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Archbishop Chaput: no Catholic education for the children of gay couples [UPDATED]

As blogged by Paul Moseshere, a Catholic school in Boulder, Colorado, has told a lesbian couple that their children cannot re-enroll next year. Yesterday, in a column posted to the Web site of the Archdiocese of Denver,Archbishop Charles Chaputtried to explain that decision.First, Archbishop Chaput says that the children--one in preschool and the other in kindergarten--are not being sent packing immediately. They've been invited not to return next year. So there's that. And: "the policy applies to all Archdiocese of Denver schools." Now we know: the children of same-sex couples are not welcome in schools run by the Archdiocese of Denver.[Update: The archbishop's spokeswoman Jeanette DeMelo has informed me that "The policy doesnt apply exclusively to homosexual couples. He does say that parents are meant to be partners in faith. 'If parents dont respect the belief of the Church or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult if not impossible.' That is what the school decision was nothing more, nothing less." I've put some follow-up questions to Ms. DeMelo, and will post her reply.]Then, after a brief detour into the history of Catholic education and a reminder of the fact that Catholic parents "pay twice" to educate their children in Catholic schools (presumably the archbishop recognizes that all parents who send their kids to private school "pay twice"), Chaput acknowledges that Catholic schools admit the children of divorced parents (even non-Catholics). "These students are always welcome so 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." The archbishop does not explain how he or his Catholic-school administrators are supposed to verify that their students' parents are tilting the right end of the scale. He continues: "The idea that Catholic schools should require support for Catholic teaching for admission and a serious effort from school families to live their Catholic identity faithfully, is reasonable and just." Again, he does not define "serious effort."

The Church never looks for reasons to turn anyone away from a Catholic education. But the Church cant change her moral beliefs without undermining her mission and failing to serve the many families who believe in that mission. If Catholics take their faith seriously, they naturally follow the teachings of the Church in matters of faith and morals; otherwise they take themselves outside the believing community.

No one is confused about church teaching on marriage. (Some Catholics may, however, be lost as to why the seriousness with which they take their faith doesn't always naturally lead to morally pure behavior.) What many Catholics find perplexing is the way some bishops translate that teaching into policy positions--both internal and external to the church.Chaput acknowledges that the church does not teach that gays and lesbians are "bad," or that "their children are less loved by God. Quite the opposite." (Moreloved by God?) But the church does teach against divorce and against sex outside of marriage. "The Church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ." A curious observation, given that no one has reported that the parents of these kids had been lobbying the church to change its teachings.Finally, Archbishop Chaput argues that this policy is really for everyone's own good--parents and students alike. If parents don't respect the beliefs of the church, or live in open rejection of them, he writes, they don't have a place in the Catholic school system. After all, how can Catholic schools fully teach the faith"if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents"?This is about more than hurt feelings of course. This is about the nature of the church's educational mission. If the Archbishop of Denver truly believes that the children of parents who fail to adequately support church teaching cannot be educated at Catholic schools, then he has more explaining to do. To the children of parents who are divorced and remarried (without going through the annulment process--at which point the church needs to explain that process to the children of annulled marriages). To the children of parents who practice and even recommend birth control. To the children of non-Catholic parents--especially those who do not support the central dogmas of Catholicism, such as, say, the Incarnation. Is there no place in Catholic education for the children of those kinds of parents? Or is there no place for the children of gay couples? And if so, why doesn't the archbishop want such children to encounter the truths of Catholic teaching? If it's merely to avoid upsetting the children of straight, non-divorced, non-contracepting, non-racist, anti-torture, pro-life parents, then I'm afraid he'll have to do better.

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"No one is confused about church teaching on marriage."

"This is about more than hurt feelings of course. This is about the nature of the churchs educational mission." Thanks for moving the conversation in this direction, Grant. "Theyve been invited not to return next year"? That's an interesting turn of phrase. Is it Chaput's or yours?It reminds me that I was "invited" not to bring a quart of Colt 45 into the dorm one time, but why bring ancient history into the conversation.

It seems to me that, kind of like the Supreme Court, the Archdiocese of Denver has taken an fairly abstract policy and derived from it a specific rule that applies to a well defined group. As far as we know, the lesbian couple didn't do anything to precipitate the action of the Archdiocese, such as object to the preschool and kindergarten's curriculum on same-sex marriage. So it looks like there exists now a clear rule: Children of same-sex couples may not attend Catholic schools.I am wondering if there are any other rules that can be articulated. We have heard hypotheticals about children of outspoken neo-Nazis, but it is hard to imagine that a broad rule needs to be formulated that children of outspoken neo-Nazis must not be allowed to enroll in Catholic schools.So my question is the following: Is there any other well defined class of parents whose children may not attend Catholic schools? Or is there only one specific rule in all of Catholic eduction, that rule being that children of same-sex couples may not attend Catholic school?

Ah, yes, the churchs teachings on marriage are soooooooo clear. We all know that it is against divorce, right?However, the church effectively gives tacit approval to divorce with what has become the charade of annulment. In their 2002 book, Catholic Divorce: The Deception of Annulments, Joseph Martos and Pierre Hegy state:Because the grounds for annulment have become so broad that practically anyone who applies for one can obtain it, many observers now regard annulments as virtual divorces. After all, the same grounds for divorce in a civil court have become grounds for the nonexistence of marriage in an ecclesiastical court. To add to the deceit, many couples who receive annulments do so believing that their marriage was, in fact, sacramentally valid that the marital bond did exist but that, over time, it began to break down. These couples, understandably, choose not to disclose this part of the story to marriage tribunals so that they can qualify for an annulment.In other words, when it comes to THIS unconfusing church teaching on marriage, it is, in reality, the Catholic game of nudge-nudge, wink-wink.Lets face it, if the church REALLY came down hard on divorce, so many good loyal pew potatoes would be effected that (1) mass attendance and (2) offerings would tank! Cant have that, can we?Tim Unsworth was right on when he said this: While other Catholics quit the church when they learn that the Round Robin game at the Friday night Bingo was rigged, these (gay & lesbian) Catholics cling to the hem of garments that are being pulled away from them. However, dont count on that lasting in the ever-increasing face of ecclesiastical homophobia.

What is clear is that Children of Parents who do not support the mission of this Catholic School are not invited to attend. Why would Parents who do not support the Catholic mission of this Catholic school enroll their children in this school? Why would anyone enroll their Children in a school if they didn't support the school's mission? Hypotheticals are hypotheticals.

Father Bill has turned off the comments feature on his blog and erased all of the comments regarding the controversy at Sacred Heart of Jesus School. There was a comment by a woman defending the parish and the archdiocese, and I will have to quote it from memory now that it has been erased. But I think the woman had a very good insight into the whole controversy. She was responding to those who asked why children of divorced and remarried couples could attend Catholic school, but children of same-sex couples could not. Her answer was that to divorce and remarry is a sin, but to live in a same-sex relationship is an ABOMINATION. The simple explanation is that for many people, there is something particularly disgusting about homosexual acts, whereas sinful acts such as heterosexual cohabitation, adultery, or remarriage after divorce are "merely" sinful. It is tolerable to invite divorced and remarried people to attend Mass and to allow their children into Catholic school, because the sexual acts they perform in the privacy of their bedroom may be immoral, but they don't turn the stomach of "normal" people. But homosexual acts are dirty and revolting, and they are ABOMINATIONS. I would call this attitude homophobia, although I know Catholics seem very sensitive to that charge

What is clear is that Children of Parents who do not support the mission of this Catholic School are not invited to attend. Nancy,Why is it clear that a divorced and remarried couple, in a relationship prohibited by the Church, supports the mission of the Catholic school they send their children to, but a same-sex couple does not support the mission of the Catholic school they send their children to?What stronger indication is there that a couple supports the mission of a school than the fact that they enroll their children in it?

The fact that there are some who manipulate or lie about the Church's teaching on Marriage, doesn't change the Church's teaching on Marriage. Despite the seamless Garment, there is this common thread."For truly I tell you, until Heaven and Earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from The Law until all is accomplished."-Christ

David, clearly this Catholic School takes it's Catholic mission seriously, so I ask you again, why would a same sex couple enroll their children in this Catholic School? We are not discussing hypotheticals.

The parents would want to send the child to the school because the parents are members of the parish and it is the parish school. The local papers report that the parents have been members of the parish for several years. There was a protest last Sunday, one protester was quoted in the newspaper as saying that, when the pastor discussed the expulsion during the sermon, he mentioned that the couple usually attends that particular service, though he wasn't sure whether they were there that day. The couple by the way, were not part of the protest and have been silent on the issue) I think its absolutely fine for a Catholic school to reflect and encourage Catholic values; that's why I send my own children to parochial school. To me, the expulsion of those children for the reasons stated runs absolutely counter to Catholic values. If it happened at my daughters' school, I'm pretty sure I would find another school rather than expose them to such unkindness and intolerance. If the question is why would gay parents want to send their kids to Catholic school when they don't share it's mission (vis-a-vis homosexuality), the obvious next question is why would gay people even want to be Catholics? And is that what we're saying? Where we want to be going as a Church?

Nancy, that question is a hypothetical. You are asking people to speculate about the parents' intent. Unless you have some information you'd like to share, we have to presume their intent was for their children to get a Catholic education. The relevant question isn't "Why would they want that?" it's "Why is the diocese refusing to give it to them?"

I have been trying to understand this decision for a day or more now. I have an alternative to David Nickol's explanation of homophobia, although they could be simultaneously true.Is it possible that the difference between this and divorced/remarried couples is the issue of saying that a sinful act is a good one. Even when a divorce is totally justified (e.g. spouse abuse), it is still sad on some level. Whereas the conflict about gay couples, is that some people think gay relationships are a good, and the church thinks they are sinful.

David, clearly this Catholic School takes its Catholic mission seriously, so I ask you again, why would a same sex couple enroll their children in this Catholic School? We are not discussing hypotheticals.Since we don't have any idea why this couple enrolled their children in Catholic school, any reason we come up with is hypothetical. You seem to be opposed to hypotheticals, but you are asking for them. Here are a few.1. The two women are Catholics who want their children raised as Catholics. They feel guilt about their relationship, but they are confident they can work things out and do the right thing eventually, with good pastoral support.2. The two women are Catholics who want their children raised as Catholics. They feel no guilt about their relationship, but on the other hand, they do not take a stand against the Church's teachings on same-sex couples. They have private reasons for feeling they are not sinful.3. The children are adopted, and the lesbian couple promised the birth parents to raise the children as Catholic.3. The couple become involved sexually and romantically, but now they live together chastely as close friends and as practicing Catholics wish to raise their children as Catholics.

It simply makes no sense that non-Catholic parents would, as a class, "support the Catholic mission" of a school. I went to Catholic grade school because my dad was Catholic, not because my mother was Protestant. Are non-Catholic parents expected to sign a statement acknowledging that their children will be taught the doctrines of the Catholic faith? Can the archbishop and his local pastor confirm that the non-Catholic parents of children in Catholic schools "support the Catholic mission?" Indeed, in the Louisville archdiocese, I understand that non-Catholic parents who send their kids to Catholic schools do so in order to avoid having their children bused to/from schools in the local public school system.

The relevant question is: Why do you continue to question the desire of this Catholic School to enroll Families that support their Catholic mission?Irene, the fact is, if you deny The Truth of The Church, you cannot be in communion with the Church.

"...[I]f you deny The Truth of the Church, you cannot be in communion with the Church."I don't deny the Truth of the church, but I often question --- and occasionally denounce --- particular applications of what is purported to be Truth.(Of course, I am now an unchurched Catholic: Catholic in faith, not Roman Catholic by affiliation.)

"Where we want to be going as a Church"We are called to abide in The Word. It is through, with, and in Him, that His Church exists.

The relevant question is: Why do you continue to question the desire of this Catholic School to enroll Families that support their Catholic mission?Nancy,And why do you keep evading questions about how non-Catholics, who send their children to Catholic schools, can support the schools' Catholic mission?My father was not a Catholic, but my mother was. My father agreed to raise us Catholic. Suppose my mother had died when we were young, and my father said, "I agreed to raise the children Catholic, and I will abide by that agreement. I will send them to Catholic school. I myself, however, do not believe in Catholicism and will never become Catholic." Should I, my brother, and my two sisters have been invited to leave Catholic school? Irene, the fact is, if you deny The Truth of The Church, you cannot be in communion with the Church.Why would you say these women deny "The Truth of The Church" any more than divorced and remarried Catholics? Can you tell us anything at all about what the lesbian parents think of the teachings of the Catholic Church? They have remained utterly silent and are apparently intent on continuing to do so. Why are you so unwilling to even give them the benefit of the doubt? Do you know what is going on in their hearts and minds?

Here's a question that just occurred to me. Is the Church telling same-sex couples who consider themselves Catholic they should not attempt to raise their children as Catholics? Should children of same-sex couples be excluded from CCD Classes? It seems to me the reasoning for excluding these children from Catholic school would exclude them from any kind of Catholic instruction, wouldn't it?

"So it looks like there exists now a clear rule: Children of same-sex couples may not attend Catholic schools."I doubt it's that simple and bald. Probably more along the lines of, 'Children of same-sex couples who obstinately refuse to amend their ways and persist in giving public witness contrary to what we teach and believe may not attend Catholic schools." That's just my speculation, though - whether that accurately describes the couple in question, and/or whether there has been any pastoral outreach to the couple on that part of the church, I don't know.

The real question here is whether the church's teaching on homosexuals is wrong.I say unequivocally, yes, the church's teaching on homosexuals is wrong. It would not be the first time, and it certainly won't be the last.Since this claim seems to breed so much ire, I only ask that people respond to what I've said. No one is interested in the ad hominem attacks.

A friend asks: "If the children of lesbian parents were tossed from the school, will they be invited not to enroll in religious education and scaramental prep? If not, that is inconsistent. If so, assuming they are baptized, they are being excluded from the sacraments which is a right of the baptized and dependent only on the state of the recipient, not his or her parents. These parents could have a case for the Vatican Signatura."

David, a homosexual sexual relationship can never be transformed. This is not to say that a relationship between two people of the same sex can not be transformed into a Loving Friendship. The only reason why someone who obstinately denies the Truth of the Catholic Church would remain in the Catholic Church would be because they desire to change The Truth. We can not transform The Truth, The Truth transforms us.

Thats just my speculation, though . . .Jim,You are exactly right that that's your speculation. The justifications the pastor and archbishop have given for their actions have made no mention whatsoever of the behavior of the couple in question. They have simply stated that children of same-sex couples would be "confused" by Catholic school teaching, and they have said that parents who enroll their children in Catholic schools must support the mission of the school (without defining what that means or how it pertains to other couples). It would seem to me that if this particular couple is causing some kind of trouble -- and there has been no hint of that -- the archdiocese should be more clear in its reason for expelling the two children. You may doubt that it is "that simple and bald," but from reading what the pastor and the archbishop have to say, it certainly seems that there is now a rule -- at least in the Archdiocese of Denver -- that the children of same-sex couples cannot attend Catholic school. Can you point out anything in what the pastor and archbishop say that would lead you to believe the policy is actually "Children of same-sex couples who obstinately refuse to amend their ways and persist in giving public witness contrary to what we teach and believe may not attend Catholic schools?I understand why many Catholics would want to see the actions of the Archbishop in the best possible light, but it does indeed seem Chaput is flatly saying children of same-sex parents may not attend Catholic school.

Probably more along the lines of, Children of same-sex couples who obstinately refuse to amend their ways and persist in giving public witness contrary to what we teach and believe may not attend Catholic schools.But what counts as "amending their ways" for same-sex couples who are parents? I know that in an ideal world where everyone followed all of the Church's teaching, there would be no same-sex couples raising kids. But here we are. What does the Church think should be done now? Should the parents split up, for the good of the kids? It's not clear to me that there is a clear path forward for the parents. The path they chose, apparently, was to send their kids to a Catholic school, where they would be taught everything the Church teaches, including that homosexual relationships are against God's law. The diocese is on shaky ground, it seems to me, in suggesting that that choice is a bad one, or one it can't countenance.

Agree, Thomas. It's wrong to denounce love or to require all humans to be at the same point on the sexuality spectrum.There was a pope, Nicholas V, maybe, who told Catholics they were not allowed to pray for the souls of their Pagan ancestors.The law was never rescinded, as far as I know, but it just faded away. The laws against homosexuals will fade away, but in the meantime, it's a mean time.

David, a homosexual sexual relationship can never be transformed. This is not to say that a relationship between two people of the same sex can not be transformed into a Loving Friendship.Nancy,You just contradicted yourself.Why does the Church invite divorced and remarried couples to take part in parish life and attend Sunday Mass? True, if they get an annulment or the original spouse is kind enough to die, they the divorced and remarried couple can marry in the Church. But I would say this is a possibility for the minority of divorced and remarried couples. Yet the bishops do not say divorced and remarried couples should attend Mass only if an annulment is being worked on or the original spouse shows signs of impending death.

"A friend asks: If the children of lesbian parents were tossed from the school, will they be invited not to enroll in religious education and scaramental prep? If not, that is inconsistent. If so, assuming they are baptized, they are being excluded from the sacraments which is a right of the baptized and dependent only on the state of the recipient, not his or her parents. These parents could have a case for the Vatican Signatura."Yep - all sorts of possible complications. In the earlier thread, buried somewhere in the nearly 200 comments, I mentioned that there are Catholic parishes that would not baptize these children, because of their family situation. The implications are far-reaching.Children this young normally wouldn't be eligible for any other sacraments. In theory, as they get older, they are capable of exercising more autonomy. If one of them presented herself for the sacraments of initiation, and it was okay with the parents, then in theory the parish could prepare them and have them receive their sacraments. I think.

The real question here is whether the churchs teaching on homosexuals is wrong.Thomas,Actually, as a gay person who believes the teachings of the Church on homosexuality are wrong, I would disagree with you that that's the real question here. Of course, in my opinion, the Church is wrong in its teachings on homosexuality and other sexual matters as well. But the policy of the Archdiocese doesn't make sense even if one takes a perfectly "orthodox" view of Church teachings on homosexuality. Why would the Church ever shrink form teaching what it believes to be the truth to anybody on the grounds that it might confuse them? The Archdiocese is basically saying, "These lesbian parents are sending their children to a school where they will be taught the truth about homosexuality. In order not to confuse the children, we do not want to teach them the truth. They should find a school where they won't be confused by the truth." It makes no sense.

Should the parents split up, for the good of the kids?Molly,It would seem so, just as I assume divorced and remarried parents who can't get an annulment from their first marriage should separate for the "good" of their children. Thus putting their children through divorce (or the equivalent) twice, instead of once.

"But what counts as amending their ways for same-sex couples who are parents? I know that in an ideal world where everyone followed all of the Churchs teaching, there would be no same-sex couples raising kids. But here we are. "Yep. Theory meets real life."What does the Church think should be done now? Should the parents split up, for the good of the kids? Its not clear to me that there is a clear path forward for the parents. The path they chose, apparently, was to send their kids to a Catholic school, where they would be taught everything the Church teaches, including that homosexual relationships are against Gods law. The diocese is on shaky ground, it seems to me, in suggesting that that choice is a bad one, or one it cant countenance."I don't know what the church would require. (For all we know, they've had meetings and the pastor has told them what they would need to do). It might be something as simple as, 'Do your best to live celibately.'

Grant - excellent observations. Only too clearly shows the inconsistency and downright ridiculousness of AB Chaput's decision. His contorted reasoning is laughable.Actually, a good case could be made that he is violating the church's directives on treatment of gays; he is violating or compromising the rights of catholics who want access to sacraments, religious education, etc. Refer to a recent article at NCR by John Allen: http://ncronline.org/blogs/future-church/after-taliban-catholicism-now-t..., is AB Chaput's decision a version of "Taliban Orthodoxy"? Defined by Allen as: "Taliban Catholicism, then, is an exaggerated allergy to anything that smacks of secularism, liberalization, or corruption by modernity an angry form of the faith that knows only how to excoriate and condemn."Of course, this same Allen subsequently wrote about how AB Chaput is a very 21st century bishop.....guess, he means in the sense of Fox News or Glenn Beck in which the culture wars are the highest priority.Compare this tempest in a teapot with the current sexual abuse crises in Germany, Ireland, Austria, Netherlands, Spain - it will eventually expose all of Europe. It is difficult for me to understand this bishop's stance in light of all of the current events happening in and to the church.

One other thought - AB Chaput is currently one of five bishops investigating the Legionnaires and RC. Given the horrendous crimes, scandal, and damage that is already public knowledge, has AB Chaput made any decisions to close the RC schools in his archdiocese - think of the scandal, potential damage, and mixed messages this sends to us poor catholics - it could confuse us? To restrict or ban RC or Legion of Christ members associated with a known abuser from schools, church, associations - wouldn't that be consistent?As Erasmus said: "Vigourous minds will not suffer compulsion. To exercise compulsion is typical of tyrants; to suffer it; typical of asses!"

From the current Commonweal issue - article by N. Cafardi - although addressing the comparison between Irish and US bishops and handling of abuse, this quote speaks loudly about this dispute in Boulder, CO:"In an article last December in the Irish Times, Fr. Vincent Twomey, a former theology student of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger at Regensburg University and now a retired professor of moral theology at Irelands national seminary, put primary responsibility for the crisis in Ireland on the fact that the Irish hierarchy has in effect produced a self-perpetuating mediocracy. It is the bishops who traditionally propose candidates to Rome, Twomey pointed out, and the process is fraught with politics: bishops particularly powerful in Rome often use their influence to promote sound men (in other words, orthodox), while blocking those who might rock the boat. Such a sterile orthodoxy is as far from the truth of Scripture and Catholic tradition as Marxism is from the true plight of workers, Twomey wrote. It also all but guarantees mediocrity. Incompetence, he concluded, breeds incompetence. This insight applies equally to America, where for generations the churchs episcopal mediocracy bred bishops unwilling to risk fraternal correction. U.S. bishops influential in Rome, meanwhile, typically used their status to cultivate protgs.Pay particular attention to this line: "Such a sterile orthodoxy is as far from the truth of Scripture and Catholic tradition as Marxism is from the true plight of workers"....that is what this decision is - sterile orthodoxy.

The mission of Catholic schools is to give a Catholic education. In Denver, this means making sure that controversial issues do not come up. That's because they don't have enough confidence and are afraid of opening discussions. Their solution is to raise children in a sheltered environment where they are not exposed to anything that might raise difficult questions. A very defensive approach!

Father, I suppose if you had indicated that Catholic schools have the right to enroll Families that support their Catholic mission, I would not have asked my question.

In 19th and 20th century colonial Africa, the opposite policy was the case - missionaries sought to recruit children from families who did not share their faith in order to convert them.

Bill de Haas has it right. Chaput's letter is confident. forceful, and quite muddled. You could drive the proverbial truck through his arguments, as many here have done quite handily. But this, of course will not alter his ability to mandate the approach apparently taken in the "Catholic" schools of his diocese to a delicate but quite common problem, frequently dealt with discreetly and kindly in Catholic schools more concerned with the spritual welfare of the children in their care than in investigating their parents' marital status. The system that put him in place has much to answer for.

Jeremy,Excellent point. If missionaries made sure they never preached anything that would contradict what their listeners' parents taught them, there could never be any converts. A childhood memory. In the neighborhood where I lived through fourth grade, a girl and boy lived down the street who were my primary playmates. One Monday I saw the girl, and she had on her cheek an imprint of a hand so clear that it looked almost as if an artist had drawn it on her face. She had put up an argument when her father -- a construction worker with the build of a football player -- said they weren't going to church that Sunday. He hit her so hard, the image of his hand remained on her face as a bruise. I guess he did not support the mission of the Catholic school we went to. She should have been dismissed from the school until she got a better father.

David Nichol asked: "Is the Church telling same-sex couples who consider themselves Catholic they should not attempt to raise their children as Catholics?" Unless you are talking about the Church in Denver, David, this seems to inflate the significance of one bishop's policy and decisions into something "the Church" does. There are more than a few indications that Archbishop Chaput does not speak for that great big thing, "the Church." He doesn't even speak for the hierarchy.

" He doesnt even speak for the hierarchy."When can we expect to hear from the august body on this subject? Who will speak for this child?

Father Komonchak,I hear what you are saying, and I partially accept your point. But when the Archbishop Chaputs of the Church speak and go unchallenged, they may not be speaking for "the Church," but it certainly appears that they do. In the other thread I quoted from an address by Pope John Paul II on the pastoral care of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. I was struck by how markedly the tone of sympathy and compassion contrasted with the harsh language found in CDF documents about the pastoral care of homosexual persons and about issues such as gay rights legislation and same-sex marriage. And of course we know that not even celibate gay men are now welcome in the priesthood. I hope you will understand why gay people -- celibate or noncelibate -- feel the Catholic Church does not welcome them.

In this particular case, and as far as I know, on this particular issue, there is only one Archbishop Chaput, and why he should be taken to embody "the Church" or even the hierarchy simply escapes me. I don't even think the whole hierarchy should be equated with "the Church," and that a single bishop is being taken to speak for it I think is a profound mistake. This exalts his importance beyond all measure, and, paradoxically, it is his critics who are responsible for this inflation.

A few years ago here in Staten Island a pastor started kicking children out of religious education classes because their families weren't coming to mass. The priest used the bar-codes on the offering envelopes to track their attendance and booted the kids of those who weren't up to par. I'll go into Nexis-Lexis to get the story and find out what his bar was. But he basically said Mass attendance was the foundational part of the Catholic tradition. Grant raised the point about religious ed above. Was this NY priest right or wrong?

So Father Komonchak, are you saying that Catholic schools do not have the right to expect Families to support their Catholic mission?

"Who will speak for this child?Don't hold your breath waiting for a bishop to criticize another bishop, Joe. The bishops didn't even speak for the abused children until the courts forced them to.

Ann, why don't you name the bishops you are referring to and give evidence of the charges you accuse them of. rather than referring to all the bishops?

David, fascinating story. Do both parents have to come where one is not Catholic but has agreed to raising the kids Catholic? Or is one actively Catholic parent enough for the priest in the incident you cite?Nancy, I think the debate is over what the mission of a Catholic school is. Does it exist to evangelize those not already in the fold? Or does it exist to maintain the purity of the faith by booting those who aren't solid with it?

So, Nancy Danielson, what in anything I have said here prompts you to pose your question to me?

Jean, let us not pretend that there is no danger in allowing those who do not support the Mission of Catholic Schools to enroll in those schools or remain in those schools while not supporting the Mission of that school.

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