Being Gay at a Catholic College

Is gay okay the Catholic way?

Religion writer Michael O’Loughlin recently surveyed the experiences of gay students at a variety of Catholic colleges.  The answer, maybe not surprisingly, is that different schools do things differently.

At Chicago’s DePaul University, O’Loughlin found, students can minor in LGBTQ Studies. Students and faculty are out and supportive.

Other schools, such as Washington DC’s Catholic University, have a more mixed record.  Students are gay, O’Loughlin reported, and that’s only sort of okay.

One constant, at Catholic universities as across American culture, is rapid change.

O’Loughlin returned after just a handful of years to his alma mater, St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.  When he attended, gay students kept their sexual identity private. Now, the school itself has initiated programs to make all students, explicitly including homosexual students, feel welcomed, loved, and guided.

As some of the comments on O’Loughlin’s essay proved, not all Catholics are okay with this trend.  As “JP” noted,

Can one imagine a group of Catholic adulterers or thieves organizing at a Catholic college in order for their “voice to be heard”? Homosexual acts as well as larceny or adultery are still considered Mortal Sins by the RCC.

Catholic schools are not alone in their struggles with this issue.  As we noted a while back, Brandon Ambrosino shared his experiences with faith and sexuality at the conservative evangelical flagship school, Liberty University.  Just as Catholic colleges have had a range of responses to the issues of student homosexuality, so folks at conservative Protestant schools  have had surprisingly mixed reactions as well.