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Message to Creighton Community from John P. Schlegel, S.J.

After much prayer and reflection, and after consulting broadly, I have decided to approve the request of the Gay Straight Alliance to be a registered student organization at Creighton University.

 I am writing this letter to the whole Creighton community because I want there to be no misunderstanding of the meaning and importance of this decision. Having this student organization at Creighton affects us all. It says that we stand together against all forms of discrimination and prejudice. It says that we are eager to embrace all our students. It is important to know that the University has been in conversation with Archbishop Curtiss at all stages of this decision. This decision is made in light of that discussion,

The Gay Straight Alliance group asks to be able to foster support and dialogue around the topic of sexual orientation, for any student, regardless of orientation. They ask for the opportunity to do this within the Catholic and Jesuit traditions.

We register more than a hundred student organizations at Creighton. Most of these groups will be found on any university campus. Indeed, groups like the Gay Straight Alliance exist on many Jesuit campuses. For example, Marquette and Xavier recently approved such a group.

We are registering this group precisely because we are a Jesuit Catholic university. Because of who we are, our gay and lesbian students "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity." (Catholic Catechism, #2358)

In 1997, the U.S. Catholic Bishops Committee on Marriage and Family of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement for parents of homosexual children, entitled, "Always Our Children." In that statement, the Bishops offer pastoral advice for the situation in which parents and pastoral ministers might find themselves: "You experience a tension between loving your child as God's precious creation and not wanting to endorse any behavior you know the Church teaches is wrong," Their message is important for us.

"Our message speaks of accepting yourself, your beliefs and values, your questions and all you may be struggling with at the moment: accepting and loving your child as a gift of God; and accepting the full truth of God's revelation about the dignity of the human person and the meaning of human sexuality. Within the Catholic moral vision there is no contradiction among these levels of acceptance, for truth and love are not opposed. They are inseparably joined and rooted in one person, Jesus Christ, who reveals God to be ultimate truth and saving love." The following principles, from the Bishops' statement guide our decision to support this group of students here at Creighton:

--"Every person has an inherent dignity because he or she is created in God's image."

--"Like all gifts from God, the power and freedom of sexuality can be channeled toward good or evil."

"Christ summons all his followers whether they are married or living a single celibate life -- to a higher standard of loving."

--"The Christian community should offer its homosexual sisters and brothers understanding and pastoral care."

--"Nothing in the Bible or in Catholic teaching can be used to justify prejudicial or discriminatory attitudes and behaviors."

This message is consistent with what we teach in the classroom, and in our student life and campus ministry programs. This group will not be engaged in political advocacy for a "gay life style" or do anything that even appears to be contrary to Catholic teaching. This is not their intention, and it will not be allowed.

I ask all members of the Creighton community to reject all forms of hatred and prejudice, based upon fear and misunderstanding. Let us together grow in love, for "There is no fear in love perfect love drives out fear." (I John 4:18).

Finally, I conclude with the words the Bishops use in addressing our homosexual sisters and brothers:

"Though at times you may feel discouraged, hurt or angry, do not walk away from your families, from the Christian community, from all those who love you. In you God's love is revealed. You are always our children."

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