CNA Staff, Aug 11, 2020 / 04:14 pm (CNA).- A Catholic college in the Philippines is defending enrollment and recruitment policies that some critics have decried as a ban on homosexual students and employees. The college maintains that in alignment with Catholic teaching, no sexual orientation is prohibited, but certain sexual acts are.
Assumption College, run by the Sisters of the Religious of the Assumption, is located in Iloilo, a coastal city on the centrally located island of Panay.
A group of 80 Filipino LGBT organizations had released a statement Aug. 7 alleging that Assumption College’s policies against immorality go against the Philippines’ anti-discrimination laws.
The school responded in a statement saying, “As a Catholic institution, Assumption Iloilo is within its rights to adopt a definition of what constitutes immorality in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” It added that the school’s objective is to provide “an education program and environment animated by Catholic religious belief, traditions, teachings, and doctrine.”
The college’s handbooks for students and staff state that immorality, as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and “including but not limited to…homosexuality” is considered a grave offense punishable by firing or expulsion, after due process. Other acts listed under the heading of immorality include premarital sex, prostitution, pornography, rape, and several others.
According to the LGBT groups’ statement, city ordinances and the Philippines’ Department of Education policies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and apply to both public and private schools.
“It is hypocritical to propose measures on immorality in an institution, while blatantly disallowing the existence of persons of diverse [identities], and denying their right to education within the said institution,” the statement asserted.
“As it stands, this discrimination has been the framework which led to young people and students not only feeling unsafe in the institution, but also being stripped of their fundamental human rights.”
The statement cited Paragraph 2358 of the Catechism, which states that people with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Assumption College cited the same paragraph of the Catechism in its defense, agreeing that the homosexual “condition” must be accepted with sensitivity, while maintaining that homosexual acts cannot be condoned at a Catholic institution.
The definition of immorality in the school’s handbook speaks of the “acts” of a person and not the “condition” or “orientation” of a person, the school said.
“The definition sanctions ‘acts’ consisting [of] sexual misconduct from the viewpoint of a Catholic institution regardless of the ‘condition’ or ‘orientation’ of a person. The definition does not sanction the condition or orientation of a person,” the school explained.
As of Aug. 11, local media have not reported that any lawsuits have been filed against the school.