Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, O.P.
“Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” John 6, 53
“After hearing his words, many of his disciples remarked, ‘This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously?’ John, 6, 60
“…Jesus knew from the start, of course, the ones who refused to believe, and the one who would hand him over.” John 6, 64
These words from the Holy Gospel of Saint John came to my mind when I read the media reports of the scandalous reaction of the students and parents of Charlotte Catholic High School in Charlotte, North Carolina at the meeting held at that High School to address their grievances concerning the recent talk given by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, O.P. at the High School.
I have not seen the text of the talk that Sister Jane Dominic gave to the High School assembly and so I cannot be certain that Sister Jane Dominic did not deviate from her prepared remarks and add some ad lib comments during her talk that might not have been well thought out and risked misinterpretation. However, knowing that Sister Jane Dominic is a well educated theologian, having received her Doctorate in Theology from the Angelicum University in Rome, and that she has for some years taught theology at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an associate professor of theology, I am inclined to believe that the text of her talk was completely in conformance with the teaching of the Church on matters pertaining to human sexuality in general and homosexuality and marriage in particular.
In addition, her talk “Masculinity and Femininity: Difference and Gift” was specifically based on the teaching of (Saint) Blessed Pope John II’s series of talks on the Theology of the Body.
How then explain the viciousness of the demeanor and comments of some of the students and parents at the meeting held by the High School to address their grievances concerning the talk given by Sister Jane Dominic?
I am reluctantly forced to come to the conclusion that those people who were so visibly incensed at the remarks of Sister Jane Dominic are representative of a growing segment of the Catholic population in the United States who, like their fellow Catholics in our neighbor, Canada, have become infected with the virus of false judgment of any words expressed on the subject of homosexuality as hate speech.
In the past months we have witnessed the dangerous trend in our Country wherein any speech or action deemed by the LGBT action organizations to be hate speech or action is met with aggressive denunciation in the media or even, in some cases, with legal action.
In Canada, a few years ago, Archbishop Henry of Calgary, B.C. was charged before the Canadian Human Rights Commission for preaching hate from the pulpit in presenting the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. So far, I know of no prelate in the United States who has been similarly charged, but I suspect that if the present trend continues we shall see it happen.
For Catholics to display the kind of opposition to the Church’s teaching on any vital subject of faith and morals that was witnessed at the High School hearing in Charlotte is evidence of just how far the infection of the aforementioned virus has spread in the body of the faithful.
God forbid that those students and parents who gave voice so intemperately to their dissent from the content of the talk given by Sister Jane Dominic should, like the disciples of Jesus mentioned in the above quote from the Gospel of Saint John, part company with the His Church, but it seems quite possible that they will when confronted by Bishop Jurgis and clergy and teachers of the Diocese of Charlotte with a strong and frequent reminder of what the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and marriage really is. This is a teaching moment they should not let pass without a strong, concerted effort to proclaim the truth.
After hearing (Jesus’) words, many of his disciples remarked, “This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously?” Jesus was fully aware that his disciples were murmuring in protest at what he had said. “Does it shake your faith?” he asked them.
“What, then if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before….? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. Yet among you there are some who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the start, of course, the ones who refused to believe, and the one who would hand him over. He went on to say:
“This is why I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
From this time on, many of his disciples broke away and would not remain in his company any longer.
John, 6, 60-66
Her talk features a high-energy, fast-paced verbal stream which is great if you are listening carefully and with “ears of faith” but can backfire if you are not. When she talked in front a teen group in my locality, she mentioned data that seems to correlate homosexual lifestyle adoption with being reared in single-parent families. In retrospect, this linkage could probably be better presented as a logical proposition rather than something evident from the data. Also, it could be better presented in a less fast-paced talk. My recollection is that there was nothing objectively wrong with her presentation, but she might take her time off to consider the best way to approach the subjective dimension of catechesis.
Please note my defense of Sister Jane Dominic published today on the American Life League website http://www.all.org/article/index/id/MTM2NjU/