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.
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." - SourcePerception 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.