Gay Bullying and Gay bashing at Catholic schools?

Just wondering if bullying and bashing gays is allowed at Catholic Schools. I know it sounds like a dumb question, but a good friend of mine who attended a Catholic high school in his small town was excessively bullied to the point he made threats.

Anyway, from what he’s told me, it seems like no one really tried to help him or protect him. He is not gay, but because he’s shy and awkward and has a huge temper, people would call him these gay slurs (not sure if I can type them in the forum so I wont) and he’d cry or get angry because they were not true and it got so bad. Anyway, he said that even the priests wouldn’t help him or counsel him, and even though he is devout and hasn’t left the church, he feels that because the Church is anti-gay marriage, people see that as an excuse to be anti gay (I.e. making fun of gays, beating them up, making them feel bad).

He especially is disappointed with his parish priest, and the one closest to him. While one did offer to counsel him and he reconciled with that priest, his parish priest did nothing and is very strong in his anti gay marriage beliefs (as priests should). However he feels that his classmates hear this on sunday and thinks its okay to bully and bash gays.

Anyway, my main question is, does the church approve of gay bashing? I’ve always thought no, but in this case it seems like they punished my friend (even though it was right to do so), and yet those who pushed him this far were let off like nothing happened. Also, why does the church not make a distinction between being anti gay marriage and gay bashing where people call others bad names. It makes me wonder how many guys hear the church is against gay marriage, and then think “its okay to make fun of gays” or worse.

No the Church does not approve of gay bashing, or any bullying or bashing of any nature. The dignity of every human being, regardless of their sexual orientation, is to be observed.

What I think many do not realize or forget is that just because a school or an institution is Catholic does not mean there still doesn’t exist in those places, people that will act inappropriately. Bullying does take place in Catholic schools. And your friend may think the priest is ignoring the situation due to his anti-gay marriage views, but it may be more that he’s ignoring the situation because of the bullying aspect in general. Our family has had a similar experience as your friend, one priest did act the way you described the priest acting in your friend’s situation, they didn’t want to acknowledge bullying was taking place within the classrooms. It didn’t matter what terms were being thrown around, it was that any bullying was taking place it all, the school prided itself on being “anti-bullying” and anybody that pointed out that bullying was still taking place was ignored or “hushed up”.

Sometimes a school is Catholic in name only. I’m sorry for your friend’s horrible experience. But perhaps he needs to seek the counseling from someone outside of the school to help him handle the situation.

he feels that because the Church is anti-gay marriage, people see that as an excuse to be anti gay (I.e. making fun of gays, beating them up, making them feel bad).

That would be a fault of the people doing so - and, indeed sinful of them - and not a fault of the Church, since the Church teaches explicitly that nobody should victimise or be violent in word or deed towards anyone on account of their homosexuality.

Yes, people may excuse themselves in such a way but it is in no way a valid excuse since every single action we take must be measured against the ultimate commandment of Christ Himself: namely, to love our God and to love our neighbour as we would ourselves be loved. Gay people are my neighbours. Straight people are. People with illnesses are my neighbours as are the healthy, the lame, the blind, the deaf and the dumb.

Our Lord, and the Church, do not teach bullying and nobody may excuse themselves of sin in so doing simply because the Church does not approve of the use of the sexual function outside its normal parameters.

You’ve heard of the man who judges being told take the beam out of his own eye before he takes the spec out of another’s? These people, the bullies, have the whole lumber yard in their eyes while they carry out the bullying.

The Church does not approve of ‘gay bashing’. Or any other type of ‘bashing’. Anyone who carries it out or anyone in a position of authority, Church or otherwise, who permits it to happen would do well to visit the Confessional.

That’s important. I was sent to a “Catholic school” in high school after getting in a lot of trouble. So I was one student who didn’t represent Catholicism at the time. I didn’t even believe in any of it. This school was in a particularly bad area in Houston, Texas. It turns out I was probably one of the tamer students. There were Crips at the school (I don’t know the status on them now, but at the time they were a large gang with national notice that had a lot of murders related to them) and even the kids not in gangs would dress in their uniforms in a particular fashion to match and form what they called “cliques” but were actually unofficial gangs. There weren’t any children at that school that practiced openly a homosexual lifestyle but I’d imagine if they did they’d be the target of violence - not just threats. My first day there I almost got jumped by over ten hispanic girls. I have a feeling if I had shown weakness when their leader confronted me I would’ve been in for a fight. This was less of a Catholic school and more of a dumping grounds for troubled kids that public schools wouldn’t take in. So when I hear “Catholic” school, based on my personal experience, I unfortunately think of that.

From my understanding, Catholic schools were some of the first schools to ban bullying for any reason but also in response for harassment of children with SSA.

Having said that, I’m sorry for your friend’s experience and I hope they find a resolution and peace. I’ve had male and female friends with SSA my whole life (well, not in kindergarten because we didn’t really develop sexual attractions at that time but my mother had friends like that). I love them and think highly of them as individuals, and while I personally feel it is a disordered attraction it makes me sad to think of anyone being hurt physically or emotionally because of it.

An honest way of disagreeing with something in a loving way. Good on you, OneDayASaint. Many people could follow your honourable example.

Well of course you already know the answer to that. Please do not generalize about “the Catholic Church” based on one person’s experience with one school, one priest, and some mean kids.

Bullying happens. The Church does not condone it, as you already well know. But in case you aren’t aware of what is in the Catechism, here it is:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

Individual people respond to such situations such as bullying in many ways, some of which are less than hoped for responses due to the human frailty and failing of those involved.

Persons with SSA are to be loved…not bullied or bashed.

Thanks, this has really helped a lot. My only issue now is though is that it is a school in an extremely well regarded diocese (Lincoln NE btw) where you’d think they would try to educate people better and not bully and such. I know not all schools are perfect, but from what i’ve heard from my friend and his parents whom i’ve gotten to know well, the school didn’t even see bullying as an issue. They even had a conference and only 2 or 3 parents showed up.
I find this sad because even though it is a small school, you’d think being a catholic school in a small town it would have good parental involvement. It scares me though.

And just to clarify, my friend does not suffer with SSA. I think a lot of it was just that he is a guy who is sensitive to people making fun of him and it got so bad he just snapped. So his being gay isn’t the issue, its that those bullying used it as a way to make him feel bad

LIke I said in my post, similar experience with the way bullying was handled in our situation. I’m not surprised only a couple of parents showed up. As long as parents and certain people in the school administration never acknowledge that bullying exists in their school system, then they don’t have to address the situation. They can contain the situation and make the people that have experienced the bullying as the ones that are the troublemakers. If more parents had participated in the program, then that would mean they’d have to actually admit there is a problem and then be forced to do something about the bullying.

Many schools are doing everything they can to stay open. Our particular school, the enrollment keeps dropping and they don’t want any bad publicity attached to the school. Admitting there was/is a bullying a problem would be bad publicity. Its quite sad actually, there are only three students remaining in the 8th grade at our former parish school. After we left, many families realized what was going on and pulled their children from the school. The school may have actually increased their enrollment if they had addressed the bullying situation head on instead of sticking their heads in the sand.

Throwing around the “gay” label seems to be the way young adults these days bully each other. Its very typical, even happens on the elementary school level, which is where we experienced it as a family.

There are many, many great priest and other religious out there that would handle the bullying situation in an appropriate manner. Once again, I encourage your friend to seek out a trusted priest to discuss the situation and give your friend a much better take on the situation before your friend thinks his experience is the norm. Its not acceptable, he’s not the first to be bullied and he won’t be the last to be bullied in a Catholic school, but he can certainly grow and help others that will be the victims in the future.

If the parties involved do not believe it was handled appropriately, then the steps they need to take are:

  1. Talk to principal
  2. If not satified, talk to pastor over the school
  3. If not satisfied, bring it to the school board
  4. If not satisfied, bring it to the diocesan office of schools
  5. If not satisfied, bring it to the bishop

Anything else is simply complaining and could lead to gossip, calumny, and/or detraction.

Children “throw around the gay label” in order to bully other children because they have been taught that being gay is the worst thing anyone can ever be.

I agree 5,000%! If you do not get satisfaction from the principal, I suggest that you have an attorney accompany you to your visit to the Pastor. If this is not practical, you might suggest to the Pastor that you are prepared to take legal action against the school and the families of the bullies and that you definately will bring this to the attention of your local newspaper and TV station.
If the pastor suggests that you take your son to another school, then go directly to the Duicesan office of schools with your attorney.

I doubt it would help. This school likes to cover things up. There was recently another issue that happened was covered up. The same thing happened at another school nd d
Was reported in one of the larger newspapers in the state. Unfortunately, I think a lot of catholic schools hide their problems. I’m not saying its bad, but its sneaky. As Catholics we are called to admit we are sinners and do penance. Not sweep it under the rug

I wanted to add to this but it’s just overwhelming.

From my experience, as I said in the recent GSA thread, gay bullying/bashing is more common at Catholic schools. I understand that Catholic teaching doesn’t actually encourage or even condone it, but I suspect the administration is less likely to discourage it. Part of it might be that Catholic schools typically don’t have GSAs.

This was me pretty much. I’m not gay either but because of the way I talk/act or the fact that I didn’t play sports, I got the anti-gay insults and worse (some things I don’t even want to think about and some too offensive to mention). And this was at a Catholic college near me, and with two minor exceptions the administration did nothing to stop it. It’s not just me, either; this place has a bad reputation in the local media for anti-gay incidents. Laugh if you like but I will never attend a Catholic institution again.

So, going back to your main point, yes, I agree 100%.

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