Homosexuals excluded once again
Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, February 15, 2005
It should come as no surprise that Bishop John D’Arcy is once again condemning an attempt to bring a sense of inclusion to homosexuals at Notre Dame. In a Feb. 10 letter to the South Bend Tribune, the bishop blasted the Notre Dame Queer Film Festival, calling it “an abuse of academic freedom” and claiming that by sponsoring the festival, “the rights of others are violated.” This response exhibits a lack of understanding of the film festival’s purpose. The aim is to unite people of different orientations in dialogue to promote a sense of tolerance and acceptance between all people, regardless of their differences.
D’Arcy’s past comments concerning homosexuals and the Church have reflected similar exclusionary views. This is the same man who has long lobbied for the exclusion of homosexual men from the priesthood. In 1979 D’Arcy chaired a committee and personally wrote the majority of a pastoral letter on priestly formation by the New England bishops in which the bishops state, in regard to the admission of seminarians, “Young men who are truly homosexual should not be admitted … Young men who are excessively effeminate should not be admitted.” This was also D’Arcy’s response in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Church, and even as late as this past summer D’Arcy was once again calling for a ban on homosexual priests. He has continued to make this call for a ban despite having produced no evidence the abuse scandal has any link to the sexual orientation of the abusers.
In his letter, D’Arcy claims homosexuals “belong in the mainstream of our Catholic life, not shunned.” After his continual efforts to keep homosexuals from the priesthood and his current condemnation of the Queer Film Festival, this call for inclusion is most certainly a hollow one. While D’Arcy, in his role as defender of the Church’s teaching, has focused on the opposition to homosexual acts, he has remained largely silent on the issue of respect and understanding toward homosexuals.
He has offered superficial words of acceptance to homosexuals but has neglected to support in a meaningful way the importance of Church teaching on respect, compassion and sensitivity toward them. We only wish D’Arcy would have the same zeal in accepting homosexuality according to Church teaching as he does in condemning it. Ours is a faith marked by Christ’s love, and we must show that love in our acceptance and caring for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.