Thursday, April 03, 2014

Last night there was a meeting in Charlotte about Sr. Jane Dominic's lecture.

According to reports, there was drama, a lot of drama.

School leaders asked parents to engage in a respectful dialogue, and a statement was read aloud from Bishop Peter Jugis, who was unable to attend because he was presiding at a church dedication in Hayesville. Bishop Jugis prayed there would “be a friendly and respectful conversation among Catholic brothers and sisters, united in the one faith and in the love of Almighty God.”
But many parents’ emotions boiled over, with arguments even carrying over into the school’s parking lot when the meeting ended after two hours. Two observers called the meeting’s climate “disrespectful” and “hate-filled.”
“There was a lot of passion from two different viewpoints,” David Hains, diocesan director of communication and moderator for the parents meeting, said afterwards. - h/t Deacon's Bench

Sr. Jane Dominic won't be going back.  Her superiors determined a return engagement wouldn't be fruitful.

Recycled news.

There are so many people discussing this situation with so many opinions floating about, and understandably so, since the problem involves parents who send their kids to Catholic school - most of whom (hopefully) expect a solid education in Catholic faith and morals.  I believe this situation could happen anywhere in the country.  Over the past year or so, as same sex marriage is legalized around the country, Catholic students have protested when a teacher or principal resigns or is terminated after it is revealed they are in a same sex relationship, or happens to be a lesbian with child.

Obviously Sr. Jane Dominic was presenting solid Catholic teaching in the body of her speech.  For the sake of relevance, and perhaps to illustrate the consequences of sinful behavior, Sister relied on statistics to punctuate her talk.  That's what I understand at least.  I get that.  I totally understand why someone would use stats in an educational setting.

The problem is, statistics are always disputed and found wanting by anyone opposed to what is being said.  Stats on homosexuality and homosexual relationships are nearly militantly opposed and rejected by gay activists.  I do not even know how some of the claims, such as 28% of gay men have 500 to 1000 partners comes from.  How can that be?  I don't know.  I know the dark side of homosexual life, I know the sexual addiction aspect of the sub-culture.  Is it still like that?  Not if you read "gay-Christian/gay-Catholic" sites.  Besides, younger people don't believe it.  Young people are of an invincible mindset - "bad stuff just doesn't happen to me."  Likewise - if it is that dangerous, it's got to be fun.

The other fact of life is that media works to prove that gay is not bad.  TV, movies, entertainment and celebrities demonstrate that.  Will and Grace, Modern Family, and most recently HBO's Looking. The series is criticized by older gay critics as boring - but I think that's the plan.
Looking star Russell Tovey recently told Digital Spy that he believes the show provides "a fresh eye" on the gay community.  "This is showing a section of the community where there isn't any crisis in the fact that they're gay and it isn't the all-defining personality trait of each of the characters," said Tovey, who plays Kevin.  "It just happens to be that they are gay and this is their lives and this what they are doing - they are living. They've got over all their s**t and they're just being." - Source
Perception is tactically important.  To remove the notion of sin is critical.  It begins in childhood, at home, among peers, at play, in day care, pre-school - parked in front of the television.  It wasn't just the students, but the parents who were upset with what Sr. Jane Dominic had to say and how she said it.  I read that most said they could accept a simple repetition of what the Catechism says about marriage and sexuality - but that's it.   The implication being that no bias, no statistics, no anecdotal evidence of the consequences of sin was needed or wanted.

So where did Sr. Jane Dominic get her stats?

I'm not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if she is aware of the research of NARTH - National Association of Research and Therapy for Homosexuality, or at least serious studies similar to those of NARTH.  If that was the case - no wonder Sr. Jane Dominic was blown out of the water. Anything associated with such research-studies is always rejected by the gay is good lobby.  The Spiritual Friendship/Sexual Authenticity group and gay-Christian groups like them, reject the POV that homosexuality is not fixed and change is possible.  In fact, all pro-gay groups pretty much reject that notion, as well as research helping people understand the origins or development of same sex attraction in individuals.

Hence the censorship of the type we see at work in the reaction to Sr. Jane Dominic's presentation, as well as what can or should be taught in Catholic schools.  Obviously it is important to the parents that students not be taught such things because it is deemed 'divissive' and 'offensive' to students who may be questioning their own sexual orientation, or whose parents or some other relative is gay, a single parent, and so on.  Perhaps - in other words - don't disturb their peace at home.

I blame the parents.

I love saying that - but I blame Catholic education too.  I'll bet most of these parents went to Catholic schools themselves - and probably Catholic colleges.  These parents are as influenced by media and culture just as much as their kids.  They have most likely accepted cultural standards such as divorce and contraception, choice, and now - gay is normal.  I'm generalizing of course - but I think that's the scenario.

The new evangelization.

What to do?  Blaming people doesn't work any better than offering statistics about the natural consequences of particular sins and disorders.  Neither does bullying or condemning have a place in evangelization.  Some people online - even priests - demean and mock those who present arguments against Sr. Jane Dominic.  They belittle them and revert to high school level name calling and criticism.  That is not defending the faith or offering appropriate catechesis.

The situation encountered in Charlotte seems to me to be proof that the new evangelization must take place in our parishes and schools and neighborhoods, first and foremost.  It calls for faith, love and devotion, as well as respect for persons, no matter their age.  There is no place for name calling or intimidation - or blaming the victim.

If a priest, a nun, a lay catechist or teacher, even an ordinary lay person feels put upon as a Catholic - that is part of our vocation.  That is what the slap on the face meant at Confirmation - at least when I was confirmed.


  1. No more slaps at Confirmation; might traumatize the little babies. And no more "judgment" -- might hurt somebody's feelings. And, as a matter of fact, no more worshipers in many places, just empty pews. What do you think? Will the hot seats in hell be empty?

    1. It's very sad, isn't it.

    2. The cross is the greatest sign of God’s love. There are many waiting to impose a cross on others but few wanting to carry one. Ask Simon.

    3. Very good insight - thanks.

  2. New evangelization=martyrdom

    1. Disagreement ≠ martyrdom

    2. Disagreement does not equal homophobia.

    3. Being told homosexual behavior is sinful does not equal persecution.

  3. How good has the threat of hell been towards curbing sex over the last 2,000 years? What is the definition of insanity, to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? Do we learn anything from futile efforts to make people ashamed of their sex drive? The only thing that something like the well intentioned, but misquided talk that the sister gave will do is to keep a wall up between kids.... grabbling with their horomones and sexual drive..and the adults in their life, especially the clergy.

    Actually the clergy and all educators should stay out teaching kids about sexuality. That's the parents job and they should be doing it. What was a nun of all people talking to boys about this? Not only should a man be talking to them (preferably not a celibate priest) but boys and girls have far different sexual thoughts and development. This just shows how cut of these people were from reality. Even back in the day we boys were taught on our own, and well, if you can call teaching that masturbation was a mortal sin , and yes, made you go insane.....(though we did have a great slide film called, "The VD Blues," which had its own theme song and all of us still remember and laugh about..) I

    Am I advocating handing out condoms and winking, but this little debacle should point towards looking for a new way to teach sexual morality and more importantly, respect for your own bodies and others. Also, calling some gay kid "intrinsically disordered," during his or her sexually formative years can do a lot worse then traumatizing the kid, it can totally screw him up for years to come.

    Was slapping a rite of passage for Confirmation? I don't remember that!

    1. "Was slapping a rite of passage for Confirmation?"

      Yes - it was a sign that meant we may have to suffer for the faith - even endure martyrdom. Confirmation had a distinct soldier of Christ emphasis about it.

    2. Wow..thanks for the explanation, I thought Mary Ann was slapping the confirmed "Welcome to the faith...WHACK!" Though your explanation is kind of culty sado- masochistic weird....but looking it up it says that it was symbolic, not an actual slap, so that makes more sense. That was before my time!

    3. It was a slap fest when I was confirmed.


      Yeah, it was way before my time too. What?

  4. Well, at least she's "taking the flack" when perhaps who some people are really angry at is God and the truth as explained by the Church. Or also confused. It "comes with the territory", so to speak. I remember reading somewhere st. Bernadette Soubrious responding to a question that "My job is to inform, not to convince", and perhaps that is what sister Jane Dominic has hopefully done?? Thanks for the article and God bless you, Terry and ALL your readers, etc..

  5. I have not followed this story very closely, so that should be taken into account in reading what I am saying. It seems Sister Jane was trying to bring the the truth about homosexuality to people and that she is not just a hater.

    But our culture has so morally deteriorated that it no longer sees homosexuality as a moral evil. We have to face the reality of this sad truth. Our culture now looks at those who defend traditional moral values as loons and worse, as bigots and haters. It just does not work to say to society, you are all a bunch of sinners headed to hell. People have been conditioned to turn a deaf ear to such talk.

    The reason Pope Francis has been so effective is that he reaches out to people with love and compassion, not judgment. He does not see sinners, as such. He sees people in crisis, in deep pain. He knows that condemnation is not going to reach them. He says the truth of the Catholic Church to the general public, but to individuals he says only "I love you."

    In his recent Meet The Press interview, Cardinal Dolan made a very wise statement which we should all take to heart if we really want to reach people:

    “And so Francis is reminding us, look, if we come across as some crabby, nay saying shrill, we’re not gonna win anybody. If we come across as a loving, embracing holy mother church who says, “Come on in. We love you. We need you. We want you. And once you get to know us, then maybe we can invite you to the conversion of heart that is at the core of the gospel. And then maybe we can talk about changing behavior. That’s a very effective pedagogy.

  6. "That's a very effective pedagogy", Perhaps that is similar to the "pedagogical theory" of Maria Montessori? Placing the children in a well-prepared environment and then gently watching-over them, instead of teaching them unilaterally only. I thought that would apply to us all since we are all children in God's eyes..

  7. "I blame the parents.
    I love saying that - but I blame Catholic education too. I'll bet most of these parents went to Catholic schools themselves - and probably Catholic colleges. These parents are as influenced by media and culture just as much as their kids. They have most likely accepted cultural standards such as divorce and contraception, choice, and now - gay is normal. I'm generalizing of course - but I think that's the scenario."

    Agree...I support the sister who made the presentation. How was she to know what kind of reaction these folks would have? Did any take a deep breath before blowing their tops? I am making assumptions too but am not at all surprised that it has come to this. Some support and some do not and the ones that do not support the truth are the ones crying the loudest, yes?

    When my nieces were in high school, they had friends (girls and boys) who were already engaged in the homosexual life style. Some parents were upset and would ask my brother, (my nieces father) to talk to their child about how wrong it was. He tried but failed from what I was told.

    Anyway, now? Well, my nieces and my brother have changed their minds and find nothing wrong with the lifestyle...they support it.

    I support and believe what the Church teaches about homosexuality (all sexuality, for that matter) and am therefore considered "odd, old-fashioned, mean, hateful and backward."

    They tell me to "get with the times."

    Same treatment the poor sister got from some there I am sure and all for simply being faithful to the teachings of our Catholic faith.

    Seems we are all in for a very bumpy ride ahead.

  8. Yaya, obviously we don't agree on this issue but you are far from mean and hateful. It really bugs me that both sides come out swinging on this issue...the far right screaming "sodomy," and "homo-sex" (which always makes me laugh for some reason) and the far left screaming "homo-phobe," and "bible nut."

    Don't let them get you down, you seem to be a very loving person (as for the "odd," comment who cares, we are all odd in some ways and if you arent I dont want to talk to you as you would be just boring.)

  9. My understanding is that she taught that masturbation, pornography, and single or divorced parenting leads to homosexuality. This is wrong, untrue, and not Catholic doctrine. You may believe homosexuality is evil, but don't misrepresent actual Church teaching. Theology of the Body is nice for fairy tales and makes a beautiful ideal, but doesn't reach most people where they live. God knows us, all of us and each of us. He is not a foppish prude who lives in a fantasy world and needs to be protected from his people by over zealous nuns. God is in the mix, in our real lives, and can walk the messy road with us. Presentations like this lead away the exact people God wants to enfold.

    1. Hi Jonna - There is no recording of what she said about that stuff - however, I would bet what she said was either taken out of context or misunderstood. No one her age would make claims like what she is supposed to have said. She may have cited case studies that came off as a generalization of cause and effect. The Dominicans are so not naive, pious 'little nuns' that we like to dismiss them as in entertainment. These women are very young, very contemporary, well educated, and in not a few cases, former career women. They come from real life situations and experiences. They also want to enfold the same people God does - they want to help students see the truth and beauty of truth - if anything I'm sure Sister would want to go back and clarify what she had to say - but she has been rejected and condemned and doesn't even have the hierarchy speaking in her defense.

      Sr. Jane Dominic has been mistreated and calumniated. It's a shame.

  10. I know this community well, and was a Trappistine novice myself several years ago. I know they are not sheltered, far from it, but do have a distinct viewpoint beyond mere Catholic moral theology, and yes this becomes an agenda within the Church that objectified others. They are pilgrims as well, and on the way like all of us, and I pray for Sr. Jane. But we need radical truth presented with radical love, that embraces before it cries 'sinner.' See Pope Francis.

    1. I see you are sincere - I was a Trappist novice once. I have worked very closely with priests and nuns all my life as well. That said - Jane Dominic has no other agenda than to teach Catholic doctrine. Her life is the epitome of witness to Catholic teaching, the Gospel, which is radical truth. Likewise, her choice of life is the epitome of radical love.

      You've misread Pope Francis and misunderstood Sr. Jane Dominic.

      I am also quite sure Jane Dominic knows about many agendas which are out there.

    2. BTW - what I always tell myself, and former religious - especially former aspirants - don't rest on your laurels or experience in religious life, or your knowledge of what you experienced, that is all passed - dead works as it were. Religious life is lived and consecrated religious are living the life - our experience and knowledge is only a memory, frozen in time. We cannot judge.

  11. We can never rest, I agree. Those times did form me to embrace the consecrated lay vocation I live now. I'm not judging Sr. Jane, but understand that she went beyond and off script and did not accurately convey Catholic moral teachings. We all need to be accountable and all can learn and grow. Yes, vowed life can be sign of radical love and surrender. But you should be aware from your experience, however, that there can be a lot of dysfunction hidden under those habits.


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