July 2, 2015, 5:02 a.m. – CELEBRATING “gay pride” and
the US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, an online student
organization under the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) switched to
rainbow-filtered profile pictures on its social media accounts last June 28,
only to take them down just hours later.

Netizens called the UST administration’s attention to the
gay-pride-themed profile pictures of TomasinoWeb, pointing out that support for
same-sex marriage, on a public platform, was against Thomasian values and the
Church’s teachings on marriage and the family espoused by UST, the Pontifical
and Catholic University of the Philippines. There was no disclaimer that
TomasinoWeb’s position did not reflect that of the University, a netizen
pointed out.

TomasinoWeb, an OSA-accredited student organization that
runs an online media platform, says on its “About” page that as “an
organization based in UST, TomasinoWeb aids in inculcating the Thomasian values
in its members.”

TomasinoWeb was conceptualized by Dominican priest Fr.
Melchor Saria, former director of the Santo Tomas e-Service Providers (STePS),
the information technology office of the UST administration. It was founded
“under the guidance of STePS” in 2007, and gained OSA accreditation in 2008.

Commenting on the “Youth For Life” Facebook page, UST
Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. clarified that “changing the
profile [picture] was not the decision of the [organization],” referring to
TomasinoWeb, but by “one of their members who was a [Facebook page]

Fr. Cabading said that aside from University officials,
“many others” called TomasinoWeb’s attention to the rainbow-filtered profile
pictures, which social media users utilized following last week’s landmark US
Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

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In a statement last June 29, the College Editors Guild of
the Philippines (CEGP) claimed the OSA ordered the take-down of the profile
pictures. “While the Guild respects the views of UST as the Catholic university
of Asia, we are concerned by OSA’s blatant disregard [of] TomasinoWeb’s
editorial autonomy by keeping the publication from voicing its support to our
brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. This is a clear violation of the
publication’s right to freedom of the press and of expression,” it said.

Quoting Pope Francis’ famous words “If someone is gay, who
searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge,” CEGP said UST
should “emulate the Pope’s acceptance of homosexuals in the Church without

The Pope’s words, often quoted out of context, were in
response to a question on why a monsignor with a history of sexual
indiscretions had been appointed to a key Vatican post. The Pope explained that
the priest committed “sin” but later “converted.”

Pope Francis has nevertheless spoken repeatedly against
gender ideology and efforts to undermine the family. He called upon Filipino
Catholics during his apostolic visit to the Philippines last January to resist
“colonization by new ideologies.” In his homily last Jan. 16, Pope Francis
urged Filipino clergy to “Proclaim the beauty and truth of the Christian
message to a society which is tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality,
marriage and the family.”

More recently, the Pontiff, in his second encyclical titled
Laudato Si’,” said caring for the environment also entailed respect for human
ecology, which meant “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity.”

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When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010, Pope Francis
condemned efforts to legislate same-sex marriage in Argentina
. The then
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote: “At stake is the identity and survival of
the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many
children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their
human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is
the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”

“Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle,
but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere
instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive
the children of God,” he added.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexual
acts are against natural law. Still, homosexuals must be treated with “respect,
compassion, and sensitivity.” The Catechism adds: “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.” Arianne F. Merez


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