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Lesbian couple's child barred from Catholic school

It is the teaching of the church to "avoid every kind of unjust discrimination" against those who are gay or lesbian. "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity," according to The Catechism of the Catholic Church.So I don't see how the Archdiocese of Denver or the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Boulder, Colorado can justify their decision to bar a pre-schooler from re-enrolling in the parish school because the child has two moms.But defend it, they do. You can read their justifications here and here.Call it what they may, I don't think their decision to discriminate against this child reflects Catholic values.

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"There are parishes that would not baptize this child, either, because the family situation suggests that there is not a reasonable expectation that this child would be reared in the Catholic faith."Jim, I would disagree with this statement.When a gay or lesbian couple presents their child for baptism, I would assume that child would have an excellent Catholic upbringing--in some ways better than many heterosexual couples. Why?Because that gay couple has stood up to attitudes often prevalent in the gay community against not only Catholicism, but any religion at all. Due to the homophobia of the institutional Church, many gays and lesbian assume that Catholicism is a farce (and can you really blame them?). As a result, for a gay man to state to his friends that he attends Mass often provokes protest. How could you support such a hateful institution? How can you be gay and Catholic? And for a gay couple to decide to have their child baptized is a courageous stance; some of their friends may refuse to attend. Such a couple has made a decision, a conscious choice for the Gospel that most people are not presented with; to remain faithful to the teachings of Jesus in the Catholic tradition despite opposition. They have made a counter-cultural choice, as contrasted with the vast majority of heterosexuals who have their child baptized just because it is the socially acceptable thing to to (I say this because I teach baptismal preparation sessions, so I feel like I know something about this). The witness the gay couple will give to their child is that of a strong, intentional practice of the Faith rather than a passive practice we see so often among our parishioners, who are Catholic mainly by default.Consider someone like Andrew Sullivan. Do you think that if he had a child that child would be raised a strong, committed and well-formed Catholic?

There are a number of different topics here, some touched on previously:-Catholic schools and their mission.In the Charter schools thread I noted an op from Baltimore where the Bishop seemed to indicate an important prioirity was SEVICE. For the Church to show its concern for the poor, providing stability, structure and value orientation (apart from indoctrination) is a work to be done.-In the Chaput thread I noted this matter, and it shows to my mind a very narrow view of passing on the faith by indoctrination by not only the Abp. but his supporters here, notably Kathy and Sean and Ken.Which leads me to where I think this thread should go or be expanded.This event was coupled on CNN Newsroom last night with the Archdiocese of Washington saying it will not privide health care for the xspouses of Catholic Charities workers hired hnceforth due to the council's decsion there to allow gay couples to adopt and no agency is to ban them.Fr. Thomas Reese defended that action as the church protecting itself from political hardball, but he had no defense for what happened in Boulder.I think he's right on the latter - it's a disgrace.On the former, I wondered if meeting hardball with hardball is the Christlike way to speak with clarity.For I think the discussion shoiuld center on how the message of the gospel is presented.I recently enjoyed Fr. Jim Martin writing about how we experience our relationship with Christ and how He meets people where they are.It strikes me that the CXhurch leadership is going in the opposite direction and undemining the message it says it wants to proclaim with clarity.

I thought the Donatists died out a long time ago. Apparently not on this blog or in Denver!

David, do I really need to demonstrate that the archdiocese wants children to live in Christian families that are in full communion with the church? Jim,My point was that the Denver Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students of non-Catholic parents. The admissions policy of the school I quoted didn't even say students must be Christian. I am sure the archdiocese wants all children to live in two-parent Catholic families in full communion with the Catholic Church, but that isn't what's under discussion here. What we are discussing is whether the schools have a policy of excluding students whose parents are not in full communion with the Church. If the Denver schools accept non-Catholic (or even non-Christian) students, then obviously full communion with the Church is not a requirement.

And who knew that relativism reigned on the Catholic right?!

To me this smacks of a petty publicity stunt by the couple, hoping to entangle the school and the Church in this controversy.Ken,You are going beyond the evidence at hand, and you are also going beyond what the Archdiocese says is the reason for not readmitting the student. There is no evidence so far that there was a "lesbian plot" to attack the Catholic Church. There is no evidence that this has all been cooked up by "gay activists."

Sean Hannaway: "The comparison to out of wedlock children is a red herring. This is not about punishment, its about scandal."Could you explain a bit more? Wasn't the pregnant girl in the 50s also about scandal? The school may not have even required it exactly, but everyone at that time agreed that the girl should stay home because it would scandalize the other students, right? As Jim Pauwels points out, no one could ever know if the mother of an out of wedlock child had repented because it would be in confession. Even if she did repent, the child would always be there, which would always be a scandal, right? This is, of course, why church affiliated homes for wayward girls existed. The girls and babies were sent away for some time. There was such a home on what is now the vice president's house at Providence College.I think the analogy worth discussing, even if it is always an analogy.PS I'm happy to say that I affirm and accept all the teachings of the Catholic Church. I do think that Catholic could disagree about this prudential judgment at discussion here.

Cute Goyo, but the matter at hand is in fact worth some thoughful consideration.

David My question remains then; why would anyone want to enrol their child in a school that will routinely and repeatedly teach their child that what routinely goes on in the childs home, namely the lifestyle of the parents, is intrinsically disordered?

My (other) main point David, is that to avoid being dragged into this controversey, it seems the school is prudent to simply not engage this couple or their child.

Our Church's treatment of homosexuals really distresses me. My daughters' Catholic school sent home a flyer last Fall asking parents to call our elected officials to fight some gay marriage legislation. I told my older daughter that I was actually in support of the legislation and was going to call in favor of it. I also told the School Principal that I supported the bill; I felt like I'd be a hypocrit if I just remained silent. Since I now had this political flyer to deal with, I had to tell my daughter that I think our Church is very mistaken on its views on gays, that it is a form of discrimination just as evil as racism. I try to be a good Catholic, but in this instance being a good Catholic conflicts (for me) with being a good Christian, and I need to go with the latter. And I am also very troubled by the distinction some folks are drawing between private and public sin. I am a divorced-remarried Catholic, but because this is a "private" sin (until I just threw it out over the internet) I don't need to deal with the public censure that this lesbian couple does. I think there are a whole lot of us sinners out there, and I would agree with others that if we held that against our children, Catholic Schools would be very empty. The idea of expelling children for the sins of the parent poses another question for me. Would you also deny these children religious education? How about communion?

In what grade do parochial school teachers begin "routinely and repeatedly" talking about "lifestyle" and "homosexuality" and what is "intrinsically disordered"? Are the kids tested on these matters? Is there a teacher's guide for presenting these doctrines? Who publishes it?(It's been many decades since I went through parochial school and Catholic high school without ever once hearing the words abortion, homosexuality, or intrinsically disordered lifestyle.)

Hi, Eric,You may be right that there is something counter-cultural (within a gay community) in a gay couple presenting their child for baptism. Admirable as that is, the pastor still needs to agree, per canon law, that there is a "founded hope" that the infant would be reared in the faith. Clearly, this leaves quite a bit to the discretion of the pastor. I just happen to know, having pursued similar questions with various pastors (although none having to do with a gay couple), that some pastors hold the bar up higher than others.

The comment wasn't intended as cute or glib, Ken. It's a serious thing when moral theology and practice seems to stray so far from the example of Christ.

David My question remains then; why would anyone want to enrol their child in a school that will routinely and repeatedly teach their child that what routinely goes on in the childs home, namely the lifestyle of the parents, is intrinsically disordered?Ken,Do you really think that Denver Catholic pre-schools teach 5-year-olds that lesbian sex is intrinsically disordered?

Ken asks;'My question remains then; why would anyone want to enroll their child in a school that will routinely and repeatedly teach their child that what routinely goes on in the childs home, namely the lifestyle of the parents, is intrinsically disordered?'At a corporate dinner a few years ago one asked another why would she would have a daughter enrolled in a semi-presitigious Catholic HS academy when she so disliked the Catholic church. 'I Tell her not to listen to the religious BS'Lay Catholic teachers can but won't testify to the prevalence of that occuring. A/Bs tune it out and they go about lecturing that the laity are being purposely 'confused' by secular 'elements' [poor dopey laity!]

Mike Harden,I thought being charitable means assuming the best about others.What are the limits on being charitable that you mention?

My (other) main point David, is that to avoid being dragged into this controversey, it seems the school is prudent to simply not engage this couple or their child.Ken,It seems to me there was no controversy until the Archdiocese booted the kid from school. If your conjecture is true that enrolling the child in a Catholic school was some kind of plot on the part of gay activists, then I would say the Archdiocese was wise to put a stop to it. But given what we know so far, that conjecture is based on no evidence whatsoever, and it strikes me as uncharitable.

My question remains then; why would anyone want to enroll their child in a school that will routinely and repeatedly teach their child that what routinely goes on in the childs home, namely the lifestyle of the parents, is intrinsically disordered?Because it's reasonable to assume that no one is going to subject a four- or five-year old kid to a constant, sex-obsessed harangue about his or her parents lifestyle. If such an obsession is not 'intrinsically disordered', what is?Somehow, charity and common sense have flown out the window. Regardless of how this business found its way into the news, the archdiocese's defensive and clumsy response shows a callous disregard for the child as a person. Where have we seen that attitude before?

Still no mention of "gay activists" or of a plot by the lesbian parents.

href="http://www.9news.com/rss/article.aspx?storyid=134102">Parents to start petition after school turns away lesbian couple's child Kevin Torres 5 hrs agoBOULDER - Dozens of parents plan on starting a petition Monday, to protest the Archdiocese's decision to disallow a student to re-enroll at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Boulder because his or her parents are lesbians.Sunday morning, protestors gathered outside Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School.Kira Hall was holding a sign that said "God loves all people" outside the church."I grew up Catholic in a strong Catholic family with six kids, and I'm just deeply, deeply disappointed by the decision of Sacred Heart," she said.Another protestor said she believes barring the student goes against the teachings of the Bible."I have a daughter that goes to school at Sacred Heart," Colleen Scanlan Lyons said. "I've had 16 years of Catholic education, and this just reached the core of my being as completely wrong and against the teachings of Jesus."Some parents are considering taking a full-page ad out in a local paper to blast the Archdiocese's decision. Others say they might pull their kids from Sacred Heart school.Inside the church, Father Bill Breslin explained his decision to his congregation. While he didn't want to speak to reporters, he encouraged people to visit his blog to learn about why he decided bar the student.On his blog, Breslin said, "This past week we implemented a policy that has been the most difficult decision of my life."Breslin also said he "chose to protect the faith over doing what would have looked like the loving thing to do.""Our school is a Catholic school, and our teaching on the sanctity of marriage is as clear as a bell," the blog said. "So, the decision I made was based on my conviction that we needed to rest on the side of backing our beliefs and our values. We need to fight for our Catholic values, because here in Boulder it seems no one else is."The priest said he believes that his church has every right to make these kinds of decisions.You can read the entire blog at: http://www.fatherbillsblog.com/.(KUSA-TV 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

Father Breslin's latest blogpost (thanks David Nickol) is telling in many respects. Some excerpts:"The choice could have been made to do nothing and allow a lesbian couple to enroll their child in our Kindergarten. But that choice would have been against Archdiocesan policy; and when a priest is ordained he promises obedience to his bishop." And if the bishop tells you to...?Or this: "Being disciples of Jesus Christ is very demanding. Yes, being disciples entails adherence to the many examples of Jesus love: love one another as I have loved you; be not the first to throw a stone; judge not lest you be judged. Think of the Good Samaritan story and the Prodigal Son. But when it came to making disciples, He spoke in a different way, a more radical way: unless you take up your cross and follow me, you can have no part of me." Interesting distinction between disciples and...?"I hate the fact that I had to make a choice between being loving and protecting the teachings of the church." Another way of saying this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you...?"The issue is not about our not accepting sinners. It is not about punishing the child for the sins of his or her parents. It is simply that the lesbian couple is saying that their relationship is a good one that should be accepted by everyone; and the Church cannot agree to that. People who are divorced do not say divorce is good. There are no pro-divorce parades. Divorce is a tragedy for everybody."He may want to re-think calling divorce a tragedy for everyone. I know some women whose lives have literally been saved by getting a divorce from abusive husbands. But he's right -- pro-divorce parades aren't nearly as common or colorful as pro-Catholic lesbian parents parades.

"But that choice would have been against Archdiocesan policy; and when a priest is ordained he promises obedience to his bishop.Hmmm. This priest must be the only pastor in the United States who adheres 100% to each and every diocesan policy. Fascinating. Or does he only adhere to the policies he agrees with?

In general parents send their children to Catholc school for security and propriety reasons. 90% or better of students who attend Catholic schools stop attending church when they graduate. Catholic schools were closing in bunches in NY in the early seventies. Then busing came to town and the trend was reversed. Catholic schools, especially grammar and high school, give a nice structure to make like things are happening and conduct nice compulsory liturgy. They do have a social benefit. Whether they produce followers of Christ is doubtful.

The pastor is continuing to dig his grave deeper and deeper:Quote from John O'Malley, SJ: "By the spirit of the council I mean simply general orientations that transcended particular issues. In my book, What Happened at Vatican II, I argue that beneath the particular issues the council dealt withepiscopal collegiality, for instance, and religious libertymore profound and far-reaching issues lurked. I call these the issues-under-the-issues. I ground them in the texts of the council and in that way ground the spirit of the council and give it verifiable substance. Among the issues-under-the issues was style, the issue especially pertinent for grounding the spirit of the council. The council spoke in a new style, a style different from all previous councils. It eschewed words implying punishment, surveillance, hostility, distrust and coerced behavior-modification that characterized previous councils. It employed words that espoused a new model for Christian behaviornot new, of course, to the Christian tradition as such, but new to council vocabulary. I am referring to words like brothers and sisters, cooperation, partnership, human family, conscience, collegiality and especially dialogue. The new words cannot be dismissed as casual asides or mere window dressing. The council used them too insistently, intentionally and characteristically for them to be that. This new vocabulary made the council a major language-event in the history of the church.The shift in vocabulary had profound ramifications. It meant a shift in values and priorities. Critical among these new values was civility in dealing with persons of different faiths or convictions and a willingness to listen to them with docile heart and mind. This civility was not a superficial tactic but a manifestation of an inner conversion. It of course did not mean surrendering ones beliefs, but it did mean a willingness to learn from others and a refusal to condemn them without a hearing. Such openness of mind and heart is the essence of genuine dialogue.The council hoped that this new style of being, which brings with it a new way of proceeding, would lead to cooperation among all persons of good willCatholics and non-Catholics, Christians and non-Christians, believers and non-believerson the new, massive, and sometimes terrifying problems that face humanity today. This new way of proceeding in large part constituted the spirit of the council. It was one of the big messages the council delivered to the church and to the world at large."Compare this to the Denver Archdiocese; the typical approach espoused by AB Chaput, and this pastor.Re-read an article by Daniel Philpott in America Magazine, May 4, 2009 entitled: "Lessons in Mercy" - highlights:Nunca mas! (Never again!) is the dominant answer to the question of justice within the community of human rights activists and international lawyers. Other voices, though, have articulated an alternative approach: reconciliation. They come disproportionately from religious communities and ..... usually embrace human rights. It is only natural that the Catholic Church would take an interest in reconciliation. At the source and summit of Christian life is the Eucharist, the sacramental re-enactment of the event through which sin, evil and death are defeated and friendship with God and justice are restored. Is not peacebuilding an imitation of just this transformation? And does not a global wave of societies struggling to restore justice make the present moment a propitious one for the church to offer a teaching on social reconciliation, just as it has offered teachings on war, economic development and democracy in past encyclicals? Closely related is the biblical notion of peace (shalom or eirene), which connotes a holistic condition of right relationship and of justice. One other biblical concept is essential and may be thought of as reconciliations animating virtue: mercy. As Pope John Paul II described it in Rich in Mercy, mercy is manifested in its true and proper aspect when it restores to value, promotes and draws good from all the forms of evil existing in the world and in man, a broad, transformational virtue that resembles reconciliation. In the first of these practices the social teachings of the church converge most closely with the commitments of the human rights community: building socially just institutions based on the rule of law, human rights and a commitment to economic justice. The relationships between citizens and states that these institutions embody are the very goal of reconciliation in the political realm and should not be compromised by other aspects of reconciliation. Such was the message of the South African black theologians who wrote the Kairos Document in 1985 against fellow church leaders who called for reconciliation while too feebly opposing apartheid.But human rights and the rule of law are not enough, given the numerous wounds of injustice. One such wound is the loneliness and isolation that victims experience when their suffering is unrecognized by the community, a redoubling of the violation itself, as the South African political philosopher Andr du Toit has argued.These are merely excerpts from the point of view of the church's historical and current peace and justice positions. It is difficult for me to relate to this pastor's stance; his comments and tortured explanations compared to the simple statements of church experience that has sought mercy and justice for the disadvantaged, the poor, the marginalized, etc. Many defend the archdiocese's actions - it places rigid law over mercy; it disrupts the community by placing an administrative law above human dignity and the rights of all including practicing catholics. It elevates "scandal" (or at least their appeal to this) above any type of reasonable attempt to forgive, seek mercy, extend a helping hand rather than judgment, rigidity, defensiveness, and condemnation.Or another approach from an article by Rev. Walsh using James Fowler's "Stages of Faith":There are six levels of faith identified by Walsh are briefly explained below in a descending order from 6 to 1. As noted faith development is pretzel shaped so the stages are to be understood as the predominant stage of the person's faith rather than a state which does not allow for further growth.Marathon runner (level 6): Universal Faith Resolution of models: This person has many models of making meaning in life and there is a resolution of the tension between the various models which work in a perfect harmony. Jogging (level 5): Community Faith Many models: This person is able to deal with paradox in life and is able to deal with reality which is not always "eitheror" style but frequently involves "bothand." There is openness to the views and the sensitivities of others. All persons who undertake ministry in the Church must have reached this stage of faith development. Hopping (level 4): Personal Faith One Model: This person has undergone some conversion experience which had resulted in an analysis of faith and realised that there are many ways in which various people can appropriate and personalise their faith. Parade Socialisation (level 3): Searching Fait h Carried by the community: This person follows significant others in the parade in a rather unquestioning and non-judgmental manner. This person is happy in his or her parade and will derive his or her identity from the group. Indoctrination (level 2): Affiliative Faith Carried by the community: This person is formed in-doctrine of the story of the particular faith tradition. Faith is doing and believing what is taught / presented. Vibrations (level 1): Experienced Faith Carried by the community: This person shares the faith experience of her/his parents. God is like a super parent. Basically, this stage should convince the child that life is worth living. A person will not move to the next stage until she or he is faced with a disequilibrium which challenges their present stage of faith and its inability to make meaning of the new experience.The church is at its best when it captures and lives "Both-And" rather than "Either-Or".....think about that.

Fr. Breslin wrote: "But that choice would have been against Archdiocesan policy; and when a priest is ordained he promises obedience to his bishop. ... to which David G. wrote: "And if the bishop tells you to?"... and Eric Stoltz added: "This priest must be the only pastor in the United States who adheres 100% to each and every diocesan policy. Fascinating. Or does he only adhere to the policies he agrees with?"Priests make solemn promises, before God, to obey their bishop. Don't you think he should keep his promises? If we've promised our spouses that we will be faithful, don't you think we should keep those promises? How is this any different?A diocesan priest's ordination and way of life really can't even be understood except in relation to his bishop. Yet it seems that the widely held opinion here is that the priest disregard that duty and identity, and do what y'all want him to do, because ... because ... well, honestly, I don't know why he should do that. Why should he? What's at stake here? Is there some fundamental right or liberty that is being denied here? What's the issue?The scandal in this situation isn't what this guy did, but that far too many of his brothers so lightly disregard those promisees. This guy is abiding by his promises, by taking a position that would be unpopular in a lot of places, but acutely so in Boulder, CO. If any parades are held in this situation, it should be for him.

"What are the limits on being charitable that you mention"Rationality, I suppose. If a man comes up for communion in drag, wearing a rainbow sash and a t-shirt that makes a statement opposing the church's teaching on homosexuality, it would not be uncharitable to refuse him communion, it would be completely rational. Ditto for a homosexual couple bringing their child to school...is it not beyond reason to presume that they are a chaste homosexual couple? A priests can be homosexual, as long as he does not act on his sexual orientation, and we charitably presume he is being faithful to his vow of chastity. But if we see that same priest walking hand in hand with another man, are we really required, in charity, to presume he remains chaste? The responsibility for scandal would rest with the priest acting in this way, as it does for this homosexual couple.

I read somewhere that there was a bullying problem that the school could not resolve. I guess that the child was being bullied by other children because she is raised by a lesbian couple, and that the school was incapable of putting an end to the bullying while maintaining that the gay or lesbian lifestyle is intrinsically disordered. In other words, they do not know how to simultaneously defend the position of the church on homosexuality and also defend homosexuals (or a child connected to homosexuals) from discrimination.Here is the priest's explanation, consistent with that rumor. The issue [...] is simply that the lesbian couple is saying that their relationship is a good one that should be accepted by everyone; and the Church cannot agree to that. [...] By this decision we really want to protect the child and his or her parents from the necessary conflict that their relationship would bring to a clear-seeing and committed Catholic community. The policy of the Catholic school system is also to protect the teachers from being forced [...] to face huge conflicts within the classroom, so they can teach clearly, and also support the family life of the children they are teaching.The archdiocese backs his decision with different, much more sweeping reasoning. It rules out the children of all people living in *open* discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals, so that they do not contaminate the other children with their ideas. As long as the discord is hidden, it seems to be tolerable. What dreadful hypocrisy!

"This priest must be the only pastor in the United States who adheres 100% to each and every diocesan policy. Fascinating. Or does he only adhere to the policies he agrees with"Speaking of uncharitable statements presuming the worst about someone...

This guy is abiding by his promises, by taking a position that would be unpopular in a lot of places, but acutely so in Boulder, CO. If any parades are held in this situation, it should be for him.Jim,I think the question is, "Since when has it been diocesan policy that a child with same-sex parents may not be a student in a Catholic school?" A second question is, "Is this policy consistent with the general admissions policy of the archdiocese for Catholic schools?" A third question is, "Does it make sense to offer as a reason to expel the student that Catholic teaching will be confusing and will be in conflict with what the student learns at home?" I would not fault a priest for obeying his bishop (at least not under these circumstances). But it does seem to be to be a bad policy, so I would fault the archdiocese for making this policy. As I said in a comment on Father Bill's Blog, even looking at this from an "orthodox" Catholic point of view, when has the Church ever claimed it is better for a child to be raised entirely in error ("Go find another school that approves of same-sex marriage") than for the child to hear the truth in Catholic school?

Jim and Mike: I probably assumed too much with that comment. My experience has been that pastors feel pretty free to ignore diocesan policies on many issues -- I've heard priests say they just throw away any letters from the chancery office unopened. Maybe that attitude is not as widespread as I understand. So if this pastor truly follows every diocesan policy to the letter and is carrying out that approach here with heavy heart, then he deserves our sympathy. My comment was made in light of my experience and the experiences of others, but I should have explained the background rather than offering a quick remark.

Rationality, I suppose. If a man comes up for communion in drag, wearing a rainbow sash and a t-shirt that makes a statement opposing the churchs teaching on homosexuality, it would not be uncharitable to refuse him communion, it would be completely rational. Ditto for a homosexual couple bringing their child to schoolis it not beyond reason to presume that they are a chaste homosexual couple?Mike,We know nothing at all about this couple. How did people know they were a "homosexual couple" instead of two women? Do you suppose they smooched in the car when the brought the kid to school? Did they wear t-shirts that said "lesbian couple"? Did they try to recruit other women to become lesbians at PTA meetings? It is interesting the analogies people make. Advocate of polyamorism. Child of a famous and outspoken neo-Nazi. Man in drag with anti-Catholic slogans on his t-shirt trying to receive communion. We have not heard one peep from or about this couple. There is no reason to presume they are doing anything flagrant or outwardly anti-Catholic. As far as we know so far, they were living together discreetly trying to send their child to a good school. Until we here something about them, can we please refrain from turning them into monsters or lesbian activists laying the groundwork for a lawsuit to embarrass the Church?

"My question remains then; why would anyone want to enrol their child in a school that will routinely and repeatedly teach their child that what routinely goes on in the childs home, namely the lifestyle of the parents, is intrinsically disordered?"The answer might be the same as for all the other non-Catholic students the comments have mentioned: because, although the school will not downplay its Catholic orientation, neither will it "routinely and repeatedly teach" Protestants or Muslims that they are inferior, defective, or going to hell. Neither, I would guess, would a normal Catholic school spend a lot of time on how disordered gay people are (and I imagine the good, sweet teachers at my daughter's Catholic school would certainly hedge the answer pastorally if it came up) except for the political inclination of their diocese and its archbishop to make this a front in the culture wars.

Four things we can all agree on:1.It's more than likely the women did this as a publicity stunt--why would the women voluntarily subject the little girl to a teaching the women were fundamentally opposed to?2.Even if the women's intentions were less than noble, that doesn't necessarily mean the school should not admit the child. 3.The divorced parent analogy fails. No woman believes that God made her a divorcee, and that that's a beautiful thing, nor teaches a child that.4.This is not a "no room in the inn" situation--I'm sure there's a public school right down the street that would be happy to accommodate the women's request.Kathy, since you apparently took the cake, would you mind sharing a piece with me?

The divorced parent might not apply, but the single parent one does -- there are lots of single parents by choice with their children in Catholic schools, and they are not singularly regretful. Just like there are lots of parents who are remarried, use contraception, infertility services and so on. The difference is, they can hide and so can safely assume a stance of hypocrisy undetected by the Church's hierarchy. But everyone knows they're there.

I condemn this AB's behavior.Please excuse me while I help Jesus hold his barf bag.

"3.The divorced parent analogy fails. "How about the analogy with people who regularly miss Sunday Mass? Their absence is pretty public, the repetition shows their obstinacy and demonstrates more clearly and more openly than words their open dissent with the Catholic teaching that Mass is not optional. This attitude may also spread and contaminate others; it's definitely a contagious bad example. As the Mass is the source and summit of our faith lives, no dissent is more serious than that. The AB ought to kick out all children whose parents are not regular church-goers.

Posted by Jim Pauwels on March 8th, 2010 at 2:38 pm --- the pastor still needs to agree, per canon law, that there is a founded hope that the infant would be reared in the faith. Clearly, this leaves quite a bit to the discretion of the pastor. Jim: how is this different from any other situation in which parents present their children for baptism? I suspect that in a large number of cases, there is a good reason to doubt that this will happen. In how many of these cases do you think the pastor will refuse baptism? Particularly if the grandparents of the child are good, long-standing, financially contributing members of the parish? Discretion indeed. What is the childs parents are divorced and remarried outside of the church? What is the child was born to a single parent?Yesterday at mass our presider noted that the greatest commandment is not thou shalt obey all the rules. Rather the greatest commandment is about loving God, our neighbors and ourselves.

"Four things we can all agree on:1.Its more than likely the women did this as a publicity stuntwhy would the women voluntarily subject the little girl to a teaching the women were fundamentally opposed to?'Now I know you're not arguing in good faith, Mark, unless you were kidding when you said this. Because, while you do not know anything about the motives of the women, you know for a fact that we can not all agree on #1. I hear my cage being rattled.

"1.Its more than likely the women did this as a publicity stuntwhy would the women voluntarily subject the little girl to a teaching the women were fundamentally opposed to?"The child was a current student in the school, (so s/he was there since last September at least, if not longer). The school didn't reject the original application, but rather chose not to re-enroll the student based on a new diocesan policy. I don't think it was a publicity stunt on the part of the parents.

"A third question is, Does it make sense to offer as a reason to expel the student that Catholic teaching will be confusing and will be in conflict with what the student learns at home? "I don't know the answer to those questions, David. I did want to mention that I see in the archdiocese's statement that the school was looking for a way of resolving the issue that wouldn't mean an abrupt expulsion of the child.

"Jim: how is this different from any other situation in which parents present their children for baptism? I suspect that in a large number of cases, there is a good reason to doubt that this will happen. In how many of these cases do you think the pastor will refuse baptism? Particularly if the grandparents of the child are good, long-standing, financially contributing members of the parish? Discretion indeed. What is the childs parents are divorced and remarried outside of the church? What is the child was born to a single parent?"Hi, Jimmy Mac, as I say, pastors use their judgment in determining these questions. FWIW, my experience has been that being a child of a single parent is never an issue. A good percentage of the babies we baptize live in single-parent homes, and I presume that is typical. If the parents are divorced and remarried, and the pastor is aware of it, then I would think that there a lot of pastors who would not baptize the baby. Others would. Each side would have their reasons.

"As I said in a comment on Father Bills Blog, even looking at this from an orthodox Catholic point of view, when has the Church ever claimed it is better for a child to be raised entirely in error (Go find another school that approves of same-sex marriage) than for the child to hear the truth in Catholic school?"David: I don't say you're wrong. A lot of pastors would probably look at it the same way. Maybe some bishops would, too.

Part of what I see here is that people in general and some American Catholics in particular, simply do not like to be told what to do; they do not like the idea of being obedient to the local bishop or to the precepts of the Catholic Church as outlined by the Pope in Rome. We might have a shortage of priests, but there sometimes seems to be no shortage of popes.Whether anyone likes it or not, Catholic schools expect Catholic parents who want to enroll their kids in Catholic school to be practicing Catholics.Now some people seem to not know what it means to be a practicing Catholic, some prefer to be cafeteria Catholics, and some just play coy and pretend not to know; they seem to prefer a long discussion that ultimately leads nowhere.This is not that complicated a matter.

Four things we can all agree on:1.Its more than likely the women did this as a publicity stuntwhy would the women voluntarily subject the little girl to a teaching the women were fundamentally opposed to?Mark,There is absolutely no reason to conclude this based on the evidence we have so far. If you look through all the news coverage, you will find no statement from the lesbian couple, and virtually no information about them. The child is enrolled in this school this year, but will not be permitted to re-enroll next year. It is not as if the couple tried to enroll their child in school and made a stink when they were turned down. One wonders, of course, why this has become an issue now. As I said, we have no information, so this is just speculation, but it is as informed as your own. It is not difficult to imagine that one or two parents in the parish discovered that two women living discretely in the parish and sending their child to the parish school were a lesbian couple, whereupon they went to the parish or the archdiocese to make a fuss.Once again it is necessary to point out that this child is in preschool, and one doubts that any Catholic preschool teaches 5-year-olds about the evils of same-sex marriage. And, once again, why do non-Catholics go to Catholic schools? If you must believe everything you are taught in Catholic school, or believe everything the Church teaches if you send your children to Catholic school, then the only people who would send their children to Catholic school would be Catholics.

Whether anyone likes it or not, Catholic schools expect Catholic parents who want to enroll their kids in Catholic school to be practicing Catholics.Ken,How do we know the lesbian parents are Catholics? Since Denver Catholic schools allow non-Catholics to enroll in their schools, I am not even sure your statement makes sense. It would mean non-practicing Catholics could not enroll their children in Catholic school, but non-Catholics could enroll their children in Catholic school. Would you approve of a Catholic school that booted children who were practicing Catholics but whose parents were not? Suppose parents had dropped out of the Church but nevertheless wanted their children raised as Catholics, dropped them off at Church on Sunday, and so on. Should those children not be allowed to attend Catholic school?

"people in general and some American Catholics in particular, simply do not like to be told what to do".Indeed. It's kind of funny to watch. French Catholics could not care less. They simply do not pay attention, and priests know that there is no point in telling them what to do.

"One wonders, of course, why this has become an issue now.... It is not difficult to imagine that one or two parents in the parish discovered that two women living discretely in the parish and sending their child to the parish school were a lesbian couple, whereupon they went to the parish or the archdiocese to make a fuss."That was exactly my thought when I first read about it in the Denver blogs and papers! Schoolyard politics can be really harsh.

While a pastor/priest promises obedience (I think we've discussed this before) I thought we agreed it's no t blind obedienc e -qwhich surely subservient Ken suggests.To say they don't know the answer here is coppin gout to the whole issue of how far we're moving from the pastoral and the credible.Mark, your assumptio nof motives betrays how ingrained your own prejudices are.God help us from thej Church of Chaput, Burke, etc!

"Even if she did repent, the child would always be there, which would always be a scandal, right?"Wrong. Illefgitimate people don't give scandal, their parents do. Or others' *take* scandal. The prejudice against the illegitimate is appalling.Jim P. --Thanks for the text from the Catechism. It makes sense as one particular meaning of the term.Ken --You haven't even BEGUN to answer David's question about Protestant children being allowed in Catholic schools.

DavidOK - don't address the hypotheticals - they were simply illustrative.Just answer the question. Is there some public and ongoing behavior by a parent that the Church could consider scandalous enough to not permit a child to attend a Catholic school? Anything at all?Frankly, if you don't think there is anything then I can accept your indignation. If there is, then your concern for the child is just another way to attack the Church's teaching on homosexuality.

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