On Monday, Pope Francis issued a statement on LGBTQ marriage in the Catholic Church. The Church had the opportunity to unify its lay-people on a stance of acceptance and love, but instead chose a position of division.
The Pope stated that gay marriage is a sin, and that gay marriage will not be blessed or recognized within the Church.
As a Catholic Institution, Gonzaga has traditionally been more conservative on certain areas than other schools and will likely follow the church’s decree on this stance.
While I understand that the administration of this university cannot directly oppose the Vatican, I do believe that GU has the obligation to protect each and every one of its students, regardless of sexual orientation. Likely, the LGBTQ members of this campus community are feeling marginalized and discouraged by Pope Francis’ announcement right now.
Traditionally, GU as an institution has been largely hypocritical in its support of LGBTQ students and staff. While it has made steps forward with the Lincoln Center and by requiring sensitivity training for certain positions, it has also made the Queer Student Union jump through hoops that other clubs have not.
It has been reluctant in exploring gender-inclusive housing in residence halls. And, as of the day that I write this, the administration has yet to issue a response to Pope Francis’ statement which has undoubtedly left the LGBTQ population on campus feeling distressed and unsupported.
Cura Personalis and the Jesuit Mission that GU loves to tout does not have an asterisk at the end that says “*unless they are queer.”
As an institution committed to social justice, GU must do more now than ever to support all of its students and staff. The administration must make a statement in support of the LGBTQ community on campus, but more than that, they must make a commitment to rise above the performative activism that the administration so loves to display and make actual, concrete efforts to promote the well-being of the queer community.
This means better funding for QSU and the Lincoln Center. This means efforts to connect LGBTQ students to resources. This means providing queer therapists at Health and Counseling Services. This means showing the LGBTQ community that, while GU can’t oppose the Pope, the school is still committed to protecting and uplifting them.
Please, GU, do not fail these people yet again.