Archbishop bars annual Mass at formerly Catholic school that refused to fire gay ‘married’ teacher
INDIANAPOLIS, August 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) -- Archbishop Charles C. Thompson has refused permission for Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School to celebrate an annual Holy Spirit Mass after stripping the institution of its Catholic identity earlier this summer in a decision the school is appealing.
In June, Archbishop Thompson decreed that the Indianapolis archdiocese was cutting official ties with Brebeuf after administrators refused to fire Layton Payne-Elliott, a Catholic male educator who is in a same-sex “marriage” to another teacher, Joshua Payne-Elliott. The latter was fired by Indianapolis Cathedral High School and is now suing the archdiocese despite having reached a settlement.
Unlike Brebeuf, Cathedral is a diocesan institution and therefore comes directly under the archbishop’s authority. Because Brebeuf is a financially independent school operated by the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, it can appeal to the Vatican.
Fr. Brian G. Paulson, SJ, provincial for the Midwest Jesuits, said the archbishop’s decision to sanction Brebeuf was "disappointing," and began an appeal process. When the archbishop declined to rescind his decree, according to a letter sent to Brebeuf parents, the school decided to take its case to the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome.
The letter expressed the hope that the decree will be overruled by Church hierarchy and that its effects will be suspended during the appeals process. When Brebeuf announced its rift with the archbishop in June, administrators expressed confidence that the impact would be minimal. Principal Greg VanSlambrook told The Indianapolis Star at that time that families may not notice the effects.
However, that may change. According to the school’s August 4 letter to parents, the two priests serving the Brebeuf school community must request special permission to celebrate Mass at the school. While the archbishop has granted permission for a 7:45 a.m. daily Mass, he declined to give permission to celebrate other Masses at the school. This includes the annual Mass of the Holy Spirit to kick off the new academic year for students and faculty.
Learn more about Archbishop Thompson’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.
The letter said Brebeuf must "acknowledge the authority of the Archbishop with respect to the celebration of Mass within the Archdiocese." The school will instead hold a schoolwide prayer service on August 15 -- the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary -- one week after students return.
In an open letter posted on the archdiocese’s website, Archbishop Thompson affirmed the Catholic understanding that marriage is a sacred union of one man and one woman wherein children can learn "values and virtues" in a Christian environment.
"Religious liberty, which is a hallmark of the U.S. Constitution and has been tested in the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledges that religious organizations may define what conduct is not acceptable and contrary to the teachings of its religion, for its school leaders, guidance counselors, teachers and other ministers of the faith," the archdiocese website said.
In another statement, the archdiocese affirmed that all Catholic schools under its authority must enforce contracts and embody the teachings of the Catholic faith.
“To effectively bear witness to Christ, whether they teach religion or not, all ministers in their professional and private lives must convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching,” the archdiocese said.
The Archbishop of Indianapolis has denied a Jesuit high school's request to hold their traditional "Mass of the Holy Spirit" to start the school year. Why? Because the school refused to fire a gay teacher who was legally married. https://t.co/AmEtPiL1EQ— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) August 5, 2019
In a series of tweets, outspoken Fr. James Martin SJ expressed his disconcert over the bishop’s decision to forgo the Mass of the Holy Spirit. Decrying what he said was the archbishop’s denial of the Holy Eucharist to the Brebeuf community, Martin tweeted: “The only employees whose lives are placed under a moral microscope are LGBT people. This is clearly discriminatory. Denying the Eucharist to schoolchildren for this reason only makes it worse.”
Martin has frequently denounced what he sees as a lack of understanding for people living the LGBTQ lifestyle. He tweeted, “To put it in context, the Archdiocese has said that both the public and private lives of school employees must ‘convey’ and ‘support’ Catholic teaching. But they do not require schools to fire Catholics who are divorced and remarried without annulments, who use birth control … who use IVF, or who do not attend Mass every Sunday (all against Catholic teaching). Nor do they require schools to fire Protestant, Jewish or agnostic employees (whose lives don't convey Catholic teaching).”
Martin’s critics include Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has said the Jesuit priest’s views about homosexual relations are “not coherent” with the teachings of the Catholic faith. LifeSiteNews has launched a petition to support Archbishop Charles Thompson here.