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Women-Only Catholic College to Enroll Men Who Identify as Women, Furor Ensues

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An all-women's Catholic college in Notre Dame, Indiana will now allow men who identify as women to enroll in their undergraduate program starting in the fall of 2024.

Saint Mary's College revised its non-discrimination policy in June to allow for "undergraduate applicants whose sex is female or who consistently live and identify as women."

President Katie Conboy told faculty last week in an email the College is still determining the practices that will follow from the policy, The Observer first reported.

"We are by no means the first Catholic women's college to adopt a policy with this scope," Conboy wrote. "In drafting the language for this update, I have relied on the guidance of the Executive Team and others to ensure that our message is not only in line with best practices for today's college students but that it also encompasses our commitment to operate as a Catholic women's college."

Earlier this year, Conboy assembled a "President's Task Force for Gender Identity and Expression" to gather information from other Catholic colleges and to make recommendations for student housing policies.

Saint Mary's is one of 32 active women's colleges in the U.S., according to the Women's College Coalition.

Conboy wrote in an email that the school's board "fully supports" the new policy.

"This confidence from our Board underscores their commitment that as an employer, Saint Mary's must stand firm in its position as an inclusive community leader and that as educators, we should continue to create an environment where all women belong and thrive," Conboy wrote. 

However, others have quickly criticized the school for its decision. 

"In the name of empowering women, St. Mary's has abandoned women," Independent Women's Voice adviser Riley Gaines told The Daily Signal. "It would be comical if there weren't real consequences women have to endure. Men would not put up with this mistreatment and gaslighting for a second. It's time women take back our spaces, our opportunities, and our language."


Clare Ann Ath, a St. Mary's alumna who serves as the government affairs manager for the pro-life group Human Coalition, wrote on X, "Just found out my alma mater @saintmarys, an all-women's Catholic college, will be accepting BIOLOGICAL MEN starting next fall. This decision is blasphemous & a complete rejection of the Church and its teachings on gender and sexuality."

"St. Mary's College is no longer Catholic," junior Saint Mary's student Claire Bettag told The Daily Signal. "It is no longer a women's institution. This is fraudulent misrepresentation at best. Every student should be entitled to a refund for fraudulent misrepresentation. An attorney should file a class action lawsuit against the college. They have abandoned their faith, and they've abandoned the women. No woman should be forced to share a bathroom or living quarters with a man."

Conboy cited a quote from Pope Francis in an email to staff. 

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"Pope Francis advocates for love as the appropriate approach to those who are different from ourselves: 'Love, then, is more than just a series of benevolent actions. Those actions have their source in a union increasingly directed towards others, considering them of value, worthy, pleasing, and beautiful apart from their physical or moral appearances. Our love for others, for who they are, moves us to seek the best for their lives,'" she cited. 

"The revised non-discrimination clause seeks to advance just this kind of community, where we honor the dignity of all persons who work at the college and we follow an inclusive admission process that retains our identity as a Catholic women's college," Conboy added.

Earlier this month, the Vatican issued a document stating that transgender individuals could be baptized and serve as godparents in some circumstances.

In March, the Pope condemned the transgender agenda when speaking with an Argentinean newspaper calling it a "dangerous" ideological takeover.

"I always distinguish between what pastoral care is for people who have a different sexual orientation and what gender ideology is," he said. "They are two different things. Gender ideology, at this time, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations." 

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.