Catholic World News

Parents protest speaker's talk on morality at another Catholic high school

April 11, 2014

For the 2nd time in recent weeks, parents of students at a Catholic high school are protesting that a speaker’s presentation on Catholic morality was harsh and insensitive.

Parents of students at the Prout School in Rhode Island have expressed outrage over an appearance by Father Francis (“Rocky”) Hoffman, the executive director of Relevant Radio, a network of 33 Catholic stations. Kathleen Schlenz, whose daughter attends the school and heard the lecture, said that the presentation was offensive “regarding divorce, homosexuality, and even adoption.”

Father Hoffman, who was on retreat, was unavailable to comment. But David Carradini, the principal of the Prout School, apologized for the presentation and said that Father Hoffman’s answers to students’ questions “were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues.” The Providence diocesan school superintendent, Dan Ferris, also issued a statement, saying that the priest’s remarks were “disappointing and pastorally insensitive to Church teachings.”

Supporters of Father Hoffman expressed disbelief that the priest-- a very experienced speaker whose radio broadcasts are not known for causing controversy-- would have strayed from the teachings of the Church. The incident echoed the recent incident at Charlotte Catholic High School, in which Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, another Catholic speaker known for orthodoxy, was accused of insensitivity in a presentation on Church moral teachings.

Father Hoffman’s presentation was recorded, and was intended for broadcast on the Relevant Radio network. Unhappy parents at the Prout School said that the address should not be aired.


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Show 9 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: williiam ronner - Apr. 14, 2014 10:33 PM ET USA

    60% of Catholics support homosexual marriage and Cardinal Dolan blames Hollywood and the press. So his Eminence thinks that Sean Penn trumps Jesus Christ and Chris Matthews trumps the Eucharist! Dolan and the clergy didn't address the issue of salvation and grave sin when discussing homosexual marriage. NOT ONCE did I hear a sermon regarding how intrinsically evil homosexual acts and same sex marriage are. Love your neighbor by getting them to heaven. That's real love.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Apr. 14, 2014 10:27 AM ET USA

    Anyone, anywhere in the US, who is bold enough to state Catholic teaching on homosexual acts, namely that they are gravely depraved and intrinsically disordered, is certain to be considered "offensive" in contemporary American culture. The question is do bishops and other leaders give a heckler's veto to people who dispute Catholic teaching, and banish from the microphone anyone teaching what the Church teaches? The culture of sexual immorality has overwhelmed the Church.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Apr. 13, 2014 9:00 PM ET USA

    I've known the principal of the school in question for more than 30 years, and he's a solid Catholic believer. I am concerned about the story as reported, but without more detail about just what the speaker actually said, the principal continues to get the benefit of the doubt from me.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Apr. 12, 2014 7:54 PM ET USA

    "Unhappy parents at the Prout School said that the address should not be aired." One has to wonder if the censorship and assault by the federal government against the Catholic Church has been filtering down and infecting Catholic parishes. Is it time for a new or renewed Catholic school system? Stay tuned.

  • Posted by: rng2 - Apr. 12, 2014 1:28 PM ET USA

    The Church is authentic. If the children and their parents are upset about discussions that touch on truth, fact and how it relates to the road to salvation, then perhaps they should remove the children. Public schools are much more comfortable with materialism and irrelevance.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 12, 2014 11:18 AM ET USA

    Lee Anne is right: Let's post both of these speeches somewhere and make our own evaluations.

  • Posted by: leeanne50 - Apr. 12, 2014 9:07 AM ET USA

    I think it's interesting that some parents don't want the speech broadcast. I would like to hear this speech and Sister Jane Dominic's. How else am I going to find out the whole truth? Lee Anne

  • Posted by: shrink - Apr. 11, 2014 6:48 PM ET USA

    Thanks to the efforts of the two Teds, Theodore Hesberg and Cdl Theodore McCarrick, the LandO'Lakes has ruled in higher education for for 50 years. It's effects have now spilled down into the high schools and have secularized the the student body. It has never been entirely clear to me during my lifetime in education (40 years and counting) that a bishop ever really had control of his schools. Now it's obvious that some are in open revolt, with the assistance of the bishop's own managers.

  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 11, 2014 6:33 PM ET USA

    Another perfect example of a Catholic school that has strayed from Church teachings - but this time they taped it. Interesting to hear the various verbs describing how "tolerant" the school is - a key word that tells you that things have run amok. I've seen it happen and it's because there is no real oversight by the diocese and, parents and inexperienced teachers don't know our Faith very well. Another generation lost to the CINO syndrome, brought to you by not knowing the Faith.