A Dominican nun from Aquinas College outraged students at a North Carolina high school after making anti-gay remarks.
Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, assistant professor of theology and member of the Saint Cecilia Congregation of Dominican Sisters of Nashville, Tenn., spoke during a student assembly at Charlotte Catholic High School on March 21 where students said she criticized gays and lesbians in addition to making subversive comments about single and divorced parents.
Students have since launched an online petition through the Web site Change, calling her comments "offensive and unnecessarily derogatory."
The petition includes 10 bullet points objecting to her presentation and now has over 2,000 supporters.
"We resent the fact that a school wide assembly became a stage to blast the issue of homosexuality after Pope Francis said in an interview this past fall that ‘we cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods,'" students wrote. "We are angry that someone decided they knew better than our Holy Father and invited (this) speaker."
In addition to the student-lead petition, parents, who were not made aware of the assembly's topic beforehand, called for a letter-writing campaign.
"In my home, there was outrage, embarrassment, sadness, disbelief, and further reason for my 16-year-old to move as far away from her religion as possible and as soon as she can," Shelley Earnhardt, a divorced parent told the Charlotte Observer.
Parents have faulted the school for not letting them know about the topic of the assembly.
"We have seen the petitions, and we have gotten the emails," Charlotte Diocese spokesman David Hains said. "And we really hope to be able to answer their questions and address their concerns"
Hains acknowledged that parents were not told that Laurel would speak, but she has spoken regularly in the diocese and has a doctoral degree in sacred theology.
A meeting has been set for Wednesday evening to address the concerns.
*The Charlotte Observer contributed to this story.