UT Catholic Launches Gay and Lesbian Group

Posted by Censor Librorum on Mar 8, 2009 | Categories: Lesbians & Gays

The  February 10, 2009  announcement read:

UTCatholic Launches Gay and Lesbian Group

The UCC announces the formation of a prayer group for gay and lesbian individuals and those unsure.

To promote an atmosphere of comfort, group meeting times and locations are not publicly announced.

For more information, contact Fr. Ed Koharchik at the link below.


The principle behind UT’s University Catholic Center’s founding of a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender support group is that in God’s eyes, we are all the same, reported The Daily Texan, the University of Texas-Austin, school newspaper.   Gay Catholic students can come together for discussion, prayer and fellowship. catholic.jpg

“We want to provide a safe place for young people to talk about this issue – how does it fit in with the Catholic Church teachings?” said the Rev. Ed Koharchik, associate director of the center. “Whether one is gay or straight, it’s morally neutral.”

In recent weeks, the center has promoted the support group, whose purpose is to shed light on the “misconstrued teachings of the church,” with respect to non-heterosexual lifestyles, Koharchik said.

“It’s about this group of people and how to stay within the teachings of the church and yet still identify as being of that   orientation,” said Michael Jungwith, a graduate student. “It sounds reasonable.”

Koharchik said he hopes to deter Catholics from breaking off their relationship with God due to their sexual orientation. He said he wants community members to know that sexuality is not tied to an individual’s personhood and that linking the two together could “cut off awareness to goodness.”

Koharchik and UT alumna Chelsea Griffo enlisted the support of Bishop Gregory Aymond from the Diocese of Austin to implement the program.

Some students commented via the Daily Texan’s online edition:

“I find it difficult to reconcile my sexuality with my faith..and for this reason my faith suffers. SometimesI ask myself am I putting my sexuality before God…and on the other hand ignoring my sexuality before God. Growing up an realizing your gay is often a difficult task. When I look at my life and look at the lives of other gay people it appears to me that we are a lost community which clings to materialism and sex much easier than heterosexual people..The fact that the church teaches that homosexual acts are evil should not get in my way of finding my true self.” (Brian)

“I can’t speak for all the GLBT Catholics, but by first hand experience I am glad that the church leaders are welcoming us back. After being told so many times that I am going to hell for loving the person I love, I am glad that at least a couple of leaders of the church don’t shun me away. Having been raised Catholic, I have struggled with this most of my life.

Will I really go to hell for being myself? Is being who I am a greater sin than murder or adultery? If God created us in his image, am I a mistake? Could God have possibly made a mistake? I don’t think so or at least I hope not. Truthfully, I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I doubt anyone else can say they do. As holy as people think the pope is, he is not God. The only one who knows is God, and unfortunately for those against me and the GLBT community, the Bible is a book written by man not God.” (anonymous)

I’m sure Fr. Koharchik will have to mouth the party line about living a “chaste lifestyle” in order to keep the program open on Catholic premises;  but I hope he  facilitates a discussion of the  many different contemporary  Catholic  viewpoints on sex, sexuality, and sexual  ethics.   He should discuss gay and lesbian Catholic religious figures, notable individuals and saints as role models.   Some of these people have been celibate, but many others had active and passionate love lives.

Most of all, the group should be a safe place where the students can talk about their  real life experiences, from falling in love,  how  to handle the hate from their co-religionists because of their sexual orientation, coming out to their Catholic family, and respecting who they are in the face of prejudice–especially from their religion.

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2 Responses to “UT Catholic Launches Gay and Lesbian Group”

  1. Jack Kern Says:

    Hi Fr. Ed – I was wondering if would be possible to arrange a meeting with you. Thanks!

  2. Frank Says:

    Aymond, now the Archbishop of New Orleans isn’t a homophobic dick. That’s quite a surprise. Is Ratzo asleep at the wheel?

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