OAKVILLE, Ontario, November 14, 2013 ( – A Catholic theologian known for opposing Church doctrine will teach parents how to become “faith leaders in the home” in an open event next week sponsored by the Halton Catholic District School board.

If Dr. Thomas Groome’s 2001 book “Education for Life: A Spiritual Vision for Every Teacher and Parent” resembles his upcoming presentation, parents can expect to hear the laicized priest slam papal authority, criticize Catholic tradition, and argue for “critical” Catholics following their consciences over Church teaching.

Parents might also hear Groome preaching against the male priesthood as discriminatory, arguing that equality in the Church demands women priests.


Groome, Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, will speak at Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School on Nov. 21.

The talk will take place only two weeks after HCDSB trustees allowed the controversial HPV vaccine in the schools despite strong opposition from parents and moral theologians.

“Will There Be Faith? The Crucial Role of Parents in Catholic Education,” is the title of his talk.

Groome has been hailed as the guru of the post-1960s style of “experiential” catechetics. He has served as a member of the speaker’s bureau for Voice of the Faithful, a dissident group denounced by numerous bishops who have forbidden its meetings on Church property. His books have been banned in the Archdiocese of Sydney, under Cardinal George Pell.

On Papal authority, Groome argues that to exercise his magisterium the pope “as bishop of Rome, must teach in consultation and collegiality with the bishops of the world and represent the consensus faith of the whole Church, in fidelity to Scripture and Tradition.”

“The official magisterium should act as consensus builder, articulating positions that reflect the faith of the community over time, witnessing to its share faith as a guiding perspective for all,” he writes.

“The papacy is meant to be a witness to what is already the faith of Catholic people,” he adds.

Sacred Tradition for Groome must be treated with a “healthy skepticism” and a “critical consciousness”, “given how much untruth is in every statement of faith.”

“Scripture and Tradition are to be continually reinterpreted in light of changing circumstances and contemporary consciousness—and add in the note of freedom of conscience—then Catholicism has no place for fundamentalism or dogmatism in the authority it grants to tradition.”

“However as one describes the authority of tradition within Catholicism, it must always leave room for freedom of conscience”, he writes, adding that “conscience is always the last court of appeal!”

The most “pressing issue” the Church faces today is the “eradication of sexism and patriarchy.”

On this note, Groome praises “Feminist Liberation Theology” as a movement to “fight against sexism and misogyny and to forge the full freedom of women.”

“Feminist theology mounts a devastating criticism of the patriarchy of the Church and challenges the ways Jewish and Christian traditions have been interpreted to legitimatize the oppression of women and domination by men,” he writes.

Justice in the Church for Groome means women priests: “To be credibly catholic, the Catholic church must practice and be seen to practice (i.e., be a sacrament of) the full inclusion of women in every aspect of its mission and ministry.”

Groome’s principle critic, Eamonn Keane, believes that dissenting Catholic educators such as Groome should not be given a platform from which to spread their errors.

“Dissidents work within the Church's institutions undermining allegiance to the teaching of the magisterium. They relativise and corrupt the Church's doctrine and lead those in their charge into error, thereby rendering them less capable of teaching the faith to others and of imbuing the temporal order with the light of the Gospel,” he wrote in 2010.

Keane believes that local bishops should do “all in one's power to shield [Catholics] from the influence of dissenters.”


Archbishop Pedro López Quintana, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada
724 Manor Avenue
Ottawa, ON KIM OE3
Phone: (613) 746-4914
Fax: (613) 746-4786
E-mail: [email protected]

Bishop Douglas Crosby, Diocese of Hamilton
700 King Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 1C7
Phone: (905) 528-7988 x2222
Send email here.

Halton Catholic District School Board trustees contact info here.


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