Sunday, 7 May 2017

Further reflections on the CES Scandal

I have blogged several times about the new CES booklet, which turns out to have been largely compiled from material previously published by Stonewall and other organisations pushing the LGBT agenda. (Follow the CES Scandal tag for the whole sorry collection...)

I have a few further reflections to add.

The first is this. When I (and Mark Lambert, here, and Joseph Shaw, here) first blogged about this, we did not know that there was any question about where the material came from. We assumed, as it is presented that way (and indeed as the covering letter explicitly stated) that it was the result of work undertaken in partnership between the CES and St Mary's University. Yet we were already concerned: much of it simply read like LGBT propaganda; and how right we were.

One could argue, of course, that, given this resource is about preventing homophobic and biphobic bullying, going to people who have expertise in this field, viz Stonewall, makes perfect sense.

But I have two objections to that. The first is that to do so without mentioning that source seems quite wrong to me. This is not about quoting one or two pieces of their research (indeed some of their research is quoted, and referenced as such) but about lifting whole sections, definitions, case studies - in fact a large part of the content - from Stonewall and similar organisations' material, with no hint that that has been done.  As I wrote here, that (inter alia) could place a teacher in a very awkward position.

But the second, and I think even more serious problem, is the use of language that carries with it a whole set of unexamined assumptions, that will inevitably incline teachers and pupils in one direction; and not a Catholic one.  Orwell knew a thing or two about this: control the language that is allowed to be used, and you can largely control the thoughts people are able to construct.

So just to take one example, the word 'gay.'  What does this mean? As used by the LGBT lobby, it conflates an individual who is attracted to others of the same sex with someone who is living a gay lifestyle; that is living in sexual intimacy with someone of the same sex, or having multiple sexual relations with people of the same sex. It also assumes that to be 'gay' is an essential component of an individual's identity, is innate, and unchanging.

There is no space in this thinking (and certainly no consideration anywhere in this teaching document) of the person who may be attracted to people of the same sex, but who chooses to live a chaste life. There is no space for the reality that children, as they mature, go through various confusing stages with regard to their developing affective relationships. Children subjected to this propaganda are thus taught that they must have a sexual identity, that it is all-important, and that  the only response to deciding one is gay is to act on such desires.  That is clearly far from Catholic teaching. We do not identify people by the sexual temptations to which they are most subject, as the defining aspect of their personality. But Catholic teaching is deliberately omitted from this document.

So this uncritical use of the language of the LGBT lobbyists presents severe problems, from a Catholic point of view.

One objection raised to presenting Catholic teaching in its fulness is that this might lead children to feel that their families are somehow 'lesser' if they are being raised by two people of the same sex. I am afraid that is the truth, in Catholic teaching. Their parents lack the grace of the sacrament of marriage, and (if they are living in sexual intimacy) are doing continuing damage to themselves, even if there is no culpability due to invincible ignorance: that is the nature of sin. If we cannot teach what the Church teaches for fear of upsetting people whose parents are not observing it, then we may as well shut our schools down. I first came across this argument from a bishop, many years ago, applied in a different context. It is as wrong in either place.

Of course we should always proceed with charity; but there is finally no conflict between caritas and veritas. When we abandon veritas in the name of caritas, we also abandon caritas.


I have been represented by some as being opposed to attempts to stop bullying; and also asked what I would suggest instead of this.

Of course, I am against all forms of bullying. Having been significantly bullied at school myself (ironically because I was thought to be gay, by some; and also for my orthodox Catholic views, by others, led by one of the Benedictines charged with my religious education...) I have no sympathy for bullies or bullying. My solution would be to teach the Faith; and in particular to teach the virtues, and work to develop them actively in children.  With regard to human sexuality, a real Catholic education would examine what the Church teaches, why it teaches it, and how we can live accordingly in a hostile culture; as well as how we relate in charity to those who lack such an understanding.

1 comment:

umblepie said...

A very good post, clear, straightforward, and truly Catholic.
Please keep up the pressure on the CES (so-called!