School Official Responds to Outrage Over Anti-Gay Nun’s Speech, Counter Petition Launched
The chaplain of a North Carolina catholic school issued a statement Wednesday explaining his decision to schedule a controversial lecture by a Dominican nun that condemned homosexuality, saying that the sister’s comments were in line with Catholic teaching.
Father Matthew Kauth, chaplain of Charlotte Catholic School, addressed close to 1,000 parents gathered Wednesday night to air concerns regarding a recent speech to students by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, who made comments about gays and lesbians, single parents and divorce that many considered inflammatory and erroneous. At the meeting, Kauth apologized to the parents and explained that the speech given by Laurel was not the one he expected her to give.
In a statement to parents, published on the Catholic News Herald, Father Kauth explains the disconnect behind Sister Laurel’s speech.
I asked her to give the same talk she gave while here before. By this time I had heard it 3 times. There was nothing in it which to my mind would require notification anymore than other assembly speakers we have had this year. However, Sister asked me a few days before the talk if it was ok for her to give a different talk. I asked why and she said it would be too difficult in that venue. I encouraged her to give the talk. [...] Right before she began she asked me once again, are you sure you want me to give the same talk with the discussion on same-sex attraction? I said yes. Here is where two ships passed seemingly in the sunlight but actually in the night. What I didn’t know was that Sister has a section that she sometimes inserts into her talk that focuses on the leading studies of the CMA (Catholic Medical Association) on same sex attraction. She simply assumed that is what I meant for her to do. Now I understand her initial hesitation. I didn’t know such a section existed.
The "leading studies" referred to by Kauth were published by the Catholic Medical Association (CMA). A pamphlet titled "Homosexuality and Hope" published by the CMA in 2010, is the basis for many of the claims made by Sister Laurel in her speech about the root causes of homosexuality.
An excerpt from that pamphlet that responds to the assertion that same-sex attraction is not genetically determined. The various root causes outlined run the gamut from parental depression and alcoholism to poor hand-eye coordination:
Each person with SSA has his or her own unique personal history, so an exact cause for his or her SSA cannot always be identified. Still, there are certain factors common to many with SSA:
In females, a mother who was depressed or psychologically troubled during the first months of her child’s life or emotionally distant, critical, or domineering; peers who were rejecting; a father who deserted the family or who was perceived as angry, critical, distant, selfish, or who was an alcoholic.
In males, a poor father/son relationship due to a father perceived as distant, critical, selfish, angry, or who was an alcoholic; or a mother perceived as controlling, overly dependent, angry, and demanding....a lack of male peer acceptance, poor body image, and a weak masculine identity resulting from an inability to play popular sports (such as baseball and soccer because of poor eye-hand coordination).
A petition issuing a formal complaint against school officials for hosting the speech was launched on Change.org. The petition lists ten objections to Laurel’s speech, which included: "We reject the suggestion that homosexuality occurs mainly as a result of a parent’s shortcomings, masturbation or pornography." and "We recognize the difference between correlation and causation. As a result, we realize that men don’t become gay by masturbating in the presence of one another but rather may engage in these activities because they are gay."
A counter petition titled "Stand Up for Catholic Beliefs" criticizing the signers of the first petition was also launched on Change.org. That petition lists eleven objections to the first petition that include: "We state that we have the intelligence to comprehend that Sister Anne Dominic did not condemn homosexuals" and "We understand that Sister Jane Dominic did not say that masturbating will make you homesexual or that the absence of a parent will either. Yet, that she said that by partaking in masturbation will lessen your masculinity and that through the absence of a parent in the home will also make a greater risk for homosexuality."