigger problem,…