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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Discrimination on Admissions "is at odds with our values as a foundation, the intentions of our donors, and ultimately Gospel teaching."

Follow on to a story I posted earlier.

As I previously reported, ( this week in Massachusetts, a parochial school in the tony South Shore suburb of Hingham rescinded its acceptance of an 8-year-old boy when the parish priest learned that the boy's parents are lesbians.  Father James Rafferty, and the school principal, Cynthia Duggan, Rafferty told (the parent) that her relationship "was in discord with the teachings of the Catholic Church."

Now an article at raises many of the same issues I raised in my article, but also offered some new hope.  From  Politics Daily:
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, one of the more outspoken conservatives in the hierarchy, fully backed the pastor and said that parents who send their children to Catholic schools should be expected to live according to the Catholic faith. "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," Chaput said.
That argument raised questions about why divorced parents or single parents or even non-Catholic parents are allowed to enroll their children in Catholic schools in Denver and elsewhere, but gay parents cannot.
It has been my argument all along that this is clear discrimination without just cause.  The "living in discord" was simply a lie to promote bigotry.  What of the parents living in "discord" who are divorced, not Catholic parents, using birth control or who are cheating on their spouses. 

But, in a turn I had not expected and one for which I am hopeful that others will hear the message of non-discrimination:
The decision by Rafferty and Duggan also seemed to take the Archdiocese of Boston by surprise. A spokesman for Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley and other church officials said there is no policy barring the children of gay parents from Catholic schools.
[More importantly] the Catholic Schools Foundation, which is chaired by O'Malley and is the leading provider of scholarships to low-income Catholic school students in greater Boston, sent a letter to all Catholic schools saying it would not provide scholarship money to schools that discriminate on admissions. It said any such practice "is at odds with our values as a foundation, the intentions of our donors, and ultimately Gospel teaching."
And from the chair of the Campaign for Catholic Schools: "I am disappointed that...this faith that I love seems to find new ways to shoot itself in the foot," said Jack Connors.

The actions and comments of Cardinal O'Malley and Mr. Conners also reflect something else that I have said time and time again.  It is time for patrons of these schools and churches to finally take a stance now that they see one of their leaders is acting with human kindness.   Follow the lead of Cardinal O'Malley and Mr. Conners - don't just sit there and do nothing.  If there were an overwhelming response from patrons, perhaps the hate and bigotry would change for the better. 

Note that Cardinal O'Malley did not say he approved of the parents being gay, but that discrimination is at odds with the values of the Catholic church as a foundation, the intentions of their donors, and ultimately Gospel teaching.  So even if you have deeply held religious beliefs about homosexuality, Cardinal O'Malley is showing you that discrimination is not the answer and is, in fact, antithetical to the beliefs of the Church!  I'm not a christian nor am I religious but it is great to read a voice of good coming from within the catholic church.

And most recently from CNN:
Progressive Catholic groups vented outrage Friday over the decision of a Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts to rescind the admission of an 8-year-old student because his parents are lesbians.
"The idea that a child might be punished because he does not live with his two biologic parents is antithetical to notions of Christian charity and Catholic social justice," said Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats, in a statement Friday.
Other liberal Catholic and gay groups issued similar statements Friday, responding to news reports this week that a child accepted to St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham, Massachusetts, for the fall was told he couldn't enroll after the school learned that his parents are gay.
"Cardinal O'Malley understands that there's a place to assert church teachings but that it doesn't make sense to discriminate against a child because of his parents' background," Korzen said.


  1. I am really shocked by this. It would seem that the mission of a Catholic school would be one, to educate and two, to help spread the word of Catholicism. Wouldn't this be a perfect opportunity to do so?

  2. I agree with you. It makes no sense to not allow these kids to go to school because their parents are gay. What about all the divorced kids? Kids whose parents cheat? Aren't these priests embarrassed by this lame argument? Worse they are probably gay priests. Self-hate?