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PETITION: Ask Vatican-backed university to remove ban of renowned scholar Dr. John Rist

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One of the world’s greatest living, English-speaking scholars of Classical philosophy was told he has been barred from all Pontifical Universities after he signed an Open Letter along with a number of prominent clergymen and scholars accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy. 

Rist, who was supervising a PhD student and doing academic work at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, was refused entry to the campus without any prior warning. 

“When I returned on the 25th I drove in through the gate and found the barrier down. I waited for the porter to open it, but nothing happened. So I got out and was told I could not enter the property.  Apparently ... this was because some Vatican apparatchik had issued a decree that I [was] now [personanon grata and … to be forbidden entry to all pontifical universities,” Rist continued.   

The ban would be a sharp about-face for the pontifical universities: Professor Rist was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Pontifical institute Università della Santa Croce in 2002. In addition to the pontifical university ban, Catholic University of America has refused to publish Rist’s Festschrift, a traditional collection of essays by former students and academic colleagues published to celebrate the achievements of a notable scholar.

This ban came just a few weeks after Rist and eighteen others signed the Open Letter to Pope Francis. 

However, many of these same universities employ professors and promote views that are opposed to the Church’s teaching. The Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, in conjunction with the university’s faculty, just hosted a photo exhibit— titled “Unbelievers”— featuring a homosexual couple, a transhumanist, and a witch who advocates “human extinction.”

The exhibit was organized to coincide with a “major atheism conference” on Cultures of Unbelief taking place at the Gregorian University, May 28-30. The conference is being co-hosted by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture and the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network at the University of Kent, England.

It is outrageous for pontifical universities to promote views extremely opposed to the Church's teaching, and yet ban Dr. Rist, who, by signing the Open Letter to Pope Francis seeks to uphold Church doctrine and the Catholic faith.

Sign this petition to ask the pontifical universities to remove the ban on Dr. John Rist, and restore their commitment to teaching and promulgating the Catholic Faith. 

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