Michael Smalanskas: Looking for a Little Kindness from Dr. Michelle Cretella’s Protesters

“Why do you care about my sex-life?” is a long-time slogan of the progressive left on matters of sexual morality. The question that a local Catholic parish could be asking regarding the heavy protests it saw last night is: “Why do you care about what happens in my Church basement?”

Apparently, the answer for both is because we care about what is happening in our schools.

Protesters rained down on St. Pius V Catholic church in response to a talk given by Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, entitled “Creating Kind Schools and Transgenderism.” Dr. Cretella has been an outspoken opponent of affirming gender transition practices; especially in children.


For Rhode Islanders, this has been a sensitive topic in light of a bill passed last year making it illegal for those in the medical profession to participate in efforts that discourage children from “changing” their gender.

In a true spirit of Christian hospitality, the protesters were welcomed into the church with open arms and told that they are welcome in the church any time, no matter their views.


Tyler Rowley, leader of the young adults group at the church which sponsored the event, introduced the night by asserting there is a caricature of each side of the debate. Catholics are seen as bigoted and hateful while many say the progressives want all viewpoints heard unless they disagree with them.

Tyler asked both sides to prove that these are wrong, but one side proved it to be true from the very start.

He said we should assume good will with those we disagree, to which a tolerant LGBT warrior yelled “No!” Tyler continued that we should treat each other with mutual respect and civility. “No!” again.

Nonetheless the mic was handed over to Dr. Cretella to begin her lucid and compelling presentation. Fittingly, her talk largely stemmed from a basic principle learned in grade school – it’s wrong to tell a lie.

Backed with a mass of scientific research and data, Dr. Cretella declared that sex is binary and determined at conception. People may truly think they are trapped in the wrong body, but this is a lie and it should not be promoted.


Only a few slides in, the presentation was disrupted by another liberal crusader yelling that Dr. Cretella herself was lying. Ground rules for respect and civility were set at the beginning so she was quickly escorted out of the hall.

Others disrespectfully laughed and joked through the remainder of the presentation – a presentation, I might add, that was rather serious in its discussion of suicide and the harm induced on our children.

The question and answer section proved no better. Quiet and respectful Catholics listened as Dr. Cretella had her career and intelligence questioned by protesters.

One such person stood up to declare that she used to be Catholic but she “got better and you can too!” This person danced out of the room as she yelled behind her “that’s the Gospel truth!”

The night ended with a prayer by Fr. Patrick Briscoe and the disrespect continued until the very end. While most rose to their feet, even if not to pray but out of sheer respect, others stayed sitting to rudely protest one last time and play on their cell phones.

Perhaps the most true thing Dr. Cretella mentioned in her talk was how a culture of negativity and bullying is the underlying cause for the mental instability that gives rise to issues like gender dysphoria. Gender confusion is not a cause, but rather an effect of the climate which we live in.

It seems to me that the kind of behavior exemplified by some of the protesters last night is exactly what Dr. Cretella was talking about. Maybe the first step to helping our kids is to actually show love and respect to one another, especially those we disagree with most.

Basic decency demands that you show respect to others especially when they invite you into their home, as Catholics did last night. If those who shout the loudest that they are for tolerance can’t actually put it into practice, then surely we can’t expect our schools to have a culture of kindness where children are safe to be who they truly are.

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