The Catholic school district’s attempted re-write of the sex-ed curriculum raises a lot of interesting questions
I can’t even begin to tell you how much brocade there was. Acres of opulent fabric framed the walls, intricate designs painstakingly stitched onto fabric. The gowns were phenomenal—they draped to the floor and pooled around ankles, lending a feminine silhouette to the wearers. And the hats! They were architectural miracles, rivalling even the poshest set at a royal derby. The room was lit by candlelight, its soft glow refracted by the moving crowd. It was a breathtaking scene of a community coming together to celebrate.
No, I am not describing the Imperial Court’s latest coronation, although I very well could be. Rather, I am describing a funeral for a nun—the one and only time I have ever witnessed a Catholic religious ceremony. Not having been raised Catholic myself, I was stunned at how over the top it was, add a disco ball and some Katy Perry and you’re most of the way to a drag show. At first I thought they were bringing out the big guns for the deceased Sister, but apparently the incense and fancy clothes and the gilt ( everything was covered in gold) are all part and parcel of a typical Sunday around those parts.
I’ve been reflecting on this memory lately as I’ve been watching the Catholic School District clumsily explain why it attempted to re-write the sex ed. curriculum. I keep trying to figure out why an institution that is halfway queer hates us so much. Are they just so deeply in the closet that they can’t even see what’s obvious to everyone else (oh, hi Jason Kenney!)? Why does an institution that literally believes grape drink and stale crackers turn into the flesh and blood of their saviour can’t get its mind around the difference between sex and gender? What am I missing?
And then, as I revisited the memory of that funeral, it came to me: they’re jealous! Picture it: you’re a 15th century peasant, you’re living in Europe, and your life is probably pretty shitty. The Renaissance hasn’t quite started, the food sucks, and your clothes could generously be described as sack-like. But Sunday comes around and you’re transported to a whole new world. Come touch the glory of God! Sure, you probably don’t understand Latin and the priest is diddling your kids, but look at the bright colours and incense! But then along comes the Protestant Reformation and the Industrial Revolution and Wi-Fi and suddenly shiny stuff that doesn’t smell like sheep shit isn’t as much of a lure as it used to be.
The Catholic Church may have had to cede a lot of ground over the last several centuries, but they’re not going to let go of sex, dammit. If two (or three) ladies can get it on without any guilt, if someone can fully inhabit life as a non-binary person (let’s be honest, the Catholics think all this gender stuff is really about sex), then what’s the point of the Catholic Church? Specifically, what is the point of Catholic education?
Right now, the answer to that question seems to stop at we’re teaching a rigid morality that is linked to genitals. Take that away and you have a normal public school system. The Catholic school system is fighting a war against irrelevancy and they are losing, regardless of what the constitution says. Indeed, we might not ever be rid of them so frankly, instead of trying to change the constitution, let’s just stop showing up. If you’re a parent with a kid in Catholic school and you care about people, it’s time you also start asking yourself why you’re there.