Hot off the presses, this piece was recently written by
Dale O’Leary, an internationally known lecturer and author of The Gender Agenda and One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage. Cardinal Sean O’Malley described Dale in an August 2008 blog post about a Courage event as “always so good.” This piece is reprinted here with the permission of the author. It’s perhaps one of the most important pieces you can read on this topic, along with what Archbishop Chaput has written, so please share it widely. After you’ve read it, please take action.
By Dale O’Leary
Today Catholic schools, and Catholic elementary schools in particular, face a difficult problem. What should they do when parents, who are openly living contrary to the Church’s specific teachings on marriage and sexuality, want their children admitted? The teachers cannot — must not — compromise Catholic moral teachings, that is the very reason for their school’s existence, but in doing so they realize that they will be teaching the children that some of their parents’ choices are wrong. The teachers cannot water down the Church’s teachings because there are children in the class that come from broken homes or live in homes with two ‘mommies” or two “daddies.”.
The concept of father and mother is central to Catholic theology. God is our Father in Heaven, not a generic parent. Jesus is our brother, and therefore the Blessed Mother is our mother. Every biological father has from the moment his child is conceived the awesome responsibility of being an image of God the father. Failure to do this carries terrible consequence for the child’s faith and sense of security and for society. Two mommies or no mommy is not God’s plan.
Every child has a biological father and mother. Separation from one or both parents is always perceived by the child as a loss. A fatherless family is not equal to a father/mother family. Tragedies happen – death, divorce, desertion, single parenthood. When they do, the adults involved must cope as best they can, but no one should purposefully make a tragedy.
When two women decide to conceive a child by artificial insemination donor, they are purposefully creating a tragedy. Given the limited number of children available for adoption, children should not be placed in homes with two parents of the same sex.
Teachers in a Catholic school cannot promote “diversity” in family styles. They cannot pretend that Heather has two Mommies or that it is good for Gloria to go to Gay Pride rallies.
Parents who send their children to Catholic schools need to understand this. If, in spite of this, same-sex couples insist on applying, they need to be told in no uncertain terms that were their children admitted they would be taught what the Church teaches and if their child’s classmates ask why Suzie has two mommies, they will be told that Suzie has one mommy and another woman lives in their house, but God’s plan is for every child to have a mommy and a daddy.
What about children whose parents divorce and one or both remarries?
If the parents choose a Catholic school or even CCD for their children, the teachers cannot compromise the truth.
I was given the responsibility of presenting the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce to a seventh grade class. In the front row was a boy whose family I knew. His father had recently divorced the boy’s mother to marry a younger woman. I presented the teaching clearly and unambiguously. The boy looked me in the eye and said, “Are you saying that God doesn’t like divorce?’
“Yes,” I responded, “in the book of the prophet Malachi it says God hates divorce.”
He replied, “Good.”
I knew that this boy had borne the pain of divorce and he was glad that God was on his side. We must be on the side of the children. We cannot assume that the children want to be protected from the truth.
Persons in same-sex relationships who have children naturally want to protect their children’s feelings. They aren’t going to want their children to be exposed to the truth. A Catholic school cannot agree to hide the truth.
Once people go down the wrong path, there are no good answers. Either the children will be denied the benefits of a Catholic education and feel rejected because they can’t go to Catholic school or they will be admitted and then find out that God doesn’t approve of their parents’ choices or they will be admitted and the school will compromise its principles. If this happens, the other students will be confused about the Church’s teaching and not understand why God doesn’t approve of Suzie’s mommies who so nice and bring cookies and help out in the cafeteria.
So what is the school to do? What is in the best interest of the children of same-sex couples and the other children? If they accept the children in the school, the children will either be alienated from their parents on whom they rely or alienated from God who would be seen as condemning their parents’ choices. While older children might be able to understand and even appreciate the Church’s teaching, younger children certainly will not. To them it will just seem mean. It will put the teachers in an untenable position and confuse the children’s classmates. Therefore, it is reasonable for Catholic elementary schools to explain to same-sex couples that this is not the place for their children.
The real question is: Why would a same-sex couple want their children in a Catholic school? Surely, they know the Catholic Church’s teaching. If they think that teaching will change, they are gravely mistaken. One can only assume that they hope that their presence at school events and their acceptance into the community will undermine that teaching and they are using their children as pawns.
The Catholic Church has every right not to allow its schools to be used in this way and in doing so, they are protecting the best interests of all the children.
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It is noteworthy that Cardinal Sean’s August 15, 2008 blog post covers three topics very relevant to the current Catholic schools situation.
First, he talks about a newly-published book by his classmate, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, entitled, “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life.” The president of Catholic University of America said in a review quote,
Chaput urges Catholics to live our faith without compromise and to use our faith as the foundation for renewing American society in the twenty-first century.
In case you missed it, Archbishop Chaput has written an outstanding piece himself on a situation of gay parents wanting their kids in Catholic schools a few months ago.
Secondly, he talks about a fundraiser reception for Catholic schools he attended on Cape Cod. He said “the only two reasons to justify having Catholic schools” are:
to ensure it is truly Catholic and truly be one of excellence
Lastly, a little more than halfway down the page (after the Proud2BCatholic part), you’ll see the Cardinal attended the closing Mass of the 2008 Courage Conference at the Marian Spritual Center in Medway. Courage is an organization for individuals who struggle with same-sex attraction, but seek to live their lives consistent with the teachings of the Church. Here is what the Cardinal wrote:
There were almost 200 participants at the conference and Dale O’Leary, who is always so good, gave her keynote address at the conference on “Attachment Disorders and the Need for Love.” The ministry of Courage is a very important one. You can find out more about them visitng their web site
There are many people who disagree with the Church’s teachings on chastity and living the Ten Commandments. For that reason, I was very happy that the Gospel reading was the one where Jesus is walking on the water and Peter walks on water to join him. When Peter begins to sink, Jesus takes his hand and says, “Take courage.” We need courage to be faithful disciples of the Lord. Faithful discipleship is not a cheap grace. It is a costly grace. Following the Lord and embracing his teachings in this secularized society telling us to do something else takes great courage.
We are naturally so grateful to all of those who support this ministry. They are helping people to live their faith and they need to be reaffirmed in their desire to follow the teachings of the Church.
To be faithful disciples of the Lord, embrace his teachings, and exhibit faithful discipleship in this secularized society takes great courage. Is that what Secretaryof Education Dr. Mary Grassa O’Neill and the leaders of the Catholic Schools Foundation demonstrated last week? Let’s hope they all read this and reconsider their response. We also ask all readers to visit our newly updated Take Action page and start sending some letters immediately.