Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Catholic schools, safe environment, safe sex... saves lives?



They not only teach them but give approval to those who practice them... (adapted from Romans 1:32)..


I think it is fairly obvious that the cultural changes we see today have been facilitated in great measure in and through education.  For decades higher education has been the leader in effecting the cultural revolution, forming the educators who would influence and teach primary and secondary students.  (That is not to deny media has been the other big player in reshaping morality.)
.
Up until the last two or three decades or so, Catholic schools have been fairly well protected from the blatant disregard of traditional morality one almost expects to see at universities and colleges.  I think that is all rapidly changing with the 'safe environment' programs and training making its way into primary and high school curriculum today.  Thus it begs the question, are we protecting our kids or hurting them even more?
.
Eponymous Flower blog posted some frank reflections on a local situation related to safe environment in Catholic schools, which I will get to later.  First, some background on the controversy he discusses here:
.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. -- Editorials in a Catholic prep school's student newspaper about same-sex marriage and gay teenagers are sparking debate about free speech in Minnesota.
.
Student-written opinion pieces in the newspaper at Benilde-St. Margaret in suburban St. Louis defended gay teenagers and criticized a DVD by Minnesota's Catholic bishops that denounced same-sex marriage.
.
The editorials and the nearly 100 comments they generated were deleted from the newspaper's website over the weekend. The principal says they created confusion about church teaching and an intensity that made an unsafe environment for students.
.
Some comments praised a gay student's courage for writing about his experience. Others said the editorials shouldn't have been published at a Catholic school. - Source
.
And the reason the gay student wrote what he did:
.
"There's so many suicides in the news. And I felt very frustrated that my voice couldn't be heard, and that there were all these things that I see as injustices all the time that I didn't feel like anyone else was recognizing," said Simonson.

.
The student's essay reads in part:
.
"You fear looking the wrong way in the locker room and offending someone," he continued. "Politicians are allowed to debate your right to marry the person you love, or your right to be protected from hate crimes under the law. Your faith preaches your exclusion -- or damnation. And no one does anything to stop it." - Source 
.
Eponymous' take on the controversy:
.
"The whys and the wherefores of the newsworthiness of this piece are an open question, a sort of cognitive disease of the nation, [...]
.
Many of the editorials and coverage are concerned about "free speech", while at the same time condemning the Archbishop for exercising his own free speech.   One editorial asks if a safe environment is being created for homosexuals in Catholic schools.  A better question to ask is, "is a safe environment being created for Catholicism in Catholic schools?"   Archbishop Nienstedt and the school administration of this allegedly Catholic school seem to think that public opposition in defense for moral depravity on the part of its students to the Church's teachings and a safe environment for Catholicism  are mutually exclusive." - Eponymous Flower
.
So what is my point with this?  I'm not sure - but I believe safe environment programs have to be based upon Roman Catholic moral teaching and age appropriate - and not a cover for promoting or nurturing immoral lifestyles.  I also believe it is a Catholic schools moral responsibility to censor student newspapers and publications which do not conform to Catholic teaching.  Gratefully, the principal of Benilde-St. Margaret acted appropriately in this situation.

14 comments:

  1. It sounds as if this is a Catholic school with serious problems. At my school Catholicism was purely external and institutional. For most of the pupils and their parents it was merely nominal. There was absolutely no concept of the Sacraments or the Faith being psychologically beneficial. The result there as here is a school where the negative "condemnatory" version of Catholicism that has been invented by the Church's enemies is the one that holds sway in the minds of most of its pupils. How else could this student even think there was some conflict between his "faith" and his well-being as a human person?

    ReplyDelete
  2. deja vu ... is there a play script circulating? Just two months back at a private Catholic Boston prep-school there was a similar type of student opinion piece published in the school's student paper. Or is this this a "something" else that has not be attended to spiritually? The Boston response to the published center spread article had similar varying responses... from all the players ...

    Q. Will anything be learned by these incidences? What is to be learned? ...

    Now why did Neil Diamond's songs, Holly Holy, & Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show, just pop in my mind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0igDzsHphqs

    ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hyperventilating!!!!!!!

    1.) I agree with you 100%, Terry. And Epynonmous - who basically hates my guts. So kudos to him, for once.

    2.) When I enrolled my son at K3 Catholic preschool this year (only 2 mornings a week), I also dropped off a letter that said if they planned on covering "stranger danger" or "good touch/bad touch" I wanted to be notified ahead of time so that he could be pulled out that day. I'm sorry, but my kid doesn't need to be scared at the precious age of 3 about people touching his privates or a stranger picking him up off the curb with a lollipop. Also, we all know such topics are just the entree into sex-ed crap. *I'll* teach my kid about strangers and his privates - *ME*, his mother - whom he already trusts to diaper his private parts and protect him. I don't want him to start taking cues at age 3 from misled teachers and/or curriculum that is designed to override my power and influence.

    3. OK, and so now for my usual character and Char-styled sense of humor: Whatever happened to learning about sex the old-fashioned way? On the bus from other kids who found a Playboy in the garage. Or a National Geographic with nude Africans or reading a Judy Blume book? Or going to second base in the secluded privacy under the bleachers, hoping to God you didn't get found out because you KNEW in your heart and mind that it was wrong and sinful? You know what I'm saying? Ditto for homosexual activity - whatever happened to "exploring" your possibly gay urges in relative darkness with extreme secrecy so that you didn't get found out? That's how it used to be when we all knew the difference between right and wrong and social/anti-social behaviors. Now it's all out in the open and I think it's the worst thing ever. If I offend anyone with this comment, sorry, but we didn't have a slew of teen gay suicides until we told these kids that it was OK to be gay. Why is that? I'm not saying teen suicide is OK - hardly. But when things were kept private, people weren't bullied for their choices. Most confirmed homosexuals led quiet, happy lives in relative anonymity and it was fine - people respected them and honored their talents for what they were, not because they were gay.

    4. This whole notion that kids/teens "know" they are gay is another crock of shit. Yeah, yeah, I know, there's a handful of people that we all know were gay a month after they were born. Those folks aside, I take issue with the idea that because you got fondled by your pervert uncle once, then suddenly you're a homosexual. Or because you were fantasizing about your gym teacher naked in 7th grade, that makes you a lesbian. How on earth do these kids KNOW for sure? But we feed them this line about having the right to be who they are, which tells them that youth sets the barometer for their whole lives. If only they knew the truth about how much a human being changes in their lifetime. And that most definitely includes sexuality. If I chose my sexuality based on how I felt and what was happening to me when I was 17, I'd probably be a gay rights activist at this point in my life. But because I was honest with myself and open to even the smallest side ideas and feelings I was having, I was able to move through confusion and attachment to base orgasms to see the light. I resent that these kids are being told to clutch onto a handful of sexual experiences and lock them in as a lifelong identity.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hate Charlotte's guts? Zoinks.

    I'm almost as surprised that the school has taken these steps as I am that they had an "openly gay" student writing on the paper about his sexual confusion. Btw, his sexual confusion will grow proportionate to the proximate cognitive distance he maintains from Catholic practice and belief with correspondingly profound unhappiness as the result.

    The unhappiness bit will, of course, have almost nothing to do with how his parents react to him [even if they're happy about him being gay and regard it as heavensent] or the Catholic Church, since most homosexuals find very warm enclaves eager to receive them, but it will have everything to do with the essence of the sin and hatred for God.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The important thing is protecting the person who may not be heterosexual. The person who is gay does not choose to be gay as I do not choose to be straight. I support the church and the school with my time and treasure. Then I send my child to the school. I do not want that school to put him in harms way by supporting bigotry by either commission or omission. If the school cannot do that they should not say they are a good place for my Catholic child.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Tancred,
    When you've ripped me a new one not only on your blog, but also more than once on Fisheater's forum - accusing me of being SSPX or in a family that's SSPX (none of which is true - I never even heard of SSPX until 2007) - then I'd say you've pretty much had it out for me.

    To this day, if you type "Cheeky Pink Girl" into Google, after my blog comes up - yours comes up next - with an uber-charitable entry that accuses me of latent SSPX-hatred because of my supposed family ties to SSPX. All untrue. (Although in a strange twist of fate - I'm adopted - I recently found out that one of my biological uncles is SSPX. Weird.) It is my deepest desire that your blog post about the TRAD funeral I wrote of would disappear because it so totally off base.

    And yes, I still think the SSPX daughter was a jerk for sitting in the back pew of her mother's Latin requiem mass funeral.

    (Sorry Terry.) I'm in a fiesty mood today. Please forgive me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's okay Charlotte - everyone else does it. LOL!

    Tancred is really a good guy - very strict though. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Charlene, the important thing is to follow church teaching. The church is not bigoted; the church offers salvation to all within Christ's teaching.

    Supporting gay marriage is speaking against the church; it's absolutely right for a Catholic school to ensure that student publications follow church teaching. Freedom of speech is as to government intervention so is irrelevant here.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think schools have to make it absolutely clear that bullying and cruelty for any reason are unacceptable. And safe environments training is a good thing, as long as it places the burden where it belongs, on the adults.
    However, sexuality is a delicate matter, and ham handed attempts to raise consciousness can do more harm than good. For instance, it is not unusual for young adolescents, especially girls, to develop a "crush" on a person of the same sex. It would be a mistake to attach too much meaning to it; most of the time it is a phase they go through, and before long their interests will be transfered to the opposite sex. And boys usually lag behind girls as far as development by about two years. It isn't unusual for a 14 year old boy to not be interested in girls yet; even if they are interested in him. Either of these situations could be misinterpreted by overly zealous adults and cause needless confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh yeah, I brought you more traffic than Moses brought Jews out of Egypt, and I actually defended you on FE. Not that anyone would necessarily appreciate that kind of defending. I just pointed out that conservative NO Catholics have to be won over, because on so many levels, they fight the same kinds of battles traditionalists fight in their own parishes. [It was kind of lost on more than a few over there]

    I didn't actually accuse you of having a relative, I merely suggested you had an SSPX relative because of the vehemency, and frankly, unfairness with which you attack them.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tancred,
    If you defended me somewhere - especially on Fisheaters - then I apologize and salute you. I wouldn't know you did that, since I eventually stopped going over there.

    But I really wish you'd take that blog post down. If you don't, I respect that, as there are very few that I would ever take down off my blog. Or at least amend it to note that I am NOT related to anyone in the SSPX.

    So, for now, peace. I apologize for my aggressive comments here. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Louis E.6:58 PM

    Charlene,to "be gay" in this context involves both homosexual orientation and an attitude toward homosexual activity that opposes Catholic teaching on the issue.This is both a choice,and a choice that can not be reconciled with the faith.
    It is not "bigotry" to treat people as capable of rejecting their impulses toward misbehavior.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Dear Terry,

    I was wondering if you were going to write about this event. This happens to be my nephew. It is a sad thing. This is not easy thing to be shocked by. My mother found out by watching the wcco report. None us knew. I love him but do not agree with what he wrote.

    Peace,

    Katie

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.