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A number of faculty members from the University of Scranton recently attended the same-sex marriage of a fellow professor showing “strong support for the marriage,” according to student newspaper The Aquinas. The article reports that a spokesman wished the couple “all the best” on behalf of the Jesuit University, but it did not include any comments defending Catholic teaching on marriage.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that men and women with homosexual tendencies must be treated with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” but that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and that “[h]omosexual persons are called to chastity.”

The faculty member, Dr. Lee Penyak, professor of history and an associate member of Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies, reportedly said that he “deeply resented the Church’s definition of homosexuals as ‘intrinsically disordered,’” while a student.

According to the Aquinas, “Penyak grew up in a Catholic household and was a devout follower of the faith,” but “struggled with his own homosexuality and the Church’s intolerance of it.” He is reportedly now a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church, but “as a member of a Jesuit university community, Penyak said he still struggles with the Catholic Church’s views on homosexuality.”

“While this university still has a long way to go, at the same time it is a nurturing environment with many caring people who are open-minded,” Penyak reportedly stated.

The Aquinas noted that faculty and University members attended the ceremony, reporting that “[t]he number of faculty members who attended the wedding showed the strong support for the marriage and for Penyak.”

In the article, Penyak expressed his desire for “his happiness to be a source of hope for those who still struggle within the LGBT community, especially at the University.”

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One student reportedly said regarding the same-sex marriage, “It starts a spark so people can know it’s OK to be open in this community.”

On behalf of the University of Scranton, the director of news and media relations Stan Zygmunt, reportedly told the Aquinas, “We wish them all the best.”

The Cardinal Newman Society asked Zygmunt and the University’s office of media relations about the implications for the University’s Catholic identity and its position regarding same-sex marriages of employees, but they did not respond by time of publication.

Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society.

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