Gay Sacred Heart alum to give planned commencement speech May 20 at CMU
Dominic Sheahan-Stahl, the Sacred Heart Academy alum who was told he could not speak at his alma mater because he is gay, is taking his commencement address to Central Michigan University.
Sheahan-Stahl, a 1998 graduate of the school now living in New York, posted on his Facebook page Monday plans to speak in Warriner Hall’s Plachta Auditorium at 1 p.m. May 20, a Sunday.
“EVERYONE is welcome because NO ONE is outside the LOVE of God,” Sheahan-Stahl wrote. An event page is being worked on and will be posted soon, the post says.
The Catholic school came under scrutiny Thursday after inviting Sheahan-Stahl to speak at the May 20 graduation ceremony and then reversing its decision when officials learned he was openly gay. Sheahan-Stahl’s younger brother, William, attends the school and is scheduled to graduate.
Principal Dennis Starnes held an open assembly Friday in which he stood behind Sheahan-Stahl, telling students and media members he had “heated discussions” with the Saginaw Diocese, who ultimately made the call to cancel the planned speech.
“In my mind (Dominic) was the perfect person,” Starnes said. “And that hasn’t changed.”
The Saginaw Diocense shot back Friday afternoon, when Bishop Joseph R. Cistone released a statement saying school officials did not contact them about uninviting Sheahan-Stahl and criticized the way the situation was handled.
“It has hurt an individual, a family, a graduating class and an entire school and faith community,” Cistone said. “The Catholic Church is very clear in her teaching, that men and women who have homosexual tendencies must be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
Cistone also cited a line from the 2004 Speaker-Presenter Policy on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, writing: “(those) who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles … should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
Cistone said the diocese was not invited to Friday’s assembly.
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