Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Feeling Lonely? Welcome to DePauls Queer Kiss-In; Dont Laugh! Maybe Youll Like it! Then You Have Something to Worry About.
Since nations biggest Catholic college kicked religion off its board for Dem pols and Babbitt-type businessmen, the university pursues a rudderless course.
Another column for The Wanderer, the nations oldest Catholic weekly newspaper.
By Thomas F. Roeser
CHICAGODePaul University, the nations largest Queer institution of higher learning (I use the word its pro-gay faculty and students prefer) decided last week that it was bored with its annual Coming Out party. In addition to encouraging queer students to prance around in dragwith dainty men tripping around in dresses and high heels and gruff butch women giving other dykes thwacking, seat-of-the-pants patty-whacks while ogling shy teen-aged freshmen girlssomething new has been added.
It was called a Queer Kiss-In. Held on October 11, it was called a lip-smacking success by DePauls queer leaders. The Queer Kiss-In was sponsored by all of DePauls queer on-campus organizations which meet and cavort with full faculty approval, in particular a group called Spectrum of LGBTQs. What are LGTQs?
The first day youre enrolled at DePaul as a luckless purported seeker of Catholic truth you learn what LGBTQ stands for: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer people. The group encourages straights to join; else how can a bona fide student organization grow? It wants to end homophobia, described as disapproval of queer practices and eradicate heterosexism (the reactionary practice of a man and a woman joining in marriage), gender-ism (the archaic belief that some workaday tasks are more adaptive to men, some to women), racism, elitism, classism, astigmatism (no: I made that up) and xenophobia. (What is xenophobia doing in there? Its anti-Bush foreign policy).
Queer Kiss-In is another feature of a decidedly pro-homosexual orientation to DePaul which proudly calls itself the worlds largest Catholic universitytrading on the name Catholic. But as earlier reported here, the university is run totally by the largely agnostic, even atheistic, faculty with no interference from the deferential Vincentian priest who heads the university. Or the board of directors which is composed of Babbitt-oriented business types and Democratic pols. They are interested only in whooping it up for foundation-giving and funneling state and federal subsidies into the university.
Technically, the archdiocese of Chicago could remove the designation Catholic but on such controversial matters the archdiocese treads as lightly on little cat feet as Sandburgs fog. Catholic Citizens of Illinois has protested both to Francis Cardinal George, who has been ill, and the Vatican but has received no answer to its repeated letters. The top Vatican official in charge of preserving and nurturing Catholic education is Archbishop John Miller who makes impressive homilies about restoring Catholicity in education but hasnt answered CCIs letters.
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz who spoke to Catholic Citizens last week urged the group to continue its protests in hopes that Roman authorities will somehow get tired of hearing from CCI and relent in the same way the judge in the gospel decided to act because an old woman was driving him nuts. When asked if he would tolerate similar goings-on in his Lincoln, Nebraska diocese, he smiled and said that he would see that the Church Militant would handle the matter. Everybody knew what he meant.
But with the Vatican bureaucracy opening his mail and deciding he is too important to bother, Archbishop Miller doesnt feel the engendered heat from the pews. Then, too, he spends much time on world travel where he expounds on the theory of education. Some time ago he was in Omaha to visit with Catholic students at Creighton University, a Jesuit institution. In his personal prayer life, he told an assembly, his favorite prayer is the Memorare because he likes to add special intentions. It is to be hoped that at least one intention would be DePaul and another Loyola of Chicago which has named a pro-gay rights scholar who inveighs against heterosexism as head of its theology department.
On other issues in a question-and-answer session in Omaha, however, Archbishop Miller was very specific. He was asked how many bathrooms there are in the Vatican. His answer: There are 1,473 potties. Use of that word was comic for the university assembly. But anyone who knows the exact count on the number of toilets in the Vatican may not have enough to do and should be able to answer his mail.
The archbishop was brimming with statistics. He said his job he oversees 113,000 seminarians and 3,500 seminaries around the world. He declared he supervises 1,500 institutions which call themselves Catholic and are recognized as such. DePaul is one of those. He added his job is to ensure that these institutions are of Catholic identity. Oh, really! When asked about a bishops role vis-à-vis a Catholic university, Archbishop Miller said it is the bishops responsibility to remain vigilant while respecting the university as an institution with its own statutes.
Neat double-talk. But the CCI says Archbishop Miller should be vigilant enough to insist DePaul conform to its original statutes. Either that or remove the Catholic designation from the university. The only answer CCI had was vague and indirect. Cardinal George at a Legatus meeting said he talked with somebody in Romepresumably Archbishop Miller about DePaul but got what he called a Roman answer. Presumably its easier to count the number of toilets than to flush out a straight answer there.
While Archbishop Miller remains incommunicado on the issue, militant
queers at De Paul are enthused that they have pioneered a new style of meet-and-greet using the universitys facilities which is better than hustling favors in gay bars. The Kiss-In, held on Coming Out Day was convened at the Student Center, the main student activity building for DePaul. It was billed as platonic kisses on the cheeks but two members of the group told student Nicholas Hahn III, a conservative stalwart there, that the session was a full-blown make-out fest with lustful groping. Fortunately this Wanderer reporter could not attend the Queer Kiss-In due to other pressing duties such as re-cataloging his record album.
However, I have seen photos of the session. They feature exchanges far different from the obligatory kiss you give Aunt Martha and Uncle Henry when they come over on Thanksgiving Day. Hahn, the 19-year-old sophomore, heads up a movement to restore authentic Catholicism to the campus. He helped found the DePaul Conservative Alliance and has gotten himself elected by the student body as a Senator with the specific designation of Mission and Values. Hahn is raising money for a series of lectures by authentic Catholics at the university. The money is sorely needed judging from the pictures of the Queer Kiss-In.
Hahn told The Wanderer Im intend to be successful in returning this school to its natural Catholic heritage. My family has gone here for several generations and to allow DePaul to go the way of all-flesh is unacceptable. He is still trying to get a meeting on a number of issues including the Queer Kiss-In with the university president, Fr. Dennis H. Hottschneider, C. M. Ed. D. Fr. Hottschneider is very busy. Too busy to respond to a phone call from The Wanderer as well although he has a public relations staff of eight.
Also Fr. Hottschneider is very shy where it comes to the issue of faculty disapproval. Last Christmas the priest sent out a Christmas card which carried a picture of the Blessed Mother and Child. The card provoked a raging furor with the faculty which thought a nativity scene was starkly inappropriate for a president to mail out from a Catholic school. The president is carefully considering what to portray on his next Christmas card. What the controversy boils down to is this: years ago, the Vincentians handed over control of DePaul to a harshly secular board while ceding authority on policy to a largely anti-Catholic faculty. It can only be taken back with a threat to take away the designation Catholic from the school. Archbishop Miller can do it; Cardinal George can do it. But aside from a protest from Catholic Citizens (full disclosure: I am chairman of its board) and Nicholas Hahn III, nothing has happened. An angry contributors strike could prompt a protest but Catholics are too fat, dumb, happy and uneducated about the seriousness of the matter to rise up.
The secular media here, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times never covered the Queer Kiss-Ingiving it a kiss-offwhy? The blatantly queer nomenclature used by the militants makes it difficult. Mainstream media believe homosexuals are a persecuted minority not prancing denizens who run the zoo and cause its president to cower. Thus to present the picture of what has happened at DePaul would cause the media to be characterized as homophobic: a terrible indictment in this age of political correctness.
Also, religion editors of both newspapersCathleen Falsani of the Sun-Times is a joke: literally. A refugee from the `70s when college girls thought about pledging true love to a betrothed under the stars. Heres how she began her weekly column on religion this week: In honor of All Saints Day next week, I intend to hoist a couple dozen stiff drinks, start a brawl, sucker-punch a co-worker, walk around the neighborhood nude and maybe rob a bank. Supposed to be a review of a book on saints who had earlier sinful lives. Probably all revelatory to her since she obviously hadnt heard of Augustine. She and an anonymous religion editor of the Tribune who never writes but pulls off wire-service copy and adapts itare themselves severely limited by liberal mal-education to understand the story. Before she wrote about getting nude, Falsini was interested in the personal religious beliefs of important Chicagoans and published the spiritual views of Cubs manager Dusty Baker, until Baker was dismissed for presiding over another losing season, resulting in his dismissal. She wouldnt dream of copying anything substantive about religion for her column because, number one, she wouldnt understand it. Number two, her editor, a Brit named Michael Cooke, is busily trying to turn the paper into the uptown edition of the National Enquirer.
However The DePaulia, the student newspaper at DePaul, did kiss-up the Queer Kiss-In in a front-page article recently. About 50 to 55 students participated but unlike the adolescent game of spin-the-bottle, this circle promoted kissing between members of the same gender The Kiss-In is a notable departure from the Coming Out Day events of the past few years that `Spectrum hosts in the Student Center with an informational table. The purpose of this unique approach was to raise awareness of queer relationships and tackle the issues of subtle homophobia seen on campus. The newspaper quoted Cormac Molloy, vice president of Spectrum as saying, People are okay with gay people in theory but are really uncomfortable seeing two men or two women kiss. The official school newspaper added that Another purpose of the Kiss-In was to show people that homosexual relationships are not uncommon and to show people that they are normal.
At this point one Robin Wolf, Spectrums president chimed in by saying, Were trying to challenge peoples perceptions as to what is normal. The more you see it the more normalized it becomes, added Molloy. Its a truism that social traditionalists fear and DePaul queers yearn for.
Coming Out Week is held every year at DePauls Congress Lounge. The newspaper reports that Coming Out consists of music, dancing and a theatrical drag performance. This years theme was Neverland featuring a performance of Peter Pan, the childs classic by J. M. Barrie on a mischievous little boy who refuses to grow upwhich some critics say fits the queer psychosis exactly. The original Barrie story depicted an innocent little girl named Wendy who wishes to kiss Peter. This displeased DePaul queers. They re-wrote the script, transforming Wendy as a full-bloomed bisexual. The entire weeks event thrilled student Salina Estrada. She added wistfully, It is kind of like having the prom most people didnt get to have in high school.
Beyond the week-long event, DePaul has been highly praised by the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual and Transgender organization as one of the best Catholic schools for gay students, citing its earlier reported minor in queer studies that Catholic Citizens and Nicholas Hahn object to.
The DePaulia reported that student reactions to the Kiss-In were generally positive. However, some believe the move was inappropriate considering the Catholic position on homosexuality and the sheer visibility of people kissing while other students were around. But let it be said that there have been no objections from the facultyleast of all from Fr. Hochschneider who is agonizing over what Christmas cards to send to the faculty now that it frowns on religious scenes. Nor has there been any objections from the Catholic archdiocese.
Nor from Archbishop Miller whose job in the Vatican it is to supervise Catholic education, since he has been traveling across the world extolling the goals of Catholic education which has necessitates his being somewhat behind in answering his mail.
In his talk recently to students at Creighton, Archbishop Miller said, You dont study to be an archbishop; it is done to you.
Which lets him off the hook. He can always say he didnt ask for the job.