Was it the film's dramatic nature or the content?
A Catholic religious-instruction teacher in Pennsylvania has stepped down after parents and a local talk-show radio host criticized her for showing a pro-life film to sixth graders.
According to the Wilkes-Barre Time Leader, the pastor of St. Monica Church in West Wyoming apologized last month for allowing the teacher to show her students To Be Born, a 2011 film short in which a young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy faces pressure from her boyfriend to abort. “Poor judgment on my part,” Father Leo McKernan said. The unnamed CCD teacher resigned, according to the paper.
Columnist Steve Corbett wrote that local parents objected to the film’s content. In response to the criticisms, a spokesman for the diocese of Scranton suggested that the film was too graphic for 11- and 12 year olds:
One pro-life activist and artist told LifeSiteNews praised the film short but said parents should have been given the option of pulling their children from the CCD class:
According to its webpage, To Be Born was based on a story, “Letters from an Aborted Child,” that Fr Stephen Lesniewski of Chicago wrote. Fr Lesniewski said more than 500 unborn children have been saved as a result of the short story, which he turned into a CD.
Sprite Juice Studios turned the story into a film short, which lasts 14 minutes and 34 seconds. The video includes a nightmare sequence in which the pregnant woman allows a physician to use the dilation and curettage method of abortion while listening to her daughter tell her she loves her.
The showing of the film was brought to the newspaper’s attention by Steve Corbett, a columnist for the newspaper who doubles as a local talk show host. Corbett’s story not only quoted participants in the story but also criticized the film and defended abortion rights. "Even a quick look drives home the gore of what the movie’s director even admitted was an “exaggerated” portrayal of an overwhelmingly safe medical procedure," Corbett wrote.
The resignation of the CCD teacher happened before a New Jersey Catholic high-school teacher was suspended for making an impetuous defense of church teaching about traditional marriage and criticism of the gay-rights movement on her Facebook page. The incidents underlie the fears from some employees and volunteers at Catholic institutions that cultural progressives have conquered the wider culture and are making inroads into Catholic schools and churches.