Ignatius Principal’s remarks on sexuality are negligent

St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) by Rubens.

“What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines.” This quotation from St Ignatius powerfully shaped my journey into Catholicism and out of the web of LGBTQI ideology. The truth it contains has been medicine not only to my soul; it has literally saved my life.

I was reminded of these words when watching Dr Paul Hine, principal of St Ignatius College, one of our nation’s most prestigious all-boys schools, interviewed about 17-year old student Finn Stannard’s coming out as “gay” at a college keynote address.

On the topic of same-sex attraction Dr Hine told SBS News, “I’m not sure anyone chooses their sexuality, that’s who they are and therefore we need to be open to that and to accept it and to make sure we live in communities of inclusion – and with that will come diversity.”

See related story: Don’t trust media on Pope Francis’ words to gay man

I was astounded to hear a leader with oversight of two hundred staff and with responsibility for the formation of 1,500 young men use the words “I’m not sure” in relation to the journey of human sexuality. To not be sure in private can be excused. To not be sure in front of his entire college – the size of a rural community – is another. To declare this as a national educational leader on SBS’s World News I believe shows sheer negligence.

There is much known scientifically about human sexuality that is never mentioned in mainstream news. In fact, there is much on social media today that is deliberately erased because it raises the key truths about human sexuality in direction opposition to LGBT ideology, and especially truths defined by the hierarchical Church based on the wisdom, compassion and deliberate reflection of thousands of years of Judeo-Christian theology and anthropology.

James Parker

Dr Hine talked of inclusion and diversity. Surely, true inclusion means that opposition to same-sex “marriage”, as voiced by Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce, two prestigious alumni of St Ignatius College, should be respected as equally as opinions opposed to this?

There are many alumni of private Jesuit schools, who themselves experience same-sex attraction, who are in vehement opposition to the notion that two people of the same-sex can reflect marriage in the same way that two people of the opposite-sex can. As a Jesuit alumnus, I am one of them. These opinions have been formed not only through a robust Catholic education but from lived experience that dares to weigh up consolation and desolation alongside Natural Law, empirical scientific evidence and, you guessed it, common sense.

The Catholic community across Australia should be deeply concerned today that a prominent college like St Ignatius with the school motto, Quantum Potes Tantum Aude – As much as you can do, so much dare to do, fails to do the very necessary groundwork to be sure of how human sexuality is formed within young men. LGBT ideology does not have the last say on this.

Society may choose to ignore Christ and his bride, the Church. However, when a leading educational establishment of our nation’s future male leaders, one which bears the name Catholic, takes on a worldly understanding of human sexuality in direct opposition to the Church’s truths, we should not only be outraged, but should be profoundly concerned for the welfare of the young men within its ranks.

Dr Hine and his advisors would do well to listen to insightful physicians. The American Psychological Association clearly admits people’s sexuality is able to change over time. The Catholic Medical Association states that those with a duty of care should enter into “personal dialogue” with people who experience an erotic attraction to the same-sex, “reviewing with them in a compassionate way the circumstances of their personal relationships, teaching them of the truth and beauty of human sexuality, and advising them of the physical risks as well as the personally disintegrative effects of sexual activity outside of marriage, but never cooperating with them by prescribing, recommending or referring them for assistance with any form of illicit sexual activity”.

Of course, being aware of journalistic licence we must consider the public face of Finn’s coming out and St Ignatius College’s celebration of this young man’s homosexuality as possibly only one aspect of the wider story.

However, as hard as I have tried, I have been unable to find any reference to the Divine in relation to this story. This seems to be an all too common reflection of where Catholic education is headed in our contemporary culture. This echoes another quotation by St Ignatius: For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to it.

St Ignatius was swift to place his “white”, namely his thoughts, feelings and entire humanity, before the truths, or the “black, of the hierarchical Church.  This gained him sainthood, the true vocation St Ignatius College should encourage each one of its students to strive for. This required his death to pride, as it does ours, and that we slowly yet deliberately and humbly surrender our lives to the Creator’s design.

St Ignatius of Loyola – pray for us.

James Parker was an LGBT activist who, having rejected the gay lifestyle, has offered spiritual support to hundreds of people who experience same-sex attraction worldwide.