Study leave

Study leave

Eamonn Keane

A postscript to a report in the March AD2000 on an education conference in the Sandhurst Diocese has come in the shape of a letter to priests of the diocese, dated 9 May 2007, in which the Deputy Director of Religious Education and Faith Formation states that she will be on study leave attending a course on Pastoral Ministry at Boston College in July/August.

I presume the course to which she refers is one being conducted at Boston College's Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry (IREPM). The director of the Institute is Thomas Groome who is the architect of the RE pedagogical method adopted by Sandurst Diocese's RE curriculum.

According to Boston College advertisements, one of the subjects being taught in its Pastoral Ministry course this July is Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counselling. The teacher of the course will be Dr John McDargh who is a Professor of Theology at Boston College.

When the Supreme Court of Massachusetts sanctioned same-sex marriage in 2004, Professor McDargh was one of the first to take advantage of the change in the law by 'marrying' his gay partner, Tim Dunn. According to an article authored by McDargh and published on the website of MassEquality, an organisation promoting equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, Dunn and McDargh have a son they adopted from Russia.

In 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued with the approval of Pope John Paul II a Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Involving the Participation of Catholics in Political Life. It stated that there existed 'fundamental and inalienable ethical demands' that obliged Christians to seek to safeguard the family 'based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman,' adding that 'in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.'

In July 2006, Cardinal Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, referred to the granting of legal recognition to same-sex unions as an 'ugly turn'. He cautioned that 'Western society is on a slippery slope. The sense of God is being blurred.' He stated that such legislation is disastrous because it questions the 'meaning of being man or woman, the characteristics of love and sexuality.'

In 2003, another CDF document approved by Pope John Paul II titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons stated that allowing children to be adopted into same-sex unions is 'gravely immoral' and 'would actually mean doing violence to those children' (n. 7).

While I am not suggesting that the Deputy Director of Religious Education in the Sandhurst Diocese supports same-sex marriage, it is nevertheless wrong for Catholic Education Office personnel to patronise a Catholic university, some of whose professors support same-sex marriage and adoption rights for homosexual couples.

Castle Hill, NSW

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