Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Charlotte Bishop Calls for Charity amidst Catholic High School Controversy over Talk

Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte said that there is “no room in the Catholic Church for such displays of uncharitableness and disrespect” following a Catholic high school meeting with parents about a lecture given by a religious sister titled “Masculinity and Femininity: Difference and Gift”, according to Catholic News Agency.

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, O.P., delivered her presentation on March 21 at Charlotte Catholic High School. The talk, which was not recorded, sparked controversy and online reactions which took issue with the content of Sr. Jane’s presentation.  A meeting was held on April 2 between School administrators and parents.

Bishop Jugis lamented the way that many members of the School community responded.  CNA reports:

According to student reports, [Sr. Jane] cited studies and statistics indicating that people are not born with same-sex attraction and that children raised by a single parent have a greater chance of becoming homosexual. The students said that her presentation suggested a correlation between masturbation and homosexuality, the Charlotte Observer says.

… Bishop Jurgis said he was “shocked to hear the disturbing reports of a lack of charity and respect at the parents’ meeting, and outside the meeting in conversations and in social media.”

He noted that there were “different viewpoints” about Sister Laurel’s presentation and that the school apologized for not notifying parents in advance about the subject of the assembly.

Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., where Sr. Jane has served as an assistant professor of theology, released a statement that the lecture was intended “to bring a message that would enlighten and bring freedom and peace” and  hopes for “healing and renewal” for the community.  It stated:

In her presentation, Sister Jane Dominic spoke clearly on matters of faith and morals. Her deviation into realms of sociology and anthropology was beyond the scope of her expertise. Sister is a trained theologian from a Pontifical University and has the credentials to contribute to scholarly bodies of work. This she has done in the past with distinction. The unfortunate events at Charlotte Catholic High School are not representative of the quality of Sister’s academic contributions or the positive influence that she has had on her students. The students at Charlotte Catholic were unprepared, as were their parents, for the topic that Sister was asked to deliver. The consequence was a complete misrepresentation of the school’s intention to bring a message that would enlighten and bring freedom and peace.

Sister Jane Dominic has cancelled her speaking engagements and, at her request, is preparing to begin a sabbatical from teaching at Aquinas College. It is our sincere hope that the community of Charlotte Catholic High School will soon begin a process of healing and renewal, and that all who have been affected by this event will be drawn into profound reconciliation as we approach this great season that commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Aquinas College is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

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