Boston and Denver Archbishops differ on permitting children of gay couples in Catholic schools
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.