Student Suspension Latest Signal of Catholic Church’s Descent Into LGBTQ Madness

By Joseph D'Hippolito Published on February 22, 2023

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the Catholic Church’s moral collapse than a disturbing incident in Canada.

St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario, about 60 miles west of Ottawa, suspended 16-year-old Josh Alexander for the rest of the school year in December for leading a protest against boys using girls’ bathrooms, a fundamental right under LGBTQ ideology. When Alexander tried to return for classes this month, school officials had him arrested.

When Alexander tried to get support from a local Catholic priest, he was refused.

“I’m kind of shocked at how little response there has been from the church,” Alexander said on a podcast. “I even phoned one of the local churches the other day, and the pastor just told me he didn’t want to speak to me. I can’t imagine a leader of a church telling a 16-year-old kid he wouldn’t even have a discussion with him.”

Alexander, who calls himself a “born-again Christian,” then issued a stinging indictment:

If I was a member of the Catholic Church, I’d be completely embarrassed by the actions of the school, now that they’re claiming to be Catholic. It’s kind of disappointing to see the lack of response from the local Catholic Church.

Nevertheless, that response — no matter how disappointing — reflects Pope Francis’ subtle, unstated support for the LGBTQ agenda, despite his own words to the contrary.

Fighting the Good Fight

Alexander began his protest after a fellow student told him she felt “weirded out” by the sight of boys in girls’ bathrooms and she had no idea where else to turn “other than a few of my female friends,” she anonymously told John-Henry Westen, host of the LifeSiteNews podcast on which Alexander appeared.

The student might have told Alexander because he said in class that only two genders exist, and he organized student support for Canadian truckers’ massive protests against rigid COVID-19 restrictions last year.

“As a Christian and just as a man in general, I feel a responsibility to stand up to this kind of nonsense, especially when a young female addresses me about this, and more than one,” Alexander said. “I immediately felt a conviction to do something about that, so I did.”

Alexander said he met with Principal Derek Lennox, who told him that the female student should talk with him. When she did and Lennox took no action, Alexander organized a student walkout in November.

In response, the school suspended Alexander on Nov. 23 for 20 days, When Alexander returned to class Jan. 9 — with a vice principal following him and writing down everything Alexander said — the school extended the suspension because Alexander’s presence would be “detrimental to the physical and mental well-being,” of transgender students, he said.

That detriment, Lennox wrote in an e-mail, included using the “dead names” of transgender students. “Dead names” are the first names given at birth that transgender students reject for names reflecting a new sexual identity. Lennox also ordered Alexander not to attend classes with transgender students, which meant he could go only to two classes.

Technically, the extended suspension was an “exclusion,” supposedly carrying no disciplinary penalty. Yet when Alexander tried to attend classes, he was arrested Feb. 6 and charged with trespassing. He and his lawyers are citing religious discrimination in their appeal to the local Catholic school board and the provincial human rights tribunal. 

Clerical Gobbledygook

The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board runs the school, not a religious order nor the Diocese of Pembroke, Ont. But Christine Williams, a Canadian journalist and a Catholic, contacted the diocese about the matter. The Rev. Michael Smith, the vicar general, wrote in an e-mail that all Bishop Guy Desrochers can offer is “moral suasion,” though Desrochers has “regular contact” with the Catholic school board’s leadership.

When Williams expressed hope that Desrochers could help Alexander and the female students, Smith responded:

I am not party to Bishop Desrochers’ conversations with the Board’s leadership, but it can safely be said that the Bishop can be trusted to uphold Catholic teaching in a manner that is both clear and sensitive to others, especially the vulnerable.

Translation: Desrochers will make no effort to help Alexander or the female students. But what justifies that assumption?

The Roman Fox

Pope Francis called gender theory “ideological colonization” in the past. In March 2021, when Germany’s bishops wanted to devise liturgical blessings for same-sex marriages, the Vatican’s leading theological body not only declared that the church has no authority to bless such relationships. It took pains to mention that Francis approved the decision.

Yet in 2020, Francis reversed 17 years of Vatican policy by publicly advocating same-sex civil unions.

Francis is nothing if not cunning. As The Stream reported concerning abortion, Francis’ subversion is sly. Despite his words, his actions betray apathy — and likely support — concerning LGBTQ behavior and activism.

One of Francis’ advisors is Rev. James Martin, an editor-at-large of America, a Jesuit magazine. Martin uses his various platforms, especially Twitter, to position himself as an LGBTQ ally and contradict church teaching.

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In 2017 at Villanova University, Martin told a gay man who refrains from kissing his partner in church, “I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or, you know, soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing?” Two years later, Martin admitted on Twitter that the Bible “clearly condemns” homosexual sex. “The issue,” he continued, “is precisely whether the biblical judgement is correct.”

In August 2021, Martin tweeted that “transgender people exist and are beloved children of God.” Martin was responding to a pastoral letter condemning gender ideology from Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Va.

In February 2022, Martin tweeted opposition to a legal opinion from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who stated that hormone-blocking drugs and sex-change surgeries for children constituted child abuse under state law. One month later, Martin opposed a proposed Idaho law banning similar procedures on children.

Not only has Francis yet to discipline Martin publicly for such statements. The pope invited the fellow Jesuit to the Vatican in November to discuss “the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties, of LGBTQ Catholics,” Martin tweeted. The time was “indeed punctuated with smiles and laughter, and after which I indeed felt elated,” he added.

Art Imitating Life?

Cardinal Vincenzo Paglia, who tolerates abortion despite being president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, as The Stream reported, commissioned a blatantly homoerotic painting for his cathedral while archbishop of a small diocese north of Rome. One scene shows the semi-nude archbishop, wearing his skullcap, embracing a semi-nude male.

Paglia and another priest supervised every aspect of the work.

“There was no detail that was done freely, at random,” said the artist, Ricardo Cinalli. “Everything was analyzed. Everything was discussed. They never allowed me to work on my own.”

As president of the Pontifical Council for the Family in 2016, Paglia released a sex-education course for teens that Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons called “the most dangerous threat to Catholic youth that I have seen over the past 40 years.”

“As a professional who has treated both priest perpetrators and the victims of the abuse crisis in the Church,” Fitzgibbons said, “what I found particularly troubling was that the pornographic images in this program are similar to those used by adult sexual predators of adolescents.”

Nevertheless, Francis appointed Paglia to his current position.

The Telltale Giveaway

The most obvious sign of Francis’ attitude comes from San Diego Cardinal Robert McElroy, whom the pope promoted in August. On Jan. 24, America published McElroy’s call for “radical inclusion” of LGBTQ Catholics on their terms — regardless of whether they are sexually active, or adhere to church teaching on homosexuality.

“The exclusion of men and women because of their marital status or their sexual orientation/activity is pre-eminently a pastoral question, not a doctrinal one,” McElroy wrote. “In other words, the church is called to proclaim the fullness of its teaching while offering a witness of sustained inclusion in its pastoral practice.” (Emphasis in original)

The Catholic catechism defines homosexual sex as “acts of grave depravity” and “intrinsically disordered,” and urges homosexuals to practice chastity. In Scripture, Leviticus included homosexuality among other sexual behaviors considered “detestable.” Jesus defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Paul, a former Pharisee, described homosexual acts as “shameful” and practicing homosexuals as unable to “inherit the Kingdom of God.”

Yet McElroy conveniently ignored such teachings.

“The distinction between orientation and activity cannot be the principal focus for such a pastoral embrace,” he wrote, “because it inevitably suggests dividing the LGBT community into those who refrain from sexual activity and those who do not.”

Neither did McElroy call for repentance.

“The effect of the tradition that all sexual acts outside of marriage constitute objectively grave sin has been to focus the Christian moral life disproportionately upon sexual activity,” he wrote. “The heart of Christian discipleship is a relationship with God the Father, Son and Spirit rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church has a hierarchy of truths that flow from this fundamental kerygma. Sexual activity, while profound, does not lie at the heart of this hierarchy.”

In perhaps his most passionate rhetoric, McElroy apparently insisted that opposing behavior means promoting hate.

“It is a demonic mystery of the human soul why so many men and women have a profound and visceral animus toward members of the LGBT communities,” he wrote. “The church’s primary witness in the face of this bigotry must be one of embrace rather than distance or condemnation.”

In other words, “inclusion” equals blind acceptance, and even deference. Accountability and previous teaching be damned.

McElroy promotes Francis’ agenda wholeheartedly. In a voting guide issued in February 2020, one month before California’s primary, McElroy argued that the pope’s emphasis on environmental sustainability outweighed traditional opposition to abortion and contraception, as The Stream reported.

Christ or Sodom?

Meanwhile, Francis remains a master of misdirection. Before and after his February trip to Africa, the pope called homosexuality a sin but advocated decriminalizing anti-sodomy laws, which are prominent in African and Latin American nations. Francis even called bishops to lead the way in decriminalization.

“An immense step forward,” Martin tweeted concerning Francis’ call.

But another priest has had enough.

The Rev. Jason Charron, a Ukrainian Catholic pastor from Pittsburgh, posted a critical YouTube video Feb. 8.

“It struck me that a lot of the Holy Father’s public comments revolve around this issue of homosexuality, as though that were the centerpiece of his ministry,” Charron said. “You don’t hear a whole lot of comments coming from him calling for the defense of persecuted Christians in, oh, I don’t know, places like China?”

Charron ended with a scathing challenge:

“Who do you belong to, Francis? Do you belong to Christ or do you belong to Sodom?”

That is a question every serious Catholic must ask.


Joseph D’Hippolito has written commentaries for such outlets as the Jerusalem Post, The Federalist, the American Thinker and Front Page Magazine. He works as a free-lance writer.

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