Catholic Archdiocese defends cancelling gay author’s visit to catholic school

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Its decision to cancel the visit of a gay author to one of its schools has been defended by the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark.

Simon James Green was invited to the John Fisher School in Purley to speak to year 8 and 9 students – aged 12 to 13 years old – as part of World Book Day.

His appearance was cancelled by the Archbishop of Southwark after concerns were raised about the content of Green’s LGBT books for teens.

The decision prompted a snap inspection by schools regulator Ofsted which in its report this week, criticised the archdiocese and said that it had left staff and pupils “feeling angry, confused and frustrated”.

The school was forced to close temporarily after staff went on strike over the cancellation of Green’s visit.

In a lengthy statement, the Education Commission for the Archdiocese of Southwark has defended its actions and outlined concerns with parts of Green’s books, Noah Cannot Even and Noah Could Never, that contain sexually explicit material and a distortion of the Lord’s Prayer.

The Education Commission said that the sexual imagery was “not appropriate for school age pupils in a Catholic context” and that the use of the Lord’s Prayer in this way was “a source of deep disquiet”.

It added that the issue was not with the character’s sexual orientation but the content of the material.

For Christians, the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) is something very precious,” the Education Commission said.

“We believe it was taught by Jesus Christ to his first disciples as the pattern for all prayer. We would not expect someone who is not a Christian to accept what we believe about this prayer.

“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.

“The Lord’s Prayer forms part an intrinsic part of Catholic worship and devotion. It is taught to children by their family as well as by school staff, being part of the spiritual life of a Catholic school.”

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