Foghorn Defends Publishing Opinion on Catholic Identity

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The news that our student union, ASUSF Senate, had written to us on behalf of an article they found was troubling to a considerable number of students was understandable, maybe even anticipated.

Dylan Hull-Nye’s contribution on how USF carries out its mission as a Catholic university ran in the November 3rd edition of the Foghorn. It included a mention of current Church teaching regarding homosexuality.

To understand where Mr. Hull-Nye may have been coming from, we offer the following: the latest revision of Catechism of the Catholic Church communicates that the gay and lesbian community “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.” (Catholic Church, 2358) It also mentions—for better or for worse—that homosexual acts “are contrary to the natural law” and that “[u]nder no circumstances can they be approved.” (Catholic Church, 2357)

As an editorial board, pinpointing the perceived merits or shortcomings of Mr. Hull-Nye’s piece is less important than being clear on why the article, contentious as it may have been, appeared in its published form.

USF’s student voice comes in many forms and embraces a broad spectrum of perspectives, creeds—and in our particular case—interpretations of those creeds. Most of the pieces that are run find a welcome audience among the majority of students. Other times, this is not the case.

As a Jesuit Catholic college, USF’s passion for promoting and working toward a more humane and just world can be seen as largely consistent with long-standing Catholic social thought. On issues of personal and social morality, though, USF has been known to support positions that appear at odds with more conservative interpretations of Catholic tradition. Even within the broader Catholic community, there does exist debate over whether our approach to these issues is courageous or religiously unorthodox.

That there is an apparent juxtaposition between Catholicism’s historic view on matters of individual sexuality and the University’s firm support and advocacy for the LGBTQ community means that we have a responsibility to address it when our students find cause to do so. We’d be failing our in our duties as members of the press if we ignored the fact that this tension exists, or worse yet, if we failed to report on it because of a civilly expressed yet controversial opinion.

Ultimately, we felt it was one student’s contribution to the dialogue on our identity as a Catholic institution, and how these differences in opinion need to be brought to light and subject genuine efforts of empathy and understanding. Mr. Hull-Nye’s opinion wasn’t a diatribe leveling epithets at the LBGTQ community, but rather introduced a relevant, if controversial, element to the ongoing discussion of “What does it mean to be a Catholic college?”

We take full responsibility for the jarring impact the wording of the article generated. At no time was our intention to cause harm or to alienate any individual or group in our community, and we invite our readership to contact us without delay whenever they find offense with what they read.

The Foghorn dedicates itself to maintaining a trusted forum for the civil, free, equitable, and productive exchange of ideas, and unites with Senate and the students in fashioning “a culture of service that respects and promotes the dignity of every person,” even if that process involves disagreement and debate.

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