Catholics for Equality deserves GU’s pride

September 2, 2010

Georgetown University has a long history of being at the forefront of progressive Catholicism. In January 2010, Joseph Palacios, a Georgetown professor and openly gay priest, continued this tradition by helping to found Catholics for Equality, a group dedicated to “empowering pro-equality Catholics to put [their] faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families.”

Although Catholics for Equality has recently come under fire from conservative Catholic groups, who have called it “outright rebellion” and a “dissident organization,” the group is still something to be proud of as a part of Georgetown’s progressive Catholic heritage.

Drawing on the “rich tradition of Catholic social justice teachings” to support full equality for the LGBT community in the U.S., the group was originally created to oppose Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl’s threat to shut down Catholic Charities in the weeks before D.C. passed laws allowing for marriage equality. Providing a critical service to the progressive Catholic community in the United States, the group has publicly challenged the Church to live up to its long tradition of social justice.

“Essentially our goal is to reach the ‘moveable middle’ of very fair-minded Catholics to support their LGBT family members, friends, co-workers, and fellow citizens to legally achieve the same freedoms and rights as all Americans,” Palacios explained in an email.

Facing predictably strong criticism from a variety of right-wing Catholic groups, Catholics for Equality has nevertheless continued to stick to its principles. The Cardinal Newman Society, for example, accused the group of carrying out a “mutiny” against the U.S. Bishops and Catholic doctrine.The Cardinal Newman Society fails to recognize that in choosing to make the lifelong monogamous commitment of marriage, lesbian and gay couples are carrying out the best values of Catholicism.

This fall, Catholics for Equality will be holding a forum at Georgetown and launching a Junior Fellows program for college students nationwide. Junior Fellows at Georgetown would assist with research, writing, and web-development and work for upcoming state campaigns where LGBT freedoms and rights will be on the ballot.

Georgetown must stand by Palacios and Catholics for Equality, and use its unique voice as a world-class institution with a progressive Catholic heritage to advocate a move toward full marriage equality across the nation.

Editorial Board
The Editorial Board is the official opinion of the Georgetown Voice. Its current composition can be found on the masthead. The Board strives to publish critical analyses of events at both Georgetown and in the wider D.C. community. We welcome everyone from all backgrounds and experience levels to join us!


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Elizabeth Rhode Martin

I am ashamed to say I attended GU. What is going on now is a slap in the face of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. How dare you claim to be a Catholic university?Hard to believe; it is to weep. May God have mercy on us all.