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Archive for January, 2011

This article appeared in the National Catholic Register on January 27.

Boston Catholic schools will accept kids of same-sex ‘parents,’ but other dioceses take a different approach. The Archdiocese of Boston has decreed that children of same-sex couples can enroll in its parochial schools.

by STEVE WEATHERBE 01/27/2011

CNS photo/Archdiocese of TorontoCardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston is pictured during a press conference at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington Feb. 26, 2009.

BOSTON — The Archdiocese of Boston has decreed that children of same-sex couples can enroll in its parochial schools, reversing a controversial 2010 decision at the parish level refusing one such admission.

The decision, very different from one made by the Archdiocese of Denver last year, drew a mixed reaction from Catholics, but won the swift endorsement of Michael Reardon, executive director of Boston’s Catholic Education Foundation, an independent organization that funds school construction and repair as well as scholarships. The foundation had announced in the wake of last year’s rejection of a same-sex couple’s child that it would provide no scholarships to schools that discriminated in this way.

“From the perspective of the foundation, the key part of this is that it does not exclude any group of students, and it promotes what is essential to Catholic education, which is inclusivity,’’ Reardon said.

The Jan. 12 statement from the Catholic Schools Office of the archdiocese cited a statement made by Pope Benedict XVI to an assembly of American Catholic education officials in 2008 that said, “No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of the nation.” The schools office also states that “Parent(s)/guardian(s) of students in Catholic schools must accept and understand that the teachings of the Catholic Church are essential and are a required part of the curriculum.”

In contrast, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput strongly supported Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Boulder, Colo., last March, when it told a lesbian couple their child could not enroll for first grade.

As the archbishop explained at that time, Catholic schools are committed to working with parents in teaching the Catholic faith. But “if parents don’t respect the beliefs of the Church, or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult, if not impossible. It also places unfair stress on the children, who find themselves caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church.”

Teachers Conflicted

Noting that “most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced,” Archbishop Chaput argued, “That simply can’t be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents. That isn’t fair to anyone — including the wider school community.”

The archbishop said that children of non-Catholics and of divorced parents are allowed to attend Catholic schools “as long as their parents support the Catholic mission of the school and do not offer a serious counter-witness to that mission in their actions.”

He also noted that Catholic parents pay twice for education, once through taxes supporting the public system and a second time through tuition for the Catholic schools. They should be able to count on getting what they paid for, he argued: a Catholic education and not the education they might expect elsewhere.

However, Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver, British Columbia, former secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome, said via e-mail that the children of same-sex couples would not automatically be excluded in his archdiocese: “A child of same-sex parents would not be treated any differently than any other child.”

He added, “All families must complete a ‘Family Statement of Commitment’ that they will work with school and parish to provide an environment where faith and learning go hand in hand.”

Archdiocesan spokesman Paul Schratz said that unmarried parents would face the same challenge as same-sex parents signing the commitment and convincing the school admissions committee, which includes the pastor, that they could honor the commitment. “It would be a teaching opportunity for the pastor with the parents.”

Schratz said several same-sex couples had been presented with the commitment document, but he was not aware of any children of same-sex couples presently enrolled.

Sending a Signal

Women for Faith and Family’s president, Helen Hitchcock, said she found Archbishop Chaput’s arguments compelling. She finds plausibility in an argument for inclusiveness — “that exposure to Catholic teaching would have a good effect even if the parents were 100% opposed to some elements of it.”

But given that many who call themselves Catholic openly disagree with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, she said, admitting the children of homosexual couples “would send a signal that this behavior is all right. If the Church sees no problem with the children, then it looks like it doesn’t care about what the parents are up to.”

Hitchcock also raised the question of the parents’ motivation: “Why would they want to send their children to a Catholic school when they don’t agree with its teaching? Do they just want to make problems?”

Register correspondent Steve Weatherbe writes from Victoria, British Columbia.

The reader comments on the article are excellent.  Please take the time to read them.  We will repost selected ones here next time.

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We’re about to launch our campaign try and undo the disastrous Catholic Schools non-discrimination policy baked and approved by Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley and his team, and thought you might want to see what Michael Voris of RealCatholic TV has said about it in two recent programs.

In “Heads in the Sand,” he said the following:

Some people seem to be of the opinion that to say anything publicly of an ongoing matter of spiritual or temporal corruption is somehow disobedient or gives scandal. Well .. if its being addressed or resolve .. it probably is better to stay quiet and while others fix it….People .. Catholics .. not only have a right to know about corruption in the Church ..have a duty and responsibility to fight against it to whatever degree their circumstances…

Catholics of all rank .. clergy and religious and laity .. simply cannot keep their heads buried in the sand and claim ignorance. We don’t get to look the other way when the Bride of Christ is being battered and abused .. especially .. most especially when that abuse comes from those charged with cherishing her the most allow.

You should watch the whole video, but if pressed for time, start at 5:00 and watch through 5:40 for the part about Boston (starting at 5:19):

When the Archdiocese of Boston caves in to the culture and issues a directive that their schools cannot discriminate against categories of children for admission in response to criticism about not letting the child of a lesbian couple be admitted, it too bespeaks a willingness to run away from its duty to take a stand for Christ.

A few days ago, Michael Voris covered this again in a news program.  We couldn’t get the embedded video to work right so click here to access the video, and after it starts downloading it, click “open” to play. Advance to about 5:10 for the story about the Archdiocese of Boston.  He says the following:

Archdiocese Compromises Catholic Education

It’s being considered a pro-homosexual “rights” victory in Boston and around the country… as the Archdiocese promulgates a policy that tacitly approves of homosexual activity.The controversy stems from an incident last May when a Catholic school in Hingham, Massachusetts did not permit a lesbian couple to enroll their eight-year- old boy in classes because they were living a lifestyle contrary to Church teaching. The new Admission Policy says that schools “do not discriminate against or exclude any categories of students”… but does not offer any further guidelines regarding how to deal with the sinful lifestyle of a child’s “parents” or how these individuals might be fully engaged in the education of their child according to Christ’s natural law.

Dignity USA and Catholics for Marriage Equality … both anti-Catholic organizations officially banned by the Catholic Church … have come out in support of the Boston Archdiocese’s new school policy.

As we’ve said before, the fingerprints of Fr. Bryan Hehir are all over this policy.  Last May he declared the Archdiocese of Boston was moving full-speed ahead with this policy.

Are you Fed Up with Fr. Hehir and the Archdiocese for moving ahead with this policy? Now we just need to ask for divine intercession and help from readers in our next FedUp campaign to try and get the policy scrapped and Fr. Hehir removed before yet more damage is done.

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This article at LifeSiteNews and the associated comments gives additional perspective on the difference between what the courageous Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver did vs what Cardinal Sean O’Malley in Boston did with advice from his most trusted advisor, Fr. Bryan Hehir .

Boston and Denver Archbishops differ on permitting children of gay couples in Catholic schools
by Kathleen Gilbert Fri Jan 14, 2011

BOSTON, January 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Following directions from Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archdiocese of Boston has formulated a Catholic schools admission policy that prohibits “discrimination” against students who come from a homosexual household, a move that has won praise from dissident “Catholic” gay rights leaders. Last year Archbishop Chaput decided differently for Catholic schools in his diocese saying: “Most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced. That simply can’t be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents.”

The new policy was sparked by the decision of Boston’s St. Paul’s elementary school last May to withdraw acceptance of a student after learning the child was guarded by two women in a lesbian relationship. The archdiocese subsequently distanced itself from the decision.

That decision occurred only weeks after a school within the Archdiocese of Denver also rejected the application of a student guarded by a lesbian couple. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput supported the school’s action. “The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are ‘bad,’ or that their children are less loved by God. Quite the opposite,” he explained.

“But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society.”

In announcing the new Boston policy, Cardinal O’Malley said that the archdiocese has “never had categories of people who were excluded” and that “Catholic schools exist for the good of the children and our admission standards must reflect that.”

“While there are legitimate reasons that might lead to a decision not to admit a child, I believe all would agree that the good of the child must always be our primary concern,” wrote O’Malley on his blog.

Archbishop Chaput concluded that since Catholic schools owe Catholic students the full teaching of the truth and children being brought up by homosexual couples could be hurt by the teachings, allowing them into Catholic schools “isn’t fair to anyone—including the wider school community.”

Boston Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia Father Richard Erikson confirmed that, “We will not exclude any category of child from our schools and we expect pastors will be in conformity with the decision,” in remarks published by the Boston Pilot this week.

The new policy does not specify the meaning of a “category” of students. Secretary for Education Mary Grassa O’Neill declined to state how the policy would have affected last year’s case. The dissident group Catholics for Equality hailed the new Boston archdiocesan policy on its Facebook page as “a good news story.” “Let’s work to implement similar policies in Catholic schools nationwide!” said the group, half of whose board members hold leading positions at the top homosexualist group Human Rights Campaign.

Comments

Posted by familygonzalez on Jan 14, 2011
Cardinal Sean O’Malley has opened up a Pandora’s box!

Posted by maryernie on Jan 14, 2011

Archbishop Chaput will not abandon the schools entrusted to his care! He remains faithful to his calling as the spiritual leader of his people! Praise God!

Posted by Nancy D. on Jan 14, 2011

It is important to note that the bishop fails to mention that which is for the common Good which would include both the child and the parent. If it is true that the bishop has been properly catechized regarding The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality, he would have clearly stated that it is out of Love and respect for the Dignity of every human person that The Catholic Church teaches that we must never condone sexual behavior and sexual relationships that do no respect the inherent Dignity of the human person and are thus demeaning.

Posted by Just Say’n on Jan 14, 2011

It will be interesting to see how Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston is going to teach according to the Catholic Church that “HOMOSEXUAL ACTS are MORTAL SINS”, so that ALL of the children in his schools are not influenced by another MORTAL SIN that seems to be over looked by too many Bishops – that of SCANDAL. CCC # 2284 ” Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a GRAVE offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.” Children learn by example. The homosexual lifestyle is NOT OK. Unfortunately too many children will be Cardinal O’Malley’s guinea pigs while he pushes a liberal and non-Catholic agenda.

Posted by subterratigress on Jan 15, 2011
It seems to me that if the principle (or whoever is in charge of this sort of thing) sat down with any homosexual parents who wanted their children enrolled in the school, and explained, as charitably as possible, that all the children learn about the fact that the only place sexual intimacy is acceptable in God’s eyes is between a husband and wife, man and woman, in marriage. Then ask them if they still want their child[ren] enrolled, given the nature of their relationship. My guess would be that they would high-tail it and take their child[ren] elsewhere. But hey, if not, why not let the child be exposed to a hopefully good, Catholic/Christian environment?

Posted by Just Say’n on Jan 15, 2011
PRACTICING homosexual ‘parents’ do not care about their own Eternal lives, so for them to care about another’s Soul would be highly unlikely. Their lifestyle example to children in their homes is scandalous. If they were not publically advertizing that they were homosexuals, the school administration and no one else would ever know, since in this economy people share homes (not bedrooms). This appears to be another attempt to push the public homosexual lifestyle onto Catholics and waterdown the teachings in the CCC and in Holy Scripture. (Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6: 9-10; 1 Tim 1:10; and the CCC 2357-2359. Tolerating or complaisance of Mortal Sin is sinful in itself. (CCC 2480, 1868) Cardinal O’Malley is not allowing the Catholic Schools in his Diocese any discretion.

Posted by Kathy16670 on Jan 15, 2011
I’m quite certain his is an intentional attempt to weaken the Church’s correct stance on homosexuality. I believe the line of thinking is “once we are in, and they start teaching about homosexuality (aka hate speech,) we can slap them with a law suit.” They have succeeded in pushing their agenda in the public square, and now the Catholic Church pretty much stands alone in saying homosexual activity is wrong. Praise God for courageous leaders like Archbishop Chaput.

Posted by Just Say’n on Jan 15, 2011
This needs repeating – – – – – “Archbishop Chaput concluded that since Catholic schools OWE Catholic students the FULL teaching of the TRUTH and children being brought up by homosexual couples could be hurt by the teachings, allowing them into Catholic schools “isn’t fair to anyone—INCLUDING the wider school community.” (caps are mine) Catholic Schools must teach religious Doctrine, and Doctrine must be supported in the children’s homelife. If homosexual couples (not really parents) do not support Catholic teachings in their homelife, what is their motivation for sending them to a Catholic school in the first place?

Posted by Raymond Peringer on Jan 15, 2011
Homosexual households wanting to send their children to Catholic schools are expressing a vote of confidence in the quality of Catholic teaching. Otherwise they would be trotting off to the other place. This must be of concern to public school advocates.

Posted by Just Say’n on Jan 15, 2011
Even if it were better than the local public school, I would never send my children to a Muslim School – since their beliefs are different from what I believe, and I know they would faithfully be taught a religion that was contrary to my beliefs and lifestyle – at a tender and impressionable age. Further, other children would discriminate against them for my not living according to the Muslim faith -which they believed to be correct. Kathy (above) has a good point, that once children of homosexual couples are admitted, their parents can sue under “Federal HATE Crimes” teachers and children who express the teachings of the Church regarding homosexual acts beiung Mortal Sins and all that that implies. Posted by carmen on Jan 15, 2011 What a mess, can it get any worse? what are these bishops thinking? Lord help us.i hope they are going to be taught the right way. i can see many law suit under hate crimes,

Posted by Idaho Pete on Jan 15, 2011
Remember this is the same Cardinal O’Malley who held a gala funeral for a baby killing politician, who spent most of his adult life advocating and promoting this. This same politician through the power of his political machine gave the state same sex marriage. This same individual was described as a model Catholic at the funeral, yet history shows he was a drunkard, adulterer and total abortionist.This of course was a total slap in the face to those in the pro-life movement and this act (by not defending the Church and her teachings) further shows that this diosese is a defiler and is corrupt to its core to the same degree of the time of the Borgias who could buy and sell their way in the corrupt Church of that time. If you haven’t yet, I recommend viewers go to RealCatholicTV.com it’s an eye opener

Posted by Reginald on Jan 15, 2011
Why don’t we just call a spade a spade. O’ Malley is just the latest of these heretical Vatican II modernists who have destroyed the Church…

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By now, most of you have probably heard about the disaster of a policy the Archdiocese of Boston’s supposedly “Catholic” Schools office unveiled this past week that officially says Boston Catholic schools can’t discriminate in admissions.

At this blog “Queering the Church,” in a post called, “Catholic School Admissions: Sanity in Boston,” they are excited about the policy, saying “representatives of leading gay and lesbian Catholic organizations welcomed the new policy.”   When gay “Catholic” organizations like DignityUSA, praise the archdiocese and Catholics for Marriage Equality says they “hope dioceses around the country will adopt Boston’s guidelines,” you know there’s a big problem. This disaster could sweep across the country quickly if faithful Catholics do not act quickly.

Lots of people are asking what to do about this.  Here is our initial thinking, but more will be coming as we launch our campaign.

First and foremost for right now, educate yourself.  It’s troubling to hear from readers, friends, and other bloggers that a lot of Catholic laity and priests in the Boston area seem ambivalent about the policy, so you may even have to educate your pastor and other Catholics.   Read this post in its entirety if you can, but for those with limited time, here’s an initial attempt at distilling the longer content we have covered before into a shorter set of key talking points:

1. Good of the Child Not Served by Learning Values in School Radically Different from Those at Home
2. Private Schools Can and Do “Discriminate”
3. Need Partnership Between Catholic School and Parents
4. Protecting Innocence of Children is Impossible
5. Policy Mandates Implicit or Explicit Recognition of the Gay/Lesbian relationship as Valid
6. Use of Holy Father’s Quote is Deceptive
7. Policy Violates Principle of Subsidiarity


1. Good of the Child Not Served by Learning Values in School Radically Different from Those at Home

For all of the talk about not depriving the innocent child of gay parents from a Catholic education, no one ever explains how the good of the child is served by being educated with one set of moral principles in school and encountering something radically different in their home.

As Dale O’Leary put it, “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.  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.”

Archbishop Chaput wrote the Church teaches that “marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman.  These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society.”  When the Church teaches that gay marriage is against the will of God at the same time the parents live a lifestyle that rejects those beliefs, then the child will hear the Church saying their parents (upon whom they rely for sustenance) are bad.  The burden and stress is borne by the child, who is caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church.

Fr. Landry at CatholicPreaching noted, “There is a requirement, for the good of the child, that the parents commit to raise the child in a situation that at least does not contradict the values and formation given at the school. If the child’s education will not be coupled to a way of life consistent with it, the parents and school would be placing the child in a spiritually and morally schizophrenic situation — which is obviously harmful.”

How exactly do proponents of the policy reconcile this conflict and claim what they are doing is for the good of the child still?

2. Private Schools Can and Do “Discriminate”

Catholic schools are private schools, and by nature, a private school admits some students and not others.  Catholic children could and should have preference over non-Catholics in admissions. Children are excluded from schools on an individual basis because of behavioral problems.  The Vatican has declared that active homosexuals should be excluded from seminaries. It’s a private school, and as such someone will inevitably be excluded.

The Catholic Church “discriminates” in the sacrament of baptism, where the Church wants all children to be baptized but the priest has the duty to determine that there is a “well-founded” or “realistic” hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith (Canon 868 in the Code of Canon Law). As Fr. Roger Landry has written, “If there is no realistic hope that the parents are going to raise the child in the faith…the pastor…must reluctantly delay the baptism in view of the good of the child, who assumes rights and responsibilities upon being baptized. If the child is not going to be nourished in the faith to know and live by those privileges and duties, then the Church defers the baptism, hoping that either the parents will have a change of heart or the child, upon maturity, will freely request baptism as a catechumen.”

3. Need Partnership Between Catholic School and Parents

Archbishop Chaput, Dale O’Leary, Fr. Roger Landry and Vatican documents including Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis) have said it well.  The school  needs to partner with parents to develop children in the faith.  That means the parents have to accept the teachings of the Catholic Church and help reinforce them in the home and family life.  Archbishop Chaput wrote, “If parents don’t respect the beliefs of the Church, or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult, if not impossible.” There is an inherent conflict here with gay parents  who are happily living a relationship that is considered immoral, which permanently deprives children of their natural law right to both a mother and father, and which can never ever be considered valid by the church.  This is uniquely different than situations where parents are divorced, single parents, or co-habitating heterosexual couples, where those parents themselves may hope for the potential of a valid marriage, and where the relationship can indeed hopefully become valid in the eyes of the Church some day.

4. Protecting Innocence of Children is Impossible

By forcing the admission of children of active gay and lesbian parents, the Archdiocese of Boston has declared that the desires of those gay and lesbian parents living in a relationship considered immoral by the Church trump the Church-granted rights of Catholic parents and children to keep their children’s minds innocent.

The Vatican’s Pontifical Council on the Family’s 1995 document, Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality says when premature information about sex is imposed on children who are not yet equipped to integrate that information with moral responsibility:

Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children’s innocence because such attempts compromise their spiritual, moral and emotional development. [No. 83]

“Parents must protect their children, first by teaching them a form of modesty and reserve with regard to strangers as well as giving suitable sexual information but without going into details and particulars that might upset or frighten them [No. 85]

Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World His Holiness (Familiaris Consortio): says:

The Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information disassociated from moral principles.”

With actions like this policy, the Boston Archdiocese is overruling the primacy of parents as the first educators of their children.  In addition, by condoning the exposure of young children to homosexual parents of other children–and likely public displays of affection in front of young children at school functions or events hosted at their homes–they are ensuring that all children will be put in a situation of confusion that will require explanation by parents.

How will seeing such displays of affection between homosexual couples not corrupt the mind of a young child? How does the Archdiocese explain their rationale behind keeping parents out of the loop and breaking the innocence of a 6-year-old mind to explain why Johnny has two daddies?

5. Policy Mandates Implicit or Explicit Recognition of the Gay/Lesbian relationship as Valid

Pope John Paul II’s Letter to the Bishops on Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons says:

The Church is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cautioned about recognizing homosexual unions and making them a model in society.

11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The U.S.C.C.B’s Guidelines for Ministry to Persons with Homosexual Inclination say the following:

Special care must be taken to ensure that those carrying out the ministry of the Church not use their position of leadership to advocate positions or behaviors not in keeping with the teachings of the Church. They must not belong to groups that oppose Church teaching. It is not sufficient for those involved in this ministry to adopt a position of distant neutrality with regard to Church teaching.

The Church does not support so-called same-sex “marriages” or any semblance thereof, including civil unions that give the appearance of a marriage. Church ministers may not bless such unions or promote them in any way, directly or indirectly.

Pope John Paul II’s Letter to the Bishops on Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons also warned about this problem.  The Church “is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”

The Pilot, acknowledged this problem, saying, “it can be argued that the appearance of normalcy and acceptance of homosexual behavior that would follow from accepting gay parents into the life of a Catholic school — at parish functions, fundraisers, as chaperones for field trips, etc. — could lead other children to grave confusion about the nature of marriage as the union between a man and a woman.”

How does this policy not force the Church to give direct or implicit recognition of the gay relationship of the parents?  In admitting children of gay parents to Catholic schools, how will the Church avoid giving the impression that the status of the parents is comparable to parents united in the bonds of Holy Matrimony?

6) Use of Holy Father’s Quote is Deceptive

The first line in the draft policy says, “In creating this policy we are guided by the words of the Holy Father…”:

No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.”  Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Catholic Educators in Washington DC. April 17, 2008.

This out-of-context use of the Holy Father’s words is a deception to justify the policy.  Anyone who reads the Holy Father’s actual address to Catholic University of America can plainly see that he was referring to the “financial needs of our institutions” and “long-term sustainability”—and thus Catholic education would be accessible on a financial basis “to people of all social and economic strata.”  When he said “no child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith,” he was clearly saying that financial means should not be a reason for denial. That Cardinal O’Malley would allow repurposing this quote to justify admitting children of gay and lesbian parents is scandalous.

As another blog asked, did the archdiocese ever actually ask for the Vatican’s input or input from the Holy Father?

7) Policy Violates Principle of Subsidiarity

The policy says that pastors, principals, advisory and/or governing boards may develop specific admission policies for their school provided they are in conformity with the Archdiocesan Admission policy.

This violates a core principle of subsidiarity in Church law, which  means the Church usually assumes that problems are best defined and resolved by those most closely affected by them. By entrusting a pastor to care for the people of his parish, and by empowering a pastor to make certain decisions on behalf of his parish, the bishop is exercising the principle of subsidiarity, but regardless of the spin-control from the archdiocese, the letter of this policy negates that, forcing the pastor to conform to the top-down policy.

For now, make sure you know these points well. Don’t sit there stewing over this waiting for Bryan Hehir Exposed to do everything and miraculously resolve the scandal and crisis.  Forward a copy of this blog post to your pastor via email. Visit the Take Action page and send your own letter to the Roman Curia people listed there.  We think that the policy should be scrapped and some people in high positions in Boston need to be replaced, but it’s going to take multiple rounds of contacting Rome to get them to respond. We’ll make more suggestions when we get our own campaign launched.

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They did it.  Today the Archdiocese of Boston released the policy to officially admit children of gay and lesbian parents to Catholic schools.  We just received this message from a local Catholic reader of the blog and we’re publishing it just as we received it. 

To: Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro Sambi
cc: Cardinal Sean O’Malley and members of the Boston Presbyteral Council

I would like to ask for the immediate intervention by the Apostolic Nuncio and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [to] prevent a crisis in the Boston archdiocese from spreading across the country.  As you can see below, a policy has just been promulgated for the purpose of forcing pastors to admit children of homosexual parents.

1) The policy is rooted in deception from the first line!  Selected words of the Holy Father originally used in one context are repurposed to justify the policy. Cardinal O’Malley, and anyone who approved this policy with these words knowing they were used out of context should be asked to resign. That the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston would knowingly misuse the words of the Holy Father and deceive his entire archdiocese destroys any trust between the ordinary and priests and laity and creates a climate where his governance and words can no longer be believed.

2) The policy tramples the principle of subsidiarity by taking decision-making away from the pastor and making him beholden to the archdiocesan policy. See this blog post for details.

http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/diocesan-deception-in-catholic-schools-admission-policy/

3) Input by many of the people consulted, including members of the Presbyteral and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council was completely ignored.

4) These two blog posts explain everything else that is wrong with the policy, from the lack of mention about the need to partner with parents in Catholic school education, to the consequence that the policy will force the Catholic church into giving explicit recognition to gay unions and marriages, in direct contradiction to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

https://bryanhehirexposed.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/archdiocese-of-boston-to-announce-catholic-school-admission-policy-for-children-of-gay-parents/

https://bryanhehirexposed.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/catholic-school-admission-policy-apc-member-feedback/

I urge you to take whatever actions are necessary to stop this policy effort immediately before other dioceses follow suit.

Sincerely in Christ,

ML, Boston

 
To:       Pastors, Principals and Heads of Schools
 
From:   Catholic Schools Office
 
Date:   January 12, 2011
 
Over the past many months, at the direction of Cardinal Seán, the Catholic Schools Office has worked to develop an admission policy for our schools.  Our goal has been to provide clarity and guidance for pastors, school principals, administrators and the wider school community.
 
During an extensive review process we consulted with the Presbyteral Council, Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Pastors, Principals and a number of lay and academic leaders.  We sought a process that would allow us to reach consensus on a policy that would be appropriate in a Catholic school environment while understanding the diverse population of students we are entrusted with educating.
 
I want to thank everyone who participated in the review for their thoughtful and caring input.  The future of Catholic education is bright in the Archdiocese because of many good and talented people such as our pastors, principals, teachers, staff and students.  By working together we are creating an environment for our students that offers them opportunity and a future filled with promise. 
 
Catholic education is one of the most important ministries in the Church.  Parents choose to send their children to a Catholic School because of our commitment to strong moral values inspired by Gospel teachings, a track record of academic excellence, and safe learning environments, among other reasons.  They also choose Catholic education with the knowledge that the child always comes first.  With the adoption of this admission policy we hope to clarify our overall commitment to serve families who are accepting of our approach to the academic and moral development of our students. 
 
If you have any questions about the admission policy, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 
Following is the policy approved by the Cardinal. 
 
 
Archdiocese of Boston ~ Catholic Schools Admission Policy

Introduction
In creating the Catholic Schools Admission Policy, we are guided by the words of the Holy Father, by Canon Law and by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
 
“No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.”   (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Catholic Educators in Washington DC, April 17, 2008.)
 
 “As important as a sound Catholic school education is for the new immigrant and the poor, it continues to be of prime importance to those children and grandchildren of the generations who earlier came to our shores. Our Catholic schools have produced countless numbers of well-educated and moral citizens who are leaders in our civic and ecclesial communities. We must work with all parents so they have the choice of an education that no other school can supply—excellent academics imparted in the context of Catholic teaching and practice.”  (“Introduction,” Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc., 2005.)
 
“The Church has in a special way the duty and the right of educating, for it has a divine mission of helping all to arrive at the fullness of Christian life.  Pastors of souls have the duty of making all possible arrangements so that all the faithful may avail themselves of a Catholic education.  Education must pay regard to the formation of the whole person, so that all may attain their eternal destiny and at the same time promote the common good of society. Children and young persons are therefore to be cared for in such a way that their physical, moral and intellectual talents may develop in a harmonious manner, so that they may attain a greater sense of responsibility and a right use of freedom, and be formed to take an active part in social life.” (Code of Canon Law, Title III, Catholic Education, Canon 794-795.)
 
“Young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and our nation. Therefore, we must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education and faith formation designed to strengthen their union with Christ and his Church.”  (“Why We Value Our Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools,” Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc., 2005.)
 
“While we look with pride to the many successes and achievements of our Catholic elementary and secondary schools, the entire Catholic community must now focus on the future and the many challenges we face…We must then move forward with faith, courage, and enthusiasm because Catholic schools are so important to our future…In addition, Catholic schools should be available to students who are not Catholic and who wish to attend them. This has been a proud part of the history of Catholic schools in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We must continue this outreach in the new millennium.”  (“The Challenges of the Future”, Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc., 2005.)
 
The Policy
 
The goal of our Catholic Schools is to present Catholic faith and Catholic teaching to our students in a rigorous academic, spiritual and moral education program.   Catholic school students strive for high academic achievement, are taught to love and worship God, and live the Gospel teachings.  Catholic school students work together, build community and give service to others. 
 
Our schools welcome and do not discriminate against or exclude any categories of students.  Admission is dependent both on academic qualifications and the desire to promote what is in the best interest of the student.  Students are considered “academically qualified” if they meet a school’s written academic criteria for admission.  Academically qualified Catholic students may be given priority for admission to Catholic Schools.
 
Parent(s)/guardian(s) of students in Catholic schools must accept and understand that the teachings of the Catholic Church are an essential and required part of the curriculum.
 
Guidelines for Policy Implementation
Pastors and principals should consult the Catholic Schools Office with any questions pertaining to admissions or the policy.
 
School admission policies must be written, included in the school handbook, consider the welfare and best interests of the child and be disseminated to prospective students and their parents prior to registration.
 
In accord with the principle of subsidiarity, pastors, principals, advisory and/or governing boards may develop specific admission policies for their school provided they are in conformity with the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Admission Policy.
 
Each school should implement a recruitment and marketing program to maximize its enrollment consistent with its capacity and location.

#   #   #   #

The Cardinal and his leadership team ignored all of our messages about the problems with the policy and are thumbing their noses at faithful Catholics.  He goes to Ireland supposedly to help prevent future sexual abuse of minors, yet he’s allowing moral corruption of young minds in his own Catholic schools. Gay activists who have no interest in partnering with the Catholic school and just want to disrupt the Catholic school education by putting their child in the school?  No problem, Cardinal Sean and Bryan Hehir said, “C’mon on in, everyone’s welcome here!”  That takes priority over other Catholic parents ensuring their children get a solid Catholic education, and pastors have to abide by the policy. 

Does anyone trust Cardinal O’Malley’s leadership of Boston any more?  Bringing in and keeping Fr. Bryan Hehir was already inexplicable.  At this point, it can’t just be about Cardinal O’Malley happlessly surrounding himself by bad advisors.  A regular reader of the blog keeps reminding us that a fish rots from the head.  We’ve been hoping they were wrong, but think the handwriting is probably on the wall.

If anyone reading this thinks the policy is a good idea, do us a favor and read this post before you write comments so you’ll save us the trouble of moderating out your comments.

More next time on what Catholics can do to try and address this atrocity before it spreads to the rest of the country.

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We’re still working on how to deal with the problem of Catholic identity slowly being expunged from the Archdiocese of Boston’s institutions, like Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals–thanks to the help of Fr. Bryan Hehir.

We recently commented that Bryan Hehir Speaking on Catholic Identity Is Like Tiger Woods Speaking on Marital Fidelity. As we know, Hehir was a key architect of the “seamless garment” concept that’s given air-cover to pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians for decades, he honored the pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage Mayor of Boston at a Catholic Charities fundraiser, he presided over Catholic Charities brokering adoptions to gay couples even though the Vatican said this was doing violence to the child, he claimed the issue of ordaining women as priests raised doctrinal questions “that have to be worked through,” and he praised the “intelligent and courageous leadership” of the Catholic Health Association at their 2010 conference immediately after they helped pass the Obama-backed healthcare legislation that was actively opposed by the U.S. bishops because it allowed funding for abortions. Those are just a few highlights.

It’s nothing short of absurd that he was just tapped to speak on Catholic identity in Catholic schools, let alone that Cardinal O’Malley considers him a trusted “strategic advisor” who brings “fidelity to the work of the Church” and ”clarity to our message and mission.”  If Cardinal O’Malley really believes that, then he should seriously invite Tiger Woods to come and speak at the new marriage preparation program on marital fidelity.

As a refreshing alternative to the expunging of Catholic identity seen in Boston, we thought you’d enjoy reading this column by George Weigel which appeared in First Things as well as in The Pilot.

Reaffirming Catholic Identity

George Weigel
Posted: 1/7/2011

Throughout his recently completed three-year term as president of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, gently but firmly led his brother bishops through a reflection on their duties as defenders of the integrity of the Catholic “brand.” A deeper commitment on the bishops’ part to being the stewards of Catholic identity in their dioceses was, one may speculate, one factor in the election of Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York — a robust defender of Catholic truth — as Cardinal George’s successor in the president’s chair at the USCCB. Not everything that is labeled “Catholic” warrants that label, the bishops have come to understand; and if anyone is to do something about that, the bishops are going to have to be the principal agents of change.

The debate about the Catholic identity of Catholic institutions of higher education has been underway for decades, and may well take some interesting turns in the years ahead. At the moment, however, the hottest of hot buttons on this front involve health care institutions that call themselves “Catholic” but which have acquiesced to practices approved by an increasingly aggressive secular culture — and to the lure of government dollars. On that new front in the campaign to reaffirm Catholic identity, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has become an important leader.

Bishop Olmsted inherited a terrible situation in Phoenix: the previous bishop had been disgraced; the local legal authorities had stated publicly that they could not trust the Church to police its own house in matters of sexual abuse, and proposed to take over that function themselves. Bishop Olmsted didn’t squawk, nor did he deny that serious problems existed. Rather, he quietly and decisively set about fixing what needed fixing, so that the public authorities were soon content to revert to a more normal Church/state relationship.

Then, in 2009, a “therapeutic” abortion was performed at Phoenix’s St. Joseph’s Hospital, a part of the Catholic Healthcare West system. When Bishop Olmsted wrote the president of CHW, asking what on earth was going on, CHW attempted to justify what had happened through arguments advanced by M. Therese Lysaught, who teaches theology at Marquette University. Bishop Olmsted was not impressed, and informed CHW that it was his duty, as the local bishop, to be the authoritative interpreter of the moral law in his diocese and the authoritative interpreter of the hospital guidelines adopted by the USCCB. And the bishop went on to state that, on Dec. 17, 2010 (the day after this is being written), he would declare that St. Joseph’s Hospital is no longer to be considered a Catholic institution — unless CHW admits that the 2009 abortion that happened there violated the U.S. bishops’ norms and unless CHW pledges that such an abomination will not happen again.

However the Phoenix/CHW situation eventually sorts out, an important marker has been laid down by a bishop known for both his integrity and his personal sanctity. Bishop Olmsted will undoubtedly be criticized by those for whom “dialogue” is the holy grail of Catholic life. But in our current cultural situation (and given the pressures that the Obama administration and unsympathetic state governments are likely to increase on Catholic health care facilities), the call for “dialogue” too often amounts to a prescription for slow-motion surrender, with the Catholic identity of Catholic institutions being slowly whittled away while the “dialogue” partners carry on.

The Catholic integrity of Catholic educational and health care institutions was at stake when those institutions were segregated in the 1950s and early 1960s; brave bishops like Joseph Ritter in St. Louis, Joseph Rummel in New Orleans, and Lawrence Shehan in Baltimore took a lot of heat, but did what they had to do to bring the conduct of Catholic institutions into sync with the Church’s teaching on human dignity. No less ought to be expected of the Church’s ordained leaders today, when the stakes are just as high, although the issues have changed. So full marks to Cardinal George for putting the issue of Catholic identity on the bishops’ plates, and full marks to Bishop Olmsted for giving that new commitment real teeth.

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

Oh, to have a Bishop Olmsted or Cardinal Burke in Boston instead of our current situation where the Catholic identity of our institutions is getting continually confused and destroyed by the likes of Fr. Bryan Hehir, Jack Connors, the Catholic Schools office, and others, all with the tacit capitulation of Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

If you’d like to send a Letter to the Editor of the Pilot commenting on the Weigel column, you can do so by clicking here, and then clicking on Comments.  In the meantime, we’re still working on our next campaign, which we expect to announce within just a few days.

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Very shortly, the Archdiocese of Boston plans to unveil their new Catholic Schools Admission policy expressly requested by Cardinal Sean O’Malley so as to direct that children of gay and lesbian parents be admitted to Catholic Schools. Rumor had it that the policy might have been released publicly as early as Thursday, January 6 at the annual convocation of Catholic school principals and pastors, but apparently that did not happen.

The policy, if implemented even remotely as it appeared in an early draft form, will damage Catholic education irreparably in Boston, and has the likely prospect of damaging Catholic education across the country in the same way that “gay marriages” that began in Massachusetts are spreading across the country.  The policy needs to be scrapped.

Here’s a link to the most recent draft we could find.  We understand it’s been revised slightly since the September 2010 draft, but it is still fundamentally flawed from the foundation level.  You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.   Drawing on our Big Picture on Catholic Education essay from last year and later developments, here’s what’s wrong with it:

1. Identity and Purpose of Catholic Education is Never Stated
2. Cardinal O’Malley’s Direction of Non-Discrimination is Flawed

3. Issues of Partnering with Gay Parents are Ignored
4. Protecting Innocence of Children is Impossible

5. Inherent Contradiction: Catholic School Education for Kids of Gay Parents is Ignored
6. Policy Mandates Implicit or explicit recognition of the gay/lesbian relationship as valid
7. Policy Creates Scandal of Giving Implicit Recognition to Gay Partnerships
8. Policy Creates Slippery Slope for Future Undermining of Catholic Identity
9. Policy Enables False Compassion on the Sinner
10) Use of Holy Father’s Quote is Deceptive

11. Draft Policy Violates Principle of Subsidiarity

You can stop here and just jump to the end if you’d like in the interest of expediency.  But once you read below, you’ll understand why this policy is unsalvageable.

1. Identity and Purpose of Catholic Education

The main mission of Catholic schools is educate children of Catholics with an education shaped by Catholic faith and moral tradition.  That is stated nowhere in this draft policy. When Catholic schools accept children from non-Catholic families, the religious focus remains, and although Catholic schools welcome and teach many children who are not Catholic, this is not the primary mission.  It is unclear where the Boston Archdiocese got the idea that serving “unconventional households” is the central mission of Catholic education.  That is what a public school is for.

2. Cardinal O’Malley’s Direction of Non-Discrimination is Flawed

The Cardinal himself directed that he did not want to exclude categories of students, and the $325,000/year-salaried schools superintendent and committee operated under the principle that they “did not want to discriminate.”  That’s the same language used by the gay activists to justify “same-sex marriage” or “marriage equality.”    In reality, Catholic schools and the Catholic Church DO need to discriminate.

For various reasons, including the need to maintain that Catholic identity and partnership with parents, Catholic schools have indeed excluded “categories of people” in the past. Though it has changed now, in years past, parish-based Catholic schools used to admit only Catholics, and required the family live in the parish’s geographic region and be a member of the parish. Even today, Catholic children have preference over non-Catholics in admissions. Children are excluded from schools on an individual basis because of behavioral problems.  The Vatican has declared that active homosexuals should be excluded from seminaries. For Catholic schools to exclude children might not be optimal in terms of the new mantra of “welcoming everyone,” but everyone needs to remember it’s a private school, and as such someone will inevitably be excluded.

Fr. Roger Landry at CatholicPreaching observed the similarity to the situation of baptizing children, where the Church wants all children to be baptized but the priest has the duty to determine that there is a “well-founded” or “realistic” hope that the child will be raised in the Catholic faith (Canon 868 in the Code of Canon Law). “If there is no realistic hope that the parents are going to raise the child in the faith…the pastor…must reluctantly delay the baptism in view of the good of the child, who assumes rights and responsibilities upon being baptized. If the child is not going to be nourished in the faith to know and live by those privileges and duties, then the Church defers the baptism, hoping that either the parents will have a change of heart or the child, upon maturity, will freely request baptism as a catechumen.”

Fr. Landry notes that it’s similar for Catholic school admissions decisions. “There is a requirement, for the good of the child, that the parents commit to raise the child in a situation that at least does not contradict the values and formation given at the school. If the child’s education will not be coupled to a way of life consistent with it, the parents and school would be placing the child in a spiritually and morally schizophrenic situation — which is obviously harmful.”

3. Issues of Partnering with Gay Parents are Ignored

Archbishop Chaput, Dale O’Leary, Fr. Roger Landry and Vatican documents including Declaration on Christian Education (Gravissimum Educationis) have said it well.  The school  needs to partner with parents to develop children in the faith.  That means the parents have to accept the teachings of the Catholic Church and help reinforce them in the home and family life.  Archbishop Chaput wrote, “If parents don’t respect the beliefs of the Church, or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult, if not impossible.” There is an inherent conflict here with gay parents  who are happily living a relationship that is considered immoral, which permanently deprives children of their natural law right to both a mother and father, and which can never ever be considered valid by the church.  This is uniquely different than situations where parents are divorced, single parents, or co-habitating heterosexual couples, where those parents themselves may hope for the potential of a valid marriage, and where the relationship can indeed hopefully become valid in the eyes of the Church some day.

4. Protecting Innocence of Children is Impossible

By forcing the admission of children of active gay and lesbian parents, the Archdiocese of Boston will declare that the desires of those gay and lesbian parents living in a relationship considered immoral by the Church trump the Church-granted rights of Catholic parents and children to keep their children’s minds innocent.

Here’s what we wrote about this concern on June 10, 2010, citing various Vatican documents:

Vatican’s Pontifical Council on the Family’s 1995 document, Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.

Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents. [No. 43]

In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children… They cannot understand and control sexual imagery within the proper context of moral principles and, for this reason, they cannot integrate premature sexual information with moral responsibility. Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children’s innocence because such attempts compromise their spiritual, moral and emotional development. [No. 83]

“Parents must protect their children, first by teaching them a form of modesty and reserve with regard to strangers as well as giving suitable sexual information but without going into details and particulars that might upset or frighten them [No. 85]

Catechism of the Catholic Church; “the right and duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable” (2221).

Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World His Holiness (Familiaris Consortio):

The Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information disassociated from moral principles.”

With actions like the above, the Boston Archdiocese appears be overruling the primacy of parents as the first educators of their children. In addition, by condoning the exposure of young children to homosexual parents of other children, they are ensuring that all children will be put in a situation of confusion that will require explanation by parents. How does the Archdiocese explain their rationale behind keeping parents out of the loop and breaking the innocence of a 6-year-old mind to explain why Johnny has two daddies?

The gay, lesbian, or transgendered parents will no doubt attend school functions or host events at their homes. Kissing and other public displays of affection in the sight of young children cannot be banned. How will seeing such displays of affection between homosexual couples not corrupt the mind of a young child?

5. Inherent Contradiction: Catholic School Education for Children of Gay Parents is Ignored

Pope John Paul II taught in Veritatis Splendor (No. 113) that the “right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected.” As most readers know and others have written, there simply is an inherent contradiction associated with trying to educate children of gay parents in Catholic schools. Archbishop Chaput wrote the Church teaches that “marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman.  These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society.”  When the Church teaches that gay marriage is against the will of God at the same time the parents live a lifestyle that rejects those beliefs, then the child will hear the Church saying their parents (upon whom they rely for sustenance) are bad.  The burden and stress is borne by the child, who is caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church.

As Dale O’Leary put it, “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.  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.”  This is the same thing that the Denver Archdiocese concluded.

6. Policy Mandates Implicit or Explicit Recognition of the Gay/Lesbian relationship as Valid

Pope John Paul II’s Letter to the Bishops on Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons says:

The Church is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”

Code of Canon Law: Canon 22: prohibits the canonization of civil laws that are “contrary to divine law.”

Because same-sex “marriages” or civil unions and mutatis mutandis adoptions are contrary to divine law; it is arguable that the civil law allowing them cannot be regarded by the Church as valid. Admission of the children to Catholic schools would certainly give the impression that the status of the parents is comparable to parents united in the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cautioned about recognizing homosexual unions and making them a model in society.

11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The U.S.C.C.B’s Guidelines for Ministry to Persons with Homosexual Inclination say the following:

Special care must be taken to ensure that those carrying out the ministry of the Church not use their position of leadership to advocate positions or behaviors not in keeping with the teachings of the Church. They must not belong to groups that oppose Church teaching. It is not sufficient for those involved in this ministry to adopt a position of distant neutrality with regard to Church teaching.

The Church does not support so-called same-sex “marriages” or any semblance thereof, including civil unions that give the appearance of a marriage. Church ministers may not bless such unions or promote them in any way, directly or indirectly.

(Then again, as we documented in The Big Picture, Fr. Hehir seems to pick and choose which USCCB guidelines he wishes to follow based on whether he agrees with the guideline or not).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also says the following:

#2357: Basing itself on Sacred Scripture…tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

What about all of this do officials at the Archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic schools find unclear or difficult to follow?  Despite all this, the Catholic Schools in Boston marched on with full endorsement of people like Fr. Bryan Hehir, $325,000/year superintendent of schools Mary Grassa O’Neill, and apparently the Cardinal, who first said this issue was being carefully studied, but then allowed the contradictory message from Fr. Hehir a day later saying the arcdiocese was driving full-speed ahead with institutionalizing the admittance of children of gay parents and just is documenting the policies. It makes the Cardinal’s original message appear to have been disingenuous and deceptive at best.

7. Policy Creates Scandal of Giving Implicit Recognition to Gay Partnerships
As The Boston Pilot explained in their editorial last year, the Catechism says that “scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: ‘Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.’  There is no doubt that giving recognition to same-sex unions by virtue of their children being in Catholic school will have consequences, but no one from the Archdiocesan hierarchy has said a peep about this concern or seems to realize it is part of the gay agenda and they have apparently fallen for it hook-line-and-sinker by creating this policy.

If you have not yet read two landmark pieces about the gay agenda to normalize homosexuality, please do read them–they deserve a whole post and wide circulation amongst the Church hierarchy themselves.   “The Overhauling of Straight America” appeared in Guide Magazine, a homosexual publication, in November 1987—over two decades ago.  This landmark article has become a “bible” of the homosexual movement.  It outlines strategies and techniques for a successful widespread propaganda campaign to confuse and deceive the American people and demonize opponents.

This isn’t really about the child, although the child is affected also. It’s about caving in to the homosexual agenda. The agenda is part of a spiritual battle, and the reaction from Fr. Bryan Hehir, Jack Connors, Mary Grassa O’Neill, and Cardinal O’Malley suggests we have already lost the battle.  Yes, the Church does often let different “categories” of people go to its schools. But unlike the other “categories” of people, the homosexual movement is out to weaken and destroy the Church. Because the lesbian couple in this incident said in the media they were concerned about the religious education taught in Catholic schools, it appeared then, and now, that the purpose of the parents was ultimately to paint Catholic belief about human sexuality as wrong and force others at the school to adjust to homosexual “parents.”  That child is now at St. Jerome’s at Weymouth.  Here are a few passages from the article:

STEP 1: TALK ABOUT GAYS AND GAYNESS AS LOUDLY AND AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.

The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights. Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preference the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games: she likes strawberry and I like vanilla; he follows baseball and I follow football. No big deal.

The principle behind this advice is simple: almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it at close quarters and among your acquaintances. ..In the early stages of any campaign to reach straight America, the masses should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself. Instead, the imagery of sex should be downplayed and gay rights should be reduced to an abstract social question as much as possible.

…we can undermine the moral authority of homophobic churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology. Against the mighty pull of institutional Religion one must set the mightier draw of Science & Public Opinion (the shield and sword of that accursed “secular humanism”). Such an unholy alliance has worked well against churches before, on such topics as divorce and abortion. With enough open talk about the prevalence and acceptability of homosexuality, that alliance can work again here.

STEP 2: PORTRAY GAYS AS VICTIMS, NOT AS AGGRESSIVE CHALLENGERS. (more)

Do read the entire article, as well as this summary of the book,  “After the Ball — How America will conquer its fear and hatred of Gays in the 1990′s.“   The reactions from Boston Archdiocese in this situation–especially by Fr. Hehir, Mary Grassa O’Neill, and Michael Reardon, but also Cardinal O’Malley–have gone exactly as was outlined and predicted by homosexual authors more than two decades ago.

Pope John Paul II’s Letter to the Bishops on Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons also warned about this problem.  The Church “is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”

Canon Law may also give some guidance.  Canon 22, prohibits the canonization of civil laws that are “contrary to divine law.” Because same-sex “marriages” or civil unions and mutatis mutandis adoptions are contrary to divine law; it is arguable that the civil law allowing them cannot be regarded by the Church as valid. Admission of the children to Catholic schools will certainly give the impression that the status of the parents is comparable to parents united in the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

Fortunately, one source from the Boston Archdiocese, The Pilot, acknowledged this problem, saying, “it can be argued that the appearance of normalcy and acceptance of homosexual behavior that would follow from accepting gay parents into the life of a Catholic school — at parish functions, fundraisers, as chaperones for field trips, etc. — could lead other children to grave confusion about the nature of marriage as the union between a man and a woman.”

8. Policy Creates Slippery Slope for Future Undermining of Catholic Identity
So, what might the consequences be of the new Boston policy that welcomes children of gay parents as long as the parents agree that the child will be taught the truths of the Catholic faith on sexuality and sexual morality?   Will school application forms ask for the names of ”Parent 1″ and “Parent 2″ instead of the names of the mother and father? What happens if the parents agree to their children being educated in Catholic sexual morality at school, but then go out and publicly celebrate their homosexual lifestyle with their child at the annual Gay Pride parade?  Once a child is admitted, what if they come home crying and distraught because they learned in school that God views the parents’ relationship or “marriage” as invalid and immoral?  What if the parents later complain about the teacher for saying something about the truths of the faith they felt was offensive, troublesome, and discriminatory to their child and their family?  How can teachers be totally comfortable teachings the truths of Catholic teachings on marriage and sexuality when they know it’s likely to make a sensitive child feel hurt or uncomfortable and could result in an accusation of hate-speech?  How should the school deal with a teenage boy with two daddies who questions his normal friendship with another boy, may feel his parental situation makes it OK to sexually experiment and hit on the friend, or decides he must be gay (or a teenage girl who sees her lesbian mother as a role model and thinks her close friendship with another girl means she’s probably a lesbian?  Should a 14-year-old boy who identifies himself as “gay” and applies as an “out” gay teen to a Catholic high school be admitted?  Beyond this, if the policy says children of gay couples are OK, then how do you defend not having openly gay teachers, and then insurance benefits for them?

As has been written previously, for those who  think there is not a slippery slope, just look at how Employment Non-Discrimination Acts (ENDA) that were positioned as absolutely never to result in “same-sex marriages” led to exactly that over time.  In A Gay-Protection Forum, (Boston Globe, Oct. 15, 1989) the Globe denied that Massachusetts new sexual orientation nondiscrimination law put Massachusetts on a slippery slope to same-sex marriage or domestic partnership benefits.  4 years later it was legal for gay couples to adopt children.  14 years later in the SJC’s 2003 Goodridge decision that the law banning gay couples from marrying was unconstitutional, part of the court’s reasoning rested on the legislature’s previous decision to ban sexual orientation discrimination.  There’s simply no denying the slippery slope is a reality.

9. Policy Enables False Compassion on the Sinner
Cardinal Sean wrote in May 19, 2010 blog post on the schools issue, “We need to present the Church’s teachings courageously and yet in a way that is compassionate and persuasive.”  Yet in his post, for some reason he didn’t present the Church’s teachings or say anything about the immoral homosexual relationship that precipitated this whole situation.

The Cardinal had a strong voice on this same topic just a few short years ago, but sadly now he seems to have lost it. On November 23, 2005, in his own letter on homosexuality, he called on Catholics to show true love to persons with homosexual tendencies by telling them that homosexual acts are sinful.  Otherwise, we are dangerously “deceiving people.”  He reminded Catholics that although Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, he did however – after saving her life – tell her “Go and sin no more.”  We were told that some Catholics are misled into false kindness towards those with homosexual tendencies. “If we tell people that sex outside of marriage is not a sin, we are deceiving people.”  The pastor of souls, whose first priority is the spiritual wellbeing of his flock, warned that spiritual wellbeing may be threatened by such false kindness.  “If they believe this untruth, a life of virtue becomes all but impossible.”

It is never easy to deliver a message that calls people to make sacrifices or to do difficult things. Sometimes people want to punish the messenger. For this reason we priests at times find it difficult to articulate the Church’s teaching on sexual morality.

Yes indeed it is difficult.  Fortunately, Fr. Rafferty found the courage to do it.  But a few years later when the rubber hit the road in this situation, the Cardinal and others from the Archdiocese including Fr. Hehir and Dr. Grassa O’Neill have followed the all-too-familiar approach of false compassion which ignores the sins and wrong way of living that many people engage in, and does exactly what the Cardinal himself warned against.  St. Thomas Aquinas has written about this issue and Archbishop Fulton Sheen has an outstanding video on the problem of false compassion that all should watch.  False compassion can blind us from actually being motivated to help the sinner amend their ways.   As St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, sin can never be the proper object of compassion. (Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 30, a.1, ad 1).

“We love sinners out of charity, not so as to will what they will, or to rejoice in what gives them joy, but so as to make them will what we will, and rejoice in what rejoices us. Hence it is written: ‘They shall be turned to thee, and thou shalt not be turned to them.’” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 25, a.6, ad 4, citing Jeremiah 15:19).

10) Use of Holy Father’s Quote is Deceptive

The first line in the draft policy says, “In creating this policy we are guided by the words of the Holy Father, by Canon Law and by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops”

No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.”  Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Catholic Educators in Washington DC. April 17, 2008.

This out-of-context use of the Holy Father’s words is a deception to try and justify the policy.  Anyone who reads the Holy Father’s actual address to Catholic University of America can plainly see that he was referring to the “financial needs of our institutions” being provided for so their “long-term sustainability” would be assured—and thus Catholic education would be accessible on a financial basis “to people of all social and economic strata.”  When he said “no child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith,” he was clearly saying that financial means should not be a reason for denial. That Cardinal O’Malley would allow repurposing this quote to justify admitting children of gay and lesbian parents is scandalous.

11. Draft Policy Violates Principle of Subsidiarity

The draft policy says that pastors, principals, advisory and/or governing boards may develop specific admission policies for their school provided they are in conformity with the Archdiocesan Admission policy.

This violates a core principle of subsidiarity in Church law, which  means the Church usually assumes that problems are best defined and resolved by those most closely affected by them. By entrusting a pastor to care for the people of his parish, and by empowering a pastor to make certain decisions on behalf of his parish, the bishop is exercising the principle of subsidiarity, but this policy would negate that, forcing the pastor to conform to the top-down policy.  We understand this was to be addressed in a later revision of the policy.

But that then begs the question, if the local pastor can make his own decision, as subsidiarity would require, then why have a policy at all?  If not for pressure from Jack Connors and those promoting the gay agenda, why not scrap the whole policy?

A member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council who reviewed this policy wrote the following:

So, let us not fail in our advising role to our Cardinal, keeping the admonition of Christ found in the Gospel of Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Reason demands consistency: consistency internally with the Archdiocese’s previous stands on matters related to the issue at hand and consistency externally with the decision another American Archbishop has inscribed into his policies regarding admission to Denver Catholic schools.  The last thing we need is to pit Archbishop against Archbishop on this matter.  Let us not surrender to money or political correctness, while perhaps gaining a few lines of praise from the Boston Globe or those who advance the Gay Agenda, but stand by solid principles that would advance the Mission of the Catholic Church in Boston.  The Boston Globe and the Gay Agenda are not the barometers of our Faith, but part of the Culture of Death, which must be confronted.

This situation brings to mind another scenario in 1968, when the commission established by Pope Paul VI advised him to relax the Church’s teaching regarding contraception.  Yet the Pope, in a display of moral fortitude and against the majority, decided to uphold the traditional Catholic teaching regarding the evils of contraception, which is not simply a “mean” Catholic rule, but something intrinsic to man that goes to the essence of our humanity and natural law.  Let us advise our Cardinal with uprightness and courage, so that once again he sees in us his true collaborators and friends by saying NO to the proposed policy of “non-discrimination”.

The bottom line is that the whole policy is so riddled with flaws, it should have never been written and should be scrapped.  There’s just no other way to describe it.

Until we get our campaign up and running, you should immediately send a copy of this post to the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi at nuntiususa@nuntiususa.com to ask him to intervene on this policy, and also send it to your local pastor and ask him to complain immediately to the archdiocese.  Hit the email button at the end of this post to share with the Nuncio, your pastor, and other friends.

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