Discrimination | Education | Michigan | News

Catholic School Bans Gay Man From Graduation Keynote: VIDEO


Dominic Sheahan-Stahl's alma mater, Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, invited him to deliver this year's keynote address. He was thrilled, obviously, particularly since this year marks the graduation of his little brother, the final member of three generations to attend Sacred Heart. Unfortunately, Sheahan-Stahl's celebration has been cut short, because he was informed this week that Sacred Heart snipped him from the schedule after reading on Facebook about Sheahan-Stahl's engagement to another man.

In a seven-minute video posted AFTER THE JUMP, Sheahan-Stahl explains the situation and argues that Sacred Heart and its ideological peers need to face the fact that their discriminatory habits are based in fear, and should be challenged.

The incident has caused a stir already in Michigan -- there's already a Facebook page called Let Dominic Speak, the Morning Sun reports -- and school officials are apparently prepping a statement to be released this afternoon.

Watch Sheahan-Stahl's video AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. I didn't even watch the video. I can understand his disappointment - but it's the Catholic church for pete's sake. Rome only accepts celibate gays. It's a religion, they can make any rules they want. You either accept those rules or move on. Stop whining about it.

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 26, 2012 10:39:20 AM

  2. I sort of agree with the above commenter. It's what's expected from the horribly bigoted, backwards, discriminatory organization called the Roman Catholic Church.

    I respect the school church for banning him. It exposes their bigotry. So may Catholics look the other way in terms of just ignoring church rules- which condones the ongoing bigotry of the organization.

    If I had a church that hated group X, but then allowed group X to participate in my church- what kid of hypocrite would I be?

    Posted by: tom a | Apr 26, 2012 10:48:38 AM

  3. Hopefully the incident leads to more gay Catholics realizing that the Church just doesn't want them. They may find exceptance with their local parish but the heirachy is in charge and as long as Catholics keep supporting the power brokers in Rome, the Church will only change when it wants to (which is never).

    I feel bad for Sheanan-Stahl but the incident reminds me of when that choir director from St. Louis was sacked because the Church found out he wanted to get married to his partner. In both cases I am left thinking: what did they expect? (I kind of feel the same way about the Boy Scout Den Mother - it was wrong but everybody knows the Boy Scouts' position. It shouldn't come as a surprise.)

    Posted by: KT | Apr 26, 2012 10:56:34 AM

  4. Like the other commentators, I'm not feeling a whole lot of sympathy for Dominic Sheahan-Stahl. I agree that the Catholic church needs to stop discriminating against LGBT people. But I'm surprised that he's "shocked" to have been barred from speaking.

    From what I can tell, everyone seems to know that the Catholic church 'tolerates' gay people, as long as no one *knows* you're gay. It seems that this is the reason why a public post on Facebook became the ridiculous reason why he was asked not to speak.

    But Dominic Sheahan-Stahl, when you make a YouTube video like this, it's important to realize that this may be your one opportunity to get a message across. I'd encourage you to sharpen your arguments, be as concise as possible, and put that speech on the internet. Use the moment to say what needs to be said, and do it quickly.

    Posted by: GMB | Apr 26, 2012 11:07:33 AM

  5. The Catholic faith will only change with its members. As its members become more tolerant its members will rise to be its leaders and change will happen. It's slow but it's the way it has to be. Otherwise you can't complain when you made the choice to attend an institution whose values are public and counter to your own.

    Posted by: silvra | Apr 26, 2012 11:29:46 AM

  6. This is exactly why I shutdown my facebook page. Think about it. Making your life public to the entire world. No thanks.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Apr 26, 2012 12:04:34 PM

  7. @Wilberforce.... can't you have a Facebook page that only allows access to your "friends"?

    Are your only choices to allow the whole world in or remove yourself from it all together?

    Posted by: Tim NC | Apr 26, 2012 12:12:38 PM

  8. I would expect if the church isn't going to allow gay speakers, they should have asked him if he was gay before extending the original invitation.

    Posted by: Tim NC | Apr 26, 2012 12:13:30 PM

  9. Wow,

    I can't believe the comments. You would think on a site like this you would see some support. Who cares what you think anyone should "expect", it's only by respect, tolerance and information are we going to open peoples eyes. If you expect the worse, then just sit back and suck it. If you want to help change, stand up for yourself and be heard. Keep it positive.

    Posted by: MurphyZoe | Apr 26, 2012 12:42:06 PM

  10. I went to this school in the 80s, and it was hardly a staunch Catholic environment. I was openly pro-choice, Protestant, and liberal yet was never prohibitedfrom any events - including attending Mass. They'll lose my alumni support if they don't correct this.

    Posted by: John Schaefer | Apr 26, 2012 12:45:19 PM

  11. Stand down and just take it--NEVER! So what if it is the Catholic Church? Bigotry and discrimination need to be called out wherever and whenever they occur. The message this school is sending to Dominic, his family and little brother and to their community is not okay. It does not matter that their position and actions are not "surprising". Good for Dominic!!

    Posted by: JT | Apr 26, 2012 12:53:30 PM

  12. People should quit supporting Catholic schools. Simple as that.

    Posted by: Jay | Apr 26, 2012 1:01:16 PM

  13. I don't have much sympathy for Shehan-Stahl since he was quite willing to go along with the Roman Catholic bigotry. He wasn't even planning to mention that he was gay in the speech. The only good thing about this is that it draws attention to the hatred of the institution.

    Posted by: Jay | Apr 26, 2012 1:03:38 PM

  14. The church/school should be ashamed. Look at the sadness you have caused this young man and his family because of fear and ignorance. Your God did not intend these actions. Your own condemnation shall condemn you on judgment day.

    Posted by: Eric | Apr 26, 2012 1:19:06 PM

  15. By their deeds ye shall know them.

    Posted by: Nic Peterson | Apr 26, 2012 1:52:11 PM

  16. Tim NC,
    In theory. But the privacy settings are cryptic, like most technical writing, and it's not worth taking a chance that something is still available to the Universe. It's also not worth it just to trade the white washed commentary of family and freinds, in which everyone has to be as vanilla as possible just in case someone uninvited is listening. It's a bunk system. Period. But the general public are easily hypnotized by any new fad.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Apr 26, 2012 1:53:39 PM

  17. CELIBATE gays? Please! Yes, I know being gay and being a pedophile are two entirely different things, BUT ... in San Diego, Wolf's leather bar's principal patrons were the Augustinian fathers and brothers from St. Patrick's Parish and Augustinian High School, right down the street. They were quite open about it, including wearing full leather "dress kit." More power to 'em (if most hadn't died of AIDS ... a result of being "closeted" to their doctors).

    I'm NOT a Roman Catholic priest, BTW ... the Old Catholic Church gladly ordains women, lesbians, and gays.

    Posted by: Fr. Raymond Burgoon-Clqrk | Apr 26, 2012 1:56:21 PM

  18. Wow the Catholic church doing something anti-gay, shocker.

    Posted by: Billy | Apr 26, 2012 2:09:26 PM

  19. Without having seen the video yet, I must say that I'm surprised at many commenters' lack of nuance about what it means to go to a catholic school, their consequent resignation to homophobia, and lack of solidarity with someone who seeks it. That school apparently runs from Kindergarden to Grade 12, and as mentionned, that man's family has a long history there. By any indication, he was already a part of that community before homophobia entered into his experience of the place.

    Many commenters seem to be saying "He was asking for it", or "He had it coming". Would you say that to the victim of a hate crime in a community considered homophobic?

    Posted by: Rafa | Apr 26, 2012 2:13:00 PM

  20. Good point, RAFA. I don't see why we can't support him and take a few pokes at the Church as an institution. It isn't always one or the other.

    Posted by: Brim | Apr 26, 2012 2:39:05 PM

  21. The real irony here is that the Catholic Bishop suppressing this speech was one of the bishops when enabled the abuse of hundreds of children in Philadelphia.


    This is the new location of the culture war, the Catholic church is looking to insulate itself from any form of a reality where it's 'ok to be gay'.

    And frankly, by doing this you're telling a family who has sent all of their kids to Catholic schools (no doubt at great financial sacrifice) that one of their children is defective.

    Awesome message to send.

    Posted by: matt | Apr 26, 2012 2:45:58 PM

  22. What can you expect from a evil worthless organization as the rc church?

    Posted by: Vince | Apr 26, 2012 3:07:02 PM

  23. I'm a bit shocked by some of the reactions here. I was raised in a very fundamental, Christian religion. It was very intolerant and homophobic, just as the Roman Catholic Church. However, some commenters seem to miss that he was "born" into Catholicism and regardless of his/your feelings, this is about more than just religion. Coming out an being out can be complicated for people who come from backgrounds similar to mine. Being unable to unload that shame and hurt is difficult - don't add more to it.

    Posted by: Mark Melton | Apr 26, 2012 3:09:43 PM

  24. I think that the headline should read "Gay Alumnus", as it's his kid brother's graduation.
    According to the pope and bishop's thinking, they would be publicizing someone who defies the church.
    He was not kicked for "being Gay"-- he was kicked because the ogres need to stay on their message while backing anti-marriage laws in every State.
    SOMEWHERE IN THERE IS A RAY OF LIGHT -- the same would have happened if he were a woman who was pregnant and unmarried, so at least the Gays are not in a special category.
    A GUESS -- pretty obviously whoever picked him knew he was Gay, and expected him to be quiet about it. Then someone saw the Facebook and told an official.

    Posted by: Bob | Apr 26, 2012 3:26:36 PM

  25. Posted by: Rafa
    Many commenters seem to be saying "He was asking for it", or "He had it coming". Would you say that to the victim of a hate crime in a community considered homophobic?

    He should NOT be cancelled for getting engaged and showing it on FB, but ALSO should not be living in a cave, and pretending that the bishops are not conducting an anti-marriage campaign RIGHT NOW.
    This is not like a Gay man being shot for coming out of a bar -- it's more like someone going into a yard where there was a vicious dog and whining about being bitten

    Posted by: Bob | Apr 26, 2012 3:32:22 PM

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