The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota is standing by an adjunct professor of theology who is gay after a man with a history of harassment reportedly walked around campus demanding that she be fired. The man also passed out fliers featuring images of the professor, Kelly Wilson, and her children. Wilson told KARE-11 that she got a call from campus security alerting her of the man’s presence last month — as well as some immediate support from colleagues, students and her dean.
“You don’t have pick being gay or Catholic — it’s not either-or moments or decisions; what it is I believe I am being my authentic self,” Wilson told KARE-11. “I believe that is what my church asks me to do, what the Scriptures ask me to do and what God expects of me, and this is my home, is the Catholic Church.”
St. Thomas said in a statement that the unnamed man has a history of “criticizing St. Thomas employees. He is not allowed on campus, but we are limited in how we can respond to him when he is on public property. When we found out about this latest incident, we reached out to offer our full support to Dr. Wilson. We also sent a university-wide communication rejecting this man’s hateful message and reaffirming our commitment to an inclusive environment for our LGBTQA+ community members.” That response is “consistent with Catholic teaching, which calls on us to love and care for every person. As Pope Francis reminds us, ‘God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity.’”
Following the incident, Wilson began a fundraiser for Dignity Twin Cities, a local organization that supports gay Catholics. Father James Martin of New York also addressed members of the St. Thomas campus at Wilson’s request. “The idea people would be protesting and as I understand passing out pictures of her children is, let’s use a word that needs to be in the discussion, which is cruel,” Father Martin said. “And that is certainly something not part of Catholic teaching, not part of the Christian world and not what Jesus asked us to do.”