By Hilary White
CHICAGO, May 28, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – DePaul University in Chicago, one of the largest and most important Catholic universities in the US, is hosting the second “Out There” conference on homosexuality and Catholic education.
The conference, whose full title is the Conference of Scholars and Student Affairs Personnel Involved in “LGBTQ” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer) issues on Catholic Campuses, is being organized through the DePaul Women’s and Gender Studies department. It is scheduled for October 19-20, 2007 and is calling for submissions for papers and workshops.
The first Out There conference was held at Jesuit-run Santa Clara University in 2005 in California and attracted 150 students and faculty from 40 different schools, including the Universities of Georgetown, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga, Fordham, DePaul, La Salle, Marquette and Emory, as well as Boston College, and College of the Holy Cross. The Santa Clara conference was praised by gay activists as opening a new door between the homosexual activist community and the world of Catholic education.
Defending the decision to hold the 2005 conference, Santa Clara University told Catholic News Agency that hosting a two-day long conference “on how to promote opportunities for gays and lesbians at Catholic colleges is the Catholic way to act.” The 2005 conference chose not to highlight Catholic teaching on the intrinsic immorality or medical dangers of homosexual activity or offer assistance to homosexuals to leave their lifestyle.
Workshops at the previous conference included “Curriculum and Same-Sex Marriage in a Jesuit University” and “Can I Be Gay and Catholic?”
This year’s conference organizers are calling for proposals for papers on issues “of relevance to LGBTQ faculty, staff, and students at Catholic institutions.” Submissions are requested on “nuts-and-bolts organizing in student services to the place of LGBTQ Studies at Catholic universities and the challenges of Catholic identity for LGBTQ individuals.”
DePaul includes a minor undergraduate programme in “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) studies.” Course work includes courses in “Sexual Justice: Lesbians, Gays and the Law,” and “Creating Change: GLBT Politics”.
DePaul University was founded by priests of the Vincentian order in 1898, and is named after the order’s patron, 17th century St. Vincent de Paul, who was famed for his Christian charity. It boasts the largest student body of any Catholic university in the US with over 23,000 students and describes itself as a university whose “principal distinguishing marks…are its Catholic, Vincentian, and urban character.”
The DePaul website claims, “By reason of its Catholic character, DePaul strives to bring the light of Catholic faith and the treasures of knowledge into a mutually challenging and supportive relationship. It accepts as its corporate responsibility to remain faithful to the Catholic message drawn from authentic religious sources both traditional and contemporary.”
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Chicago Catholic University Starts “Queer Studies” Programme
To respectfully express concerns:
Francis Cardinal George
Archdiocese of Chicago
155 E. Superior Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone: 312-751-8230 Press 4
Fr. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.
DePaul University President
1 East Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60604-2287
E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]