In the latest news from the Boston Archdiocese,
Cardinal Sean O’Malley , his senior cabinet officials, and big fundraisers all say it’s perfectly fine for the child of a homosexual couple to attend Catholic Schools. This decision came the same day as Pope Benedict XVI blasted gay marriage as “insidious and dangerous.“
This comes just two weeks after Cabinet Secretary for Social Services, Fr. Bryan Hehir, keynoted a conference with a priest who advocates for gay priests and the gay lifestyle. Just a few days ago, we learned that two “Catholic” legislators who are Knights of Columbus recently voted approval to allow what could be millions in taxpayer dollars spent for gay programs in schools–and the Archdiocese said nothing in response.
Short version of the current story. On Wednesday, it was reported in the mainstream media that a faithful Catholic priest at St. Paul School in Hingham decided to not admit the son of a lesbian couple to Catholic elementary school. The reason quite simply is that the parents’ relationship “was in discord with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Kudos to that priest. But there was backlash, especially from donors to the Catholic schools. Now key players from the Cardinal on down have distanced themselves from that faithful priest, disavowed his decision and declared any Catholic school that gets funding from the Archdiocese must admit children of gay couples.
Our researchers cant find any official Church teaching on the specific issue of a Catholic school admitting children of gay couples. (After all, how long has it been that we have gay couples with children, let alone those who want their kids to attend Catholic schools?). So, we’ll focus this post on three things. First, what the Church does say, secondly, how another diocese with an archbishop who is a strong leader responded to a similar situation, and third, our perspective on whats happening in Boston and whos pulling the strings here in Boston on this issue that is not the archbishop.
The Vatican has criticized adoptions by gay couples
Here’s what the Vaticans 2003 “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons” said:
As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.
The Archdiocese of Denver backed a similar decision to exclude kids of gay couples.
Archbishop Chaput of Denver gave a brilliant defense of his position last year that children of gay couples should not attend Catholic schools.
Chaput said the parents of Catholic school students are expected to agree with church beliefs, including those forbidding sex between anyone other than married, heterosexual couples. “The church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ,” he said. Chaput said Catholic schools work as religious partners with parents, but that doesn’t work if the parents don’t respect church beliefs or openly reject them. He said that also puts unfair stress on the children and their teachers. Chaput acknowledged that many Catholic schools accept students from other faiths and from single-parent families, but he said their parents are expected to support the Catholic mission of the school.
Whats Happening in Boston
In the opinion of the team here at Bryan Hehir Exposed, the situation for Boston can best be summed up in three words: failed episcopal leadership. Did Boston get a response like that of Archbishop Chaput. No. We got the exact opposite. Mark Silk over at SpiritualPolitics covers this in “O’Malley v Chaput.” He opens with “What a difference a diocese makes” and closes by saying “…we may ponder his [O'Malley's] emergence as the closest thing to a paladin progressive Catholicism has in the American hierarchy today.” (Could it be that Cardinal Sean is rapidly emerging as the left-leaning successor to Cardinal Roger Mahony and this is just another manifestation of that?)
Some of you might recall what happened early in Cardinal O’Malleys tenure here in Boston. When he washed just the feet of men for Holy Thursday in 2004 liberal women complained, and he responded by asking the Vatican what to do. The Congregation for Divine Worship “affirmed the liturgical requirement that only the feet of men be washed at the Holy Thursday ritual.” But the Cardinal caved in to the pressure and after 2005 decided to wash the feet of women anyway. This sounds like de ja vu.
The person heading up fundraising for Catholic Schools is wealthy power-broker Jack Connors. In 2007, the Boston Globe described him as “a man with his hand still firmly on the levers of power… Who is going to say no when Jack comes calling?” From this article, it sounds like he does a lot of good work for a lot of good causes. With respect to this latest schools fracas, Mr. Connors’ picture is at the top of the article in today’s Boston Globe, where he is quoted as saying. ‘I am disappointed that . . . this faith that I love seems to find new ways to shoot itself in the foot.”
Readers should know that besides raising money for Catholic Schools and doing lots of good work for a lot of good causes, Mr. Connors was also co-chair and a key fundraiser of the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston that nominated the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage Sen. John Kerry. When it was found that local business would take a $24 million hit due to the convention, Connors, said naysayers should “lighten up and enjoy it.” According to Federal Election Committee campaign finance records, in the past 4 years, John M Connors, Jr. and his wife, Eileen, have donated close to $250,000 to the Democratic Party and to Democratic political candidates, almost all of whom support abortion and gay marriage, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, and Martha Coakley (who said during her failed Senate campaign, devout Catholics “probably shouldn’t work in an emergency room.”). We don’t know Mr. Connors, so no judgments on him–were just giving readers the factual information thats out in the public domain available to anyone.
The first message that was sent to schools about this situation came not from someone responsible for the education and moral formation of children, but from the fundraising folks. Here’s the email threatening to cut off funding for any school that refused admission to children of gay couples.
Dear School Administrators:
You may be aware from recent publicity about an exclusionary admissions practice at St. Paul School in Hingham, which does not receive support from the Catholic Schools Foundation. In light of those media reports, we thought it important to clarify the position of the Catholic Schools Foundation – - namely, that no school that promotes an exclusionary admissions policy or practice will be considered for support.
We believe a policy or practice that denies admission to students in such a manner as occurred at St. Paul’s is at odds with our values as a Foundation, the intentions of our donors, and ultimately with Gospel teaching. Our concern is the education of young people. We will not fund any school that treats students and families in such a manner. This policy has been unchanged since our founding in 1983.
We are proud that Catholic schools are known for being welcoming communities for all students. So although this incident is disturbing, we know that it is isolated, not a policy of the Archdiocese, or indicative generally of the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese. Know that we appreciate all you do to make your schools places where all feel welcome.
Please contact me at 617-778-5981 if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance to you.
With hope for the students we serve and the future of Catholic education, I am
Michael B, Reardon, Executive Director
Mary Grassa O’Neill, Secretary for Education and Superintendent of Schools, who makes $325,000 a year and whose biography says that she never taught or administered in a Catholic school before landing the job, said in her statement that the church does not prohibit children of same-sex parents from attending Catholic schools and that the archdiocese will “work in the coming weeks to develop a policy to eliminate any misunderstandings in the future.”
Frankly, its unclear to a lot of us why a lesbian couple would want to send their child to a Catholic school in the first place, and it seems like it may also be unclear now to that couple. The Globe reports “But the woman said she was uncertain she would enroll her son in another Catholic school because she needed to learn more about their educational programs. She added: ‘I will be a little bit more guarded in my questioning so I’ll be able to have a real clear picture where they stand.”
Orthodox Catholics like C.J. Doyle, executive director of Catholic Action League of Massachusetts concur. He called upon the archdiocese to “vigorously defend’’ the school’s decision to revoke admission to the youngster. “The real question here is why two people who radically repudiate the moral teachings of Catholicism would want their child educated in a Catholic school,’’ Doyle said in a statement.
We close with this excerpt from a timely post by Judie Brown of the American Life League entitled “Bishops Who Wear Badges…Of Courage“:
It has been said that strong, faithful shepherds can lead the “spiritual paralytic” to an understanding of Christ, His truth and His love for each of us. On the other hand, as St. Augustine wrote in reference to false shepherds,
You have failed to strengthen the weak, says the Lord. He is speaking to wicked shepherds, false shepherds, shepherds who seek their own concerns and not those of Christ. They enjoy the bounty of milk and wool, but they take no care at all of the sheep, and they make no effort to heal those who are ill. I think there is a difference between one who is weak (that is, not strong) and one who is ill, although we often say that the weak are also suffering from illness.
So, as we celebrate the good shepherds who have chosen to follow what is true and good, we salute them as we pray for those shepherds who, for whatever reason, need the audacity of faith to stand in the gap, defending Christ and bearing all manner of insults in His name.