Bishop Jugis Issues Long-Delayed Statement About Sister Jane. Says Nothing. Sister Still Under the Bus.

Bishop Jugis

Bishop Peter Jugis has finally issued his long-awaited statement concerning the trashing of Sister Jane Dominic Laurel at a meeting held in one of the Catholic schools in his diocese over a week ago.

I’m not sure why it took the bishop so long to issue this statement, since it says nothing. Here’s the gist of it:

The bishop is “shocked” at the “lack of charity and respect” at the meeting.

The bishop calls for “healing.”

The bishop assures us that Catholic schools will teach the Catholic faith “in its fullness and integrity,” and that the catechism is “accessible to all.”

The bishop stands by his priest.

The bishop leaves Sister Jane under the bus.

In a statement published in the local Charlotte press and then put on the diocesan news page, the author of the petition against Sister Jane announced that the petition was being shut down, adding:

“Thank you to everyone in the CCHS community who supported my petition. I have now removed it from change.org because I feel that its goal has been accomplished. I wanted to call attention to something I felt was wrong so that something similar would not happen in the future. Certainly enough attention has been brought to the issue, and I believe that our school system is working towards a meaningful change. The petition has served its purpose and can now be put to rest.

Indeed.

I appears that the petition was 100% successful. Hard to argue with that. In fact, it looks like the petitioners are running things.

I’m going to have to think about this for a little bit. But I do know that, so far as I’m concerned, everything I said in this post still stands. I am not surprised that Bishop Jugis punted. After a week of silence, any other course of action would have been a surprise.

Maybe we should follow the bishop’s advice and go buy copies of the catechism and be our own bishops to ourselves. Then, if anyone disagrees with us, we can start a petition, form an angry mob and take over.

I am afraid for our Church in these perilous times if this is our leadership.

Bishop Jugis’ statement:

Bishop Jugis’ full statement, issued April 9, follows:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The past few weeks have been very difficult for Charlotte Catholic High School. We have all experienced a great deal of pain. During this difficult time I want to express my support and encouragement for all the parents, students, staff and faculty at the high school. We must move forward toward healing with charity, the hallmark of our Christian life.

Different viewpoints regarding Sr. Jane Dominic Laurel’s presentation to students on March 21, 2014, have been discussed in a variety of venues.

At the parent meeting on April 2, 2014, many expressed concern about the lack of advanced communication with parents regarding the subject matter of the assembly. Apologies were made at the meeting for that lack of advanced communication.

The content of the Church’s moral teaching was not raised as a matter of contention at the parent meeting. All of our Catholic schools are committed to hold and teach the Catholic faith in its fullness and with integrity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains an explanation of our faith and is accessible to all.

During this difficult time I support the continued work of Fr. Matthew Kauth, the chaplain; Mrs. Angela Montague and Mr. Steve Carpenter, the assistant principals; and Mr. Randy Belk, the dean of students; and all they are doing for our Charlotte Catholic High School students. All of us are indebted to them.

I am shocked to hear the disturbing reports of a lack of charity and respect at the parents’ meeting, and outside the meeting in conversations and in social media. There simply is no room in the Catholic Church for such displays of uncharitableness and disrespect. If we have failed in this regard let us make amends to God and neighbor. Even when we disagree, that disagreement should be expressed respectfully in love.

We ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and His healing as we approach the celebrations of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection. Please be assured of our continued dedication to the mission to teach and live the truth of the Catholic faith at our Charlotte Catholic High School.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis

Bishop of Charlotte

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I read it as throwing her under the bus. What exactly does he mean by this: “The content of the Church’s moral teaching was not raised as a matter of contention at the parent meeting”? So what was in contention?

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      ….and what ugly English!

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      What is in contention, according to many of the parents who have posted in the blogosphere, was the lack of NOTIFICATION that their little darlings might be hearing something at school that would cause the parents to have to talk to them.

  • oregon nurse

    That was very…unenlightening and unhelpful and a complete ducking of WHY parents were upset at lack of notice. I expected more too given how long it took to come out. His silence about Sr Jane does seem most surprising.

  • SisterCynthia

    It kinda has the tone of something a soft politician might utter in hopes that they can make the whole “scandal” go away. Where they say enough to perhaps convince the undiscerning that they are siding with them (you know, people on both sides get a morsel to make them think they are the one in the right), while staying vague enough to not actually “say” anything about the actual situation. Perhaps I’m being cynical, tho… anytime something like this is uttered by an authority figure, I tend to be suspicious. :-/

    • hamiltonr

      Exactly. It sounded like a politician, only politicians aren’t usually so vague when they’re vague. They can sound mushy and still give the illusion of saying something.

  • FW Ken

    I guess I’ll be the contrarian here, but if sister is under the bus, it’s her community and college that put her there. There’s a lot of conjecture about what she said that some people found offensive, but in point of fact, we don’t know. The diocese has made it clear she is welcome back, the school chaplain has made it clear he doesn’t blame her, and now the bishop had tagged the parents who acted like children in full tantrum mode.

    The group responsible for this situation is the gay rights activists. No one else. They stirred up a mess and left it for the bishop to clean up. He has affirmed Catholic moral teaching and called the activists out on their garbage. What is expected of him? Sister Jane is not actually under his pastoral care and it is not his to judge her teaching. That belongs to her religious sisters and academic leadership.

    Perhaps some caution is in order. His style, from what locals are saying, is very gentle. That doesn’t mean he is weak. Among other things, from what I can tell, he has put a godly man into what had been a small “c” catholic school. Doing is better than talking. My last bishop was like this. Very quiet and you would think mousy, but he completed some real reforms in his 7 years here.

    • hamiltonr

      If the bishop hadn’t run away, he could have made this into a great teaching moment and inspired his flock to follow him, anywhere. Instead, he allowed a mob and his cowardice to drive a wedge into his people and destroy his own authority. His style may be gentle, but that doesn’t preclude taking a stand when it’s called for. Firmness would have worked a miracle with this situation. As it is, even those who got what they wanted know in their hearts that they ran over the Church to get it. Respect dies dead in circumstances like that.

      These tests of leadership are also great opportunities of leadership. The bishop didn’t do his job and he damaged the Church in the process.

      • AnneG

        I live very close to Bishop Jugis’ diocese and I know Fr Kauth. It may look weak to you, but I think there will be some big changes at Charlotte Catholic in the coming year. I said somewhere else that this is a case of Catholic in name only parents sending their kids to a Catholic high school so they can get into a more competitive college. They are the ones having a fit. I expect there will be some very clear instruction regarding moral teachings coming out. Btw, this may be very uncharitable, but I don’t care how the person with the petition “feels.” Feelings have nothing to do with it. Another passive-aggressive attack on truth.

        • SisterCynthia

          Anne, I really hope you are right about what is to come. :)

  • Sus_1

    Rebecca, if it’s true that Sister Jane talked about unproven theories that masturbation and single parent homes causes homosexuality, what should be said and done?

    All I have read here is that everyone is wrong except for Sister Jane.

    • hamiltonr

      If that is true, then I think it could have been handled by civil discussion. You know. Discussion. There is no defense for this reaction to her talk.

    • Dave

      Discussing unproven theories is hardly a justification for an seething mob.

      • Sus_1

        I agree there isn’t a justification for a seething mob.

        What I don’t agree with is faithful Catholics think it’s okay to say bad things about homosexuals. Talking about unproven theories to high school students about something as sensitive as homosexuality is wrong. Especially since homosexuality is such a hot button issue right now.

        Saying masturbation and single family homes causes homosexuality gives all the people against the Catholic Church lots of ammunition. There are many people that know and love homosexuals.

        I’m with Pope Francis. There are some Catholics that are absolutely obsessed with homosexuality. It’s ridiculous.

        • FW Ken

          http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/04/are-christians-obsessed-with-sex

          Who, precisely, is obsessed with sex had been clear for awhile.

        • Dave

          Homosexuality is just the latest battleground in the ongoing sexual revolution, after contraception, divorce, and abortion. It’s not about homosexuality in itself. The Catholic Church didn’t start this fight, but it can’t sit back and allow gay marriage, which essentially presents a distorted and disordered view of sexuality as normal to the entire society. I suspect we will lose this battle, too, at which point sexuality is reduced to little more than a way to get some thrills in whichever way one pleases.

          Anyone can find ammunition in anything they disagree with? Should the Church be avoiding things people disagree with? Sure, bringing up masturbation and single family homes will offend a lot of people? But what if it is true? Has anyone even considered this possibility, or is it just a knee-jerk reaction because people don’t want to hear it?

          At some point on the current trajectory, society will collapse due to the collapse of the family. And then we will begin again…

          • Sus_1

            It really doesn’t matter what causes homosexuality because most of them
            believe they don’t have a choice in the matter. It isn’t like
            contraceptives because people have a choice whether to use them or not.

            The Catholic Church isn’t in the position to “allow” gay marriage. Gay marriage is already happening. They have every right to say they won’t marry gay people in the Church but have no say whether or not gay people get married.

            The gay advocates causing problems are a very small percentage. Most
            are just trying to live their lives just like the rest of us. Those are
            the people our kids have in their lives.

            • Dave

              They probably don’t have a choice in the matter in many cases. They are called to be chaste in that case. This is exactly why people Sr. Jane would like to point out that it can be avoided in many cases. It’s a difficult cross to bear.

              Gay marriage isn’t really happening, but we are all being forced to pretend it does. Other than that, I don’t think there is much of a problem tolerating them, as long as they aren’t trying to force the entire culture to redefine sexuality (which they are.)

        • Ursula

          you misinterpret what Pope Francis says and you take what he says out of context.
          . Please go to the Vatican website and read what he says for yourself and do not listen t what the media SAYS THAT HE SAYS!

          • Sus_1

            My Pope news comes from the Vatican website and Rebecca’s blog.

            • Ursula

              ok….fair enough…let me rephrase what I said. In my opinion , y0u are misinterpreting what Pope Francis has said. He has never said that there are some Catholics who are absolutely obsessed with homsexuality.I am sorry , it sounded like you were taking the pundits lines from them about, “Pope francis, said you aren’t supposedto talk about that anymore’. Forgive my jumping to conclusiins. What he said was that we have to be about much more than those 3 hot button issues. He did not change the teachings on those 3 issues….but anyway, in my opinion it is not most catholics who obsess about these issues, It is the media who keeps asking Catholics about these issues. Most priests will admit that they rarely discuss these things in homilies but whe en the media asks the same questions about these issues , we must answer and we answer with Church teaching. And in my humble opinion there there can not be too much obsession on abortion when babies are killed everyday!

  • Dave

    This whole story is just so bizarre. An angry mob and we still really have no idea what Sister Jane said that people were so upset about. I don’t think that Sister Jane got thrown under the bus by anyone – I think she was just shaken by her run-in with the angry mob and needs time to regather herself.

  • FW Ken

    An excellent response from a Charlotte priest:

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/08/4826902/priest-says-sins-were-committed.html#.U0cLOVAo6BZ

    I like the way Fr. Reid focused on the sinful lack of civility on both sides of the issue.


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