St. Michael’s College president David Sylvester. Photo by Michael Swan

St. Mike’s signs on to U.S. bishops’ statement

  • May 28, 2021

The University of St. Michael’s College has become the first Canadian Catholic college to sign onto a statement in support of at-risk LGBT youth.

By a unanimous vote of the St. Michael’s Collegium executive committee, the college put its name alongside 14 U.S. bishops and more than a dozen Catholic colleges to the “God Is On Your Side” statement, which bishops have promoted with the help of the Tyler Clementi Foundation.

The statement “is entirely in keeping with our core values at St. Michael’s,” said university president David Sylvester in a release. “We affirm and respect the intrinsic value of each person and we treat everyone in a fair and equitable manner.”

“The Catholic Church values the God-given dignity of all human life and we take this opportunity to say to our LGBT friends, especially young people, that we stand with you and oppose any form of violence, bullying or harassment directed at you,” the U.S. bishops wrote in their Jan. 25 statement.

“Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God  is on your side.”

Signatories to the statement include Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.

The bishops point to high suicide rates among LGBT youth, coupled with bullying and violence directed at them. In 2019, 14 per cent of all police-reported hate crimes in Canada were motivated by sexual orientation and grew by 41 per cent since 2018.

Since the bishops’ statement was issued, it has been endorsed by more than 150 religious orders, parishes, organizations and schools.

While no Canadian bishops have yet signed onto the statement, they are fully in support of defending LGBT youth from any harm, said Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops spokesperson Lisa Gall.

“It is important to underscore that any violence or harm toward another person, including vulnerable people, such as youth who identify as LGBT, is against the Gospel and the law,” Gall said in an e-mail. “Moreover, we all have a duty to protect the vulnerable from violence, discrimination and harassment.”

Tyler Clementi was an 18-year-old freshman at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. The foundation was set up by his parents after Clementi succumbed to cyberbullying and committed suicide in 2010. The foundation works to prevent bullying.

Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

It turns out it's a certain faction of U.S. bishops. Conspicuously absent from the list are Cordileone and Naumann.

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