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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Observer

Fair compromise?

I have read, with much dismay, the responses to Sean Mullen's letter ("Don't ask, don't tell," Oct. 6). The vitriolic rhetoric that characterized many, though not all, of the responses in my view reflects a level of intolerance that far outweighs any intolerance Mr. Mullen may or may not feel with regard to homosexuals. The overwhelmingly personal nature of the attacks on him - accusing him of writing his letter drunk ("Drunken homophobia," Oct. 9) (because anyone who disagrees with homosexuality obviously must be a raging alcoholic), among other things - is unbecoming of the Notre Dame family.

Many of the responses also consisted of bizarre interpretations of Catholicism and bait-and-switch tactics. Some people, patently unaware of 2,000-year-old Catholic moral teaching, insinuated that Mullen's "version" of Catholicism and its stance on homosexuality was one with which they were ashamed to be associated. Others sought to justify homosexual sex by referring to the fact that pre-marital heterosexual sex is common on campus - as if Mullen, or anyone else, for that matter, thinks such sex is okay from the Church's perspective. Two wrongs do not make a right.

With that being said, I cannot say with certainty that either side in this debate is 100 percent correct. Some on both sides have made fair points, though the presentation of these points could have been made perhaps more delicately. It is with this in mind that I offer a compromise: If we want to include homosexuals in the non-discrimination clause - and I think they should be - but at the same time uphold the rich Catholic tradition of Notre Dame, then why not expand the clause and say "non-practicing homosexuals?" This compromise should please the anti-Mullen camp because, as wished, homosexuals would be included in the clause. But this conciliation also respects the Catholic integrity of Notre Dame by making it clear that practicing homosexuality is a lifestyle that is not condoned by the Church or its institutions of higher learning that are obliged to uphold Church teaching. For the record, it is a homework-filled Sunday afternoon. As such, be assured that this letter is a product of my current sobriety.

Kyle Clark


Knott Hall

Oct. 11