In recent weeks the FLI team has been the recipients of emails and messages from concerned parents. These parents are perplexed at why Pride Week, Pink Shirt Day, and the LGBTQ+ agenda are being integrated and celebrated in their child’s school.
And we’re not talking about parents who send their children and teens to public schools.
These are Catholic parents whose children are attending Catholic schools in various parts of New Zealand. They are bewildered that the Catholic Character of the school is being overturned by an ideology that blatantly defies the teaching of the Church regarding the dignity of the human person, sexuality, and marriage.
Last year, the Ministry of Education released its Relationships and Sexuality Guidelines. The Guidelines push gender diversity and inclusivity. The authors explicitly state that “in order to ensure all students receive sexuality education, including senior students in Years 11 to 13, and students whose parents have removed them from this aspect of the curriculum, schools are encouraged to provide “opportunities in health education, in other curriculum programmes, and in many other school contexts.”
Many schools across the country are taking that advice seriously whether they are faith-based or secular, primary or secondary.
June 14 to 20 is the National Schools Pride Week. The event, organised by the activist group Inside Out, has the following aims:
- Celebrate rainbow staff and students in our school communities, increasing a sense of belonging
- Support schools to facilitate activities and pride celebrations in their school, through the sharing of resources and information
- Give schools opportunities to incorporate rainbow issues into NCEA standards and subjects, and normalise rainbow identities across the curriculum.
Chances are, your local school is participating in the National Schools Pride Week.
Father Philip Bochanski, the President of Courage International, an apostolate that encourages and supports people who experience same-sex attractions to live chaste lives, stresses there is a different way to approach the lived experience of same-sex attraction than that advocated by the world. The same principles can be applied to those who experience gender dysphoria.
In an address to FLI conference attendees in 2016, Father Bochanski compassionately, and with a great understanding of the challenges of living this reality, presented a different vision than that which is currently favoured. Understanding God’s plan in light of same-sex attraction requires a “consideration of the human person, of that person’s attractions, and that person’s actions,” he noted. “We have to speak the truth in love about all three of those things if we’re going to help our brothers and sisters who are living with same-sex attractions to understand and follow God’s plan for them.”
The Courage apostolate has many resources and support networks for people who experience same-sex attraction. There is also an Encourage support group specifically for family members and friends of those living this reality.
In the few short years that have elapsed since that talk, gender and sexual confusion have escalated at an alarming rate. Parents, teachers, and others interested in safeguarding the innocence of children, and who desire to present the truth of the human person to our youth, are often at a loss as to what to do. The challenge becomes particularly frustrating when the very people who should be on their side prefer instead to parrot the world’s vision of sexuality.
Parents, teachers, clergy, and others of goodwill who are looking for clear guidance and resources will, in addition to the Courage apostolate, find the Person and Identity Project very helpful. This website “provides formation, resources, and pastoral guidance on issues of faith, “gender,” and sexual identity.” The sound information provided here is certain to assist parents and teachers alike.
We must not be afraid to speak the truth in love and provide a vision of the human person that embraces God’s plan. This mission is particularly urgent in those Catholic schools where God’s plan is actively sabotaged through the adoption of gender ideology.
In concluding his talk, Father Bochanski eloquently expressed God’s plan for each person.
“…remember this, God’s plan for us is meant for our happiness. God’s plan for our bodies, for our sexuality, for our relationships, God’s plan for each individual human being of the human race, in general, is meant to draw us closer to him and to our ultimate fulfillment. We have the privilege as Catholic Christians to speak that word to one another in love. To welcome one another in the name of Christ and to accompany one another along that path of holiness.”
We would do well to remember these words and share them widely.