“Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic Teaching can be Used to Justify Prejudicial or Discriminatory Attitudes and Behaviors”

In 2013, a male student at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Brighton, New York, requested that he be allowed to attend Junior Prom with another young man. Father Edward Salmon, president of the school, decided to allow the students to attend the prom together. In a letter dated 27 March 2013 announcing his decision, he wrote, “I have made the decision that, if our two brothers who have asked to attend the Junior Ball together wish to do so, they will be welcomed.” He also wrote about “the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, who in their Pastoral Message, ‘Always Our Children,’ ‘… call on all Christians and citizens of good will to confront their own fears about homosexuality and to curb the humor and discrimination that offend homosexual persons. We understand that having a homosexual orientation brings with it enough anxiety, pain and issues related to self-acceptance without society bringing additional prejudicial treatment.’ I would like to let a ray of light enter into possible misunderstanding of the Church’s teaching. In that same message […] the Bishops are clear — ‘Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.’ The Bishops continue: ‘It is also important to recognize that neither a homosexual orientation, nor a heterosexual one, leads inevitably to sexual activity. One’s total personhood is not reducible to sexual orientation or behavior.’ In that same message, the Bishops refer to a 1986 Letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which emphasizes that ‘Respect for the God-given dignity of all persons means the recognition of human rights and responsibilities. The teachings of the Church make it clear that the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended and that all of us must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against them.’ The Bishops continue, ‘It is not sufficient only to avoid unjust discrimination. Homosexual persons ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358). They, as is true of every human being, need to be nourished at many different levels simultaneously. This includes friendship, [brotherhood] which is a way of loving and is essential to healthy human development. It is one of the richest possible human experiences. Friendship can and does thrive outside of sexual involvement.’”

For Further Information: “McQuaid To Allow Gay Couple At Junior Prom.” WHAM (Rochester, New York). 29 March 2013

http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/McQuaid-gay-couple-prom/oADh9zG0A0a7EZq8ZDT5aQ.cspx

 Father Edward Salmon’s letter can be downloaded from the above site.

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