What a GSA could look like in a Catholic School

I could back this kind of GSA.  Excerpt  of a great post by Eve Tushnet.  And it gets at the heart of the matter—-that Catholic teaching about chastity is hard for everyone, including heterosexuals  who are married.

We eventually did end up getting permission to form a GSA. But before that, we found one another through more covert means. We gossiped and spoke in code, and we formed a network of gay/bi teens. We joked that we were the Botany Club: Our first order of business was the study of pansies. We supported one another, in a semi-feral way, separated from and antagonistic toward adults in authority.

So this is one lesson I take away from the tumult over whether or not Catholic schools should (or should be forced to, but that’s a separate question) have GSAs. Gay studentswill find one another. CUA, to take a pertinent example (although not a high-school one), can’t choose whether or not it has a gay-straight alliance. It can only choose how much the administration knows about it.

Right now gay young people mostly hear a catechism of silence–not about Church teaching on gay marriage or homosexual acts, about which they’re wincingly aware, but about their futures.

It seems to me that one major purpose of a Catholic educational system is to help young people discern their vocations. Heterosexual teens desperately need this guidance, in a world of premarital sex and the anchorless, alienating endless-summer of “emerging adulthood.” And gay teens need it too. They need to know that God is calling them to love and to be loved: to form devoted friendships, to care for their families, to serve the suffering, to dedicate themselves to God in ascesis and prayer, to serve God and the Church through artistic creation, to teach. They, too, are being called to increase the love, beauty, and joy in the world.

How could an openly-acknowledged GSA aid in this discernment? Well, for one thing, its relationship to the adults around it would not need to be antagonistic. The school chaplain or a local priest could attend some of the meetings, and talk with the kids about any misconceptions they may have about the faith. Specifically, I often hear that it’s okay for the Church to require (most) priests to be celibate, since they chose that way of life, but it’s cruel to require celibacy of gay people since we didn’t choose to be gay. This isn’t a good way to think about vocation–you don’t always choose what God is asking of you, and it’s rare that the greatest sacrifices in your life are the ones you chose entirely freely. A priest talking honestly about his own discernment process, and whether or not he felt directly “called” to celibacy, might offer a better model of discernment–and a better understanding of the purposes and challenges of a celibate life.

The group could be encouraged to spend some time volunteering in places–the most obvious example for me would be folding clothes or babysitting at a crisis pregnancy center–where they’d see how tough chastity and fidelity can be for heterosexuals. Married teachers, or single ones, could speak with them about their vocations and discernment process. They could be encouraged to see that all forms of love come with characteristic sufferings and lonelinesses: Every form of love has its own kind of cross. These priests and teachers could seek to learn from the kids, from their fears and questions and experiences, and encourage the kids to learn from the adults. (I do think straight adults often underestimate the loneliness–and fear of even greater future loneliness–of gay Christian teens. But it’s also, of course, very easy for teenagers of any sexual orientation to have unrealistic romantic ideas in which marriage solves the problem of the self, grants us our “soulmate” and ends our loneliness forever.) The solidarity implied by the “alliance” name could become more vivid and realistic–and more Catholic. None of this is likely to happen in a hidden, covert group.

Right now gay teens hear a robust “Yes!” from the mainstream media and gay culture. From the Church, they hear only a “No.” And you can’t have a vocation of not-gay-marrying and not-having-sex. You can’t have a vocation of No.

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14 Responses to What a GSA could look like in a Catholic School

  1. When to take public/government money to run your schools you have no one to blames but yourselves. Thank God we in the states never let that happen. The end results? They pay the bills they make the rules. Obey or get shutdown. I thought American Catholics were stupid but you Canucks take the cake!

  2. Pingback: What a GSA could look like in a Catholic School | Catholic Canada

  3. EPMS says:

    Not exactly a helpful response to a very thoughtful posting which shows Mrs Gyapong taking a nuanced second look at her own position.

  4. Aphorism says:

    Rubbish. While I can appreciate your argument from a secular standpoint, it’s ridiculously inconsistent with any Catholic teaching (unless I misread your argument in some way). Sexual intercourse exists explicitly for the purpose of procreation, and to pervert that would be to pervert its place in the natural order. Gay sex is perfectly equivalent to having sex with a goat (providing the goat consents) in that it achieves only a fleeting gratification of the self.

  5. EPMS says:

    Nothing between two rational human beings can be compared to anything with a goat. You undermine your argument with this line of thinking.

    • Aphorism says:

      If you take the line that human beings are all-powerful and rulers of the world rather than its protectors, then yes. I argued in a theoretical space where a goat is as sound in its mental capacities as a person and consents to such relations. As I said, a secular standpoint of sex for pleasure is perfectly valid, but don’t expect the Church to endorse, approve of, or encourage homosexual sex. This is the line that I most object to from the post: “And you can’t have a vocation of not-gay-marrying and not-having-sex.”

      P.S. Catholic schools should lose their funding. I am Catholic (as can easily be discerned), and those schools are just silly. I don’t know who’s guiding them and where, but they do anything but encourage altruism. If the funding gets cut, the parents will save on taxes, savings they will use to fund their own Catholic schools, having much more say in their children’s education. Sure, they’ll spend more money than what they save on taxes, but the result will be much more pleasant.

  6. EPMS says:

    Of course the world was given into the stewardship of the human race. Are you trying to argue for OT sexual ethics AND animal rights? This could get interesting.

    • Aphorism says:

      All I’d like to say (perfectly on topic) is that if part of a sexual orientation is sexual freedom, then it will not be accepted by the Church. On a personal note, I must sympathise with homosexuals. If they feel a desire for same-sex intimacy which they simply are not allowed, that must be immensely saddening. I don’t even know what a desire for intimacy feels like, though, because I’ve never felt it. That allows me to gauge human relationships much more objectively, but eliminates all emotion from my pronouncements.

      Well, at least homosexuality is no longer considered a mental illness for which people are confined to asylums (Canada in the late 18th century). Even more interesting when they began testing for homosexuality in the post-WW2 period by using pictures of Jesus (the homosexual’s eyes, it was thought, would invariably focus on his genital area.). Fun, fun, fun pseudo-science.

      P.S. I don’t see the issue with granting animals more protection.

      • Aphorism says:

        I do apologise – 19th century. I fell to one of the oldest errors in the book (centuries and years). Awful of me.

  7. EPMS says:

    Protection and rights are two very different things.

    • Aphorism says:

      Now who wandered off topic? I don’t believe in secular laws, so I try to refrain from saying words like “rights”, which I believe should be, as the expression goes, “common sense”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is my go-to for almost everything: “Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness…” (Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 7). I must stray from what is outlined, though, as it is perfectly reasonably to care for and love animals just as humans, because, as Alfred Wight stated, “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”

      You seem to me to be acting objectionable for the sake of argument. Do you really think I’m ill-intentioned? I’m purposefully naïve, I grant you that, as I have never been able to understand the motivation between such things as lying, self-mutilation, and narcotics use (among other things). I just don’t really understand why anyone would strive to show anything but kindness to himself/herself or a fellow resident of this earth, whether animal or plant. We often fail miserably at it, pursuing what you call rationality, in reality an evil which facilitates minor adjustments to inherited ideology, making sure that we can never take on another perspective…but shouldn’t we try?

      • Aphorism says:

        Typing this out on my phone always means I’ll make an error somewhere (the mobile site is not peaches). The above should read “motivation behind”, not “motivation between”. My apologies once more – I admit it’s silly of me, considering that I proofread before posting.

  8. EPMS says:

    I was only trying to clarify, not attack. I did not say you were getting off-topic, not a terribly meaningful accusation on the blogosphere anyway. Nor did I impugn your motives. Try to remember that you have eliminated all emotion from your pronouncements.

    • Aphorism says:

      Nice parody. I like that. Emotion referred to the content within what I say, not how I say it. I used it to explain how I, for example, fervently argue in favour of celibacy, but do not know the degree to which sexual intimacy is required for others. I’ve never seen the point of repeated insertion and withdrawal of a protruding appendage into a part of the female (or, if you like that homosexual topic, male) anatomy, and I never will. Yup – vocations are great.

      P.S. Impugn feels really out of place there. In the land of History, which I inhabit, we value simplicity, but it’s true that this is not the land of History. *Sigh*

      Maybe you should publish memoirs, something called Recollections of a Troll? I value discussion, but firing a couple of sentences at a couple of paragraphs doesn’t quite fit that description. (Neither does reminding a person to remember something which he surely could not have forgotten.)

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