There is new controversy at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. This time it is because a gay alumni group- yes, Virginia, there is such a thing- objected publicly to a course at the school which lists homosexuality as a “deviant behavior”. The university’s social work program offers the course, called SWK 314 Deviant Behavior. The course description reads: “The behaviors that are primarily examined are murder, rape, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, mental illness and drug use.”
The University responds that “Franciscan University follows Catholic Church teaching in regard to homosexuality and treats homosexual persons with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358) while holding homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered.’ ”
The whole thing is, predictably, being treated by conservative Catholic bloggers as a matter of the noble University being assailed by gay militants.
The problem with this is that the Church, while holding that homosexual acts- not persons- are “intrinsically disordered” (and any sin is “intrinsically disordered”) it nowhere proclaims homosexuality “deviant”. For the University to claim that it is merely following Church teaching needlessly damages the Church’s reputation. And it needlessly offends people bearing the cross of same-sex attraction to be lumped in with murderers, rapists, thieves, prostitutes, the mentally ill and drug addicts.
Further, how can the Republican, er, Franciscan University dare make out as if it is intent on following Church teaching? Just last spring it honored General Michael Hayden, former CIA chief and public defender of torture, with an honorary doctorate when he delivered the commencement address. As the Church condemns torture as well as preemptive war- and two popes called the Iraq war unjust- it is apparent that the University is selective in its fidelity. The silence from the supposedly “orthodox Catholic” world was deafening.
I can respect honest dissent. But when the dissenter wraps himself in the cloak of fidelity?
That is beyond contempt.
Especially when what is being promoted goes far beyond what the Church teaches.