The Vatican’s March 15th statement banning blessings of same-gender unions has generated a variety of responses across Catholic college and university campuses, including op-eds from campus newspapers and statements from administrators. Today’s post features four campus reactions.
Rev. Guillermo Campuzano, vice president of Mission and Ministry at DePaul University, Chicago, published a statement re-affirming the school’s commitment to LGBTQ students, writing, in part:
“An essential principle of advocacy of the LGBTQ community, and one that we embrace together, is that love is love – and love is not a sin. It is a gift from God and an opportunity. . .For LGBTQ community members at DePaul and beyond, we see you, we love you, and we are with you.”
The announcement notes that DePaul University’s Mission and Ministry office also added their name to the Tyler Clementi Foundation statement against the bullying of LGBTQ youth, alongside a number of other Catholic organizations, religious orders, and 14 U.S. bishops.
Kaitlyn Drake, a sophomore Fairfield University, Connecticut, at penned an op-ed essay in the campus newspaper, the Fairfield Mirror, condemning the Vatican statement and calling on the administration to better support the LGBTQ community. She wrote in part:
“Fairfield University: as a queer person attending your Catholic insitution, I want a response to this. You dropped the ball with Black Lives Matter, but this is your chance to make sure your marginalized students feel supported. If you truly celebrate the ‘God-given dignity of every human person,’ stand up for those who are being attacked by the Catholic church and make your campus a safe place for everyone.’”
Noting that she was raised as a Catholic, Drake explained that she had distanced herself from the institutional Church, but nevertheless found it affecting her daily life, especially the painful rhetoric of late/ “It is still harmful for us to have to deal with everyday homophobia from prestigious, long-established organizations that influence our lives more than we’d like to admit,” she stated.
Salve Regina University
Salve Regina University, Rhode Island, recently announced the creation of focus groups for students, faculty, and alumni to discern how to better serve LGBTQ students.
The initiative will be led by Amanda Self, current Assistant Director at the Center for Student Development, who was appointed because of her advocacy and work with LGBTQ students. In addition to listening to new ideas and researching other institutions, Self and the students are eager to open a physical LGBTQ center on campus.
Having such support is crucial in light of the Vatican statement, Self said. “Having the resources on campus for students to go to, when they might be triggered by this type of thing is critical. So to me, the news and news like that just makes this even more important.”
University of St. Thomas
Mia Laube, a lesbian student at the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota,, wrote iabout the need for better inclusion at the university for the campus outlet, TommieMedia. She commented:
“I write this letter to you, St. Thomas, the place I love, asking that you do better for me. . .I am using my platform in TommieMedia, my white privilege, my straight-passing privilege, my cisgender privilege and the confidence my parents instilled in me to ask that you do better for other queer people, for queer people of color, for queer Tommies…Don’t just tolerate, don’t just affirm. Celebrate students like me.”
Campus psychologist Gigi Giordano and Professor Laura Zebuhr gave TommieMedia some concrete suggestions for moving from tolerance to celebration such as an LGBTQ+ center on campus, visibility in the administration, more queer-related courses, and a centered of queer voices on university and community issues.
—Angela Howard McParland, New Ways Ministry, April 22, 2021
National Catholic Reporter, “Students press Catholic colleges to respond to ban on same-sex blessings“