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Koch Foundation’s $1-Million Gift to Catholic U. Draws 50 Protesters

Fifty leading Roman Catholics in higher education have signed a letter protesting a $1-million donation that will enable the Catholic University of America’s School of Business and Economics to hire four visiting scholars to do research on “principled entrepreneurship,” The Washington Post reported.

The letter says the gift sends “a confusing message” because the donor—the Koch Foundation, which is affiliated with the brothers Charles and David Koch—is known for its support of conservative and libertarian causes, and so offers a “stark contrast” with the church’s “traditional social-justice teachings.” The letter cites a recent message from Pope Francis in which he criticizes ideologies that “defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace.”

In response the university issued a statement on Monday declaring the letter’s signers as “presumptuous on two counts”—first by asserting a role as “arbiters of political correctness” and second by redefining Catholic teachings “to suit their own political preferences.”

The letter was signed by current and retired faculty members and others at colleges and universities across the United States, including a few at Catholic University.

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