Notre Dame's student newspaper The Observer reports that the university helped some students travel to Washington to demonstrate in favor of gay rights.
A surprise move from the Student Activities Office allowed five students to attend a national gay rights demonstration in Washington D.C. Sunday, sophomore Jackie Emmanuel, president of the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), said.
The students were granted permission from the Office to use PSA funding to travel to the nation's capital to participate in the National Equality March over the weekend, Emmanuel said.
"The fact that we were University-approved was surprising but it was a wonderful surprise," she said. "The University hasn't always been entirely receptive in the past."
Today's large university tends to be Balkanized into semi-independent fiefdoms only loosely connected with the administration, and it's more than likely that the Students Activities Office was acting on its own initiative in assisting the gay rights crew. But it's equally likely that this action was indeed consonant with the views of most Notre Dame faculty and administrators on the issue; the reaction to Pope Benedict's 2008 address on the role of the academy proved it would be easier to find a public defender of phlogiston theory on a Catholic faculty than a public critic of sodomy. When Boston College Law Prof. Scott Fitzgibbon appeared last month in a television ad in opposition to same-sex marriage, 76 of his colleagues -- including, be it noted, three Jesuit faculty -- retaliated with a signed statement stressing their commitment to keep BC Law "a safe and welcome place for all students, including LGBT students." They scare easy.
Notre Dame's administration will be able to deflect complaints about the gay march funding on the grounds that the Student Activities Office does not submit minor decisions for approval. What it could not do is point out the contradiction between the purpose of the Washington demonstration and defined Catholic teaching regarding the rights and duties of the homosexual person. For that you need, not a Catholic university, but a Catholic.
[tip to LifeSite]
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