What are you thinking, rebellious Catholics? Do you imagine you love more than those who follow Church teaching? Enabling isn’t love. Giving mortal sin a pass isn’t love. Seeking to make everyone happy rather than holding to truth is not love.
Love hurts sometimes. It hurts when friends and family get angry with us because we won’t bend on same-sex marriage. It hurts when we pray outside abortion clinics for the unborn, refusing to support killing the babies as birth control. It hurts when fellow Catholics disregard Humanae Vitae in which Pope Paul VI predicted great harm to society if we rejected traditional teaching on married love, parenthood, and contraception.
Sr. Laurel Offends Some
Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel O.P. is, no doubt, feeling some of the pain after her talk on March 21 at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina. The Dominican nun has a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and is an assistant professor of theology at Aquinas College in Nashville. She speaks at schools around the country on theology of the body.
|Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel O.P.|
Her presentation at the school was reportedly based on a series of instructional videos she created addressing differences between the two genders, the role of the family in nurturing children’s unique gifts, and the impacts of contemporary culture and the media on our concepts of sexuality. It has been reported that she included the correlation between the decline of fatherhood and the rise in homosexuality.
Some students launched a petition complaining that Sr. Laurel’s speech was, “offensive and unnecessarily derogatory.” They are incensed that school officials “knew the content of this speech and allowed these ideas to be expressed in a school….”
Their petition states, “We resent the fact that a school wide assembly became a stage to blast the issue of homosexuality after Pope Francis said in an interview this past fall that ‘we can not insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptives methods.’ We are angry that someone decided they knew better than our Holy Father and invited a speaker who addressed the issue of homosexuality to our school to speak twice in the course of one school year. ”
Sadly, these students do not understand that while Pope Francis promotes the Gospel teaching of love and doesn’t want us to focus just on homosexuality and abortion, he also has made it clear that he defends Catholic teaching. It is likely that if Sr. Laurel had said homosexuality “is a destructive pretension against the plan of God,” the students would be protesting that. But it was Pope Francis as Archbishop Bergoglio in 2009, who said those words while speaking out against Argentina’s gay marriage bill. In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote, “We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”
There is an alternate petition supporting Sr. Laurel which states, “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.”
There will be a parent’s meeting at Charlotte Catholic High School this Wednesday, April 2, to air concerns. Bishop Peter Jugis will attend. I wish I could join them. It should be interesting.
Protesting Is Not Necessary
It is estimated that there are 41,000 different Christian denominations. Estimates change because, who can really keep up with all the protests and new churches? Given the thousands of churches, Catholics do not need to protest. The options are endless. Catholicism is not mandatory.
Both sides agree that homosexuals deserve respect. But sex is reserved for marriage between a man and a woman, open to the possibility of life. Thus, it’s not just same-sex relations but single-sex that the Catholic Church teaches against. No one said it was easy to follow Jesus, but he told us, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Matt 16:24).
Jesus did not poll his apostles. Popular opinion does not determine Catholic teaching. If there was any question as to the teachings, Scripture tells us to trust the Church. “If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth,” (1Tim 3:15). Christian denominations have changed teachings (contraception being a big one that was once unanimous but now the Catholic Church stands alone) but the Catholic Church will not and Pope Francis has not.
It seems we have lost the right to have a coherent conversation about morality in the public square but Catholics still claim the right to present teaching in their schools and churches.
Sentiments get in the way, which is why we need the authority of the Church to provide consistent, clear teaching. Everyone is free to reject it and go their own way but, ahem, the gates of Hell will not prevail against it so neither will a petition.
For more inspiration, check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families uplifting stories on love and life. Children's books, Dear God, I Don't Get It and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious are fiction that present faith through fun and adventuresome stories. Follow Patti at Twitter and like her Facebook pages at Dear God Books, Big Hearted Families.