Catholic School Organises Trip to Gay Pride March

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As you can see from the above message, St. Paul’s Catholic high school, county Armagh, Northern Ireland invited it’s pupils to represent the school at the 2014 Newry Gay Pride march.

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Gay pride

The pupils attended in full school uniform and were accompanied by members of staff. Here they are pictured at the march meeting the Northern Ireland education minister Sinn Féin politician John O’Dowd. The invitation was widely publicised by the school via its website, Facebook and Twitter pages. 

School Principal Jarlath Burns claims to be committed to the schools Catholic ethos. But when questioned about this on Twitter he reveals the fact that he either does not know the church teaching on sex and marriage, or he is just completely disregarding it:

“Our pastoral care policy is light on dogma and heavy on compassion and celebration of diversity.” – Jarlath Burns ‏

Principle Jarlath Burns

Principal Jarlath Burns

He claims he would “die for Catholic education” but also that on the issue of Homosexuality he says “This is one area of Church teaching where I part company completely with the Church.” I wonder what pupils who support the Catholic teaching on marriage felt when called to attend this event. Not very ‘included’ I would say. What is he doing to support them? Or how about those incredibly brave individuals who struggle with same sex attraction and who wish to remain celibate out of love for our Lord? Has Burns considered them in his ‘celebration of diversity’? Does he even know the Catholic view on homosexuality? 

Here’s what the Youcat (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church) has to say about the topic of homosexuality:

Youcat CoverThe Church believes that, in the order of creation, man and woman are designed to need each other’s complementary traits and to enter into a mutual relationship so as to give life to children. That is why homosexual practices cannot be approved by the Church. Christians owe all persons respect and love, however, regardless of their sexual orientation, because all people are respected and loved by God.

“There is no man on earth who is not descended from a union of a mother and a father. Therefore it is a painful experience for many homosexually oriented people that they do not feel erotically attracted to the opposite sex and necessarily miss out on the physical fruitfulness of the union between man and woman according to human nature and the divine order of creation. Nevertheless, God often leads souls to himself along unusual paths: a lack, a loss, or a wound – if accepted and affirmed ­– can become a springboard for throwing oneself into the arms of God: the God who brings good out of everything and whose greatness can be discovered in redemption even more than in creation. (Youcat, 65)

God created man as male and female and destined them for each other in a bodily way as well. The Church accepts without reservation those who experience homosexual feelings. They (persons who experience homosexual feelings) should not be unjustly discriminated against because of that. At the same time, the Church declares that all homosexual relations in any form are contrary to the order of creation. (Youcat, 415)

The twitter debate continues:

“I’ve a feeling @jburns834 (Burns) thinks ‘Catholic ethos’ means whatever he says it does. Compassion is part of CC teaching. So is marriage. A conception of marriage that Pride events want to redefine & re-conceptualise. Sending pupils in their uniforms looks like using them to make a statement. And a statement that compromises Catholic schools, the one place where Catholic teaching ought to be respected & defended.”

“What Burns does in his own time is no bodies business but he has no right 2 hijack a school 2 push his own agenda. He can support what he wants but he should leave the school out of it. All girls as well. The boys must have told him 2 stuff it.”

“He (Burns) supports redefining marriage & seems to think it’s ok to use the school & its pupils to make a statement about that. Even posting images of the pupils on his Twitter.”

“After the child abuse scandal the leaders r now 2 spineless 2 stand up 4 their own teachings. Has allowed chancer’s like Burns 2 push agenda.”

“I hope @stpaulsbbrook clarify their position on marriage & whether the school will be used for more events where promotion of Same Sex Marriage is one of the main purposes.”

“I thought as a teacher you had to subscribe to church teachings?”


“…it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted abusive and harmful.” ~Peter Tatchell, main speaker at Newry Gay Pride 2014.

There was plenty of anti Catholic agenda at the march. But it gets worse. It seems that the main speaker at Newry Pride 2014 was none other that Peter Tatchell:

“All just “dogma”. Peter Thatchell is the person Catholic schools want to listen to? He was at Newry Pride. I wonder does @jburns834 endorse his extreme views on age of consent? If they don’t know Peter Tatchell, they should have informed themselves of his extreme views b4 sending pupils along.”

“That b the same Tatchell who endorses adult child relationships. I don’t think 2 many ppl realise Tatchell’s support 4 child adult ‘consensual’ sex.”

“Yep. There’s no way pupils should have been at an event where he was the main speaker. I wonder were parents of @stpaulsbbrook pupils informed that P Tatchell was the speaker & what his views are? Schools are for learning, not for political campaigning. And Catholic schools like @stpaulsbbrook send their pupils to listen to P Tatchell! who @stpaulsbbrook thinks pupils should be listening to as anti-Catholic as any public figure out there.”

“Tatchell believes St Pauls has no right 2 exist. So much 4 diversity.”

“Any political campaigning or marching is not a matter for school endorsement. Particularly when that campaign (redefining marriage) goes agst CC teachings. And particularly when the guest speaker says the CC ‘blights the lives of millions’. Grandstanding of that type cannot be dressed up as compassion. All the hallmarks of political exploitation and faux compassion.”

For those who don’t know Peter Tatchell’s views, here is a little snippet:

“The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.” – Peter Tatchell

You can read more about Peter Tatchell’s views on child/adult sexual relationships by clicking here.

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A man dressed up as a Catholic Cardinal at Newry Gay Pride.

Is it really possible that Jarlath Burns does not know Peter Tatchell’s views? Or does he agree with them? Does he think it appropriate that his school pupils should be at an event in their school uniform where this man is the key speaker? Did he inform their parents Peter Tatchell would be there? What is the real agenda here?

Would the school put as much effort into encouraging pupils to attend a pro-life event in full school uniform? I think not. It seems to me that Jarlath Burns is a man who is more concerned with popularity, forwarding his careerer and making a name for himself as a ‘progressive’ than actually fulfilling his responsibilities as a Catholic Headteacher. 

As a Principal of a Catholic School, Jarlath Burns has a duty to remain faithful to Catholic teaching. UK Statutory legislation makes provision for schools with a religious character to maintain their relevant religious ethos. Section 60 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 makes the following provision:

(4) In connection with the appointment of a person to be headteacher of the school (whether foundation or voluntary controlled) regard may be had to that person’s ability and fitness to preserve and develop the religious character of the school.

(5) If the school is a voluntary aided school – (a) preference may be given, in connection with the appointment, remuneration or promotion of teachers at the school, to persons:

(i) whose religious opinions are in accordance with the tenets of the religion or religious denomination specified in relation to the school under section 69(4), or 

(ii) who attend religious worship in accordance with those tenets, or 

(iii) who give, or are willing to give, religious education at the school in accordance with those tenets; and 

(b) regard may be had, in connection with the termination of the employment of any teacher at the school, to any conduct on his part which is incompatible with the precepts, or with the upholding of the tenets, of the religion or religious denomination so specified.

In short I believe that through either ignorance or disobedience, Principal Jarlath Burns has clearly demonstrated that he is not in line with the Catholic Church in his personal or professional views and he should get the sack. He is failing the children in his care.

The time has come for you to make a decision Mr. Jarlath Burns: Will you choose the Rainbow flag or the Cross? I’m afraid you can’t have both in the Catholic Church. And if you really can’t choose between the two, i’m sure there are plenty of Protestant churches who would welcome you with open arms.

I have written to Cardinal Brady and Archbishop Eamon Martin (both at to express my disgust at Jarlath Burns’s actions and very much suggest you do the same. 

16 thoughts on “Catholic School Organises Trip to Gay Pride March

  1. Pingback: Catholic School Organises Trip to Gay Pride March | Christians Anonymous

  2. Feel you need a reality check here. You are a mother of 3, will you be writing to the church to get them unbaptized if one of them come home and confide In you that they are gay, will you stop loving them? You should focus your blog on some real issues not stone age ideas. Mr Burns is a dam good teacher and leader hence why he was given the role as Principe, you do not know the possible reasons why he openly advertised the school openly supporting pride in Newry. As a catholic you should not be judge and jury.

    • Jarlath Burns has admitted by his own words that he completely disagrees with the church on the issue of homosexuality. These are his personal views. In His position as Principal of a catholic school his job is to uphold the teachings of the catholic church. He has completely gone against the church on this issue and for that reason he has proved he is unfit to lead a catholic school. His compasionate nature is excellent, but he falls short by choosing to ignore the many gay catholics who are choosing to remain single and loyal to the church. He is also ignoring the many children at his school who know that what he is teaching them is wrong because it goes against the church. It is not his decision. He does not have the right to re-write the catholic teaching on sex and marriage and teach children that his way is correct and the churches way is wrong. That is the problem here.

    • The Catholic innocent children were used by Jalath Burns, who abused his position as principle of St Paul’s School, Bessbrook to attend pride parade in Newry City. When there is a Catholic ethos

      I believe the Gay Pride parade homosexuals cross the line and their aims are to redefine marriages which destroys families. Mr Burns should resign
      Same sex couple’s act is not a union but a behaviour of practice that is unhealthy and risky and unnatural, a union is only between male and female.

      Equality does not mean same sex act is the same as in a union of male and female but the person is equal as an individual. there is no discrimination in employment. The notion of same sex marriage is not necessary for two men or two women. one can love their dog and their friends, but it is taking things to another level same sex couple’s act is beyond bounties that they should not cross, which is immoral and against God who created man and woman to reprobate the earth. Children deserve a mother and father figure.

  3. As a former pupil and a parent of children who attended St.Pauls I was so proud of the statement they as pupils and teachers made on Saturday. St. Pauls has always been a school who put there pupils first and every child is equal nobody is judged on their ethnic religious or sexual background and rightly so. From Mr. Ward the first principal to Mr. Byrne. They care about every individual in that school. Do you not think that children have a hard enough time growing up and maybe afraid to say I am gay to suffer in silence and worse see only one way out. I for one will support all the teachers of this great school who helped my daughter come to terms with her sexuality and made her the strong independent Happy person she is now.

    • There is nothing wrong with expecting a Catholic headteacher to stick to the teachings of the catholic church. He has completely excluded gay catholics who wish to remain single and faithful to church teachings. He has also excluded any child at that school who wishes to remain faithful to church teachings. Shame on him taking the completely outdated view that the church shuns gay’s. He is proving his complete ignorance in this matter. if you want someone to lead young catholics struggling with same sex attraction you need to look to the incredibly couragous people like Steve

      • I would love to shake your hand and congratulate you for your efforts to clarify what so many are willfully ignorant about. True love isn’t always obvious, but since every soul is precious and eternal, we must be strong in our efforts to uphold Church teachings for all to see, and expel those who pretend to be promoting what is for the ‘greater good’, while leading souls toward destruction.
        Let’s pray for our leaders, that they will take action. None of the saints were lackadaisical. They spoke and took action which was absolutely aligned with Church teaching, and if that seemed harsh to many, then so be it. Our Lord Himself didn’t mince words trying to appease the deceivers of His time here on earth.
        Let’s pray for all youth who need support in their seeking of the truth, and especially for those struggling to remain pure of mind and heart. May they be supported and blessed in their efforts.

  4. So sad that you pay thousands to educate your children in an elite catholic school, just to see their faith going away in smoke. This is a problem in all countries. Notre Dame giving an award to the abortionist Obama and so on. This principal is completely wrong, imposing his beliefs on his pupils, against the doctrine of the Church.
    That is why I stick to home schooling.

  5. Pingback: Catholic School Organises Trip to Gay Pride March | Victims of Gay Bullying

  6. Peter Tatchell has never advocated adults having sex with children. He does not support this. He says adults should NOT have sex with children. He has never advocated the abolition of ages of consent. He has said that if young people of similar ages have sex below the age of 16 they should not be prosecuted, providing they both consent and there is no coercion, manipulation or exploitation. Treating these young people as criminals is wrong. They need counselling, not prosecution. Read here:

    • The prosecution is against their attacker, not against the child. The age of consent is to protect children, and Tatchell has been, and continues to campaign for it to be dropped and finally abolished. It is all there in black and white, plain as day for all to see. He had said in his own words that not all child/adult sexual relationships are wrong. He is a danger to children.

  7. I note Garth Burns Head teacher did not have permission from parents to take children of St Paul’s School to the Pride parade promoting such in Newry is a disgrace, he should resign.
    what is safe guarding children person doing about this ? catholic ethos in this school and board of Governors, when innocent children are subjected to this in Christian schools is wrongful, when a union is only between male and female.

    Complaint by PJ O’Hare Bessbrook

  8. The push for same sex marriage is to brainwash people and children, to believe a false agenda, when it has nothing to do with equality and not a human right. Marriage is a choice for only man and woman’s union joined together as one. God created Adam and Eve, blessed them and said “be fruitful and fill the earth” that is the order of humanity by God, therefore same sex couples’ act do not qualify, but are loved the same by Our Creator.

    However God said to Moses”man must not lie in sexual lust with man, it is immoral unnatural, corrupt and abomination, same recorded by Paul’s Mathew’s Testament, also the penedy be ? do not be misled as their act is not equal, to man and woman’s union by reason, same sex act is very risky to health of those individuals who has free will and are a very tiny minority who are Gay with every respect to them, but their act is immoral and why should others endorse such and sin?
    Their gay community is very much funded to stage their agenda.