Each Spring there is usually season of quiet disgust over the choice of commencement speakers at Catholic colleges and universities. This year, of course, the disgust was anything but quiet as the historically premier Catholic University in this country honored the most pro-abortion president this country has ever elected. Equally troubling was the defense of this decision by much of the so-called Catholic elite.But, I think it did one good thing. It forced many of us to face the question of how many of our self-identified Catholic institutions are, in fact, worthy of the name.
It isn't only colleges and universities that we need to worry about.Most of us realize that neither the National Catholic Reporter nor US Catholic are Catholic in any real sense. The same needs to be said about Catholic for Free Choice. And, as we are painfully aware, few of our nominally Catholic politicians support the core teachings of the Church. All very troubling, but I believe mislabeling in education presents the most dangers to souls. And it isn't only colleges and universities that we need to worry about.
One of our diocesan high schools is very proud of its 'cutting edge' theater department. A few years ago, they won awards for their production of The Laramie Project. This play's self-stated purpose is to educate against homophobia. While violence against anybody is be rejected, this play is more concerned with advancing a pro-gay agenda with attendant views of human sexuality that are diametrically opposed to the Church's teaching. This year, they are producing Rent: The School Edition. I made it less than halfway through the movie version before being overcome by the homo-positive propaganda. The school edition removes one amazingly offensive song and some foul language, but still retains the problematic plot with gay relationships, an s&m dancer, a transvestite, and drug use to name just a few huge red flags. Again, this presents a view of human sexuality contrary to Church teaching. It is not a large leap to suspect that someone has an agenda and is running with it.
Is it appropriate for a Catholic school to promote and present views contrary to Church teachings? Obviously, I think not. I cannot imagine The Horst Wessel Story or Birth of a Nation: The Musical, being tolerated. Racism is rightly reviled. But when it comes to human sexuality, we turn a blind eye. (Note how many Catholic colleges produce The Vagina Monologues each year.) Moreover, these abherent views are produced by and aimed at you people who are the principal targets of deviant sexual propaganda in our society. I cannot comprehend how this can be considered part of Catholic education, an education that my parish is helping to pay for.
But Father, you are over-reacting. No, I am not. The school in question held an education meeting, obviously to try to head off controversy. (I suspect it won't succeed.) It was covered by local news. Check out the comments if you don't believe that this will be perceived as gay propaganda.
The point is that if an institution claims to be Catholic, that claim must be backed up be actions that embrace and promote Church teachings. It is not enough to have theology classes, chapels, or a statue or two of the Blessed Mother. All aspects of the institution that bear on the Faith must be in line with the Faith.
Update (Sat. 10 Oct): Check out this post from a student at the high school and the comments. If this doesn't prove my main point, I don't know what will. Also, check out the website for the Utah AIDS Foundation (which cast members supported via a service project). They do much more than help people with AIDS. Drag Queen Bingo anyone? The Queer Village Blog?