Unhealthy Catholic policies in San DiegoAround the City, Commentary, Health & Wellness, Online Only, The Art of Wellness Sunday, September 20th, 2015
The Art of Wellness
The Diocese of San Diego is putting the well being of many of their thousands of students at their schools in jeopardy every day. The Church’s teachings on gay and lesbian behavior that is intertwined in its schools’ curricula are harmful to students and are not recommended by many reputable national organizations such as the American Medical Association and the American School Counselor Association.
Several representatives from the Catholic Church recently told me their official position is that people are sinners when they are gay and engage in homosexual behavior. Students are informed about the consequences of this deviant behavior that accompany it. This is made clear in the church doctrine that is a vital part of what is taught in the diocesan Catholic schools and that students are expected to understand and comply with.
One of the options given by a diocesan priest I spoke with was that students could become celibate and not act upon their homosexual urges at any time. It is healthy and normal to want to have sex at some point in life so this seems quite an unlikely option for gay students. The only remaining option by default for these students if they want to avoid sinning in their lifetimes is that they must change their sexual orientation.
The American Psychological Association adopted a resolution which states that efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation using reparative therapy are unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm.
It seems counterintuitive to me then that the schools in the Diocese of San Diego should put students in a position where a harmful process should be considered in order to be considered normal. With this official position, the diocesan schools are also teaching multitudes of children in its many schools that changing sexual orientation is a viable option.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said that reparative therapy directed specifically at changing sexual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation.
The Diocese of San Diego is essentially rejecting these students. The Merriam Webster dictionary definition of the verb reject is to refuse to accept. This is exactly what the Catholic schools and teachers are doing when they instruct their students with this Church policy as part of the curriculum. They are rejecting the normal and healthy actions that gay students will likely participate in during their lifetimes.
A study done at San Francisco State University showed that those gay and lesbian students that felt highly rejected by their teachers were eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those students that were only slightly rejected by their teachers. These same students feeling highly rejected were six times more likely to experience high levels of depression than their peers that felt only slightly rejected.
It seems ironic for example that some diocesan schools express in their mission that they will develop the potential of each child emotionally and physically among other things.
Students’ emotional potential can’t be developed if they are being rejected for the people they are. The emotional trauma they experience from this rejection also often leads to many physical problems from the extreme stress put upon them to change.
There are certainly options that can minimize or eliminate this harm that is prevalent in the schools within the Diocese of San Diego. These include having Gay Straight Alliances in the student body or having openly gay mentors or role models in the school that can speak freely about their experiences. It should also include a change in the curriculum that is currently predicated upon the official Church policy of rejecting the sexual orientation and actions of gay students.
I encourage Bishop McElroy and all Catholic leaders to make these changes as soon as possible. There are many students that are being harmed each school day with the current policies in the Diocese of San Diego schools and numerous other diocesan schools as well. It is appalling to think that in 2015 in our land of opportunity we are treating the future of our society in such a damaging and unhealthy manner.
This article of saintly suggestion is brought to you by that guy wandering in the desert for 40 days. That guy of fantastic faith is Ron Blake and you can send a Hail Mary his way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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