PEORIA, Illinois, March 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. Catholic diocese prohibited students in its schools to participate in Wednesday’s nationwide gun control demonstration because organizers support abortion.
The Catholic Schools Office for the Diocese of Peoria, overseen by Bishop Daniel Jenky, told school pastors and principals in a March 12 letter that students could not participate in the walkout demonstration because positions held by the organizers were not “rooted in the truths of the Catholic faith.”
“Unfortunately, some of the sponsors of the National School Walkout advocate for positions that are contrary to the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life in all of its stages,” its letter stated. “Due to this fact, as well as concerns for student safety on this day of national attention, our schools are directed to not permit students to stage a walkout.”
The Women’s March formed between pro-abortion and other radical movements last year in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise election win over Hilary Clinton. The event drew hundreds of thousands of protesters to Washington, D.C., the day following the inauguration to protest Trump and demonstrate over a multitude of things, including abortion, LGBT issues, worker’s rights, immigration, Obamacare, and gender, racial and religious discrimination.
The Empower group urged students to leave their classes this past Wednesday at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes – one minute for each victim in the Parkland, Florida shooting – and suggested demands for Congress, including among other things an assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks for all gun sales.
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Thousands of students from elementary to college level took part in some fashion in roughly 3,000 reported protests nationwide, the Fox News report said.
The Peoria diocese’s schools office said that a walkout was not the best way for its students to respond to the shooting.
“Our Catholic schools stand in solidarity with those who seek change and conversion in a culture of violence that is destroying innocent life,” its letter said. “However, a walkout is not the best course of action for the students entrusted to our care.”
The diocesan schools office encouraged administrators “to take a different approach and demonstrate the power of prayer and faith in action,” suggesting the offering of a Rosary for nonviolence, holding a prayer service for peace and remembering victims of school violence at an all-school Mass.
Other suggestions included making cards and posters to send to the Parkland school community and
discussing Catholic social teaching in classrooms with age-appropriate activities.
The schools office also proposed having students “write letters to Congress encouraging an assault weapons ban and other safety measures.”
“Such prayers and activities provide a safe and faith-filled way for our students to enter into an important national discussion about these significant issues,” the letter said.
Peoria Notre Dame High School had planned several other activities to remember the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month.
Instead of conducting a walkout on March 14, The Catholic Post reported, students and employees prayed the rosary between classes and then attended an all-school Mass. After the Mass, principal Randy Simmons released 17 balloons – one for each victim.
The March 14 nationwide school walkout was the first of a number of U.S. gun control protests planned for the near future.
Another round of school walkouts is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, according to Fox News. And organizers of the March for Our Lives rally say they expect hundreds of thousands to come the nation's capital on March 24 for their protest event.