Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Brad Duffy claims that “there is nothing ‘anti-gay’ about Notre Dame.” Really? Last spring approximately 3,000 students, faculty and staff signed a petition to include “sexual orientation” in Notre Dame’s Non-Discrimination clause.
Apparently this outpouring of support from almost half the student body did not merit an official response. Year after year Notre Dame rejects the Gay-Straight Alliance’s application for club recognition, further isolating gay and lesbian students from the Notre Dame community. The active elimination of the Film Festival is just one of the many indications of the university’s attitude toward members of its own family.
Notre Dame’s treatment of gay and lesbian students is embarrassing for a university that prides itself on its Catholic character and family atmosphere. We regret that Brad Duffy so deeply misunderstands the nature of Catholic teachings on homosexuality.
The Catholic Church does not condemn gays. Catholic teaching characterizes homosexual acts as “disordered,” just as it condemns all sexual acts outside of marriage. Regarding treatment of gays, the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that they “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” and that “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (2358).
Brad Duffy states that “Notre Dame cannot allow its mission to be shaped by those determined to demoralize it.” We don’t want to demoralize Notre Dame’s mission. We want to ensure that it lives up to its mission of being a university that espouses Catholic beliefs, which include the acceptance and respect of gay/lesbian students.
This university is our home too, and it saddens us that it continually alienates part of its community that only asks for respect and support. Therefore, while you might consider our views “radical,” we do not. Neither do 3,000 students who recognize that there are areas in which Notre Dame needs to be improved. It is time for Notre Dame to live up to the Catholic teachings so central to our University’s identity.
Welsh Family Hall