Friday, January 22, 2010

Is Notre Dame intolerant?

The other day I wrote, "Unfortunately Mr. Klee's letter will probably go unnoticed in the brouhaha over an offensive cartoon published in the Observer..." Sadly I was correct. In true Observer fashion, the Viewpoint section has been utterly dominated by a single point of view on a hot-button issue. The resident progressives have spoken and apparently Notre Dame is "gay unfriendly."

It's sad that I should even have to state this, but I am bound by my sense of justice to state that absolutely nothing in Catholic teaching on homosexuality promotes hatred and injustice toward same-sex attracted persons. We are to love them just as we love every child of God. If there are people on campus claiming that their animus towards SSA people is due to their Catholic upbringing, I will be the first in line to call them out and shame them for their twisted understanding of Church doctrine, and remind them that the average undergraduate has plenty of sins of his own to worry about without concerning himself with his neighbor's. However, I doubt their loving adherence to Catholic doctrine is the cause of their animosity. Some students lacking in charity may be hiding behind a facade of Catholicism, but I think it's nothing but good old-fashioned bigotry at play - nothing Catholic about that!

Predictably, however, some people with an agenda are using this latest flap as a pretext to continue to undermine Notre Dame's Catholic identity and silence authentic Catholic teaching on campus. The cries of "backward" and "prejudiced" are being flung recklessly around, as are the words "hatred" and "discrimination." Not one of these people defines the nebulous term "hatred," which makes me think that "hatred" in this case stands for "holding the belief that homosexual activity is sinful." One particularly silly letter to the Observer urges us to look to the Jesuits on how to treat SSA persons on campus. I have to wonder whether this writer is aware that most Jesuit universities have distanced themselves from Catholicism, describing themselves as "in the Jesuit tradition" with little to no connection to the universal Church. Boston College is known as "Barely Catholic" for a reason, you know. I see that the author did go to a Jesuit school, so I suppose he thinks that kicking Catholicism to the curb is a plus. Needless to say, I vehemently disagree. Jesuit universities are hardly a model for Notre Dame to follow.

A final thought - is it real charity if you see your neighbor rushing headlong toward the edge of a cliff and you do nothing to stop him because you "accept his lifestyle choice?" If any friends or family members of mine were actively gay, I would love them just the same. Nothing would change for me. But for me to pretend that I do not believe that they are making wrong choices that are hurting their relationship to God, would be extremely dishonest and would be doing them a disservice.

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