Saturday, April 12, 2014

Dancing with Mr. D: When High School Sophs are the Magisterium


A Dominican nun, Sister Jane Dominic Laurel has recently come under persecution for a talk she made to a group of Catholic students in North Carolina on Catholic teaching on the truth about human sexuality popularized by Pope John Paul II, know as the "theology of the body."
Many orthodox Catholics who have heard Sr..s talks approve her presentations and find nothing offensive about them have written what an "extraordinarily refreshing" speaker sister is, capable of communicating basic truths "about who we really are with a hopeful view of life and love and the happiness we were created to share." 

Sister Jane, who has a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, has given the talk more than 80 times in 25 states without incident. So why the fuss in North Carolina? It is alleged that she taught the students that homosexuality is wrong and offensive to God.( She did nothing of the sort).  After her talk, students wrote a petition listing 10 objections to her speech. The closing statement in the petition declared, "We the students of Charlotte Catholic High School are confused why time was spent condemning the practice of homosexuality." Small wonder, given the sophistry of this former teacher at the high school:

As a former Religion teacher at Charlotte Catholic, I can't say I'm surprised by the assembly and speaker. The winds of change in the Charlotte Diocese have been blowing for some time. It is sad to know that the speaker said what she did and ignored the truth that she was directing a hate filled message to young people...some of whom are gay and had to listen to her words. I felt privileged to teach such wonderful young people, and I am so very proud that you have taken this route to voice your disapproval at what transpired last Friday. The message was not of God, of that you must be sure. We are an Easter people...filled with hope. Jesus' victory over death was for EVERYONE...and His message is one of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, love, kindness, humility, joy, hope, freedom of oppression, inclusiveness (which is above tolerance!) etc. Let's not forget that we are ALL made in THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD...and that image is Love. We are to be Love to one another. Fight the fight, Emma, but know that you will meet resistance and it may be harsh. Should that happen, remember Jesus' words: "if they persecute me, they'll persecute you." And remember, too, that He is with you as you live out your discipleship...promoting justice and love. The shortest sentence in the New Testament is: "Jesus wept." I bet he wept on Friday as He listened to the message being delivered in His name; but I believe He rejoices as you take the steps to right this wrong. Do the work in His Spirit, with His kindness, love, and mercy. I am proud of you.


No wonder the students were confused....  Bishop, Peter Jugis, as chief catechist in his diocese, is backing St. Jane.  “Nothing in Sister’s talk opposed Church teaching,” Diocese of Charlotte Communications Director David Hainsis on record as saying. “Sister would be welcomed to speak in the diocese in the future.” 

Sr.’s critics have protested about a section of her talk in which she conferred scientific findings related to the causes of homosexuality, accusing her of using “suspect anecdotes, antiquated data and broad generalizations to demonize gays and lesbians as well as divorced and single parents.” However, a truer account was given by a Catholic scientist who has heard the exact same speech she delivered to the students:

“I was in attendance at the same presentation... a few months ago. In that meeting, Sister Jane gave medical and scientific data that came from reputable sources and were presented as examples of the consequences for human behavior that contravenes the moral magisterium of the Church. As a Ph.D. in medical science, and as a Catholic schooled extensively in my faith, I saw no contradictions, but rather a seamless presentation.”

So, if a courageous Catholic moral theologian sets forth Catholic teaching on homosexuality, he or she will pay the price, as Jesus promised. In our time of tolerance for evil and sin, there is no room to hear the truth. This is so even though that very truth is enunciated plainly and without confusion in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:  

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.


Students in support of Sister Jane launched theirown petition drive defending her and the Church: “We the students of Charlotte Catholic High School, acting on our Catholic beliefs, are declaring a formal objection towards all those who do not accept Sister Jane Dominic’s lecture … We are outraged that the topics talked about are being debated within a community where the shared faith teaches us what truly is holy and that anyone would stand up against a nun, who has given her life for the Lord, and blatantly deny God’s teachings.” 

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