The Catholic University of America president discusses gender issues with Abigail Favale

Abigail Favale, a Notre Dame's McGrath Institute for Church Life professor, talked about gender roles and gender dysmorphia at The Catholic University of America’s Presidential Speaker Series. Image: Tim Mossholder|Unsplash

At the first event in The Catholic University of America's new Presidential Speaker Series on March 21, President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick and guest speaker Abigail Favale discussed Catholicism and gender issues in front of a packed Heritage Hall.

According to Kilpatrick, the new series will give the university community and Catholic thought leaders a chance to have in-depth discussions about controversial issues.

Discussing Gender Issues Among Catholics

A professor of practice at Notre Dame's McGrath Institute for Church Life and author of 2022's "The Origins of Gender: A Christian Theory," Favale introduced the topic of gender by referencing her work. She related how she eventually found and accepted Catholicism.

According to a news article by The Catholic University, gender norms have always intrigued Favale's interest. She reportedly converted to Catholicism in 2014 and claims that her view of gender roles has evolved since she renounced her "feminist ideology."

Favale strives to take on this subject and write from a firmly Catholic perspective. Still, she also wants to avoid cultural wars and keep the focus on people.

Kilpatrick questioned Favale on how Catholic University may simultaneously uphold its Catholic identity and acknowledge every individual's inherent worth and value. For Favale, the secret to successful hospitality is learning its genuine meaning.

"You invite someone into your home, but yet your home remains your home. It has an identity to it and hospitality doesn't mean that you compromise the identity of your home," Favale said in the report.

Discussion on 'Gender Dysphoria'

Several in the crowd wanted to know how they might support someone with "gender dysphoria" without abandoning their Catholic convictions. 

Per the report, Favale stated that she interacts with individuals who experience "gender discordance," as well as professionals from the medical, psychological, theological, and pastoral fields.

The report said it was all in her efforts to build accompaniment models.

About The Catholic University of America

Even among other Catholic universities, The Catholic University of America stands out as a one-of-a-kind institution in the United States. 

Under Pope Leo XIII's charter, the United States Catholic bishops established the institution as the national university of the Catholic Church in America. For almost 130 years, the institution has fulfilled its founding principles by discovering and sharing truth through exemplary academic programs.

According to the university's website, students at Catholic University are trained to combine reason and faith in their pursuit of answers to the challenges of the modern world and contributions to the culture.

'Faithfully Catholic'

Almost 80% of the undergraduate population at the university identifies as Catholic, and they have plenty of resources to help them celebrate and deepen their faith.

Per the website, retreats are only one of many events hosted by the Campus Ministry throughout the year that students of all faiths are welcome to attend. 

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is located on campus, and Mass is celebrated there and on campus every day. With its Campus Ministry, students have the opportunity to develop both their faith and their friendships.

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