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US chastity speaker cancels trip to Ireland 'due to illness' after number of talks were axed

A number of talks by Jason Evert had already been cancelled amid criticism of his stance on homosexuality and other issues.

Updated Tue 5:46 PM

jason Jason Evert Source: Chastity Project

CATHOLIC AUTHOR AND public speaker Jason Evert has cancelled his Irish tour due to illness, according to a statement issued this evening.

The cancellation comes after a number of talks due to be given by Evert were cancelled amid criticism of his stance on homosexuality and other issues.

Evert has previously referred to homosexuality as “disordered” and is against the use of contraception.

A number of talks by Evert were cancelled after criticism of his stance on certain issues, as reported by TheJournal.ie last week.

Talks at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church on Merrion Road in Dublin 4 and the Holy Family Mission in Waterford were due to go ahead as planned tomorrow and on Thursday, but will now not proceed.

A statement on the Our Lady Queen of Peace Church website states that Evert is unable to travel to Ireland “due to illness”. “We were all looking forward to hearing him speak. Perhaps we’ll get a chance in the future,” the statement adds.

Earlier today, TheJournal.ie revealed that Evert was due to give a talk at an all-boys secondary school in Dublin tomorrow, according to a letter given to students yesterday.

However, parents received a text from Rockbrook Park School this afternoon saying the talk had been cancelled.

text

Evert founded the Chastity Project, an organisation that promotes chastity, and has written several books and delivered speeches all over the world on topics such as sexuality, love and marriage.

He has a master’s degree in Theology and runs the Chastity Project with his wife Crystalina Evert. The couple has eight children.

“The Catholic Church [says] you can acknowledge you have same-sex attractions, you can tell your family members or whoever it is you care to disclose that information to but to realise that your other options isn’t just to come out and make up your own rules with sexuality but you can actually lead a pure life with the grace of God. This option isn’t even proposed to people who struggle with these attractions,” Evert has previously stated.

The Chastity Project website references research on homosexuality and notes that one study states: “Sometimes the person (who is gay) experienced sexual abuse. Certainly not everyone who suffers sexual abuse develops homosexual attractions, and not everyone who has homosexual attractions was abused. But if a man abuses a girl, she may subconsciously think, ‘Men must all be like you, and no man will do that to me! I don’t want to be hurt that way again’.”

Evert is also critical of contraception, saying it is bad for women’s health and makes them feel they have to be “more sexually available“.

Talks cancelled 

Students from Rockbrook Park School, a fee-paying school located in Rathfarnham in Dublin 16 that follows the teachings of Opus Dei, were given letters by the school yesterday saying that Evert would give a talk at the school tomorrow.

One mother said some parents at the school were “up in arms” that the talk was going ahead, given the impact it could have on gay students, and complained. She welcomed the cancellation. 

The letter, seen by TheJournal.ie, stated that Evert “has agreed to visit our school informally in between his official events”.

It cited Evert’s “compassionate, down-to-earth and thought-provoking approach to speaking about relationships and chastity to teens and young adults”.

The letter stated that the title of Evert’s talk is ‘It Starts with the Heart’ and that it “will cover topics such as friendship, relationships, dating, the meaning of Christian marriage and more”.

Students from second year upwards were invited to attend the talk, as were parents once they give advance notice to the school.

The letter noted that students do not have to attend the talk if they don’t want to, once they have written consent of this from their parents.

“Naturally, as with any topic of sensitivity, it can occasionally arise that parents may not wish their son to attend. In that case simply provide a note for your son to give to his Year Head and we as always accommodate such understandable requests,” the letter stated.

It added: “Surprisingly there has been some media comment misrepresenting the visit to our school and the topic, and hopefully that has now blown over.”

“Our students have known for some time about this possible visit and today the senior students expressed great interest in the visit happening, as such visits helping and inform them as they develop their own critical world views,” the letter concluded.

‘Up in arms’

One mother whose child attends the school said some of Evert’s comments about gay people are “horrifying”. She said there had been no mention of the talk prior to the letter being sent home with students.

“My son came home with the note yesterday. I had never heard of this man before,” the woman said. 

She told TheJournal.ie she and her son looked Evert up online and listened to a number of his previous comments. She described some of Evert’s remarks about homosexuality as “horrifying” and “absolutely awful”. 

The woman said “a lot of the parents” were “up in arms”, noting that a number of pupils in the school are gay, prior to the talk being cancelled. 

She said the fact students had been given the option not to attend is “not the point” and put them “under pressure that isn’t necessary”. 

Prior to the talk’s cancellation, the woman said her son and a number of his friends would not be attending, adding that she was “100% supportive of that”. 

“Each to their own, it just doesn’t sit well with my family,” the mother said. 

Attempts to contact Rockbrook Park School today and last week were successful at the time of publication.

TheJournal.ie also contacted the Chastity Project today and last Friday to enquire about the Irish events but did not receive a response.

Cancelled events

A number of talks Evert was due to give in Dublin and Waterford this week were previously listed on the Chastity Project website but the entire list was removed last week.

jason unav Source: Chastity.com

A video where he discussed his upcoming trip to Ireland also appeared to have been removed from his YouTube channel amid criticism of the visit.

Prior to the entire tour being cancelled, the axed events included talks at Blackrock College in Dublin, UCD and the Tower Hotel in Waterford, as previously reported by TheJournal.ie

Speaking last week, Ian Power, CEO of youth organisation SpunOut, said telling any young person they are disordered could do “untold damage”.

“For anybody, but particularly for somebody who is struggling with their identity, to be told that they are in some way disordered or wrong is extremely harmful to hear.

“This could have really serious consequences for the mental health of young people coming to terms with their sexuality – as you struggle with that, you’re so much more vulnerable to the things other people say, particularly for younger people.

“Untold damage could be done if someone like this is allowed unfettered access to a young, captive audience,” Power told us, adding: “It’s not okay for somebody to address students with anything under than objective facts.”

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Órla Ryan

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