A still from a YouTube video of one of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel's presentations.
A still from a YouTube video of one of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel’s presentations.

UPDATE (April 2, 2014): Nun cancels planned May speech at diocesan youth conference in Asheville

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Students and parents at Charlotte Catholic High School are speaking out after they say a campus lecturer forcefully condemned homosexuality with outdated statistics, prejudiced stereotypes and other extremist claims.

As of Friday morning, more than 2,100 people had signed onto a Change.org petitionasking the school and its chaplain, Father Matthew Kauth, to apologize for the lecture led last Friday by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a professor at Nashville’s Aquinas College, whose other lectures and presentations posted online also contain wildly inaccurate accusations about gay people and sexuality.

In a separate action, 64 students and 86 alumni signed onto a letter with similar requests and sent directly to school officials.

EXTRA: Read the full alumni and student letter to the school

The letter and petition allege that Laurel said a variety of prejudiced comments about gay and lesbian people during her lecture on masculinity and femininity, including that masturbation or an absent father may make a boy more likely to be gay — two claims soundly rejected by all mainstream medical professionals and associations.

“Then she started talking about how gays [sic] people are gay because they have an absent father figure, and therefore they have not received the masculinity they should have from their father,” reads one student’s account of the message. “Also a guy could be gay if he masterbates [sic] and so he thinks he is being turned on by other guys. And then she gave an example of one of her gay ‘friends’ who said he used to go to a shed with his friends and watch porn and thats why he was gay. … Then she talked about the statistic where gay men have had either over 500 or 1000 sexual partners and after that I got up and went to the bathroom because I should not have had to been subject to that extremely offensive talk.”

A gay Charlotte Catholic student, who did not want to be publicly named because he is not fully out at school or home, said he was upset by the assembly, which was mandatory for all students to attend. He wants the school to apologize, too.

“I would like them to issue a formal apology to the students and to the parents and alumni,” the student told qnotes. “I want them to know how upset everyone is and for them to acknowledge that.”

The gay student corroborated the petition’s several claims about Laurel’s lecture.

“She brought up an abusive Australian couple that was gay and they abused their child, portraying to us that gay people are unfit parents,” he said. “She also said that gay people can become gay because of masturbation or pornography or because they don’t spend enough time with their father because their parents are divorced.”

David Hains, a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, told qnotes a parent meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday. It will be held at 7 p.m. in the school’s gym.

qnotes asked Hains what the school or diocese would do to ensure that voices like that of the closeted gay student are considered at the meeting. He said he was certain the issues would be discussed at length.

“The parents of students who are gay and lesbian are obviously going to be welcomed at the meeting,” he said. “There are many of our families at Charlotte Catholic who have students, relatives or friends who are homosexual and that point of view, I’m certain, is going to be represented among the parents at the meeting.”

Hains also confirmed it wasn’t official church teaching that masturbation makes people gay. He said school officials, not the diocese, would have been in charge of approving Laurel’s lecture. Laurel, he said, has a doctorate’s degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and she will be invited back to speak at a diocesan youth conference in May.

“She talks on a broad range of subjects, so I don’t know that the content of the talk at Charlotte Catholic will be the subject of what she will be talking about in May,” said Hains.

Hains also reiterated official church doctrine on homosexuality and LGBT people.

“The Catholic Church believes people who are homosexual or have a same-sex attraction, whatever you want to call it, are people who deserve lives of peace and dignity and, at the same time, the Catholic Church teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong,” he said.

Hains said LGBT people and others sometimes have a “misunderstanding on the church’s stand on marriage and its welcoming of homosexual people into Catholic churches.”

Laurel, the Charlotte Catholic High lecturer, has a history of extremist, anti-gay views. She has partnered with the Ruth Institute to present lectures and conferences opposing same-sex marriage. The Ruth Institute was formerly funded by the National Organization for Marriage, a group which has pushed anti-LGBT constitutional amendments nationwide and whose founder has compared gays to pedophiles.

In one lecture posted online, Laurel claims that more young women are engaging in oral sex and says, “This is not a normal sexual act. It’s something that’s imported from the homosexual culture. It’s not part of the natural love between man and woman.”

In another lecture, Laurel speaks at length about the Folsom Street Fair, a San Francisco fetish event. In another video, she says that androgyny is a tool of Satan and that “devil-worshipers” have three goals: to continue abortions, to destroy traditional marriage and destroy the distinction between male and female.

Students and alumni have described the lecture as “teachings of hate and intolerance.”

“Last week’s presentation represents a betrayal of trust,” the student and alumni letter to school officials reads. “Your responsibility to provide nurturing and informative education to the students of Charlotte Catholic was shrugged off. Your mission to truthfully convey the teachings of the Church—the teachings of love, compassion, and humility—was replaced by teachings of hate and intolerance.”

A second Change.org petition, with nearly 500 signatures, asks students to “stand up for Catholic beliefs.” It also argues Laurel did not say masturbation makes boys gay, but, rather, describes her remarks as “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.”

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

16 replies on “Anti-gay Charlotte Catholic High lecturer sparks controversy”

  1. The truly sad part is that this bigoted woman is asian-a hated race in many areas of the country and in the world. The idea that she would spread such falsehoods is appalling. She must be removed from her post.

      1. Unreasonable? Really? Nicole’s comment is measured, reasonable and based on facts. The Catholic Church –and this can be said of most religions in the US– is asking its congregants to live by a book that is almost 2000 years old. The world is far advanced from that brutal, tribal and ignorant period of human history.

        The world would do well to scrap all religions. They are an incessant force of evil and conflict in the world. The fact is that gay people are just they way they are. There is no “devil” … that’s just so much nonsense! There is not a shred of evidence in thousands of years of human existence that even remotely suggests that the god Catholics worship (or the devil Catholics fear) is real.
        Nothing. Zero.

  2. This is no reason for ALL reasonable people to leave the Catholic Church. While this woman expresses the views of many ill informed Christians, it does not represent the views of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis himself has encouraged that Catholics are called to love all. God’s love is accessible to all without prejudice. I would encourage young Catholics to boycott any event that this woman speaks at . I will pray that her heart is touched by the love of God.

    There also seems to be some issue with what was actually said and what was heard.

    1. You know, your belief in your god is unreasonable. Sorry, but any belief in a man-made, man-developed and man-created fairy in the sky with amazing powers, is simply nonsense. There is as much evidence for your god as there is for the FSM (the flying spaghetti monster god). That is to say, NONE! Zero.

    2. If the Catholic Church didn’t lie to children there would be no Catholic Church. This sister is just doing her part.

  3. What an utter bunch of claptrap!!!! It always amazes me how people who have NO CLUE about realtionships – meaning personal realtionships with another person, not some sky pixie – think they know what’s best for others. Talk about outdated junk! That sort of crap died out in the last century and if any of these people actually took the time to LEARN what is out there they would realize how archaeic their thinking is. But then it’s easier to stay in the dark because they might actually have to think about ideology instead of just repeating the rote lessons of the catholic church. Until the catholic church actually stands up and admits and atones for its’ own sins, then shut the hell up! Nobody is interested in listening to garbage from ancient times. It makes me laugh when they use the old, old, old, old argument about weak fathers and domineering mothers. And the old choice adage. Like anyone would choose to be persecuted. Really what the hell good is some degree in theology! What does that really teach you other than how to maintain your ignorance and bigotry! Stupid people who actually think they have something to offer. NOthing but narrowmindedness and ignorance. Sheesh!!!!! But then again ignorance is bliss isn’t it? It keeps you from actually having to be a part of the real world.

  4. A doctorate’s degree in sacred theology prepares the recipient to discuss the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin, not ANY thing of value to high school students, or to anyone else, for that matter. The school administrators are guilty of educational malpractice for exposing children to these harmful lies.

  5. The Catholic Church is false. To my understanding, I am an ex Catholic and was an altar boy in the church. Many Catholic churches do not follow the Bible at all. The idols are everywhere in Catholic churches made me sick to my stomach and it’s disgusting. God hates idols and those churches do not obey God’s law in the Bible.

    Also, nuns do not exist in the Bible at all. The same for monks. They do not exist. They just made them up in their own churches. You can check at wiki about them.

    The Bible didn’t say anything about nuns married to Jesus and priest married to Mary. Disgusting and imagine! Sick pagans and hypocrites. The Bible itself is better than listen to man of clothes and nuns about their words. They are only human beings and do not follow God’s word at all!

  6. Catholic Clergy have no business talking about sexuality. There are gay priests and lesbian nuns.
    They profess to be virgins but I bet they are not as holy as the profess. Oh yes they fight the temptation… Yeah right And there is the whole issue of mental abuse that nuns have inflicted on youth for years and that has never been addresses. This nun is just a blatant case of abuse. She needs counseling

  7. As usual, people who know nothing about Catholicism, and were not in attendance at the speech, complain the loudest. Those who have rejected Christ and His Church are always the loudest critics of the Church to which they do not belong. Moral relativism and subjectivism have led this country to the sorry state that it is in today, where unimaginable sins are justified by those who selfishly indulge themselves, and then squeal when the error of their ways is pointed out.

  8. I am a Roman Catholic Church Priest, and I must say, I am ashamed, that there are still people like this in the Holy Mother Church, that go against the will of God and Jesus, and try to give their teachings as if this a teaching from God and the Church.

    Nuns should know there place in the Church, and that is to stay praying for the soul of man, and shot-up with bringing out these type of ignorant nonsense, as if they are representing the Church. Maybe the Nun can do herself a favor, and go back to her studies and try to get a more open mind about people and what God left as His most greatest gift of all, freedom to choose, freedom to do whatever they wanted, without governments or churches imposing them their will. If God left us to be free, why is this Nun still talking?

  9. I am a Roman Catholic Church Priest, and i must say, i am ashamed, that there are still people like this in the Holy Mother Church, that dear go against the will of God and Jesus, and try to give their teachings as if this a teaching from God and the Church.
    Nons should know there place in the Church, and that is to stay praying for the soul of man, and shot-up with bringing out these type of ignorant nonsens, as if they are representing the Church. Maybe the Non can do her self a favor, and go back to her study’s and try to get a more open mind about people and what God left as His most greatest gift of all, freedom to choose, freedom to do whatever they wanted, without Goverments or Churches imposing them there will. If God left us to be free, why is this Non still talking?

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