DePaul University, a Catholic college in Chicago, will be hosting the “Out There” conference next October for academics and student affairs workers at Catholic higher education institutions on the topic of LGBTQ affairs. (I think it stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Queer; isn’t the Queer redundant?) The conference organizers are calling for papers to be presented at the conference and as you might imagine, they don’t seem geared toward supporting the Church’s teachings on sexual morality and helping people with same-sex attraction to live by those teachings. Here are a few of the proposed topics for papers:
- “How can we better promote open dialogue on LGBTQ issues among various units of the Catholic university (Catholic Studies, Religious Studies, Student Affairs, University Ministry, Philosophy, Women’s and Gender Studies, to name but a few)?
- “What issues do faculty face when designing, introducing, and teaching LGBTQ courses on Catholic campuses?
- “What effect might Vatican pronouncements on homosexuality and the priesthood have on LGBTQ people at Catholic institutions?
- “How do LGBTQ Studies scholars and student affairs personnel who address LGBTQ issues pursue their work on Catholic campuses? And how do the complex intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality shape our curriculum and programming?”
That’s just a few of the themes. The focus here is clearly on the “wonders” of LGBTQ and how to celebrate it as normal and wonderful on a Catholic campus without going too far and creating problems for them from the Vatican, orthodox Catholics, and alumni. This is not about living the Church’s teaching and abiding by the will of God in matters of sexuality. Catholic identity is seen as a convenient cover and something to be used only until it interferes with their own particular predilections.