LGBTQ-FlagSt. Jerome’s University, in Waterloo, Ont., and purportedly a Catholic institution, has decided to fly the LGBTQ flag on its campus to celebrate “Pride” month. Interim President Scott Kline, whose term began on July 1, 2019, defended the action as a way of sending the message that “all are welcome in this place.” The immediate reaction to the move has shown significant evidence of outrage and division. Catholics do not believe that we can serve God and mammon at the same time.

It is an odd thing for a university to “welcome” everyone since not everyone who applies is admitted. Sexual lifestyle does not qualify anyone for admission. Therefore, those who are not admitted are not welcomed “in this place.” “Welcome” is a politically correct buzzword that is intended to make everyone feel comfortable. But in the world of academe, rejection, firings, dismissals, and failures, are a daily occurrence.

I taught at St. Jerome’s for 30 years. Logic was the one subject I taught most often. I recall explaining the “fallacy of accent” to my students. I used the example of “Today the captain is sober,” which places the accent on “today” and suggests that the captain is not sober on other days. In selecting the LGBTQ consortium to offer a sign of welcome may lead one to infer that other groups are not welcome. What about that much maligned group that identifies itself as “pro-life”? Where is their flag? And what about plumbers, carpenters, masons, handy-men, and construction workers? To single out one group and reject all the rest does not serve the purpose of welcoming everyone.

The Catholic Church teaches that it is an insult to anyone to be identified according to his sexual preference. It can serve as a stigma. Being called “illegitimate,” thankfully, is a stigma that we have pretty much expelled from our day-to-day vocabulary. The Catholic Church welcomes sinners, but only because She is confident, given the possibility of grace and forgiveness, that being a sinner is not a permanent condition. The Church welcomes everyone, but She does not have admission requirements.

Kline has made an egregious misstep which is not only inconsistent with Catholic tradition, but with common sense. Whether he realizes it or not, he is giving approval to lifestyles that are injurious to families and incompatible with so fundamental a value as personal health. His interim term should soon come to an end. He has brought disgrace to a long-standing Catholic institution. By his own actions, he appears to be more committed to fads than to Catholic teaching.

From a personal point of view, Kline has made me feel decidedly unwelcomed. I will not set foot on SJU soil as long as that flag is flapping in the breeze.

Professor Donald DeMarco, a regular contributor toThe Interim, is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University, adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, a regular columnist for the St. Austin Review, and author of numerous books including How to Navigate Through Life and Apostles of the Culture of Life. His next book is Reflections on the COVID-19 Virus: A Search for Meaning, which is in production.