A group of 15 students met Thursday night to discuss issues ranging from pre-marital sex to homosexuality with two Catholic chaplains.
The inability to discuss (homosexuality) is a big problem of the church, said Jason Franklin, publicity chair of GW Pride.
Franklin spoke to the group at the event, which was part of GW Pride’s Out and About Week, about his experiences coming out of the closet while grappling with the attitudes of the Roman Catholic Church.
Father Jim and Father Mike of the Newman Center, GW’s Catholic student center, oversaw the discussion and offered insight into the Catholic Church’s stance on sexuality. Church doctrine says homosexuals are welcome in the church but are not permitted to engage in sexual activities. Sexual intercourse is reserved for a man and a woman joined together in matrimony, according to Church doctrine.
Students said they agreed the lack of discussion about homosexuality within the Church has caused them to struggle between Church doctrine and their own feelings regarding homosexuality.
It is difficult grappling with the question of whether these acts are right in the eyes of the Church, freshman Vince DeRosa said.
Junior Sarah Marquis said it is a struggle being Catholic and disagreeing with Church doctrine.
It is difficult reconciling all the different aspects and knowing if disagreeing is OK, she said. I can’t help but question the validity of using Church doctrine as a reason to dislike homosexuality.
Instead of offering Church doctrine as a way to come to terms with beliefs, Father Jim said students should look toward faith.
No one knows God’s will – not even the Church, he said.
Franklin said he agreed.
Too many times people just accept Catholic doctrine and not the faith, Franklin said.
Instead of pointing to sexuality as an act of guilt, Father Jim said it should be celebrated.
(Sexuality) is the only differentiation when God created the human being, he said.
Father Mike said students should turn to the Bible for guidance when coming to terms with personal sexuality and the acceptance of their decisions.
You need to look at the center of the gospel and apply it to other parts of you life, he said.
Despite the homosexuality battle that rages within the Catholic Church, Father Jim said the Newman Center will not discriminate against anyone based on sexual orientation.
The Newman Center is accepting of everyone, he said. God makes no distinctions regardless of whether the Church does.