DePaul Division of Mission and Ministry continues to support LGBTQ+ community members


Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia

DePaul University Lincoln Park campus.

Rev. Guillermo Campuzano, vice president of DePaul’s Division of Mission and Ministry, published a statement of support for the LGBTQ+ community on March 19 in light of the Vatican’s recent refusal to bless same-sex unions amid calls to liberalize the church. 

“Given the context of the conversations occurring over the past week, I want you to know of the continued support for the LGBTQ community by myself and the Division of Mission and Ministry,” the statement reads. 

While Pope Francis is known for being inclusive towards LGBTQ+ individuals, he approved a press release by the Vatican on Monday, March 13 which stated that the Vatican will not bless same sex unions, saying that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”

“…the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit,” the press release reads. “This is because they would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony, while in fact ‘there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.’”

The release contradicts Francis’ earlier statements supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Francis, along with several other bishops, have called for the church to bless same-sex marriages. The Vatican’s recent press release, however, denounces blessing relationships outside of the union between a man and woman. 

Campuzano told The DePaulia that issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community are ongoing, but that DePaul has supported queer individuals and will continue to do so. 

“DePaul’s history includes establishing the first LGBTQ Studies minor at a Catholic university, having officially recognized LGBTQ student groups dating back to the ‘80s, and providing employee medical insurance coverage options for same sex partners prior to the legalization of gay marriage,” Campuzano told The DePaulia. “We strive to be accepting and supportive of LGBTQ people, and part of communicating how we value them is to publicly state our support.”

Campuzano further referenced Pope Francis’ encyclical in the statement, “Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship,” which was published in October 2020.

“Pope Francis invites us to reflect on love and reminds us that our mission is not to impose doctrine, but to simply spread the love of God. To all people, without exception,” Campuzano wrote. 

The Division of Mission and Ministry said it will continue to publicly show support for queer youth and by signing a letter titled “God Is On Your Side: A Statement from Catholic Bishops on Protecting LGBT Youth.”

The letter was written by Catholic bishops in the U.S. in conjunction with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, an organization dedicated to preventing bullying after Clementi, a college student, committed suicide after facing cyberbullying and harassment for being a gay man. 

“All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBT youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates,” the letter reads.

According to the Trevor Project, queer people seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of their heterosexual peers. They are also almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to straight individuals. 

The suicide statistics among transgender people are even higher. In a national study, 40 percent of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92 percent of those individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.

“…Expressing or identifying with a gender different from the one assigned at birth may lead to social isolation, discrimination and victimization,” the study reads. 

Another study estimates that about 7 percent of youth in the U.S. are queer, and 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

These studies have contributed in raising awareness to the mental health among queer youth. 

The Division of Mission and Ministry’s statement was published after the DePaul Journalism department released a similar statement condemning online harassment following The DePaulia’s recent coverage — which sparked anti-LGBTQ+ comments from university students. 

“It is especially reprehensible when any student is attacked on the basis of gender, race, or sexual orientation,” the DePaul journalism statement reads. “…coordinated and persistent harassment and personal attacks are inexcusable.”

DePaul, along with other Catholic religious orders, organizations and schools, has signed the letter in solidarity with LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing violence, bullying or harassment. 

“We stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you,” the letter reads. “Know that God created you, God loves you, and God is on your side.”.

After referencing the letter, Campuzano and the Division of Mission and Ministry concluded their statement of support for queer individuals in the DePaul community. 

“For LGBTQ community members at DePaul and beyond, we see you, we love you, and we are with you,” Campuzano said in the statement.