Cardinal Spellman High School, located in New York City's The Bronx, has been the source of a recent controversy after the Catholic educational institution invited Rev. Donald Timone, who has been referred to as a "pray the gay away" proponent, to speak to the student body about lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues.
After sparking a change.org petition and catching the attention of the Bronx LGBTQ Community Center, the polarizing issue has been featured on national news outlets such as The New York Times and ABC, due to Timone's affiliation with COURAGE, an organization that reportedly treats LGBT individuals who are looking to "move beyond the confines of the homosexual label to a more complete identity in Christ."
"No educational institution should be so irresponsible as to invite someone whose entire approach to LGBTQ individuals is based on bad science," stated Peter C. Frank, secretary of the Bronx LGBT Center, in a press release.
The school released a statement on Monday night claiming that they would be postponing the talk by Timone and stated that the move was made "on the advisement of the board of trustees."
"We thank all of the Cardinal Spellman HS alumni, as well as those who contacted us to express their views -- one way or the other -- on this sensitive issue," said Frank in a statement. "Our focus and goal was and remains that no person come to any harm as a result of discussions surrounding LGBTQ issues. The school's action in postponing this talk is a positive move that provides hope in achieving this goal."
The controversy at the school comes after a proclamation by Pope Francis earlier this year, in which the religious leader asked "who am I to judge?" about the lives of LGBT individuals, as well as a growing awareness surrounding the dangers of gay conversion therapy.