IRELAND (LifeSiteNews) – Left-leaning media outlets and politicians are taking aim at a Catholic summer camp held annually for teenage boys, warning that promotion of Catholic teaching and “manly virtues” is akin to “something out of the Handmaid’s Tale.”
Run the the Irish Society for Christian Civilization (ISFCC), a week long summer camp has been taking place for teenage boys in Ireland for 14 years. Styled the “Call to Chivalry” camps, the annual event is a mixture of communal prayer, Mass, spiritual or historical talks, games and outings to sites of historical and religious interest.
“Chivalry is in essence the best of manliness,” writes the ISFCC about the camps. “Chivalry encompass all of the virtues that a man is especially call to practice. They include – purity, honesty, justice and love of the Church. Many talks focus on individuals who embodied these virtues. We present real role models for boys to imitate – St. Louis IX of France, St. Ferdinand, Dom Pelayo in Spain.”
However, the 2023 summer camp has drawn the ire of Ireland’s anti-Catholic media establishment. The Journal reported that “local representatives who spoke to The Journal said they were concerned at how appropriate the camp is for youths, in particular its aim to ‘instill manly courage’ in the youngsters in its charge.”
The news report highlighted the ISFCC’s adherence to the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion and LGBT issues.
A local Social Democrats councillor, Chris Pender, took issue with the Catholic camp regarding abortion. “My concern would be is they are peddling a message to young boys who don’t necessarily know any better at that age,” Pender argued.
Pender, who states he was the “first openly gay county councillor in Kildare,” and believed that “who I am would form a massive part of what they’re teaching people to be militant against,” argued that the ISFCC camps would not be approved of by Irish Catholics.
He dubbed it a “very specifically fringe organization on the outskirts of the Catholic Church,” while party colleague Nuala Killeen stated that the ISFCC “sounds like something out of the Handmaid’s Tale.”
Meanwhile, the LGBT outlet “gcn.ie” also took issue with the Call to Chivalry camp’s events promoting “the ‘truths of the Catholic Church’ and to instill ‘manly virtues’ and ‘Catholic militancy’ in order to counter a society ‘awash with immorality and sin.’” The LGBT website – which describes itself as offering a “free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988” – used an image of the camp members engaged in a pro-life witness on the streets.
Speaking to LifeSiteNews, the ISFCC noted that it was “not new to this kind of smear,” since similar boys’ camps run by ISFCC sister organizations in the U.S. “drew fire from Pravda, the former organ of the Soviet Communist Party.”
“The piece was written by Argentinean former guerrilla militant Juan Gelman, member of the Che Guevara-inspired Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias,” added the ISFCC in its statement.
Undaunted by the media scrutiny, the Catholic group welcomed the attention, saying “it is definitely encouraging to know that the Irish LGBT lobbies feel threatened by a group of twenty-two 13-18 year old boys. We honestly thought they had more substance.”
The LGBT lobbies attack us. It’s a sign we are moving forward. Praise be to God!
As consistently taught, Catholic doctrine holds that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law.” The catechism is very clear that homosexual activity can never be approved, and repeats that “[h]omosexual persons are called to chastity.”
Noting this teaching, the ISFFC added that “we in fact defend Catholic morals, decency, and purity of heart (Mt 5:8). The Journal’s article also takes exception at the fact that ISFCC ‘fights immorality, blasphemy and impurity.’ Are we to infer that they, on the contrary, favor all this?”
While Killeen described the camps as “shoving your doctrine down their [participants’] throat,” the ISFCC highlighted that her own political priorities include the pushing of “sex education in primary schools.”
In contrast to such LGBT promotion at schools – very often without parents’ knowledge – the ISFCC camps are conducted with “parents’ written authorization” and often parental participation.
While The Journal wrote that the Irish Bishops had said they were “not aware” of the camps, the ISFCC warned that such a statement did not align with reality, since “we can most definitely affirm he or she was misinformed as, for the liturgical aspects, we had written authorization from Church authorities.”
The ISFCC’s public activities around Ireland are not limited to summer camps, but also include organizing hundreds of rosary rallies and Catholic street campaigns. Earlier this year, the group organized over 500 rosary rallies throughout the island, for the May 13 feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
While such events are welcomed by many Irish Catholics, they have not passed without condemnation from the LGBT movement. Walking through the Omagh, Co. Tyrone with a Fatima statue, the Catholics received a constant stream of verbal abuse from the LGBT supporters, and were accused of being “Nazi scum, thugs, f****ng disgrace,” and asked if they thought “the holocaust was holy.”
But ISFCC member Rory O’Hanlon downplayed the response he received. “We were not intimidated by this abusive behavior, and we continued to calmly pray the Rosary,” declared O’Hanlon. “I would like to encourage Catholics around the world to not be intimidated by the left-wing tyranny that we are faced with everyday just for being Catholic, to get out there and stand up for their faith.”