A need for clear Catholic leadership
Published: Thursday, December 8, 2005
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
The Boston College administration is now finding out what happens when you try to please everyone rather than staying true to one particular principle. The gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans-gendered community is outraged about the University's cancellation of the "safe zone" dance it had planned for last week and, in a way, I can't blame them. The reason they're angry is the same reason I'm surprised BC actually cancelled the dance. For the three-and-a-half years I've been at BC, the school has taken steady, ease-into-the-hot-tub steps to give the green light to the GLBT community. It started with the group Allies, then maybe the Lesbian and Gay Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Association (I'm not too sure of the chronology of these groups), which might not be an official University group, but which BC acknowledges and gives access to on its Web site. Then the school modified its non-discrimination policy to protect those of any sexual orientation, this as a result of what many portray as the earth-shattering Rally for Equality last spring. BC did all this, but I'm not sure what it will allow and what it won't. I don't know where it stands on the issue of homosexuality because it doesn't stand in one place. I guess it stops short at allowing a social event where people would make manifest their sexual orientation by dancing with members of the same sex. But who would have known? Who can ever guess where the school's administration will ultimately come down when decision time comes on affairs having to do with this issue? The school is wishy-washy. It can lead certain members of the community on, to the point where they think they can have a dance, but it can't go all the way because its conscience is hampered by some vague notion that it must, in some way, resemble a Catholic school. The message BC sends is that it is not proud of what the church teaches. It will not make a loud, clear pronunciation of what Catholic doctrine says about homosexual persons. The fruits of this can be seen in the confused Catholic students around campus who do not know their faith because they are not being properly guided. Look no further than the opinion section of The Heights on Monday: "BC is an incredible institution because it remains faithful to the Jesuit ideals of 'men and women for others' and social justice for the greater glory of God - not because it follows church doctrine to the letter." See, it's not just an orthodox Catholic who believes BC is very permissive when it comes to expounding what the church teaches. But look at what the editors of The Heights are saying in this editorial of theirs(!): Jesuit ideals are separate from, and kinder than, church teaching. I would hope most people on this campus understand that the mission of the Society of Jesus is one and the same as that of the Catholic Church, but if this point does not get across (and the atmosphere on campus suggests there is serious confusion about this), I can blame it on nothing except BC's failure to properly instruct its students. In closing, I would just like to make clear something that always seems to need clearing up when it comes to the church's stance on homosexuality, which, by the way, is that homosexuals are to be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other person deserves, but that homosexual actions cannot be condoned. A teaching that is difficult is no less motivated by love. On the contrary, challenging standards show a desire to call people to something higher and show a belief that they can achieve it. It's the same tough love parents show their children because they know what's right for them and because they want them to be all they can be. It's a teaching that takes guts to say but works out in the end. I hope BC will begin to have the guts to clearly communicate what the church teaches on this, and all subjects, and to act in accordance with those teachings. If not, I hope BC will allow "safe zone" dances, awards ceremonies, bingo nights, etc. rather than stay on the fence.
Matt Collier is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences.