Providence College Chaplains: Catholic Marital Teachings Are Not Bigotry

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In light of the distress and confusion experienced by many of our students, we the Chaplains would like to offer a pastoral response to the student body regarding the recent controversy on campus. First and foremost, we affirm our love and support for every student on this campus, and we are praying for each of you amidst the current tensions. As Fr. Shanley stated in his communication this morning, in times like these we must all strive to imitate the love of Jesus Christ with imaginative sympathy for all in our community. In order to help us move forward in charity, we wish to provide additional context, clarify misunderstanding, and offer our pastoral support.

From our meetings with students, it has become apparent to us that most in our community are unaware that this RA bulletin board was posted during the entire month of February:

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With its depiction of a lesbian married couple and the “love is love” slogan, the board appears to promote same-sex marriage. While people of good will oppose same-sex marriage for various reasons, the writing that borders the image appears to speak only in the voice of those who oppose same-sex marriage on the illegitimate basis of homophobia. This could be construed as implying that all opposition to same-sex marriage is homophobic. Some have felt marginalized by this board.

Most of you are aware that at the beginning of March, the following RA bulletin board was posted:

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This bulletin board affirms, in accord with Catholic teaching, that marriage is intended by God to be between one man and one woman. Some have felt marginalized by this board. Unlike the first bulletin board, this board was torn down multiple times. The RA who posted this board has been vilified in various public forums, threatened, and harassed.

Due to the continuing complexity of this controversy, we cannot hope to address all the issues involved, but there is one serious misunderstanding which we do wish to address. The February bulletin board seems to imply that those who oppose same-sex marriage do so for homophobic and prejudicial reasons, while the violent reaction to the March bulletin board also seems to express the misunderstanding that the Catholic teaching regarding marriage is homophobic. As Chaplains we are concerned to correct this misunderstanding.

The Catholic Church’s teaching that marriage is intended by God to be between one man and one woman is based upon the procreative dynamism of sexual complementarity and is a truth that many Catholics and members of other faith traditions joyfully uphold. Moreover, the Church rejects homophobia because it is contrary to the dignity of the human person, teaching rather that those with homosexual inclinations “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358). The Church simultaneously rejects homophobia and affirms that sexual complementarity is essential to marriage. Nevertheless, many do not fully understand this teaching. Understanding the Church’s teaching is essential for moving forward in charity, and so we invite everyone to study this teaching. This short documentary is an excellent place to start!

After listening to many students concerning this issue, we wanted to provide additional context, clarify misunderstanding, and offer our pastoral care. As Chaplains, we are very sensitive to the fact that many students are still hurt, angry, and confused. Please do reach out to us if there is any way we can accompany you during this difficult time. We are here to offer our love and support as we all go forward living truth in charity.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Peter Martyr Yungwirth, O.P., Chaplain
Fr. Michael Weibley, O.P., Assistant Chaplain
Fr. Dominic Verner, O.P., Assistant Chaplain
Fr. Bonaventure Chapman, O.P., Assistant Chaplain



  • Jordan Faust

    Thank you for posting this which reflects that truth about Providence that a few voices have tried, in vain, to put forward on your forum for a few days. No doubt it will get little traction with the crowd that is attracted to this site but nonetheless, I am grateful to see this example of the profound and difficult work that is being done to promote the truth of the Catholic faith on Providence’s campus.

    • Justin Katz

      That’s an unfair presentation of things; it seems as if anything that you don’t like isn’t “the truth about Providence” and anything you do like is. The student affairs VP didn’t provide this sort of context; she clearly took the sides of those promoting same-sex marriage. The president of the school tried to fall somewhere between. This statement from the chaplains should have been the statement from the president, but his wasn’t anywhere close.

      • Jordan Faust

        I think this is perfectly appropriate to come from campus ministry. I think the VP does whatever he does by design and the president gets to be the president and use his staff as appropriate. What could possibly be unfair about that? My point in the post above was more about the crickets that would comment on this post and I was right. You see, when PC does something wrong the vultures swirl and dive for the kill but when they do something right there is utter silence except from the editor. That’s all I was saying. Again, thanks for posting the article. I love the PC Domincans.

        • Rhett Hardwick

          PC is Dominican? A footnote to history, the Dominicans brought us the Spanish Inquisition. How things change. On matters Catholic, I have no skin in the game, just an observer.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Since this proceeds from a protest over what might be termed “political correctness”, I offer this. This evening I hopped off Route 95 in North Attleboro for some groceries. I went to a Shaw’s Supermarket. I noticed on my receipt a gallon of homogenized milk was noted as “Shaws Homo Boss”. I hope to see sign carriers tomorrow.

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