Blog Post

Outrage Grows Over North Carolina High School Dispute

The faithful across America are growing increasingly disturbed after a faction of students and parents of a Catholic High School in Charlotte, North Carolina initiated an online petition condemning a popular speaker for enunciating the Church's position on homosexuality, divorce and single parenting during a recent assembly.

According to the Catholic News Herald, the incident occurred on March 21 when Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a Dominican nun based in Nashville, Tennessee addressed a student assembly at the school.

Her talk, entitled "Masculinity and Femininity: Difference and Gift," is based on the teachings of Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The presentation focused on the differences between the genders, the role of the family, importance of real friendships, emotional intimacy and the impacts of contemporary culture on our concepts of sexuality.

Sister Jane, who has a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, said she has given the talk more than 80 times in 25 states without a problem.

School officials claimed that about half of her hour-long presentation involved homosexuality, including the correlation between the decline of fatherhood in America and the rise in homosexuality.

When reached by telephone, Sister Jane said she presents the Catholic viewpoint toward persons with same-sex attraction by saying "homosexual persons do not need our judgment, they need our compassion."

But that's not how some students and faculty heard it. After the presentation, Sister Jane was accused of being insensitive and offensive in her remarks. Students told their parents she criticized gays and lesbians and made inflammatory remarks about single and divorced parents.

As a result, a student started a petition listing 10 objections to her remarks, including this one: “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 contraceptive methods.’ We are angry that someone decided they knew better than our Holy Father and invited (this) speaker.”

In addition, parents called for a letter-writing campaign, sending out emails that listed the addresses of the Diocese of Charlotte, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, even the pope in the Vatican.

More than 2,000 supporters have signed the petition.

However, not everyone at the assembly was upset by the comments. Students in support of Sister Jane launched their own 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.”

The dueling viewpoints will come to a head on April 2 when the school will hold a meeting to address parents who are upset about what happened.

Click here to sign the petition in support of Church teaching!

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