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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Apostate Universities

Catholicism teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin. How can Catholic Universities encourage homosexuality, and still claim to be Catholic?

(Thanks to 7lb Dave)



Lisa Leff
Associated Press Writer

More than 40 Catholic colleges were represented on Saturday at a conference that was billed as the nation's first on how gays and lesbians fit in at universities guided by a faith that says their sexual orientation is wrong.

But rather than lamenting the Catholic Church's stand on homosexuality, the two-day "Out There" conference at Santa Clara University showed that plenty of gay-related scholarship and student affairs planning is going on in Catholic higher education, said co-organizer Linda Garber.

"It's important and interesting to know there are Catholic universities that have offices and staff people specifically geared toward LGBT concerns," said Garber, director of the women's and gender studies program at Santa Clara. "There are a lot of people out there who are teaching (LGBT) studies without a national professional organization, a newsletter or anything."

The conference drew about 150 people, most of them faculty and administrators who deal with gay subject matter or students. Topics included "Curriculum and Same-Sex Marriage in a Jesuit University" and "Can I Be Gay and Catholic?"

The continuing tension was demonstrated into the oft-repeated anecdote that Notre Dame University has had an active gay and lesbian student group for years, but the college does not recognize or provide financial support to the organization.

One sign of how far the universities have come in openly addressing gay issues is that the dean's office and campus ministry at Jesuit-run Santa Clara provided money for the event, while the school's president sent a welcome letter to participants, said Lisa Millora, assistant dean for student life.

"There are a lot of people who subscribe to Catholic values as they relate to academic work, but don't necessarily agree with how the Catholic Church carries out its work," Millora said.

Among the universities represented at the conference were Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Fordham, DePaul, Boston College, College of the Holy Cross, La Salle, Marquette and Emory.



Blogger Mattias A. Caro said...

Unlike society at large, a university is a private community and its own entity and as such a free association it can choose the principles reflected in it. While society as a whole has a responsibility towards respecting pluralism, a Catholic university is set up as an institution to promote the Catholic Life. Actively supporting homosexual activity would run counter to that life. Even if the university is not materially cooperating by providing funds and faculty, it does formally cooperate by allowing such organizaitons to exist. Thus it goes against the University's characteristic as Catholic.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Esther said...

Why not just say for yourselves, as Catholics, you can't be homosexual but yet accept others (who either are or aren't Catholic) who happen to be gay? I fully admit that I don't understand this whole thing completely.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Mattias, you`ve done a fine job of explaining that. Thanks!

Hi Esther!

Actually, Catholicism teaches that we SHOULD love and accept homosexuals. We are commanded to hate the sin and love the sinner, because we are ALL sinners in some form.

Catholic teaching says that:

1.Unrepentent, practicing homosexuals are facing damnation (based on homosexuality being describes as an abomination in the Bible) and love cannot allow us watch someone perish. What is often called an homophobic view is actually a desire for the well-being of the homosexual. St. Paul states that homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven ``and so were some of you``. The hope is that they will repent of it (and those committing adultery will repent, and atheists, and gluttons, etc.-there is plenty of blame to go around!) A person may be homosexual, but not PRACTICE the behavior-there is no sin in that.

2.Something that is not widely known (even among Catholics) is that being in a state of sin means you cannot receive the Sacraments, which essentially means you are excommunicated (the official decree is merely a formality.) Practicing homosexuals are cut off from the Sacraments, and if they receive them they are committing another sin. This can`t be ignored; there has to be repentence, or the individual should move on. This holds for any sin.

I think Mattias did an excellent job of explaining WHY a Catholic University has the right to set qualifications and standards!

I know, Esther, that Catholic teaching can be confusing to non-Catholics; it`s often misunderstood by practicing members of the Church. I also realize that there is considerable hypocrisy in the application of Church Teaching to everyday life. Just bear in mind that the intent of Church law is for the well-being of both the homosexual and the body of believers. It`s not intended to exclude, if that can be avoided.

What would a Synogogue do if a militant Moslem decided he was going to attend regularly, and would demand that he be accepted while shouting ``death to Israel``? This is a bit extreme, but you get the idea; being Jewish entails accepting Jewish Law and Custom, believing in the Torah, accepting dietary laws and circumcision, etc. There are things you must do to be Jewish. A practicing Moslem who refuses to accept the tenants of Judaism isn`t a Jew. There are things you must do to be Catholic, as well, and among these things is you must refrain from homosexual behavior (or adultery, or fornication, etc.) You are welcome to repent at any time, or you are free to move on, but you don`t have the right to demand entry to the Church and maintain rebellion against it.

There is no shunning of homosexuals mandated by Catholicism; there is just a sadness at their plight, compassion for them, and a desire to lead them out of a lifestyle that is both terribly destructive and painful here, and possibly lethal in the hereafter.

I hope that clears up your confusion over the issue! I know it is one of the more confusing aspects of the Catholic faith.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Esther said...

Tim, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question openly and honestly. It definitely has helped me to understand it more. I'm going to respond to your attempt to use a Jewish example. ;)

What would a Synogogue do if a militant Moslem decided he was going to attend regularly, and would demand that he be accepted while shouting ``death to Israel``? This is a bit extreme, but you get the idea

You sort of had me there until you put the last part. I don't think a homosexual is looking to bring down the Catholic Church if they are looking to belong to the Church. Also, if you're trying to change them, then you really aren't accepting them. At least not in my opinion.

being Jewish entails accepting Jewish Law and Custom, believing in the Torah, accepting dietary laws and circumcision, etc. There are things you must do to be Jewish.

Not true. That's only true if you want to convert to Judaism. I was born a Jew, therefore I'm Jewish. I don't have to keep kosher, I don't have to believe in G-d, I don't have to ever step foot in a temple -- and I will still be considered Jewish. Certainly by Hitler. Now, maybe not by Orthodox Jews, but they don't rule my life. They can believe what they want; it doesn't affect me. Does that make sense?

2:37 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Thanks, Esther!

You make some good points!

5:16 AM  

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