A surprise decision by the University of Notre Dame to send five students to last weekend's gay rights march in the District has produced fury among alumni still smarting from the Catholic institution's invitation to President Obama in May.
-- From "Notre Dame feels political heat again" by Julia Duin, Washington Times 10/16/09
Five students belonging to the school's Progressive Student Alliance were given an undetermined amount from the university's student activities fund - from fees assessed to students - to drive to Washington, bunk with friends and participate in the National Equality March last Sunday. Thousands of participants marched from the White House to the Capitol to support gay rights.
Since the news broke Tuesday in the Observer, the student newspaper, comments and postings about the school's sponsorship of the trip have ricocheted on Catholic blogs and some gay outlets.
The Roman Catholic Church has taken one of the strictest stands against homosexual acts of any Christian denomination, calling such acts sinful and homosexual desires "disordered." The church's stance has been reiterated repeatedly under the present Pope Benedict XVI, during whose reign the Vatican has prohibited any priesthood candidate who has "present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or supports the so-called 'gay culture'" to enroll in seminary.
[Notre Dame has] a Core Council for Gay and Lesbian Students consisting of eight undergrads, the majority of whom are gay, and four administrators from the school's student affairs division. . . .
The school's campus ministry office also has an annual retreat for gay students, organizes a "solidarity Sunday" each fall to pray for "increased inclusion of all members of the church" and maintains a room of gay/lesbian reference materials.
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