Hundreds of Parents Turn Out to Protest Charlotte High School's Anti-Gay Nun

Charlotte Catholic High School’s campus

The backlash against Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel’s lecture at Charlotte Catholic High School has been swift since last week she suggested homosexuality is caused by failed parenting and masturbation, and linked same-gender couples to child abuse.

Almost 1,000 parents attended the meeting, and most came to voice their concerns about the school’s decision to host Sr. Laurel, as well as the school’s failure to notify parents in advance that a sensitive topic was to be addressed. Before the meeting began, alumni and students passed out wristbands that said “We are all God’s children.” These individuals were removed from school property.

The meeting lasted an hour longer than scheduled, and it included administrators, the chaplain, and the diocesan director of education. Though closed off to non-parents and all media except the diocesan newspaper, all accounts reveal a highly charged evening notes the Charlotte Observer.

The Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper, reported parent reactions:

“The first parent to speak said her student came home after the March 21 assembly feeling ashamed and embarrassed.

” ‘Where was the trust? Where was the communication?…It is trust. It is respect. It is confidence. I have lost confidence. I do not trust your judgment and I do not respect (Father Kauth).’ Her comments drew loud applause from many others.” …

“One parent told Father Kauth, “You have divided parents, you have divided students, and we’ve lost respect for you.”

“A parent who said she was representing homosexual and bisexual students at Charlotte Catholic said Sister Jane ‘pounded home the message’ that if these students are questioning their sexual identity, they had better stay in the closet. She also said she felt the presentation created nothing but an unsafe environment for these students at the school.”

Diocese of Charlotte spokesperson David Hains concurred that most parents were upset with Sr. Laurel’s lecture, both her anti-gay content and the failure of the school to notify parents beforehand. He said the chaplain, Fr. Matthew Kauth, apologized saying “that was not the [speech] he expected her to give.” The chaplain also wrote a letter to the school community defending Sr. Laurel’s talk which he had arranged, available here. Of Fr. Kauth’s attempts to pacify parents, the Herald reports:

“Several parents questioned why Father Kauth did not stop the presentation once it went awry.

” ‘I wasn’t sure where (Sister Jane) was going,’ he responded. ‘I assumed her goodwill. She didn’t say anything that was contradicting to our faith.’ ”

“Another parent told Father Kauth, ‘You don’t know best for our children. What are you planning on doing for the healing? We want our children to remain Catholic, but we are being pushed away by the climate of what is going on here.’ “

It seems that parents identified crucial points which Fr. Kauth, the chaplain, does not. Foremost, there are pressing pastoral implications. Simply allowing Sr. Laurel to continue speaking because, in his estimation, she was not contradicting Catholic doctrine, is an inadequate response when tremendous pastoral harm is being done. The enormous outcry from parents and the anger expressed by students are clear indications of such harm, not to mention the silent sufferings of LGBT students which do not make headlines. Second, parents understand that vicious anti-gay attacks during a mandatory assembly are perhaps the most effective of what Pope Francis has called “vaccines against faith” and drive students out of the Church.

The public outcry against this incident has caused Sr. Laurel to cancel all upcoming speaking engagements. She is also on sabbatical from her teaching position at Aquinas College, though the school’s president, Sr. Mary Sarah Galbraith, defended the Dominican nun’s lecture. You can read about Sr. Galbraith’s defense in a Tenneseean article.

Catholic students deserve better than anti-gay lectures using pseudo-social science. Let us pray that Charlotte Catholic High School will cause all Catholic educators to think about more pro-active and positive initiatives for LGBT students and other marginalized communities.

You can read Bondings coverage of the original incident by clicking here.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

Related article:

Mother Jones: Nun Reportedly Tells Catholic School Kids That Masturbation Makes Guys Gay”

0 replies
  1. Brian Kneeland
    Brian Kneeland says:

    Her stance on bad parenting and masturbation certainly contradict Church teaching. It also makes homosexuality a choice – at least of the parents. I think the chaplain needs some education in human sexuality, as does the nun!

    • Joe Sacerdos
      Joe Sacerdos says:

      The Administration at Aquinas College has wisely accepted Sr. Jane’s request for relief from her teaching duties and a sabbatical. Sr. Jane has a “right” to her opinions as to what “causes” someone to be gay. I have one thought for the good sister. The same thing that “causes” heterosexuality is the same thing that “causes” homosexuality. If you are a person of faith, like I am, I call that “thing” is the Grace of God! Sr. Jane, being Gay is not Disordered or Deviant. It is just DIFFERENT.

  2. freecatholic808
    freecatholic808 says:

    Reblogged this on Dawn Morais and commented:
    One argument that has been presented for the new contracts for teachers in Catholic schools in Hawaii is that people are not sufficiently aware of the Church’s teaching on issues like homosexuality. This report on what happened at Charlotte Catholic High School once again reminds us that urging people to remain in the closet to conform to where the institutional church is on the subject of homosexuality is not unlike the church’s silencing of Galileo while it took a few hundred years to catch up with science.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] by opposition to LGBT issues. These have included two teacher firings, a Dominican nun’s anti-gay lecture to high school students, and banning Sr. Jeannine Gramick from speaking to Catholic parents on […]

  2. […] It understandably drew strong protests from the school community; nearly 1,000 parents attended a town hall to discuss the […]

  3. […]  and she linked same-gender parents to child abuse. After public protests and petitions, more than 1,000 concerned parents showed up to a town hall meeting. The school later apologized for allowing the controversial nun to […]

  4. […] social science about gay people. Even the president of the college where Sr. Laurel teaches has admitted that the nun spoke beyond her area of knowledge. Sr. Laurel has cancelled her speaking engagements […]

  5. […]  Following a heated meeting of parents who were upset that a nun with an anti-gay message was allowed to speak at an assembly at Charlotte […]

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