CES Trojan Horse—A Summary
Further to the #CESScandal featuring in the Catholic Herald this weekend, Counter Cultural Father has posted an excellent summation of the points he, Caroline Farrow and Dr. Joseph Shaw and myself have been trying to make about the issue.
Although the Herald article concludes that
"If this document is a mock exam for the CES, it may need to improve its game by the time the real tests begin"The general tone of the article appears overly benign and fails to draw attention to many of the very real issues with the CES document. As my pseudonymous associate asserts, these are numerous and manifest:
The overall thrust of this document is that we should not bully people who identify as gay or bisexual (or whose parents or carers do) because gay and bisexual people are just as good as us, but different. That is wrong. We should not bully them because we should not bully anyone - even if they (or their parents) are bad. The risk of the approach taken is that the implicit message is that if someone is bad (by whatever current measure that is unacceptable - say racist or indeed homophobic) he or she may be bullied; and likewise if someone's parents are racist, homophobic or whatever. So the whole premise of the approach is flawed.
The document accepts the language and worldview of the LGBT movement entirely and uncritically. The ideas that gay is a valid way of describing a human being, that people are born gay, that to be gay means that fulfilment may only be found in a sexual expression, and so on are all, to say the least debatable propositions; and are all at odds with a Catholic understanding of reality and humanity.
The unquestioning use of the LGBT language (and indeed pages and pages of material lifted from LGBT sources) means that much that should be clear is ambiguous (possibly to prevent overt heresy) but clearly inclines in a particular (and anti-Catholic) direction. Thus the definitions of homophobic bullying, the reification of 'gay,' the elision of same-sex attraction and homosexual behaviour under that single word, and the implication in the title 'Made in God's Image' that God has created some people this way so it must be good, are all profoundly problematic, and such ambiguity is very poor from any educational standpoint.
Some of the material presented is simply untrue, and is outright propaganda for the LGBT worldview. The presentation of the 'case study' about Alan Turing is one obvious example. The attempt to control language and how it is used, defined as LGBT propagandists define it, is another.
Nowhere does this document contain Catholic teaching on chastity, on human sexuality, on concupiscence or anything else to provide a Catholic context for a discussion of homosexuality. "But it's about bullying" the apologist cries. OK: nowhere does it contain any reference to the Catholic understanding of virtues (and contrary vices), of temptation and grace, of the need for self denial in order to develop necessary self-mastery for moral and spiritual combat, of the need for a prayer life, and grace through the sacraments, and so on.
Turning now to the role of the CES, again there are several problems.
Who wrote this document? Why was it being kept hidden? Why the fury when it was made public - whilst on its way into our schools? Why no acknowledgement of sources, when it gives the appearance of being a well-referenced academic document?
The collusion with Stonewall and LGBTYouth Scotland
What relationship has been established with these two organisations, whose work is extensively quoted, and who apparently gave permission for that to be done? Given that their work is in large part aimed at overturning a Catholic understanding of human sexuality this is a very serious question.
The questions over funding
The CES have contradicted themselves over the funding of this document. Initially, they said: 'The CES has received funding to cover the printing and distribution of a hard copy for each school.'
A number of sources whom I deem credible and honest have told me that the CES had received money from Stonewall. As this was reported, the CES changed their tune, and said: “The document is a collaboration between the CES and St Mary’s and no external funding has been received for it.” and also: “The CES has not received any funding for either the printing or the distribution of the document.”
There was no explanation of the contradiction. What are we to believe?
The response to the questions raised
Other than the completely inadequate response to the question over funding, I have seen no attempt by the CES to address any of the other concerns. Privately, they seem more intent on tracking down who 'leaked' the document. This falls far short of the standards one would expect of a body funded, in large part, by the laity. The Nolan principles of public life would be useful standards to look to for guidance here. Nobody I know who has contacted the CES privately has yet had a response, beyond the autogenerated acknowledgement.
A few words about the context...
A few commentators have accused me of ignorance of the context, so I shall just add a few words on that. There is no doubt that Catholic Schools will come under scrutiny from OFSTED on this topic. However, that can be no justification for teaching anything that is contrary to the Faith. I believe that a truly Catholic approach should be enough to satisfy OFSTED; but if it is not, then we should not shy away from the resulting confrontation. To refuse to teach the Faith in order to stay open is a completely self-defeating policy.
A Catholic approach would consist of teaching that all bullying is wrong, forming children in the virtues, with the associated teachings (on the spiritual life, grace etc) to underpin that, and having a robust anti-bullying policy in place, that could demonstrate that Catholic Schools do not tolerate bullying of anyone, for any reason.
In a broader context, I worry that this is part of a wider malaise in the Church today. It so often feels that a majority do not know what the Church teaches, or do not have any confidence in that teaching. If that is so, why are they part of the Church? It seems they remain "catholic" in name alone in order to destroy what the Church teaches and want to take it in another direction. Many seem genuinely offended by Catholics who accept and try to 'hold the line' on Catholic teaching. God knows, I'm far from perfect, and feel hugely inadequate to even comment on many of these issues, but when something as atrociously anti-catholic as this document is promulgated from an official body, moreover a body supposedly responsible for the education being given to our sons and daughters, I feel something has to be said.