Sunday, May 26, 2024

Diocese bans celebration of ‘Pride month’ in Catholic schools

The celebration of so-called homosexual “Pride month” is to be banned in every Catholic school in the Diocese of Nottingham under new guidance which also cracks down on the promotion of gender ideology.

Teachers are advised not to celebrate homosexuality in June, the month in which the Church traditionally honours the Sacred Heart of Jesus, because “we cannot celebrate lifestyles which are incompatible with Church teaching”.

“In summary, it is not appropriate for our schools to celebrate Pride because we cannot endorse the entire agenda,” says a new 40-page document called Precious in My Sight.

“To approve only one part of it could be seen as dishonest and could lead to confusion. We must instead seek to articulate those values and principles with which we can agree, and affirm Catholic teaching in a different, distinct and pastorally positive way.”

The guidance also forbids children who want to change their gender from insisting on their preferred pronouns in almost every instance.

It insists on recording the names and biological sex at birth of children who self-identify in the opposite sex and denies them their preferred choice of uniform, access to changing rooms, showers and toilets used by the opposite sex.

The guidance also prohibits the participation of biological males, particularly, in sports competitions for girls.

It is underpinned by legal advice, and accurately reflects the available law and national government guidance.

In his foreword, Bishop Bishop Patrick McKinney of Nottingham said the guidance draws heavily upon Intricately Woven by the Lord, a pastoral reflection on gender published by the bishops of England and Wales last month.

It goes much further than the bishops’ document, however, because it “attempts to offer further pastoral and practical support and guidance for schools”, a point on which the earlier statement was completely silent.

Bishop McKinney said: “Accompanying students who question their gender is a complex but essential pastoral duty to which the schools of our diocese are very attentive. 

“However, I am aware that head teachers, and those staff involved in this important pastoral care, at times feel unsupported and without sufficient guidance as to the teaching and response of the Catholic Church. 

“It is my hope that this document will better support those engaged in this important pastoral task and that students will learn that they are deeply loved by the Lord.

“I thank all those involved in the pastoral accompaniment of young people in our schools for their care, discernment, and compassion.”

The Diocese of Nottingham covers almost all of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as well as Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, and Rutland.

There are 84 Catholic schools in the diocese, two of which are independent but the others organised into three multi-academy trusts.

Those in Nottingham and Lincolnshire belong to the Our Lady of Lourdes Multi-Academy Trust, in Derbyshire they are grouped into the St Ralph Sherwin Multi-Academy Trust, while those in Leicestershire and Rutland are in the St Thomas Aquinas Multi-Academy Trust.

Gender ideology emerged in the early 1990s and spread throughout the world in succeeding decades. 

It dismisses biological and scientific categories of male and female in favour of an individual constructing a “gender” of their own choosing.

In their pastoral reflection published last month the English and Welsh bishops rejected gender ideology and said it should be resisted in all Catholic institutions.

The 11-page paper also stated that the Catholic Church was firmly opposed to medical intervention for children who want to change their sex.

It also said that “social transition”, in which a person lives in a role of sex opposite to their own, must also be avoided in Church institutions and especially in the case of children.

Weeks earlier, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith also explicitly rejected gender ideology.

A Vatican document called Dignitas Infinita (On Human Dignity) said gender ideology “envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family”.

It condemned medical interventions to change sex as contrary to the human dignity, and said that “all attempts to obscure reference to the ineliminable sexual difference between man and woman are to be rejected”. 

One of the final acts of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate was a warning of the emerging threat of gender ideology.

Benedict said: “The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.” 

He said: “If there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him.”

Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken against gender ideology, implicitly condemning it in paragraph 155 of Laudato Si, his 2015 papal encyclical on the environment, and describing it publicly as part of a “global war on the family”.

The Pontiff has also repeatedly denounced gender ideology as an example of global “ideological colonisation”.

The emergence of gender ideology into the mainstream has in the last decade nevertheless caused an explosion in the numbers of people, mostly young girls, who want to change their sex.

Besides the Catholic Church, the ideology has met with opposition from high profile women, such as novelist JK Rowling and Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies, who fear the loss of women-only spaces and the safety of women in jails, changing rooms and hospitals and also the loss of fairness in sport if physically stronger biological men are allowed to compete against women.

In spite of attempts to impose gender ideology on every strata of society, the NHS banned prescriptions of puberty blockers ahead of clinical trials to show that they are safe, while a 400-page NHS report by paediatric consultant Dr Hilary Cass demanded a complete ban on puberty blockers and other hormonal drugs to under 18s.

The full document can be viewed here