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Much ado about, literally, who-knows-what

April 9, 2014

We either know what Sr. Jane Dominic said at Charlotte Catholic High School or we don’t. Is it too much to ask, which is it?

Sr. Jane’s remarks were either recorded or she spoke from a text that can be verified as being the one she delivered. The first option, however, has been repeatedly denied and the second seems not to have been mentioned (suggesting the talk was delivered ex tempore). I’d even grant some credibility, some, to Sr. Jane’s own assertions as to what she actually said. But Sr. Jane has, to my knowledge, said nothing publicly since her talk at CCHS.

But despite this screamingly obvious lack of reliable information, everybody and his brother has an opinion on Sr. Jane’s talk, including Sr. Mary Sarah, President of Aquinas College (where Sr. Jane teaches), who makes the following assertions.

In her presentation, Sister Jane Dominic spoke clearly on matters of faith and morals.” But how does Sr. Mary know what Sr. Jane said?

“[Sr. Jane’s] deviation into realms of sociology and anthropology was beyond the scope of her expertise.” How does Sr. Mary know that, and, while we’re at it, what does she mean thereby, sort of prohibiting theologians from commenting on anything beyond doctrine (which I doubt is Sr. Mary’s view.)

The unfortunate events at Charlotte Catholic High School are not representative of the quality of Sister’s academic contributions or the positive influence that she has had on her students.” The only way this phrase makes any sense is if it means that Sr. Jane’s “events” (her speech) are not representative of her positive influence. But if so, how does Sr. Mary know what Sr. Jane’s speech was, and what about that speech was not representative of her other work?

The students at Charlotte Catholic were unprepared, as were their parents, for the topic that Sister was asked to deliver.” Again, beyond the title of the talk, what does Sr. Mary know about the talk itself? And, by the way, whose responsibility was it “to prepare” the audience for Sr. Jane’s talk? Sr. Jane’s?

The consequence was a complete misrepresentation of the school’s intention to bring a message that would enlighten and bring freedom and peace.” The consequence of what? Of Sr. Jane’s talk? If so, how does Sr. Mary know what Sr. Jane said? If of the public’s reactions to whatever Sr. Jane’s talk was, how would that reaction be Sr. Jane’s fault, or Sr. Mary’s problem, or anyone else’s responsibility?

There are no words that are able to reverse the harm that has been caused by these comments.” For the umpteenth time, WHAT COMMENTS? How does Sr. Mary know what Sr. Jane said?

From where I sit, I cannot tell whether: (a) some nun with a doctorate in theology gave a lunatic address on sex to an audience of shocked children; (b) some nun with a doctorate in theology gave a reasonable address on Church teaching about sex to an audience that was not informed about what the address would be, which audience then went ballistic over the misleading advertising for the talk; or (c) some nun with a doctorate in theology gave a reasonable address on Church taching about sex to an audience who hates her message and hates her for giving it. I simply can’t tell which of these scenarios (or variations thereon) describe what happened at CCHS.

But everyone else sure talks like they know.

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