SOUTHWARK, England (ChurchMilitant.com) - An archbishop is condemning a homosexual author's blasphemous use of the Lord's Prayer after the novelist, who was banned from promoting his LGBTQ+ teen fiction at Catholic schools, accused the Church of homophobia.
"Literature that insults the Faith, which in the case of Mr. Green's book was a highly sexualized rewriting of the Lord's Prayer, understandably causes offense to many Christians and, as such, has no place in a Catholic school," the archdiocese stressed.
"The use of this prayer in this way, and for this to be promoted in a Catholic school, is a source of deep disquiet," noted the diocesan education commission in a statement authorized by archbishop of Southwark John Wilson.
Published Thursday, the statement underlines the centrality of the Our Father as a prayer "taught by Jesus Christ to his first disciples as the pattern for all prayer," and "an intrinsic part of Catholic worship and devotion."
"We would not expect someone who is not a Christian to accept what we believe about this prayer," the statement says. "We would, however, hope that it would be respected as a treasured and intrinsic part of a major world Faith, prayed daily by millions of people."
In March, Abp. Wilson banned author Simon James Green from publicizing his books at St. John Fisher Catholic School, Purley, and St. John's Primary School, Gravesend. Green's novel Noah Can't Even (at the focus of the book-signing event) contains a blasphemous gay-sex parody of the Lord's Prayer, Church Militant earlier reported.
The diocese cited the profane passages (using asterisks for modesty) and warned that children aged 12–13 would have been exposed to the obscenity and profanity in the book. The parody, from chapter 13, includes the text:
Let us pray.
Our Father, who art the gay boy? Noah be his name ...
He makes Harry come. He gives him one. On earth, as it is in Heaven. ...
And lead him straight into temptation. Right into a gay bar. For Noah is a gay boy. Who likes to suck c**k. For ever and ever. He's gay.
In comments to Church Militant, Dr. Tom Rogers, a spokesman for Parent Power (an organization campaigning for parental rights in the education of their children), said that "Abp. Wilson's actions are particularly welcome given that, in recent times, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and the Catholic Education Service have largely capitulated to secular, liberal LGBTQ+ agendas."
"For instance, the CES welcomed the introduction of compulsory pro-LGBT 'relationships and sex education' in English schools, and published a document, 'Made in God's Image,' which promotes the active and positive acceptance of homosexuality to young people," Rogers elaborated.
The robust and principled action taken by Wilson has been entirely justified and necessary, and it is important that they have the support of the Catholic Church and Catholic community in this country, especially as the school is now experiencing what amounts to a determined onslaught of bullying from many quarters — including the mainstream media, in an attempt to make it conform to an agenda so contrary to what parents should expect from Catholic schools
It was Catholic parents from the school who first raised serious concerns with the diocese over the invitation of this author, and parents, in such cases, need to be reassured that the Church will act to safeguard their children and the integrity of Catholic education where that is being undermined. Certain material in the books of this author is not age appropriate and promotes a lifestyle contrary to the Catholic faith, even using blasphemy, so it is a serious matter that the school leadership considered this an appropriate author to invite and, worse, that the governors rebelled against the entirely reasonable request of the diocese to withdraw the invitation.
Meanwhile, an orchestrated media campaign is attempting to portray Wilson and the archdiocese as homophobic after the prelate fired school governors for defying a diocesan directive asking the school to cancel Green's signing event.
Catholic columnist Laura Perrins hit back at the "inaccurate" news reports, clarifying that "a gay author was not banned. An author who writes sexually explicit and blasphemous material for teenagers should never have been invited to speak at a Catholic school."
"It would be really helpful if the media reports covering the school actually included the blasphemous material," Perrins added.
Father Edward Tomlinson, an Anglican convert to Catholicism and a member of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, tweeted:
[A] man who writes dirty stories for kids plays the victim when his conflation of the Lord's Prayer with anal sex makes him unwelcome in Catholic school. A healthy society would ask why an adult man is writing smut for kids, not why a Catholic diocese upholds its own faith.
Green told media his novels feature LGBT characters and "soft romance" but that "there is nothing LGBT in those books at all." He tweeted, "All I do with my books and school events is encourage reading for pleasure, acceptance of difference and celebrate being who we are."
In mid April, teachers at St. John Fisher School voted to go on strike against a "discriminatory" work environment. The National Education Union said it would "not stand by and watch those who identify as LGBT+ be singled out for adverse and degrading treatment."
Green thanked staff who voted to strike, posting on Twitter, "We have to make a stand against LGBTQ+ book censorship. And these school staff have. I applaud and thank every one of them."
However, an inspection carried out by the government's Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills following the ban on Green said, in a report on April 25, that it had not identified any "serious concerns."
Instead, the government office concluded that "all pupils are welcomed and included in the Fisher Family," which is "centered on dignity and respect for the individual," and "pupils are taught the importance of respect for all, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."
"Pupils described the school as one where, 'everyone just fits in,' irrespective of faith, background or sexuality. They said that leaders and staff make clear that 'it is okay to just be you.' Pupils are rightly proud that this is the case," the inspectors concluded.
Earlier, the school chaplain, Fr. James Clark, resigned after battling for years against the toxic atmosphere at the school, a diocesan source told Church Militant. The priest was subjected to a hate campaign after he informed parents about the content of Green's LGBTQ+ books.
Catholic schools in Britain were facing a meltdown, with "non-Catholics dominating the administration and teaching and undermining the faith of children at a young age," the source said. "Moreover, the bishops have done little to promote the Faith for 50 years."
Well-known Muslim psychologist Dr. Kate Godfrey-Fausset defended Abp. Wilson's decision, explaining that "if the sexual descriptions — both implicit and explicit — in Green's book were shown by adults to children in the form of imagery, then those producing and providing such content would most likely be accused of child pornography."
"The fact that such content is disseminated under the guise of teen literature must not distract from, nor legitimize, the underlying sexualizing messages and potential for harm that could be caused to the young people it is targeting," the psychologist noted.