Jesuit University says support to gay organizations is “the Catholic thing” to do

.- An official from the Jesuit-run Santa Clara University in California told Catholic News Agency that hosting a two-day long conference, on how to promote opportunities for gays and lesbians at Catholic colleges is “the Catholic” way to act as opposed to highlighting the intrinsic immorality of homosexual acts.

As the Vatican prepares a document reiterating its stance, particularly against homosexuality in seminaries, the aim of the conference entitled “Out There” was to highlight scholarships and student affairs being created to cater specifically to gays and lesbians at Catholic institutions.

The conference brought together representatives from the Universities of Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Fordham, DePaul, La Salle, Marquette and Emory, as well as Boston College, and College of the Holy Cross.  Out of the plus 40 Catholic universities represented, thirteen were Jesuit institutions like Santa Clara.

Some 150 attendees were invited to choose from workshops like, "Curriculum and Same-Sex Marriage in a Jesuit University" and "Can I Be Gay and Catholic?"

The dean’s office and Santa Clara’s campus ministry helped finance the event, which was organized largely by English professor Linda Garber.

The Bay Area Reporter, a local gay & lesbian publication, celebrated the event reporting:
“Queers and Catholics converged upon Santa Clara University over the weekend for a watershed conference, marking the first-ever large-scale LGBT event at the Jesuit University.”

Keynote speaker Mark Jordan, a theologian from Emory University and self proclaimed gay man, told the Bay Area Reporter the conference served a purpose that was more than academic.

"This conference was a discovery for a lot of people, first of all in how many of us [LGBT and LGBT-friendly Catholics] there are," Jordan said.

"But to see that people have been improvising solutions, and have the chance to come together and compare improvisations was important," he added.

Jordan acknowledged that the religion is exclusive of gays and lesbians in many ways, and in particular that the Catholic Church’s newly chosen Pope is alienating to many.

"[Choosing Ratzinger as pope] is a catastrophe. I felt kicked in the stomach," he said.

“But that doesn't mean that LGBT people can't be Catholic, even if the institution does not formally welcome them,” Jordan said.

"The Catholic tradition is bigger than the church, it's bigger than the boundaries of the institution, and has more to offer to queer people than just a place in the institution," Jordan said.

"So if the institution alienates us, we take the tradition with us outside the institution," he said.

Jordan believes Catholic authorities likely won't change church doctrine to be fully inclusive of LGBT people for several hundred years, so contemporary queers should instead focus on "horizontal" change – working at the level of Catholic people instead of butting heads with the hierarchy.

Lisa Millora, who is the University’s Assistant Dean for Student Life and one of the co-organizers of the event, told CNA that, although the coincidental timing of the new Vatican document wasn’t planned, “it is important.”

She said that the overall importance of the conference was that it dealt with what she called, “an invisible minority, who face an oppression and tension different than racial minorities,” for example.

Primarily, the job of her office, she said, “is to remove any obstacles to a student’s education.”

As a Jesuit University in the Catholic tradition, she added, “We need to pay attention to social injustices, no matter how uncomfortable they are for us.”

Joseph Winter, a professor at Loyola, said that his school is seen as very progressive, and even offers housing to LGBT couples.

At Saint Louis, there is not much proactive administrative support but neither is there opposition, said Ken Haller, a professor and pediatrician.

Haller, the former president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, said he is often asked whether he is still a Catholic.

"I answer 'yes,'" he said. "I'm a pediatrician, and being gay and being Catholic both call me to that job, to see the person in need and serve that person."

Santa Clara University describes itself as “a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university” located in California's Silicon Valley, which offers its 8,213 students “rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees.”   As California's oldest higher-education institution “it demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 20, 2014


All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Second Reading:: Col 3:1-4
Gospel:: Jn 20:1-9

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:13-35


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: