Sister Jane Dominic Laurel
Parents Outraged by Presentation From Catholic Nun

By Michael O'Loughlin

Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2014 1:02 PM ET

Parents of children attending a Catholic school in Charlotte, N.C., are upset after a presentation condemned homosexuality and divorce, according to the The Charlotte Observer, and over 1,000 attended a special meeting last night to discuss those remarks with school and diocesan officials.

Students at Charlotte Catholic High School attended a lecture March 21 by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a Dominican nun from Tennessee, during which she made comments that were “offensive and unnecessarily derogatory,” according to a petition students posted online.

Shelley Earnhardt, a divorced mother of one student, sent an email to the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops, in which she wrote, “In my home, there was outrage, embarrassment, sadness, disbelief, and further reason for my 16-year-old to move as far away from her religion as possible and as soon as she can.”

According to reports, the nun used "suspect anecdotes, antiquated data and broad generalizations to demonize gays and lesbians as well as divorced and single parents."

CatholicCulture.org reports that two different petitons are circulating online:

“We the students of Charlotte Catholic High School would like to issue a formal complaint regarding Sr. Jane Dominic [Laurel]’s speech,” says one. “We believe that same sex couples have the ability to raise happy, well-adjusted and successful children … We believe that homosexual couples are capable of monogamy. As rational people, we know that most homosexual people lead healthy, normal and productive lives like their heterosexual counterparts.”

Another supports the nun: “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.”

One local priest praised the nun's approach.

The Rev. Tim Reid wrote in an email to the Observer that the nun “represented well the Catholic positions on marriage, sex, same-sex attraction and proper gender roles. … The Church has already lost too many generations of Catholic schools students to … a very muddled and watered-down faith.”

Though reporters were barred from Wednesday's meeting, the Observer reports that tweets from those attending indicated that Rev. Roger Arnsparger, the diocese's vicar for education, expressed remorse for the "confusion" caused by the nun's talk.

“You asked us to trust you. You betrayed our trust,” one parent said during the meeting, according to the Observer. Some protestors were on hand distributing wristbands with “We are all God’s children.” printed on them. They were later asked to leave by police.

A May speech by the nun elsewhere in the Diocese of Charlotte has been canceled, according to the Observer

Contributor: 
Michael O'Loughlin