MILWAUKEE (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic university in Wisconsin has divulged it will sponsor a gay dance in the spring.
Earlier this month, Marquette University announced it will host "Pride Prom 2018" next April.
According to the Jesuit school's LGBTQ+ Resource Center, the event will take place inside the Alumni Memorial Union (AMU). The AMU houses the Chapel of the Holy Family, where Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist is present.
Marquette's announcement has scandalized orthodox Catholics, who are responding with a petition for the event to be canceled. The petition effort is led by TFP Student Action, a national network of Catholic university students and parents, fighting to promote traditional moral values on college campuses.
"This event is morally unacceptable," said John Ritchie, TFP Student Action director. "No Catholic campus should ever sponsor a formal dance party for same-sex couples or act to legitimize lifestyles that deeply offend God and harm the moral fabric of our nation."
To date, the petition drive has garnered almost 18,000 signatures.
Marquette University is a bastion of dissent from Church teaching. In recent years, university administrators have launched a series of initiatives to foster gay identity in same-sex-attracted students.
According to its website, Marquette's Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies "aims to be the knowledge leader among Jesuit universities, nurturing a culture that explores, embraces and celebrates diverse gendered experiences and identities."
The university's LGBTQ+ Resource Center, meanwhile, is responsible for a host of gay-affirming events. Upcoming program topics include, "Male, Female and Intersex in the Image of God," "Coming Out Day: 'Coming Out in a Faith-Centered Home,'" and "Historic Trans and Queer Women."
The center characterizes its gay advocacy as "Christ-like" and an embodiment of Catholic identity:
Recognizing the rich history and traditions of Marquette as a Catholic, Jesuit institution, the LGBTQ+ Resource Center hopes to be Christ-like as a beacon of compassion, care and healing to the entire Marquette campus and beyond. We put this into practice by providing a haven and inclusive space within our center for dialogue, support, engagement and growth. Beyond our walls, we provide resources, education and advocacy, specifically with regard to issues and concerns surrounding the well-being of our LGBTQIA+ identifying students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.
The center also describes its affirmation of "multiple and intersecting identities" as a demonstration of its commitment to "social justice."
"Understanding the unique struggles of queer and gender-diverse students," the school's website says, "the LGBTQ+ Resource Center recognizes the importance and impact of affirming our students' multiple and intersecting identities."
"It is our hope that through education and advocacy, rooted in social justice ideals, we are able to impact minds and hearts for a more compassionate and love-filled community, both on and off our campus," the website reads.
Marquette's public embrace of active homosexuality and gender ideology flies in the face of Catholic teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and "contrary to the natural law." They "close the sexual act to the gift of life" and "do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity."
"Under no circumstances," the Church warns, "can they be approved."
Instead, homosexuals are called to chastity in the catechism: "By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."