On April 16, Father Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., the new president of the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, spoke to Catholic San Francisco, the newspaper of the archdiocese of San Francisco. Father Fitzgerald repeatedly expressed his willingness to work more closely with the Catholic Church. He told the paper that the committee which selected him “want the university to be recognized as a resource to the Catholic Church and to the archdiocese. In what ways can the university support the archbishop and the chancery?” Father Fitzgerald further said, “For the record I would be happy to say I am seeking ways in which the university’s intellectual resources can be at the service of the archbishop and the archdiocese.”
From May 15-17, USF held their annual commencement exercises. The Cardinal Newman Society, which monitors the faithfulness/faithlessness of Catholic universities reported on two of the ten commencement speakers:
“The University of San Francisco in California announced that it will give an honorary degree to its commencement speaker Norman Mineta, a past U.S. transportation secretary, congressman and cosponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act, which declared that “a state may not restrict the right of a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy … at any time, if such termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.”
The society further reported:
“The University of San Francisco School of Law in California has announced its plans to honor its commencement speaker The Honorable John Roos, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan and a public supporter of same-sex marriage, with an honorary degree. Roos signed a public letter urging Californians to vote against Proposition 8, the voter referendum that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.”
The Cardinal Newman Society report was incomplete. It neglected to mention the commencement speaker for USF’s Undergraduate Arts and Social Sciences Students: Carlos Menchaca. Menchaca is a member of the New York City Council. On July 24, 2013 Gay City News reported “Menchaca became (USF’s) first out gay student body president. Acknowledging the Catholic Church’s problematic posture toward gay people, he said he profited from his time there learning the values of discipline and social justice the Jesuit tradition instills.” Menchaca is a member of the New York City Council’s LGBT Caucus, and before his election, served as the council’s liason to the “LGBT community.” In that capacity, as reported by the ACT on Principles website in June of 2011, he served as a coordinator of signature gathering for the New York Marriage Equality Campaign.
Menchacha, Mineta, and Roos are joined by San Francisco’s Chief of Police Greg Suhr, who will address the Students in the School of Management. On June 20, 2013 the blog The Petrelis Files reported that on June 28, 2013 Chief Suhr ‘gave away’ the ‘bride’ at a transgender wedding in San Francisco’s City Hall. The ‘bride’ Veronika Fimbres, wrote: “Chief Suhr offered us this blessing: ‘I am very happy for Veronika. She is a lovely lady and her guy is very lucky to have found her. It was a surprise when she asked me to give her away but a pleasure to have the honor of being able to do it. I wish the new couple many happy years together.’ Two days later, on June 30, Fimbres served as a Grand Marshal at the City’s Gay Pride Parade. Chief Suhr has marched in the parade as well.