DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant) - Ireland's progressive Irish Times reports that Jason Evert, a popular American Catholic who promotes chastity, has had most of the engagements on his Ireland schedule canceled.
Founder of the Chastity Project, Evert has been promoting for more than twenty years the idea "that young people play a pivotal role in the new evangelization." His presentations "invite them to launch chastity projects within their schools and churches to promote the good news of purity to their peers."
Evert's book, Pure Manhood, puts forward orthodox Catholic teaching on human sexuality. Evert tells young people "the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God's natural purpose for sex — babies and bonding."
Pure Manhood gets a 4.3 rating on Amazon from purchasers. The most popular Amazon reviewer of the book writes:
This booklet is fan-freakin-tastic! As a male university student, these are things I wish I had read much ... earlier. Evert conveys his responses to popular relationship questions in a clear and concise manner, in accordance with Catholic teachings! I recommend this to every ... teen, and to every male or female who wants to truly understand the root of common relationship issues that arise from our modern-day misunderstandings of a loving relationship. [I] cannot express in words how happily surprised I am, and I truly think this can save a whole lot of heartache for people who seek a long-lasting, loving relationship.
Evert was scheduled to speak primarily to Irish young people. In Dublin, he planned to make presentations at Blackrock College, Rosemont Secondary School, University College Dublin (UCD) and Lady Queen of Peace. Only Lady Queen of Peace remains as a speaking venue for Evert in Dublin. In Waterford, he was to speak at the Tower Hotel and Holy Family Mission. Tower Hotel canceled.
At UCD, the LGBTQ+ Society voiced particular objection. According to The Irish Times, the Society posted a statement on Twitter claiming that Evert's appearance would have "lasting and damaging effects on the mental well-being of LGBTQ+ students by insisting that homosexuality is a disorder."
Church Militant attempted to verify The Irish Times' reporting on the statement, but the UCD LBGTQ+ Society's Twitter account has been suspended. Via e-mail, Church Militant reached out to the Society, asking if it would cancel a visit from Pope Francis since he opposes ordination of homosexuals and believes homosexuality is "disordered." As of press time, University College Dublin's LGBTQ+ Society had not responded.
Once one of the most Catholic countries in the world, Ireland is following its European neighbors in what many consider to be moral freefall. The country approved contraception in 1980, divorce in 1995, same-sex "marriage" in 2015, and abortion in 2018.
When Church Militant reported in November 2019 that Mass attendance was down by 30% in Ireland, there were no definitive explanations for the decline.
The average age of a priest in Ireland is 70. Father Roy Donovan, who belongs to the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) thinks that might be a factor in Mass attendance. He attributed younger people not attending Mass because of the clergy being older.
He told the Independent Irish News, "It's not good having all older people leading liturgies or leading Masses, because when young people don't see any of their own age group involved and they actually don't know any priests any more, the connections are becoming weakened."
There are faithful Catholics who hope to usher in a new era of Irish Catholic culture. An association of lay Catholics is trying to return Ireland to its Catholic roots.
John Lacken, secretary of the Lumen Fidei Institute, an association of Catholic laity who want to bring back the Church's teachings on the Catholic family, has published a number of books on Catholic orthodoxy and modern culture.
He told Church Militant that when Catholic priests gave a wink and a nod to the Church's teaching on contraception after Vatican II, things began to deteriorate rapidly. Lacken said returning Ireland to its Catholic roots is going to be a slow process.
With Irish schools and parishes canceling promoters of Catholic orthodoxy, that process could take more than a generation.