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Showing compassion

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, April 1, 2004

I think in the whole homosexuality debate, we have missed an entire group of people: those with unwanted homosexual tendencies. These are people who struggle silently without anyone knowing what they experience. Maybe he or she lives in your dorm, down the hall, next door – maybe it’s you.

How are these people affected by all this talk about homosexuality? Chances are they have no desire to deal with the issue, just like we all do when we face big problems. We try to put off confronting them because it’s painful. My point is two-fold. First, these “taboo” tendencies make those who struggle with them absolutely no different than anyone on this campus. We all struggle with various issues, and in that sense we are all united – united in that we struggle and united despite our diverse struggles. Most importantly, though, we are united as children of a merciful and loving God, a God who gives us these struggles that we might use them to increase our virtue and eventually emerge from them victorious.

My second point is that we need to realize that homosexuality is an issue that can’t just be dealt with in terms of right and wrong. OK, the Catholic Church teaches – and I believe – that homosexual sex is mortally sinful and that homosexual tendencies are not sinful yet still objectively disordered. Some of you disagree. This letter is not going to change your mind.

I would ask you though, whatever your position, to understand that there are people out there – I know some – who have these tendencies and who despise them. They deal with this issue and fight with it, and they need our support. What they don’t need is people yelling at them from all sides telling them its OK, its not OK, it doesn’t matter. That’s just confusing. I applaud the University for refusing United in Diversity (UID) club status, but I ask the University to be consistent and more vocal in proclaiming the Church’s stance on homosexuality. Allowing events like the Queer Film Festival sends the wrong message.

I don’t like to be critical, but after reading up on the Standing Committee on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs and going to the panel discussion on homosexuality on March 18, I have to say that I have lost any faith I had in the Committee’s value for helping homosexuals live chastely as the Church calls them – and all men and women – to do.

I don’t like to be critical, but after reading up on the Standing Committee and going to the panel discussion on homosexuality on March 18, I have to say that I have lost any faith I had in the Committee’s value for helping homosexuals live chastely as the Church calls them – and all men and women – to do. Several of the students on the Standing Committee are involved with OutreachND, Notre Dame’s unofficial Gay and Lesbian group, and the panel discussion – which included the Chair of the Standing Committee – was certainly not about finding a solid Catholic approach to this important issue.

In response to this situation, there needs to be a decent support system specifically for homosexuals and those with unwanted homosexual tendencies, and it should be organized by people unwavering in their Catholic position and filled with genuine Christian love.

In closing, I want to say that this letter is not about winning any battles with those of differing ideologies. I hope it is clear that what I have said and proposed does not stem from simply a moral right or wrong standpoint.

It should also be said that neither does the Church’s view. The Church’s teaching on the issue is not an attempt to hinder anyone’s freedom; instead, it is one of radical love for all mankind that frees us from our vices that we succumb to because it’s easier that way. Our sins permeate the world and do more damage than we can imagine. It is easy enough to see how our greed in the U.S. has spurred others to hate us. Let’s begin with ourselves, then, and start making a difference.

Chris Christensen

sophomore

Knott Hall

March 31