Two McQuaid students may attend prom as a couple - Catholic Courier

Two McQuaid students may attend prom as a couple

Two male students who asked to attend McQuaid Jesuit’s Junior Ball as a couple will be welcomed, Jesuit Father Edward Salmon, the school’s president, told parents in a March 27 e-mail.

Although Father Salmon told parents that the Roman Catholic Church does not encourage nor condone homosexual activity, he noted that friendship outside of sexual involvement is essential to healthy human development.

According to school officials, the issue came to the school’s attention when two students asked their guidance counselors if they could go to the prom together. The counselors informed the school, and administrators told the boys they would make a decision within a few weeks.

Meanwhile, according to school officials, someone called a local radio station’s morning show, erroneously stating that the school had decided the students would not be allowed to attend the event. More than 800 people subsequently signed an online petition asking McQuaid to allow the students to attend the prom.

Father Salmon referenced the controversy in his e-mail, noting that school officials had not previously rendered a decision on the request.

"Misinformation, fear, misunderstanding, and even anger came about after two of our brothers asked whether they could attend the Junior Ball together," Father Salmon wrote.

Father Salmon quoted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral message "Always Our Children," which calls on Christians to confront their fears about homosexuality.

"We understand that having a homosexual orientation brings with it enough anxiety, pain and issues related to self-acceptance without society bringing additional prejudicial treatment," the bishops wrote.

He noted that the church does not oppose friendships without sexual involvement.

"With this decision I am not contradicting the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to human sexuality; I am not encouraging nor am I condoning homosexual activity just as I do not encourage or condone heterosexual activity at a dance," Father Salmon wrote. "I am not contradicting the Church’s opposition to the redefinition of marriage."

School officials said recipients forwarded Father Salmon’s e-mail to local media outlets, which made it available through their websites.

The question of whether to let same-sex couples attend school dances has come up recently at other Catholic schools, according to published reports. A Long Island Catholic high school barred two girls from attending prom in 2011, and a Lexington, Ky., Catholic school barred two girls from attending prom in 2012.

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