Primary Educators League

Assisting parents in the eternal vigil of protecting the freedom and holiness of their families.

Friday, April 07, 2006

"It may not be very Catholic, but it's real" Sr. Fran Donnelly - Relevant Radio

Yesterday on the Drew Mariani show on Relevant Radio (, 1330am in the Twin Cities, Sr. Fran Donnelly and Sharon Tomlin were on the air. During that program they confirmed several key items. (Note, we have recorded the show and should have audio clips available within the next several days. We will send out a message once they are ready).

First of all, if you recall, Sr. Fran Donnelly had sent an archdiocesan-wide e-mail stating that an organization called was spreading "inaccurate information" and had "flaws and misinformation in their presentation." This is false and misleading information. We sent an e-mail to Sr. Fran asking her to clarify her comments and to let us know what information was incorrect. If we were wrong, we would correct the error and state it publicly. However, we received no response and no correction from Sr. Fran.

From what we learned on the radio yesterday, we believe that we continue to state the facts of this situation in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis accurately.

For the record, here’s what we learned yesterday:

1) Sr. Fran Donnelly confirmed publicly, that yes, “Formation in Christian Chastity” has been approved for some parishes and schools. (Please make sure your pastors know this!)

2) Sharon Tomlin confirmed that the Ian lesson plan is recommended/required but that they are working on the “wording” of the language in the lesson plan so that rather than the lesson stating Ian’s mother’s boyfriend put his hand down Ian’s pajama bottoms it will be changed to Ian’s mother’s relative putting his hand down Ian’s pajama bottoms. (We can all feel more comfortable about this now, right?).

3) Sharon Tomlin did not deny that the Kerry lesson plan is recommended/required. There was no mention about changing any wording for Kerry.

4) It remains unclear as to whether the lessons selected by the Archdiocese are required to be taught or merely recommended. Catholic schools must teach four lessons each year. Religious Education must teach two lessons. So if the lessons aren’t necessarily required, that must mean that administrators/teachers might be able to select from the other lessons that are included in the 40 lesson kit? Is this supposed to make us feel more confident in the situation?

5) It was stated at the February 10, 2006 Archdiocesan rollout meeting that since all the schools will have the complete kits and since the folks at Committee for Children/”Talking About Touching” recommend that it’s best to teach these lessons to the children in the context of a full “safe environments” curricula, teachers can feel free to teach more of the lessons in the kit should they choose.

Sharon Tomlin denied this on the radio yesterday. So now it appears they do not recommend teaching more lesson plans than the four.

6) They disclosed yesterday that the Archbishop gave his approval for “Talking About Touching” at the end of January. However, on February 6, 2006, John Murphy had a conversation with Sharon Tomlin about the selection of the children’s curricula. Sharon Tomlin said, at that time….just four days before the rollout, that they still had not made a final decision. Why the lack of transparency? Why not just say, "yes, we have chosen a program, but we cannot disclose that until the February 10, 2006 meeting." For the record, after a couple of e-mails and a phone conversations, it was Sharon Tomlin who encouraged John to continue to call her back during December – January to see if a decision had been made.

7) Just before Drew went to a break, Sr. Fran recommended that parents should opt their children out.

8) After several questions, Sr. Fran made the statement, “it (meaning “Talking About Touching”) may not be very Catholic, but it’s real.”

Welcome to reality – “Talking About Touching” coming to a parish near you in the fall of 2006.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Job, John...Here's a quote from the opening line of Mary Jo Andersons' segment: "Thanks for having me on, Drew. Yes, I heard the section of Sister Donnelly and Sharon Tomlin before, and your very cogent last caller [John] who asked some very important questions..." She went on to expand on the issues you brought up, and to highlight the absurdity of making minor "tweaks" to the scenarios without changing their essence. I also loved her line of questioning about "Why are we out shopping for these programs in the open marketplace?" instead of developing and promoting our own Catholic materials. PEL is to be applauded for the charitable, professional approach you are taking. I am grateful for your hard work.

Friday, April 07, 2006 1:57:00 PM  
Blogger AbecedariusRex said...

I stand in amazement at this radio exchange. Thanks for all the work on this, John.

Saturday, April 08, 2006 2:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your claim that Committee for Children is associated with COYOTE is false. And, as you claim to want to provide true and accurate information, you need to do just that. Additionally, Committee for Children is not and never has been associated in any way with Planned Parenthood.

It seems that most people who are against the TAT program are against it out of fear. I have seen the video and reviewed the program and I see nothing wrong with it. We do not live in a June and Ward Cleaver society anymore. It is the duty of the Catholic Church to protect ALL children, not just the ones who's parents will talk to them about personal safety. I would like to know what your solution is for the child who's parent or parental figure is abusing the them. Do you think the abuser will teach that child how to say stop?
Additionally, there have been schools using TAT that have taken their religious ed lessons and matched up the TAT program, creating a program that includes the values we hold dear and teaching personal safety.

Education does not take away innocence, it empowers. If you really want to make an informed opninon review the materials yourselves at the archdiocese.
Reviewing them on this site or through tv programs that are obviously against TAT does not allow you to make an informed decision as the information provided is slanted and biased against TAT and cannot be taken as true or accurate.

Saturday, June 03, 2006 10:19:00 PM  

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