Catholic Archdiocese blocks visit by author of sexually explicit book for teens
- The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark has forced a local RC school to drop plans to invite the author of a sexually explicit book to address pupils aged 12 to 14.
- The John Fisher School, a Roman Catholic state school for boys in Croydon, had invited Simon James Green to speak to pupils about his books, despite the age-inappropriate content.
- The Christian Institute says other church schools should be equally vigilant to ensure books promoted in their schools are appropriate for the age of the pupils, and do not conflict with the school’s religious ethos.
The Christian Institute has backed the decision by the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark to block a speaker whose books contained inappropriate sexual material. Simon James Green’s “Noah Could Never” describes, among other things, a boy admiring a naked French exchange student’s genitals, and an adult encouraging a 16-year-old to try oral sex with his boyfriend.
The author’s website suggests that the two books “Noah Can’t Even” and “Noah Could Never” are the focus of his secondary school visits and that he addresses children in “years 7+” i.e. from the age of 11. The John Fisher School intended boys aged 12 to 14 to be present to hear the author speak. Parents of pupils at the school were encouraged to buy the author’s books for their sons so the author could sign them.
The Archdiocese has been criticised by LGBT activists claiming the author was disinvited simply because he is gay, an accusation they deny.
John Denning, Education Officer at The Christian Institute, said:
“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark has not withdrawn this invitation because the author is gay. It has done so because some of the material in the books is simply inappropriate for the target audience of 12 to 14 year-olds.
“Books like this should not be promoted to children by any school, let alone one with a Roman Catholic ethos. Whether the author is gay or straight, it is the sexual content which is the problem. If the book depicted a boy ogling a girl’s genitals, people would be rightly outraged. Making the ogling gay doesn’t make it okay.
“Likewise, if a book depicted an adult encouraging a boy to try oral sex with his girlfriend, most people would think that was creepy, to say the least. The fact that the boy is in a gay relationship does not make it any less creepy.”
Notes for Editors:
- In February, The John Fisher School, a Roman Catholic state school for boys in Croydon, wrote to parents telling them “as part of our World Book Day and LGBTQ+ History Month celebrations”, the school would be hosting a visit from the author Simon James Green for students in years 8 and 9.
- The letter went on to list the titles of his books, including “Noah Can’t Even” and “Noah Could Never” and noted they are available in bookstores, suggesting that if their son would like a book signed, they purchase one before the event and make sure the book is brought into school on Monday 7 March. [Source]
- On 2 March, Southwark Archdiocese contacted the head teacher to make a “very strong recommendation” that the event be cancelled and published a statement the following day to that effect, including the following:
“From time to time materials or events emerge for consideration that fall outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school, because they do not comply with all aspects of the tests cited above – for example the protected characteristic ‘religion’ (Part 2 of the Equalities Act 2010) and all that that encompasses in our context. In such circumstances, we have no alternative but to affirm our unequivocal and well-known theological and moral precepts and to act in accordance with them. The book-signing event scheduled for 7 March 2022 at The John Fisher School, Purley is one such event and we have recommended that the school’s leaders cancel it.”
- However, i news reports the school’s leadership decided to go ahead with the event. An extraordinary governors’ meeting was called for Saturday 5 March to consider the Archdiocese’s recommendation. The governing body opted to back the school leadership. Two of the foundation governors who supported the view of the Archdiocese resigned, as did the school chaplain.
- In response, the Archdiocese removed the remaining foundation governors, making the governing body inquorate and in partnership with the local authority, imposed an interim executive board on the school. [Source]
- The event was cancelled.
- The author’s own website, makes clear that the main focus in his secondary school visits has been “Noah Can’t Even” and its sequel “Noah Could Never”. Simon James Green offers an ‘interactive synopsis’ of the first book, “Noah Can’t Even” as part of a 60-minute session for pupils in ‘year 7+’ (age 11+).
- The suggestive book covers give an indication of the content, which is frequently sexual.
Extracts from Simon James Green’s “Noah Could Never”
The characters Noah and Harry are 16-years-old in this book.
Page 46: Pierre, a French exchange student partnered with Harry, stands naked in the boys changing room after playing football.
The author describes Pierre “languidly drying his testicles with the towel” and Noah’s response:
“‘Pierre, I see that you are naked. Very naked. That’s fine and au naturel and all, but I think you should aim to put some pants on.’
“Pierre laughed, ‘Noah! It is good you have come, we were just talking about the ballet.’
“‘Were you?’ Noah nodded. ‘Were you, indeed? Well, that’s very all nice.’ Noah allowed his eyes to drift down, past Pierre’s abs and shaved pubes to his absolutely enormous… Noah swallowed hard. Gosh, really, now? That was …my goodness.’”
Page 66: Noah tells his Grandma that he loves Harry.
“‘All’s well, then!’ Gran chirped. ‘I hope you’ve both kept it in your pants?’
Noah flinched. ‘Yes. Affirmative. But I think that Haz might quite like to… There could come a point, Gran, where, um…’
‘Gran, I…’ He was bright red.”