Kevin Rhoades, the bishop of the Indiana diocese where Notre Dame is located, said the university's plan affirms Catholic teachings that men and women with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity."
Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter wrote that Notre Dame's decision was not just the right thing to do but a courageous act.
Karl Abad said Notre Dame has taken a big step.
"I have no idea how the future debates about the moral issues raised by homosexuality will play out, but I do know that Notre Dame is here insisting on the fact that, whatever our theological views on human sexuality, we also have a Christian obligation to 'create a community where all may flourish and feel welcome, where we aspire to an even deeper understanding and appreciation of Catholic teaching, and where the human dignity of each Notre Dame student is valued,' " Winters wrote. "That, too, is part of our Catholic moral tradition."
Openly gay student Karl Abad, 21, said he hoped prospective students will no longer have a fear of enrolling at Notre Dame like he did.
"We now will have a place where gay students can get together," he said. "I am expecting a lot more student involvement in terms of gay issues."
He said GLBTQ students will no longer have to go underground to seek support.
He applauded the university's decision, acknowledging the difficulty in balancing a Catholic identity with policies that are inclusive of gay students. In that respect, he said, Notre Dame has taken a giant step.