UMD med student objects to ‘very existence’ of Catholic group on campus 

A recent article called the group "divisive" and "controversial."

A chapter of the Catholic Medical Association at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus is facing criticism because of its support of mainstream Catholic beliefs. (Shutterstock)

A chapter of the Catholic Medical Association at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus is facing criticism because of its support of traditional Catholic beliefs.

The Star Tribune recently published a story on the “divisive” and “controversial” group that is “fracturing” the Duluth medical program. The article quoted two students and noted that Interim Regional Campus Dean Kevin Diebel wasn’t aware of any complaints made about the group.

It summarized medical student Jamey Sharp’s view on the group as such: “But the content of the group’s website, tense class discussions and the very existence of the group ‘makes it hard to coexist with them and trust them as colleagues and fellow professionals,’ Sharp said.”

The article cites the group’s traditional beliefs in opposition to “gender-affirming care,” abortion, and contraception and a 2022 event where it hosted Dr. Quentin Van Meter, who called transgender interventions for minors a “conveyor belt to hell” and said Catholic physicians shouldn’t make referrals for such treatments.

However, Catholic Medical Association President Dr. Craig Treptow said “Catholic physicians do not deny care.” According to Diebel, students with moral objections to certain treatments are taught to transfer care.

“[Catholic physicians] offer holistic, life-affirming, evidence-based health care,” Treptow told Alpha News. “Catholic health care treats the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of all persons regardless of sexual or gender identity. The Catholic Medical Association strongly disagrees with current medical interventions in gender dysphoria treatment for minors for the reasons outlined in our statement.”

Pope Francis has called transgender ideology “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations” of the day, saying young people “need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created.”

The medical student who began the CMA guild for students in Duluth wrote that she experienced teachings that conflicted with her Catholic beliefs every day while attending classes at the University of Minnesota.

“My days were filled with so many lectures and guidelines that I knew were not right or ordered at all and they most definitely were against our beliefs as Catholics,” Emma Pero wrote. “And I figured that I couldn’t be alone in thinking and knowing that this was wrong and that I wanted to practice medicine in a way that did not compromise my salvation but in fact helped myself achieve Heaven.”

In response to the Star Tribune article, Democratic Minnesota Rep. Leigh Finke of St. Paul took issue with students who desire to practice medicine within the guidelines of their personal convictions.

“Placing individuals who have made clear they will deny life-saving medical care to patients into our rural and tribal communities …  is going to be tremendously harmful to women and LGBTQ+ people,” Finke said. “The U, as a medical training facility, needs to address this.”

Finke has previously stated that the “church is a negative force on culture.”

“Every day, Catholics around the world respond generously to Jesus’s call to heal the sick and infirm, especially if they are poor, elderly, or disabled. The Church is the largest non-governmental provider of health care services in the world, and Catholics invented what we call the hospital today,” Christopher Mulcahey with the Minnesota Catholic Conference said in response. “This is well-known and easily accessible history, which responsible public officials should know and understand, especially considering the continued prevalence of non-profit Catholic health care facilities which serve our communities.”


Hayley Feland

Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.