Earlier today I noticed a Letter to the Editor in The Heights written by Grace Dietrich, MCAS ’20 which was a response to an article written by Michael Razis, MCAS ’19. In her letter, Grace expressed her concern that, as a Jesuit university, Boston College is barred from creating an LGBTQ+ resource center and therefore should not be called upon to do so.
Though the topic is controversial and has been a hot-button issue on campus ever since a sign in the Mod parking lot was vandalized, people on both sides have expressed valid concerns. I was jarred, however, by the contents of Grace’s letter. Much of her argument—which relied heavily on Church doctrine for its justification—expressed a fundamental misunderstanding of Catholic social teaching.
In a 2006 publication entitled “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care,” the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asserted: “Support groups, noted for their adherence to Church teaching, for persons who experience same-sex attraction continue to be an important part of Church ministries and are to be encouraged.” Moreover, that: “Efforts should be made to identify and publicize those services that conduct their work in a manner that accords with Church teaching.” Clearly, Catholic social teaching not only calls for the toleration of LGBTQ+ people, but also the active support of their dignity as humans made in the image and likeness of god.
In her letter, Grace states that the Catholic Church “is firmly in support of traditional marriage and traditional relationships, i.e. heterosexual relationships.” Grace does not give context for this notation, but I suppose that she meant to argue against the resource center on the grounds that the Church does not afford the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples. This would be a valid point if the student body was advocating for a homosexual speed-dating club, yet it seems irrelevant when used to justify the rejection of a resource center.
It is important to remember that the push for a LGBTQ+ resource center stems from the desire to have a safe space for queer students where resources are centralized and made easily-accessible. The creation of a space for LGBTQ+ students would not be advocating for any particular lifestyle, but merely centralizing pre-existing resources that are sometimes hard to find.
Support for a portion of the student body that has repeatedly been the target of hate speech and exclusion is crucial to keeping the community safe as a whole. Doing so would not be a radical statement, nor would it be a slight to our values as a catholic institution, but rather a move towards creating a community where all students can truly say “for here all are one.”
Joseph Fonseca, MCAS ’20
Featured Image by Abby Paulson / Creative Director