Students and parishioners are rallying behind a Catholic priest at George Washington University after two gay students said they wanted him removed for supporting the church’s stance on homosexuality.
Seniors Damian Legacy and Blake Bergen want the Rev. Gregory Shaffer booted off campus because he taught that homosexual behavior is immoral. The pair has filed a formal complaint with the school’s administration and are holding a vigil outside the Newman Center, where Father Shaffer serves as a chaplain, until he is removed, Catholic News Agency reports.
“I have never seen Fr. Greg be less than compassionate to any student on an issue of sexuality,” Dawn Eden, who is a parishioner at St. Stephen Martyr Parish, where Father Shaffer is based, told CNA. “He’s been instrumental in helping them to find healing in Christ.”
Current and past Newman Center students rallied support for the priest on a blog titled “The Chaplain I Know,” calling him “self-sacrificing,” “encouraging” and instrumental in their conversions back to Catholicism, CNA reports.
“The kindness and unconditional affection he expressed was what gave me the strength to realize that I was loved despite my mistakes,” one supporter wrote.
Catholic League President Bill Donohue called the students’ campaign against Father Shaffer a “serious civil issue” that should be the subject to a “campus wide discussion on the meaning of the First Amendment.”