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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.

About the Author

Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009).

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Do they apply it across the board -- i. e. by not accepting any children born out of wedlock or whose parents are not validly married in church eyes?

It seems to me that by the logic of the Archdiocese, they should exclude any student who has a gay family member or friend. I they don't want to teach a child that his or her gay parents are "bad," then they shouldn't want to teach a child that his or her gay brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or best friend is bad. When I read the reasoning of the Archdiocese, I said to myself, "Oh? And what is the real reason?" I wonder, by the way, what the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese teach their pre-schoolers about same-sex marriage? What is their pre-school sex-education curriculum? Catholic schools accept non-Catholic students without concern that they have to water down what they teach. I don't see why they can't accept a pre-schooler with same-sex parents.Of course, we shouldn't use the words "bigotry" or "homophobia" here lest we hurt anyone's feelings, because no doubt they love gay people and accept them with "with respect, compassion, and sensitivity." This brings to mind the lines from Tom Lehrer's National Brotherhood Week:It's fun to eulogizeThe people you despise,As long as you don't let 'em in your school.

File a law suit on behalf of a child not capable of stating his sexual orientation. It will prove blatant discrimination and disgraceful prejudice.

I really don't know how to respond. It is a sad, sad situation. It is amazing to read the Orwellian speak in Father Bill Breslin's homily.

"Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment.""...in open discord" is the key phrase here that distinguishes this situation of a publicly homosexual couple bringing their adopted child to Catholic school versus the examples cited for comparison such as "children born out of wedlock or whose parents are not validly married in church eyes". The latter is in no way as public a scandal as a homosexual couple, which by definition is living in open discord with Church teaching. I think there may also be a difference in intent: someone with a child born out of wedlock or not married in the church may be working assiduously to correct that situation, if their immoral situation has been made known to them. But a homosexual couple, by definition, have no intention to correct their immoral situation. On the contrary, their very relationship is a public reproof to Catholic teaching.At our Catholic school, we had a lesbian teacher. No problem, it's not as if she indoctrinated her third graders regarding her sexual orientation. But later, when her partner was also employed by the school, and they came to school in the morning in the same car, it crossed the line into open discord with Church teaching which made employment of both a public scandal for the Church. There was a substantive difference between the one teacher not in "open" discord and the couple, which could not help but be in "open" discord with Church teaching.It's hard not to avoid the tu quoque here: if this couple were denied admission to a Muslim school for the same reason, would we be reading about their "rights" being denied? Or would we be hearing about how the couple were intolerant in trying to impose their personal views against the tenets of Islam?

This is so sad. And I believe news like this makes the Church and the Gospel much less credible to people. I am assuming Chaput's hand is in this?

This statement does seem like a step into the unknown:"To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching."What does this say about all the non-Catholic kids in Catholic schools, often from difficult family situations? To shut down all Catholic schools in inner-cities, for example, and keep them the preserve of mass-going suburbanites (who keep their discords closeted) portends a radical transformation of Catholic education in the U.S.

Catholic schools are closing left and right. [maybe not right!] I am old enough to remember when getting into a Catholic school was an exercise in manipulation and 'pull'. The closings now are due to low enrollment in almost all cases, and this should give someone a clue that so called 'Catholic values' are not 'playing' well to the so called 68 million Catholics. I would like to hear why the same sex couple want to send their child to Catholic school! And whatever happened to 'here comes everybody' and JPII's 'take them as they are', They should be in any revision of the catechism.

The parish handled this quietly and privately, right? And now it's drummed up into a banner cause by gay-rights activists, with a poor little kid caught in the middle. Somehow I'm not feeling the compassion of the "tolerance" people, here.

"The closings now are due to low enrollment in almost all cases, and this should give someone a clue that so called Catholic values are not playing well to the so called 68 million Catholics."I would think today's $6000-10,000 annual tuition rate per child has a lot more to do with it than any conjectural rejection of Catholic values. One has only to look at the waiting lines for Catholic school tuition grants to see the desire for Catholic education (whether parents seek doctrine or discipline). Falling enrollment is purely an economic issue."I would like to hear why the same sex couple want to send their child to Catholic school"An excellent observation. Is this couple involved in homosexual activism? Trolling for a lawsuit? One would almost prefer that, rather than think there might be such complete cluelessness regarding Church teaching on the intrinsic disorder of homosexual acts.

What is the mission of a Catholic school? Historically in the US, Catholic schools were established as a kind of parallel school system, in large part to counter Protestant/anti-Catholic teaching that was taking place in the public schools. Thus the mission was to provide education and Catholic formation to the Catholic community. Seen in that light, I do think the archdiocese's explanation makes sense - it is defensible to expect families to abide by Catholic teachings in faith and morals.But ... What we've seen in Chicago, and I'm sure in other urban areas, is that the missions of at least some schools has changed, often in response to shifting demographics. Parishes often provide social services to non-Catholics, and many enrollees in the schools are non-Catholics - because the schools are better academically, the environment is safer and more supportive, and parents like the Christian moral formation that is provided. What expectations can the school have for non-Catholic families? Clearly, not an expectaiton that the parents be in full communion with the church. Yet does that mean that there are no expectations whatsoever?It would be interesting to know why the parents want to send this child to a Catholic school.

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.

It's a PRESCHOOL, sometimes known as a DAYCARE CENTER. My husband's church runs a preschool and many of the people who send their kids there are not involved in any church (and yes, they've had kids with two mommies and two daddies). As if lesbians couldn't be believers. It's a good thing for Catholics and the Catholic Church in the U.S. that contraception is a private matter. That way the majority can never be called out for their own sins even as they are complicit in the hypocrisy that calls out others for theirs.

The fact is that Catholics who want to enrol their kids in Catholic school need to be practicing Catholics living in accordance with Church teaching.Cohabitating (un-married) parents choose to disqualify their kids from enrolment in Catholic school, as do divorced-remarried Catholics. Likewise, a homosexual couple disqualifies their child from enrollment in Catholic school.In any case, why would one want to enrol their child in a school that teaches that what is going on at home is immoral? The normal course is for parents to prefer a school that reflect their family values.As such, sadly, this is most likely a stunt to gain publicity, with the parents using the child for their own activist aims.Sigh -

Barbara - Catholic schools view preschools as kindergarten was viewed when I was a tot: as a way for the child and the family to enter the school community. It isn't just babysitting.

Jim, a daycare center isn't just babysitting, so what? The notion that Catholic schools are going to expel all students whose parents aren't practicing Catholics is simply inconsistent with the status quo over the last 30 years, and, basically, isn't going to happen. Are they expelling the remarried and single parents whose children are in the school and if not why not? But as usual, Kathy takes the cake. It's amazing how reflexively we cling to privacy for things that would be embarrassing or diminish our influence. One doesn't have to think too deeply to see how destructive this tendency is for the church.

Again, I think we need to look very hard at these questions: what is scandal and why is "gving scandal" wrong? And what is it to "give" scandal? Also, which word is used in Scripture? What does it mean there? Then we need to consider carefully how it should be handled prudentially, which, of course, can be different in different cases. I'm quite sure the parents should not be called "bad". "Mistaken" is a good substitute at times, I'm sure. "Mistaken" also judgeth not the consciences.of the individuals involved, whether parent, principal, priest or prelate.(For Lent could those inclined to use the term "lies" please use the phrase "is mistaken" or even "misses the mark" instead? It would cool tempers a lot. In most cases I suspect they would also be closer to the truth.)

Mike Harden,Could you explain why you don't think a child being born out of wedlock is "public"? If you look at the pre-Vat II church, or just ask anyone over 50, you will find that unmarried pregnancy was considered something that needed to be veiled. For example, my dad's classmate in the 50s became pregnant and had to leave catholic school. I think this happened in public school also.Also, if you are going to give the benefit of the doubt to unwed parents as trying to rectify the situation, how can you not give the same benefit to a gay couple? Maybe they are thinking of living chastely in the future?

Or maybe they are living chastely now. Or have always lived chastely as "roommates." How does anyone know, anymore than they know whether the married couples in their midst are using "intrinsically disordered" means of contraception?

"things that would be embarrassing or diminish our influence"--Barbara, I have no idea whatsoever what is meant by this vague expression.

Kathy, Reread your first comment. The notion that privacy is meant to protect the child here, that's what it's in reference to.

The parish handled this quietly and privately, right? And now its drummed up into a banner cause by gay-rights activists, with a poor little kid caught in the middle. Somehow Im not feeling the compassion of the tolerance people, here.Kathy,I have read several news accounts, and none mention "gay activists." Where did you get the notion that "gay activists" are involved? I see that web site of America magazine is looking askance at this development. Are Paul Moses of Commonweal and Fr. Jim Martin of America "gay activists"? School staff members are "disgusted." Are they "gay activists"?

Gay couple's child denied re-enrollment at Catholic schoolBOULDER - A preschool student at a Catholic school in Boulder will not be allowed to return next school year because of what is going on at home.The student's parents are two women and the Denver Archdiocese says their homosexual relationship violates the school's beliefs and policy.According to teachers at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, a meeting was held Tuesday to discuss the issue. The staff was told a student would not be allowed to re-enroll because of his or her parents' sexual orientation. The staff members were also told not to talk to the media.In a statement sent to 9NEWS, the Archdiocese said, "Homosexual couples living together as a couple are in disaccord with Catholic teaching."According to the Archdiocese, parents who enroll their kids at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School are expected to follow the Catholic Church's beliefs."No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school's philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese," the statement said.Because this student's parents are homosexual, the Archdiocese says they were in clear violation of the school's policy.School staff members, who asked to remain anonymous, say they are disgusted by the Archdiocese's decision.One employee said she could not believe a student will have to suffer because of his or her parents' sexual orientation.The Archdiocese also told 9NEWS, "Parents living in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their actions to disqualify their children from enrollment."Staff members said they were not allowed to discuss the decision after it was made. Some of them said they were disheartened to work at a school that preaches peace and love, but also makes this decision.According to legal experts, it is legal for the Archdiocese to deny a student enrollment because of the school's policy.(KUSA-TV 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

Does this incident perhaps highlight the lack of a common mission and purpose among Catholic schools? Should Catholic schools take all comers and see their schools as a form of evangelization? Or should Catholic schools be Catholic-only enclaves where kids can be raised in the faith without confusing outside influences? I think there's a case to be made on both sides.I will say that my son's preschool experience at a Catholic school clinched our desire to convert. Conversion didn't "take" for me, but my son will be confirmed this Sunday (prayers, please!) and Raber is still flipping those fillets at the fish fry on Fridays and leaving Ron Rolheiser columns in strategic places in hopes I'll find my way back.It would be interesting, instead of getting all knee-jerky here, to think about what the school gains and loses by rejecting this child. Or, perhaps more important, what the child has gained or lost.

The fact is that Catholics who want to enrol their kids in Catholic school need to be practicing Catholics living in accordance with Church teaching.Ken,How do you explain the fact that Denver Catholic schools accept non-Catholic children of non-Catholic parents?

Interesting comments under the articles linked in the opening post. I wondered about the same thing this poster asked:"What is the school's plan for dealing with . . . children whose parents utilize birth control..."

It would be interesting, instead of getting all knee-jerky here, to think about what the school gains and loses by rejecting this child. Jean,From what we know so far, it wasn't the decision of the school not to let the child return. It was the decision of the Archdiocese of Denver. And who is the Archbishop? Chaput.

"Jim, a daycare center isnt just babysitting, so what?"I thought you were arguing that preschool somehow wasn't really full-blown Catholic school, Barbara. If that wasn't your point in saying, "Its a PRESCHOOL, sometimes known as a DAYCARE CENTER. My husbands church runs a preschool and many of the people who send their kids there are not involved in any church" then I apologize for misunderstanding you.

"Again, I think we need to look very hard at these questions: what is scandal and why is gving scandal wrong? And what is it to give scandal? "Hi, Ann, in faith-and-morals discussions, the word "scandal" has a different definition than the common one. Here is how the Catechism defines it:"2284. Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense."I don't believe "scandal" (in this sense) is the issue in this case.

Jim,What do you suppose Catholic preschools teach children about same-sex marriage that would confuse a 5-year-old with two mommies?

Think of the prior blog post about this AB and his parish. AB Chaput is too busy talking to the Baptist ministers of Houston and excoriating the memory and history of President Kennedy. Let's see - one of his Houston statements is that abortion is the "foundational" pro-life issue.He seems to need a refresher course on what the gospel imperatives are? Me thinks he picks and chooses like any good cafeteria catholic.Embarrassing.

"Could you explain why you dont think a child being born out of wedlock is public?It's not the public nature of the bastard child, but whether his mother understands the immorality that led to an unwed birth and is seeking now to ameliorate the situation through all available means. A homosexual couple is simply, by definition, not seeking to amend their way of life."Or maybe [the homosexual couple] are living chastely now. Or have always lived chastely as roommates. How does anyone know?"That's quite a stretch there, well beyond the requirements of charity, at least insofar as this debate goes. If they were intent upon amending their immoral lifestyle, the very first thing to do would be to cease living together as a couple, chaste or not, because of the obvious scandal.

"Are they expelling the remarried and single parents whose children are in the school and if not why not? "Barbara: by "single" you mean "born out of wedlock", yes? Is that a sin? Usually. Is there a remedy? Yes - confess the sin and receive absolution. Problem solved.I assume "remarried" is shorthand for "previously married and then remarried without getting the previous marriage(s) annulled". Is that a sin? Yes. Is there a remedy? Possibly: get the previous marriage(s) annulled, and then get the current marriage blessed by the church. If that is done, problem solved. If it isn't done, then that could be a problem in Denver, per their policy. Btw, I think a lot of parents do take the divorced-and-remarried teaching seriously, and do leave the church over it, and do pull their children out of the school because they're no longer part of the church. Children leave Catholic schools every year for all sorts of reasons, and that is one. On the other hand, many parents would view switching schools as disruptive to the child and so might try to keep the marital circumstances unknown to the archdiocese.

"What do you suppose Catholic preschools teach children about same-sex marriage that would confuse a 5-year-old with two mommies?"Hi, David, I have no idea what is taught in their preschool, but I'd be surprised if they get to same-sex marriage. Several of my children attended a Christian (non-Catholic) pre-school, and the theology curriculum was along the lines of, "Jesus loves you". But as I mentioned to Barbara, the expectation is that you enroll your child in Catholic preschool because you want them to go through all of the grades to graduation; and that you become a member of a Christian community (the "school family"). So there are other dimensions to it.

'It would be interesting to know why the parents want to send this child to a Catholic school'Well some of the poster here speculated that this is a homosexual agenda 'trolling for law suits'. talk about suburban paranoia!Too bad these posters probably don't live in an urban areas as they would have to assume that thousands of these gays are 'trolling lawsuits' by attending Mass every Sunday.My take is that too many Catholics believe secret sin is OK and that's why they are willing to pony up a few billion dollars to cover-up abuse. I remember way back when that used to be called hypocracy. The Scarlet Letter is alive and well in Denver.

This is again one of those circumstances when full disclosure would help the conversation.It seems to me, if not disengenuous, at least a little confusing for people who outright reject the Church's teachings on homosexuality to cherry pick one line from the catechism regarding that teaching as a basis for criticism. If you want to discuss whether this is unjust discrimination as described in the catechism, you have to make that judgment in the context of the Church's teachings on sin, family, justice, and scandal. People ought to say whether they reject the Church's teaching before they criticize the implementation of it - it at least puts the argument in context. I mean, if you believe it would be OK to have openly lesbian priestesses, then of course this situation is a problem.JCThe comparison to out of wedlock children is a red herring. This is not about punishment, it's about scandal.For those railing against the Archdiocese of Denver, what about these hypotheticals -The child of parents who weekly stand outside Catholic Churches passing out anti-Catholic leaflets.The child of an outspoken advocate of polyamorism.The child of a famous and outspoken neo-Nazi.Is the principle involved that every child be included regardless of concerns over scandal? Or is it just that this particular situation doesn't scandalize you, and if it scandalizes other Catholics, then that's their problem.

Let me say something else: I just commented that the church (mercifully) provides remedies for situations like being born out of wedlock and having remarried-but-unannulled parents. That comment may suggest that, to "qualify" for Catholic school, you just need to jump through the right hoops.Of course, it's much deeper than that. The expectation of the Denver archdiocese seems to be that children live in Christian families that are in full communion with the church. That is the end that they are trying to foster. Getting a Catholic education is another means to that end.The hoop-jumping that I described is part of the process of remaining in full communion, right? We try, but we sin; but our sins don't bar us from the church; instead, the church provides a way for us to reconcile.Surely there is a remedy for the two parents of this child, as well, but probably it wouldn't be a simple one. Presumably it would mean the two parents recognizing that their way of life is sinful, and changing it (at the very least, no longer cohabitating), and resolving to live chastely in the future. Again, with the goal of fostering a Christian family that is in communion with the church.

But as I mentioned to Barbara, the expectation is that you enroll your child in Catholic preschool because you want them to go through all of the grades to graduation; and that you become a member of a Christian community (the school family). So there are other dimensions to it.Jim,What about non-Catholic children of non-Catholic parents attending Denver Catholic schools? Are they not being taught something other than their parents teach them at home? Wouldn't they be confused as to why their parents are not Catholic, or why they don't convert? We know nothing about the lesbian parents, but if they are Catholics who dissent on the idea of same-sex marriage and want their child to be raised Catholic, aren't they more nearly Catholic than the non-Catholic parents who send their non-Catholic children to Denver Catholic schools?

"Its not the public nature of the bastard child, but whether his mother understands the immorality that led to an unwed birth and is seeking now to ameliorate the situation through all available means." Are the fathers of "bastard" children required by Church teaching to acknowledge (legitimatize) their children and support them, and "to ameliorate the situation through all available means"?"I am assuming Chaputs hand is in this?" Are Opus Dei members, including popes, archbishops, Supreme Court Justices, et al., required to obey their directors in all matters?

The comparison to out of wedlock children is a red herring. This is not about punishment, its about scandal.Sean,The explanation by the Archdiocese says nothing about scandal. It says that a child of same-sex parents would be confused and might think the Church was teaching that their same-sex parents are "bad." The Archdiocese seems to be saying (from its point of view) that it is better for a child to be raised to believe error than for the child to learn one thing at home and learn the truth at school. It is a curious position.

For those railing against the Archdiocese of Denver, what about these hypotheticals -Sean,We are not dealing with your hypotheticals. It may seem to you that a child having lesbian parents is equivalent to a child having outspoken Nazi parents, but not everyone believes that lesbians are as fearful as Nazis.

"What about non-Catholic children of non-Catholic parents attending Denver Catholic schools? Are they not being taught something other than their parents teach them at home? "David - good questions - in fact, I raised them myself in a previous comment :-). I don't know the answer for Denver. I'd think, though, that Denver disapproves of a gay couple cohabitating whether they are Catholic or not, so I'd think that the standard would be the same regardless of the church the couple belongs to.

Jean said: It would be interesting, instead of getting all knee-jerky here, to think about what the school gains and loses by rejecting this child. David N replied: From what we know so far, it wasnt the decision of the school not to let the child return. It was the decision of the Archdiocese of Denver. And who is the Archbishop? Chaput.Jean comments: My original question was whether this issue might sprinboard into a larger discussion about the mission of Catholic schools, not Archbishop Chaput's policies specifically. Since that's not an angle anyone seems inclined to pursue, I'll butt out.

"if they are Catholics who dissent on the idea of same-sex marriage and want their child to be raised Catholic, arent they more nearly Catholic than the non-Catholic parents who send their non-Catholic children to Denver Catholic schools?"Wouldn't "if they are Catholics who dissent ..." be an example of a hypothetical? :-)

The expectation of the Denver archdiocese seems to be that children live in Christian families that are in full communion with the church.Jim,Demonstrate this, please.Here's an excerpt from the Admissions Policy of Good Shepherd Catholic School in Denver:

GOOD SHEPHERD CATHOLIC SCHOOL ADMISSION POLICY First priority will be given to siblings of current Good Shepherd students. (Preschool through 8th Grade) Second priority will be given to active, registered parishioners in good standing* of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Third priority will be given to non-active, registered parishioners of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Fourth priority will be given to all other families.

I dont see how the Archdiocese of Denver or the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Boulder, Colorado can justify their decision . . .You "don't" see, or you won't see?As for Kathy's point (11:04), it is rather curious that such a couple would really want their child to go to a Catholic school. The teaching of the Catholic Church is extremely clear, and the position of the Archdiocese of Denver is especially well known. So why would this couple want their child going to a school that teaches against what they believe and has by their compatriots been called anti-gay and homophobic??Perhaps because they did not really want their child going to such a school. Perhaps because this was always a scam, an excuse to rail against the Church and have protest marches and have all the usual suspects once again spew their contempt for the Church.Make no mistake -- the same things will happen in D.C. Those hostile to the Church will go out engage in the same kinds of farces, fraudulently creating opportunities to attack the Church on such false charges of injustice.

Jean - FWIW - I also mentioned the angle of the mission of Catholic schools. The comments are flying so fast and furious right now that maybe people will return to this later.

I wrote: "The expectation of the Denver archdiocese seems to be that children live in Christian families that are in full communion with the church."... to which David N. replied: "Demonstrate this, please. Heres an excerpt from the Admissions Policy of Good Shepherd Catholic School 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? At any rate, the archdiocese's mission is not the same as a school's admissions policy, although we'd hope there is some relation between the two. But the archdiocesan statement linked in the original post (which, for some reason, I'm not able to highlight in order to copy and paste here) gives grounds for my supposition which you quoted. That link contains a further link to the mission of the archdiocesan school system (also unpasteable, at least for me). For further evidence, cf Matthew 28:19-20, I suppose.

"A protest was being organized for this morning outside the church associated with a Catholic preschool in Boulder that told a lesbian couple their child could not re-enroll because of their lifestyle."--Denver Post(Did the preschool use the word "lifestyle", or is that the Denver Post's interpretation?)

D - How do you explain the fact that Denver Catholic schools accept non-Catholic children of non-Catholic parents?Well David, before enrolling their non-Catholic children in Catholic school, non-Catholic parents are properly informed that while their child will not be forced to attend mass or force-fed Catholicism, that because the school is a Catholic school, certain Catholic notions will be reinforced.Of course (for example) it is no scandal for a practicing Muslim couple to send their child to a Catholic school (or vice versa for that matter). However the Muslim parents will be told that the curriculum will reflect a Catholic world view, for example; while Catholic social teaching will be routinely discussed, the Koran will not be central.Now, how reasonable is it for a lesbian couple wanting to enrol their child in a school that teaches that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered, which is to say that the child will routinely and repeatedly be told his or her parents are living an intrinsically disordered lifestyle?Imagine if they allowed the child of this lesbian couple to attend. How long would it be until the couple begins complaining that by promoting a Catholic worldview; the school in effect is setting the child against the lifestyle of the parents? When that happens, of course the lawyers arrive and the money flows. At that point would you think the school should abandon pointing out that the Church views homosexual lifestyle as intrinsically disordered? Would the school have the right to teach a Catholic view or the world?I guess that is the question.To me this smacks of a petty publicity stunt by the couple, hoping to entangle the school and the Church in this controversy.As such it seems the school is correct to avoid the problem by simply not engaging this couple.

How very helpful it would be if a site that purports to be Catholic would make a good faith effort to learn and understand Catholic teaching so that they might explain and defend that teaching to the world, which is a part of their Confirmation obligation to be a witness to the world, rather than looking for excuses for them to tell us once again how crappy the Church and her teachings are, and how the bishops and other shepherds are always wrong and unjust and evil.

"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.

AnnAs for non-Catholic children being accepted in Catholic schools, my experience has been that the parents must sign a document stating that they understand that Catholic practices and values are taught in the school, and they can't complain about it. At least that's how my kid's school handled it.

As an old logic teacher who had to deal constantly with necessary relationships, I suddenly feel the urge to do something creative. I want to name a very common new fallacy, one which appears here quite often. I'll call it "the fallacy of supposing x". To commit this fallacy is to invent possible explanations of historical facts and then assert that the inventions are actually true. First the fallacious thinker makes such assertions as "what if they really meant x", "doesn't it makes sense to suppose that y", and "you'd be naive not to think that z", and then the inventor/ thinker asserts all these pure suppositions are true. Or maybe the fallacy should be called "the fallacy of imagined evidence". In some cases it might also be called "the sin of making things up about somebody".

"If you look through all the news coverage"David--My point exactly.

Sean -- Your kids school sounds like it has a wise administration. Would that this applied to the lesbian couple in Denver.I must admit that given the narrative so far, it is possible that the Denver child was being subjected to bullying. If this was so (I said IF, Ken), then the problem is the bullying (a very common one these days), and not the lesbian parents. But we don't know the whole situation, so we can't judge fairly. If it is a problem with bullying, then why doesn't the pastor say so?

"Now I know youre not arguing in good faith, Mark, unless you were kidding when you said this." Mark, there was a question attached to item 1.--can you answer it?

"there was a question attached to item 1.can you answer it?"My family recently moved to a new town. My daughter had previously been in a very good public school. When we got here, we toured all the school options: public, private, parochial. We were impressed by the way everyone treated each other with respect in the Catholic school, we liked the fact they prayed for each other in the morning, said grace before meals, talked about faith. We liked everything about the place better than the others, even apart from specifically religious education. One would not have to be 100% in agreement with every aspect of Roman Catholic doctrine to believe that was the best school option for our daughter, even if one were not Roman Catholic oneself.As I said in a previous comment, my daughter's school does not downplay its commitment to Roman Catholic teaching, but the teachers are, as far as I can tell, humane and loving -- non-Catholics are not reminded constantly of their differences and, if the issue comes up, I'm sure they deal with it in a pastorally caring way. I assume the same would be true if the issue of gay parents came up. The real subtext of all of this conversation has been that the diocese in Colorado is treating homosexuality differently from other issues because they want to make a political point; they seem to have a higher commitment to being culture warriors than Christian educators.But the upshot of my comment here is that it's not hard for me to imagine parents who are not Roman Catholics choosing in good faith a parochial school for their child because of the other values parochial schools sometimes embody. Maybe they're *not* activists, and they love their child more than they love this debate.

"The real subtext of all of this conversation has been that the diocese in Colorado is treating homosexuality differently from other issues because they want to make a political point; they seem to have a higher commitment to being culture warriors than Christian educators."So, remind me again, who is divining nefarious motives in others?

The Catholic Tea Party scores a hundred posts again with another 'action'. What was the timing of the child's dismissal? Where does A/B Chaput give his next talk? What's next?

There have been many interesting comments here so far, and I want to thank David Nickol for updating with new developments. In starting the thread, I noted that The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls for compassion and sensitivity toward homosexuals. This passage in the Catechism isn't an isolated remark, either, for a similar approach is urged at greater length in a pastoral letter of the U.S. Catholic bishops, by individual bishops and elsewhere in authoritative church teachings. In other words, it doesn't undermine the church teaching on the sanctity of marriage or the objective wrong of sex outside marriage to offer respect and compassion to those who are lesbian or gay. It doesn't undermine these teachings to treat the young child of a lesbian couple with dignity and sensitivity. I don't see that the pastor of Sacred Heart or his boss at the Archdiocese of Denver have come to grips with this aspect of church teaching. How should these different sides of church teaching be weighed?

I don't see any evidence that the pastor or Cardinal treated anyone in an undignified or insensitive manner. Unless, of course, they went to the press with this as part of a cheap publicity stunt. But who here believes that?

Fun fact: the blogroll on the website of the the Boulder pastor lists as its very first link dotCommonweal.http://www.fatherbillsblog.com/heart/

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?Sean,Unless I have missed it, the parish and the archdiocese have not approached this as a matter of scandal. The archdiocese does say

To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching.

However, Catholic schools in the archdiocese accept non-Catholic students, so I am baffled by that statement. The argument they keep coming back to is that it would confuse a student with same-sex parents to be taught in Catholic school that the Church disapproves of homosexual relationships. The child might think the Church is teaching that the parents are "bad." But that is the position of the Church, and they certainly don't hesitate to hammer away at it in the media, where children of same-sex parents can hear it. It simply doesn't make sense to me for the Church, which claims to have the truth, to say that these parents are in error, so the child should be put in a school that accepts same-sex marriage. By the way, speaking of confusion, my mother was Catholic but my father was not. He had been in some obscure Protestant sect, but he never went to church. I remember asking my mother if my father would go to hell. My father didn't "live in accord with Catholic teachings." Perhaps I should not have been allowed to attend Catholic school.Regarding your question about scandal, which I don't think is relevant here, I am having a difficult time imagining a scenario in which the behavior of parents, no matter how notorious, should result in a 5-year-old child not being permitted to attend a Catholic school. If the parents were notorious neo-Nazis (to use your example), and the 5-year-old came to school spewing racist remarks and talking about white supremacy, I would have no problem expelling the child. But as long as the child is well behaved, I don't see why it should be rejected because of the bad behavior of its parents. Suppose the father is a convicted serial killer and is in prison for life. Should his children not be allowed to go to Catholic school? I don't want to give anyone any ideas, but has a bishop ever forbidden a Catholic pro-choice politician to send his or her children to Catholic school?

According to one local paper, the women have been members of the parish for several years; maybe that's why they want to send their son to the school. From the quotes in the local papers, many in their school community actually seem to be pretty supportive of the family. Though other parents in the school must know this family, nowhere in the press have I seen them named, so a lot of people must be protecting the family's privacy. I think these were just two women minding their own business, going to church and raising their child, who have been thrown into a huge public controversy that they neither sought nor desired. People talk a lot about whether this action hurts the child; I find myself feeling really sorry for the mothers. This rejection by their Church has to hurt them deeply.

Mark asks, "So, remind me again, who is divining nefarious motives in others?"A fair cop. You're right. Thanks. But I did answer your question, which was "why would the women voluntarily subject the little girl to a teaching the women were fundamentally opposed to?" To summarize: maybe "Lesbian" isn't all there is to say about them, either as people or as parents, and they love their child and trust the teachers in this school to act lovingly themselves.

PaulI believe you are taking the commitment to treat homosexual people with respect and dignity and expanding it in a way that makes it the equivalent of absolute acceptance of the bahavior. Treating someone with respect and dignity does not always involve accepting his or her behavior has no consequences. In fact, I would argue that ignoring what you believe is objectively sinful is disrespectful. Would it be more respectful and dignified to wait 5 or 6 years and have the child sit through a lecture on the sinfulness of her "parents" behavior? Or is the answer that the Church should just dummy up about that teaching lest they offend someone?

Sean,Let's say there is a married couple in the parish with children in the school. The husband beats his wife. She divorces him, much to the relief of everyone who knows her, and remarries outside the Church. She stops attending Mass, but she wants her children to be raised Catholic, so she leaves them in the school, drops them off at church every Sunday, and so on. Should the children be expelled from school?

In the 80 or so intervening messages since I visited last someone may have mentioned this, but I don't recall anything in the Catechism requiring Catholics to shun children for their parents' sins, however egregious others might perceive them to be (no, not even the sins of famous Nazis, mass murderers, or people who let their dogs bark all night).Nor do I see anything that says an innocent child's presence in the school would bring any sort of scandal on the Church. If this was a publicty stunt, then the policy played directly into its hands. The image of a bishop slamming the door on a small child because her parents are considered sinners and would bring scandal onto the Church is somewhat cringe-making, especially given the way some bishops gave passes to pedophiles in the past.

"To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching."-------------------------------In the 19th century, when congregations of nuns from Europe were establishing themselves in this country, they supported themselves and their free schools by charging tuition at their "select" schools. They advertized in newspapers for students, assuring non-Catholic parents that their daughters would not be required to attend religion classes or religious services.They were successful at drawing girls from liberal Protestant and Jewish families. (This was one of the reasons Nativists "investigated" and burned convents and poisoned nuns' wells.)Even in the mid-20th century, there were Protestant and Jewish students in schools conducted by women religious. Apparently this has changed, and children from families who do not "live in accord with Catholic teaching" are no longer welcome.

"Treating someone with respect and dignity does not always involve accepting his or her behavior has no consequences. In fact, I would argue that ignoring what you believe is objectively sinful is disrespectful."I strongly agree with this. In that regard, I thought the pastor's dichotomy "loving/obedient" was unfortunate; the archdiocese's policy *is* the loving response to what it is confronted with." Would it be more respectful and dignified to wait 5 or 6 years and have the child sit through a lecture on the sinfulness of her parents behavior? Or is the answer that the Church should just dummy up about that teaching lest they offend someone?"Folks here who are critical of the archdiocese really need to answer these questions.

Catholic schools are usually part of a parish and are ultimately under the direction of the local bishop.Rather than sitting around second-guessing this bishop, I am confident that he properly reviewed the matter and gave it the sort of thoughtful consideration it warranted.Catholic schools are not going to start having Gay Pride days and the Catholic Church is not going to start marrying same-sex couples anytime soon. In fact Catholic schools are not going to even begin hiring same-sex couples anytime soon.And so while Monday morning quarterbacking, second guessing and sneering or looking down sophisticated noses at the bishop and others involved with this decision might make some of us feel superior, in reality it is not productive; a waste of everyone's time.

As Gerelyn mentions Catholic nuns in 'select' schools educated non Catholics in the good old days when Catholic hierarchs stretched themselves so as not to offend in the dominent culture. No one kicked Senator Diane Feinstein [Jewish] out of the Convent of the Sacred Heart [RSCJs]in San Francisco. [paying big tuition helped too]

Re: Catholics and non-Catholics who attend Catholic schools: recall that the line between Catholics and non-Catholics isn't bright. Vatican II taught us that non-Catholic Christians are still in a positive relationship with the church of Christ - they are our brothers and sisters in the faith, even if our communion isn't perfect. The same is true, perhaps to different exents, with Jews, Muslims, and people of other faiths.In that respect, I would expect that the Archdiocese would have the same standards for Catholic parents and non-Catholic parents of children in its schools. The question that is at the core of this dispute isn't denominational affiliation; it is the nature of marriage. And the church bases its understanding of the nature of marriage (e.g. that it is between a man and a woman) on natural law.

Thanks for posting the pastor's blog. Tho, there is not direct bio information, he appears older and experienced. Which means that he was trained by Vincentians at St. Thomas Seminary and has spent his career in the Denver Archdiocese. Keep in mind - Boulder is the home of hi tech, Univ. of Colorado, and very liberal.The two links on his blog may suggest why this has become such an issue - parish and organizational priorities:a) Developmental (or Organizational) PrioritiesHarmonize parish processes with Archdiocesan processes. Identify Archdiocese processes relevant to SHJ and determine where SHJ is not in compliance. Determine required changes in order to bring SHJ into compliance. b) Problem Solving PrioritiesCreate competent and confident Catholics. Identify doubts and questions that separate Catholics from Christ and His Church. Determine and use what motivates people to be confident and competent Catholics to answer the identified doubts and questions. One SHJ parish: English-Spanish-Church-School Review successful examples of integrated communities; assess existing barriers to unity and parish efforts to promote unity. Prioritize next steps in order to celebrate our unity in Christ.These priorities are interesting - they appear to place the highest energy on making sure that the parish/school is in compliance with diocesan rules. No mention of the usual mission of a catholic parish.....gospel values; outreach initiatives; building up sacramental/liturgical experiences; etc.The second bullet, in fact, states that the parish will build up competent and confident catholics able to answer identified doubts/questions. Would suggest that imposing external, administrative laws has nothing to do with building up competent and confident catholics - it is harking back to a triumphalist and child-like structure. In fact, this very situation could have been an excellent experience that showed catholics how to respond to current cultural differences without judgment; living with ambiguity, living with mercy and kindness.The third bullet highlights an excellent priority - how to integrate differences, build up unity, etc. (example - Hispanic) Why can't the cultural gay issue be included in this overall effort?Finally, some of you have mentioned "obedience"; the catechism, etc. Here is a quote that strongly resonates with me and applies to this situation and what a "wise" pastor would have done: The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the ordinariate. This simply makes no sense. The Catechism is a useful if uneven compendium of Catholic teaching. It has little or no authority in itself (as does, for example, a dogmatic constitution of a general council, such as Lumen Gentium or Dei Verbum), but only in the sources or authorities to which it makes reference. It is not a confession of faith, and should not be used as such.

Mark--Yes, you did answer my question and I think you make a plausible case. Nevertheless, I think it's more likely that there was more at work here. I wonder how the press became aware of the story.

Catholic marriages in Church have declined almost 50% in the last two decades. If it wasn't for recent Latino marriages the decline would look even worse. School enrollments are in steep decline. It seems like the 'small remanent' advocates are increasingly noisey and are winning. The silent bishops are the real problem. They are like Toyota managers but without any desire to fix the problem.

DavidLet me ask you this first. Will the mother have cause to object if her children are taught the Church's teaching on marriage?

Let me ask you this first. Will the mother have cause to object if her children are taught the Churchs teaching on marriage?Not unless the school uses the teaching as an excuse to harass or humilate the kid in some way. In any event, let's not forget that we're speaking about a five-year old here. I don't recall being taught about this sort of thing in kindergarden. Of course, now I suppose it will now be a mandatory part of the curriculum.

Catholic schools are not going to start having Gay Pride days and the Catholic Church is not going to start marrying same-sex couples anytime soon. In fact Catholic schools are not going to even begin hiring same-sex couples anytime soon.How can this have any relevance? We're talking about a *five year old child* in kindergarden, for heaven's sake! To drag Church doctrine on marriage and sexuality into this is nothing more than a red herring.

FYI. Reported today that it is actually 2 children in the family- 1 in kindergarten, 1 in preschool; they will be allowed to finish out the year, but can't go back in the Fall.

AntonioKindergarteners grow up. Are you saying it would be OK to make this decision if they were sixth graders? I doubt that. Five year olds can be confused evn if something's not in the curricullum. Even the fact that the children will talk about having two mothers begins a process that confuses a young child if that child's parents are trying to bring him or her up in the faith.Let's be honest. Almost everyone here objecting to the school's action does not believe that the Church should teach that homosexual behavior is sinful. You say the school is fine teach Catholic moral values so long as it doesn't use that as an opportunity to harrass. Unfortunately, I can tell you from personal experience that if you teach a child in religious education certain teachings of the Church whether they are 6 or 16 that will be treated as harrassment.The list is endlessHow dare you teach my son that homosexual behavior is intrinsically disordered, his cousin is gay.How dare you teach my daughter that baptism is necessary for salvation, her favorite aunt is Jewish.How dare you say that a valid marriage cannot be dissolved, my parents are divorced.I walked out of mass when the priest started with all that abortion stuff. How dare he impose his beliefs on me.

I agree Sean.Here is one all-too plausible scenario:1 The school allows the child to enroll.2 The school touches on Church doctrine regarding homosexuality.3 The parents (the lesbian couple in the story) object.4 The school explains its policy and Church doctrine.5 The parents lawyer up and sue for millions.6 The school lawyers up and defends.7 The school looses the first round, and legal costs begin to soar.8 The diocese decides it is simply not worth pursuing appeal, settles with the parents.9 Now strapped for cash and still refusing to bend on Church doctrine regarding homosexuality, the diocese decides it is best to simply close the school, and sell the property to cover debts.10 - Some folks are happy with the result; diversity reigns kingThankfully, this bishop did the right thing by simply declining to engage this couple.

In fact something similar happened with Catholic adoption agency in Massachusetts when the MA supreme court mandated the state legislature legalize gay marriage.Soon gay couples wanetd to adopt from the Catholic adotion service.Yada Yada Yada; Now there is no Catholic adoption agency in that state.The adults did not suffer; the orphan children did.Some are happy about that, many are not.

Ken;You forgot to put in death panels.

Ken, it wasn't a big gay conspiracy. Catholic Charities Boston placed several kids with same-sex couples well before the law went into effect. You might want to read up on it:http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/abandoned-children-0

EdKen is absolutely right about adoption here in Massachusetts. It belies the claim that progressives want to live and let live. Catholic Charities has been placing children successfully for generations. Notwithstanding the availability of several non-Catholic agencies, gay rights advocates pressed the issue and drove the Catholic Church out of the adoption business.Why? Are the children better off? Is society some how better off? Are gay people better off? They certainly have no more options than they did before. The point f the exercise was not about any of that, it was about getting what they see as the biggest obstacle to their agenda to knuckle under, pure and simple.That's why stories like this are so frustrating. Is it about children getting an education in a Catholic school, or getting a Catholic school to compromise the Church's moral teaching on marriage? I know I would not enroll my children in a fundamentalist school, so why do people with such a profound disagreement with the church want to do this? Is their goal to get a Catholic education or to change a Catholic education?

GrantYes, of the thousands of adoptions, a handful involved gay parents. I know from people who are involved with the archdiocese that many, indeed most of them, were made by social workers who knew they were doing so against archdiocese policy, and that some were permitted because of extraordinary circumstances. It was never the policy of the archdiocese to treat them as routine.The law which was pushed by gay rights advocates brought this to light, and when the archbishop sought a religious conscience exception it was gay rights advocates who fought tooth and nail to prevent it. So, you are right. It was no conspiracy, it was open hostility.

Ken et whomever:If Catholic adoption agencies can't abide by legally defined non-discrimination rules, then, in the a paraphrase of the words from Blazing Saddles, Catholic adoption agencies? Catholic adoption agencies! We don't need no stinkin' Catholic adoption agencies! **** The quote from The Treasure of The Sierra Madre was actually this: "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"

Sean, in all reality, children are unaffected, unless Massachusetts faced a shortage of secular or non-Catholic adoption agencies. Urban Catholic schools have hundreds of thousands of students who are taught at some level that their unwed birth was not consistent with Catholic norms, that their mothers' personal lives are disordered and aberrant, and yet, I have never heard public complaints from parents who send their kids to those schools, although I assume that is one reason why they avail themselves of reasonable alternatives (charter schools) when they become available. You are engaging in rank speculation of what might happen in a worst case scenario, apparently forgetting that most non-Catholics are pretty well aware of distinctive Catholic positions when they send their children to Catholic school, and are ready to adjust or make the necessary trade offs. In so many ways, gays are made the scapegoat for what is seen as erosion in moral norms because they are visible and not well-protected. When Abp. Chaput orders schools to investigate the annulment status of remarried parents of schoolchildren and throw out those whose parents are living in sin, I will give him credit for standing on principle.

"I know I would not enroll my children in a fundamentalist school, so why do people with such a profound disagreement with the church want to do this? Is their goal to get a Catholic education or to change a Catholic education?" That's a good question. But the issue isn't about the parents not choosing a school run by a Church that considers their lifestyle a sin. It's about throwing out a child, presumeably not in a state of sin, because of the sin of the parents involved.As an administrator, my first move would be to take the parents aside, provide information about Church teaching re homosexuality, explain when sexual morality might be discussed in the school curriculum, and ask them to consider whether the school is right for their child.Perhaps this step was already taken. Should it follow, though, that the diocese should kick out the child for the sins of its parents? For me, that's still the essential question in this incident. And the larger question is what is the purpose of a Catholic education? Do we want to keep our children separate from the corrupting influences of secular society in their formative years? Or do we want to welcome all children and see whether the kindness they are shown in school might bring them to the Church door one day? Perhaps it's not a case of either/or and someone could make that case.

So, Sean, you have sources, do you? What do you mean, they are "involved with the archdiocese"? In what way? As employees? In what department do they work? How long have they worked for the archdiocese? Did they at the time of the controversy? Can you provide any more information to help the reader evaluate the motives of your sources? Read the editorial, Sean.

Sean leads us down the slippery slope: "The list is endless... How dare you teach my daughter that baptism is necessary for salvation, her favorite aunt is Jewish." But non-Catholics have been in Catholic schools for years without being hobbled by this argument, so why must we assume they'd fly down this slippery slope with gay parents? This own argument makes the case against itself.

We live in a Time when the definition of Person has become so manipulated that we deny that a Human Fetus is in fact a Human Individual endowed by our Creator with the fundamental Right to Life, and claim that "homosexuality" refers to Personhood rather than sexual relationship or sexual preference, in order to make it appear that we are discriminating against a Person rather than a sexual relationship that does not respect the Dignity of the Human Person. Only through Christ, can we know the essence of Love.

Let me ask you this first. Will the mother have cause to object if her children are taught the Churchs teaching on marriage?Sean,Of course not.

This thread is truly depressing.I remember watching Ted Olson on Bil Moyers trying to get an answer as to how civil gay unions undermine the Church's understanding of marriage to its members.I think the Boulder issue to most minds is just a hardball attempt to buttress in civil law a theological understanding of our Church and I think that works back against us.Especially the use of children.I especially find the views of Sean and Mark to be problematic in that they want everyone to be living examples of their view of what catholicism is - the smaller purer Church supported by hardball.That's not far from the name of the game in some quartersMuscular Christiainity?I can understand the reaction of Joe J. earleir and of those who walk away from that kind of pretense.My last thought: people are drawn to and remain faithful to the gospel if they see the loving hand of Jesus as He acted in this old imperfect world.The likes of the Boulder pastor and his Archbishop are not in tune with that..

Sean Hannaway: Treating someone with respect and dignity does not always involve accepting his or her behavior has no consequences. In fact, I would argue that ignoring what you believe is objectively sinful is disrespectful.Jim Pauwels: Folks here who are critical of the archdiocese really need to answer these questions.Jim,I don't call it treating someone with respect and dignity for the pastor or the archdiocese to tell the parents Catholic school will teach their children something that they (the parents) aren't going to like, so in order to protect the children, they can't return to the school. Treating the parents with respect and dignity would be saying -- if anything needs to be said at all -- "We just want you to be aware that as a Catholic school, we cannot avoid issues in the classroom that might conflict with what your children are taught at home and might be uncomfortable for them." Then let the parents make the decision whether their children will be "confused." As I have said before, I am utterly bewildered by the Catholic Church saying, "If your children are in our school, we will teach them the truth, so in order to protect them, we are not letting them back in the school."

"I especially find the views of Sean and Mark to be problematic in that they want everyone to be living examples of their view of what catholicism is"Bob--Assuming I'm the Mark you're referring to, I find that statements like this have no real meaning. Don't you have your own view of true Catholic teaching, and don't you want to convince others of the rightness of your view?

"As I have said before, I am utterly bewildered by the Catholic Church saying, If your children are in our school, we will teach them the truth, so in order to protect them, we are not letting them back in the school."Ok; but I don't suppose that is the primary reason that these parents have run afoul of the archdiocese's policy.Click on the link in the original post to the archdiocese's statement (the first "here"). The first two sentences explain, briefly, why these children can't be permitted to attend the school. It says nothing about confusing the children. What it does say is that a Catholic school constitutes a community of faith; and the families who belong to that school are expected to abide by the norms of that community. For a public school, that might seem an unreasonable expectation, but for a private school it seems very much par for the course. I'm certain that the Catholic high school I attended had similar expectations. That is usually why private schools exist - to reinforce values and norms that are important to the community that supports it.

Archbishop Chaput's piece, which Nancy Danielson links to, does nothing but repeat the same arguments.

Most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced. That simply cant be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents. That isnt fair to anyoneincluding the wider school community. Persons who have an understanding of marriage and family life sharply different from Catholic belief are often people of sincerity and good will. They have other, excellent options for education and should see in them the better course for their children.

My father was not a Catholic, and no one in the Catholic schools I went to ever seemed concerned about teaching me the Catholic Church was the "One True Church." I remember asking my mother, when I was in early grade school, if my father was going to hell when he died.I don't understand why Archbishop Chaput is so deeply concerned that children of same-sex parents might hear things at school that "confuse" them. The Catholic Church certainly doesn't hesitate to condemn same-sex marriage in the strongest terms, call homosexual acts "depraved" and "intrinsically disordered," and campaign against same-sex marriage in the public forum. Why are these people so squeamish about teaching the same thing in Catholic schools?

The policies of our Catholic school system exist to protect all parties involved, including the children of homosexual couples and the couples themselves.

The pretense that the Church's policies are to protect the delicate sensibilities of homosexual couples and their children is nonsense. The Church with it's harsh language and anti-homosexual campaigns wounds gay people, their families, and their friends continuously. If they believe they are right and doing God's work, then of course they have no choice but to continue. But the Church that tells same-sex couples and their families that homosexual acts are acts of "grave depravity" and are "intrinsically disordered" shouldn't turn around and claim they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or give children the idea that they are saying their gay parents are "bad."

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.

This would seem to mean that the children of same-sex couples are more loved by God, if I understand the concept of opposite.

The first two sentences explain, briefly, why these children cant be permitted to attend the school. It says nothing about confusing the children.Jim,The sentences you refer me to say

A principal reason parents place their children in Archdiocese of Denver Schools is to reinforce the Catholic beliefs and values that the family seeks to live at home. To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching.

So why do the Catholic schools admit non-Catholics? Are the non-Catholics expected to live in accord with Catholic teachings? No one has answered the question about the divorced and remarried, either Catholic or non-Catholic. If a non-Catholic parent with children in a Catholic school gets divorced and remarries, are the kids asked not to come back to the school?

David - When we were kids, my father was not Catholic either. However Mom was Catholic and Dad had already agreed when they married to raise us kids Catholic. As such he had great respect for the Church and in fact became a Catholic once we were all adults. Likewise, because your Dad married a Catholic woman, he also most likely respected the Church or at least did not have fundamental disagreements with it.As for protecting sensibilities, it is no pretense. People do have feelings after all. It is one thing for the the average person to occasionally hear the Church's position on homosexuality in the news. It is quite another for children to be confronted by it as a matter of routine during school and for parents to regularly have their child coming home questioning your lifestyle.I think the bishop summed up the matter excellently, and I think it is best read in its original context and original order:--------------------------------------------"...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. 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. The Church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ. The policies of our Catholic school system exist to protect all parties involved, including the children of homosexual couples and the couples themselves. Our schools are meant to be partners in faith with parents. If parents dont 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. It also places unfair stress on the children, who find themselves caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church.Most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced. That simply cant be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents. That isnt fair to anyoneincluding the wider school community. Persons who have an understanding of marriage and family life sharply different from Catholic belief are often people of sincerity and good will. They have other, excellent options for education and should see in them the better course for their children."--------------------------------------------------------------Regarding this matter, Bishop Chaput is obviously being very thoughtful, responsible, and in fact very reasonable.

I repeat see Fr.Martin at the America blog.(I also note that the faculty there was put on notice not to discuss this matter publicly. Control the message, don't allow any discussion or dissent publicly.But the genie is out of the box.)My point quite clearly is that the action and the justifications therefor are counterproductive to the message.

Likewise, because your Dad married a Catholic woman, he also most likely respected the Church or at least did not have fundamental disagreements with it.Ken,I only found out a few years ago that my father's family was apparently perfectly appalled that my father married a Catholic. They must have become accustomed to it rather quickly, though, and I never perceived any tension over religion except once.When I was in college, one of my cousins (father's brother's son) from Pennsylvania who was the same age as my younger brother spent a couple of weeks visiting my family in Cincinnati. My brother was an altar boy and was serving at early mass for a week during the time. My cousin, who was not Catholic, accompanied him. My mother called to tell me that that when my cousin got home, he announced to his family that he wanted to become Catholic. I said something like, "Oh, that's nice." My mother said, "No, it's not!" It was, of course, somewhat of a family crisis. I imagine my mother would have been less upset if the reverse had happened and my brother had come home from visiting my cousin wanting to be a Protestant. I actually don't remember what happened, but my cousin did not convert.My father perhaps went to church with the family a few times. I am not sure the one memory I have of him in church with the rest of us is authentic. He of course, took instructions and promised to raise us Catholic before he married my mother, but he never had any interest in becoming a Catholic. He retained membership somehow in his home (Protestant) church in Pennsylvania, but eventually, when he didn't send them money, he was informed he was no longer a member. He owned a Bible, which I don't believe he ever read, but it was the Revised Standard Version, which in those days was a PROTESTANT Bible, and we did not dare open it. I suppose if I had been more rebellious, I would have read it in bed under the covers at night with a flashlight, trembling in fear that my mother would catch me or that lightning would strike.The usual routine on Sundays was for my mother to take me, my brother, and my two sisters to Mass late in the morning while my father stayed home and cooked Sunday dinner. He was an excellent cook, and so it was usually the best meal of the week. Now back to ranting and raving!

It is quite another for children to be confronted by it as a matter of routine during school and for parents to regularly have their child coming home questioning your lifestyle.Ken,A certain fairly predictable percentage of children attending Catholic school are eventually going to realize that they are gay. They will probably already know when they come to that realization that the Church thinks of them as "objectively disordered" and that the attraction to the same sex, which feels natural to them, will, if they act on it, make them "gravely depraved." They will know, now, that if they should ever come to believe the Church is mistaken, and if they find a partner with whom they want to raise a child or two, that the children cannot go to Catholic school.

I have just been reading Pope John Paul II on pastoral care of the divorced and remarried. It strikes me that the attitude toward the divorced and remarried and their children is very different than the attitude toward those in a same-sex union and their children:

When a couple in an irregular situation returns to Christian practice, it is necessary to welcome them with charity and kindness, helping them to clarify their concrete status by means of enlightened and enlightening pastoral care. This apostolate of fraternal and evangelical welcome towards those who have lost contact with the Church is of great importance: it is the first step required to integrate them into Christian practice. It is necessary to introduce them to listening to the word of God and to prayer, to involve them in the charitable works of the Christian community for the poor and needy, and to awaken the spirit of repentance by acts of penance that prepare their hearts to accept Gods grace.A very important aspect concerns the human and Christian formation of the children born of the new union. Making them aware of the full content of the Gospel's wisdom, in accordance with the Churchs teaching, is a task that wonderfully prepares parents hearts to receive the strength and necessary clarity to overcome the real difficulties on their path and to regain the full transparency of the mystery of Christ, which Christian marriage signifies and realizes. A special, demanding but necessary task concerns the other members who belong, more or less closely, to the family. With a closeness that must not be confused with condescension, they should assist their loved ones, especially the children who, because of their young age, are even more affected by the consequences of their parents' situation.Dear brothers and sisters, my heartfelt recommendation today is to have confidence in all those who are living in such tragic and painful situations. We must not cease to hope against all hope (Rom 4:18) that even those who are living in a situation that does not conform to the Lords will may obtain salvation from God, if they are able to persevere in prayer, penance and true love.

"Only through Christ, can we know the essence of Love."But it's OK to shut children out from that love if their parents are gay?

David/That's an excellent description of JPII's pastoral care;'When a couple in an irregular situation returns to Christian practice'All A/B Chaput has to do is add two words.'When a same-sex couple in an irregular situation returns to Christian practice'Nothing more needs to be said..no other changes...Chances Chaput would concede .... zilch

But its OK to shut children out from that love if their parents are gay? It is the "parents" who have shut this Child out from that Love. When a "same-sex couple" return to Christian practice..., they would no longer be "a same-sex couple".

The behavior of Fr. Bill Breslin and Bishop Charles Chaput in the matter of refusing to let the child of a gay couple attend Sacred Heart School is a disgrace. It violates everything I know about who Christ is or what the Gospel stands for. I'm glad I didn't send my kids to Catholic Schools. I don't want them to learn religious extremism, bigotry and hate.

Kindergarteners grow up. Are you saying it would be OK to make this decision if they were sixth graders?I'm saying a little common sense goes a long way. I doubt that. Five year olds can be confused evn if somethings not in the curricullum. Even the fact that the children will talk about having two mothers begins a process that confuses a young child if that childs parents are trying to bring him or her up in the faith.You mean, the parents won't want their kid being around a child for fear the kid will be tainted somehow. In that case, perhaps the school should do a background check on the adults followed by a home visit, a drug test and an investigation for evidence of moral turpitude before enrolling every kid, just to make sure all parents or caregivers are living in accordance with Church doctrine.So, it comes down to innocent little Johnny or litte Mary being tainted by contact with such a child.

AntonioDo you have children? I ask this not to be mean but because it has nothing to do with being "tainted." That's just a way for people to bludgeon the other side and avoid the problem. This situation really does have the potential to harm and confuse both this couple's children and the other children. Just exactly how do you explain to a curious six year old why his classmate has two "mommies" without showing approval or indifference to the moral implications? How do you explain to this couple's children why all the examples of families have mother and fathers but not two mothers like his without compromising what the Church teaches?I have been on the other side of theis problem, so to speak. When I moved to Massachusetts, I could not afford the 6,000-10,000 tuition of the Catholic schools, so I had to send my kids to public schools. In the Commonwealth, the public "catechism" is the opposite of the Church. So my children and children I taught in CCD were regularly informed that what they were being taught at home regarding family and sex was antiquated bigotry. It was a real problem, and it was a problem for parents who were trying to instill Catholic values in the children to have to explain and argue with children about this and other issues because they came home with their heads full of anti-Catholic moral mush.So for the people who say that the explanations of the archdiocese are nonsense, I say you can only reach that conclusion if you don't agree with the teaching on homosexual behavior. This isn't to say that that teaching demands that these kids not be included, if you look at my posts I haven't given an opinion on that. What it does mean is that excluding them from the this school has to include a consideration of all the Church teaches, and consideration of all the people affected.

Sean, just to make it clear, what I really object to is the notion that this is being done for "the good" of this couple's children. Catholic theology on marriage and reproduction leaves a lot of families in the dust, an issue IMHO the Church normally tries hard to avoid when considering things like who belongs in Catholic schools. If you have six siblings by four fathers and two mothers, and your own mother preaches daily how much easier it is to go it alone without a husband, you are not going to find familial validation in your Catholic school. And yet, this seems not to be a problem. Likewise, I personally know divorced and remarried Catholics without benefit of annulment whose kids go to Catholic schools. Again, no one has ever suggested that it would be too divisive for those children to hear in Catholic school that their parents are adulterous and unredeemed. Only gays are getting this treatment. Why is that?

"It is the parents who have shut this Child out from that Love."Nancy, do you truly believe that the parents have shut this child out from God's love? I find this an astounding claim. Sean, you argue that having the child in his school would pose "real problems" explaining the situation to his kids. But you have more kids than I do, and I presume you know better than me that scarcely a day goes by that DOESN'T present you with some tough situation to explain to your kids.In the past two years, I've routinely given a kid a ride home after school programs b/c the mom's live-in can't be bothered to show up; I've had a kid showi up after dark at my house b/c his dad is on a drunken tear' I've a kid crying in my living room b/c some little weasel called his divorced mother a whore; I've called Social Services because a neighbor kid is living in a house filled with animal feces; I've been asked by another parents to take his kid on his custodial weekends because he doesn't want to kick out his girlfriend, who isn't supposed to be there when the kid is there.Don't these situations require us to help our children see that the kids here are not to blame for the actions of their parents, that the kids deserve special consideration, not shunning and condemnation? In my view, it would be far less difficult to explain about gay parents than to explain why the Church has barred a classmate from the school for something that is not his fault.

What about kids whose fathers are organized crime figures? At my Catholic girls school, many years ago, and at the nearby boys school (Jesuit), there were kids whose fathers had been investigated by the Kefauver hearings. No one kicked them out, and they're still active alumnae/i. (And their fathers, RIP, had big funerals at their parish churches.)

Jean, to begin with, it is you who claimed that the school had shut this child out from God's Love. I find this more astounding. Do you honestly believe that this child will not be Loved if she attends a public school? I also noticed you didn't address the fact that "homosexuality" refers to relationship or sexual preference, and that the Catholic Church is under attack for "discriminating against homosexuals", when thay are actually discriminating against sexual relationships that do not respect the Dignity of the Human Person.No doubt, the breakdown of the Family has caused mass chaos, are you surprised by that?How would you respond to someone who denies the importance of a Father's or a Mother's Love?

JeanYou say -"But you have more kids than I do, and I presume you know better than me that scarcely a day goes by that DOESNT present you with some tough situation to explain to your kids."I say absolutely, but I don't intentionally put them in the situation.

(Sorry -- I'll re-register with a more distinctive name. I know the number of Marks here is confusing).Jean said, "But you have more kids than I do, and I presume you know better than me that scarcely a day goes by that DOESNT present you with some tough situation to explain to your kids."Lesbian and gay parents in particular have to make their peace with this. Their preschool girl almost certainly already knows more than one Disney princess story -- probably many more than one -- and none of them ends with the princess living happily ever after with another woman. There may be a few gay positive characters on TV, but none that I know of is living in a faithful partnership and parenting children. My point is not that society is beating down gay people -- there's a lot for straight parents to be uncomfortable with about the beautiful, white, marketable princesses of Disney -- it's that what they might reasonably experience in a Catholic school is nothing out of the ordinary for them or for their kids. I think if the teachers are loving and honest, Catholic doctrine can be unashamedly taught without harming either the children or their parents.

David N: thanks for that JPII passage. If I were head of the Denver archdiocesan schools, I would decree that the pastoral approach advocated in that passage would also apply to the gay couple and their children.I do want to point out, though, that the passage begins with this phrase: "When a couple in an irregular situation returns to Christian practice ...". I'd think that to "return to Christian practice" would mean "realizing that they are in an irregular situation and desiring to rectify it." Of course, the path of rectification for a divorced-and-remarried-but-not-annulled couple would be very different than for a gay couple.Forgive me if I'm hammering too hard on this.

The Denver Archdiocese's policy states: "A principal reason parents place their children in Archdiocese of Denver Schools is to reinforce the Catholic beliefs and values that the family seeks to live at home. To preserve the mission of our schools, and to respect the faith of wider Catholic community, we expect all families who enroll students to live in accord with Catholic teaching."... to which I commented: " ...a Catholic school constitutes a community of faith; and the families who belong to that school are expected to abide by the norms of that community. For a public school, that might seem an unreasonable expectation, but for a private school it seems very much par for the course. ... That is usually why private schools exist to reinforce values and norms that are important to the community that supports it."... and to which David N. commented: "So why do the Catholic schools admit non-Catholics? Are the non-Catholics expected to live in accord with Catholic teachings? No one has answered the question about the divorced and remarried, either Catholic or non-Catholic. If a non-Catholic parent with children in a Catholic school gets divorced and remarries, are the kids asked not to come back to the school?"As to why Catholic schools admit non-Catholics: in my observation of private schools (not just Catholic schools), usually it's done in such a way that the "outsider" parents are expected to understand up-front that their family is entering a community that tries to live by its core principles, and that the school will not compromise or dilute them in order to accommodate the "outsiders". (I'm sure there is a better word than "outsiders" but I can't find it right now). In other words, the school exists to serve a community to which the "outsider" family doesn't belong, and everyone understands that they are being admitted into the community on that basis. It is like having a guest in the house.(I recognize, by the way, that not all Catholic schools share this philosophy. At least some inner-city Catholic schools in Chicago will tell you that they exist, at least in large part, to serve the local community, big chunks of which are not Catholic. Their mission, in part, is to provide a values-laden alternative to the dysfunctional public schools.)I commented a few minutes ago on the divorced-and-remarried-but-not-annulled scenario.

Those who do not believe in or do not support the mission of The Catholic Church or the mission of Catholic schools are nonbelievers.

Jim, my brother in law is married to a practicing Catholic who is divorced but not annulled. Since they've been married for more than 20 years it's safe to say they aren't going to rectify anything anytime soon, and she sees neither her divorce or her remarriage as a big deal. They sent their kids to Catholic elementary and middle schools -- said kids are not Catholic, not even baptized. It would be one thing if schools were actually doing something about people like this, but they are not "rectifying" anything, and moreover, they don't really care in any way that is relevant for the children at school. This is all just a big charade. The moral seems to be, so long as you can keep it secret, don't worry about it. And that, in my estimation, is the biggest problem: that this selective kind of moral clarity is incredibly corrosive to the integrity of the church and its members.

I do want to point out, though, that the passage begins with this phrase: When a couple in an irregular situation returns to Christian practice . Id think that to return to Christian practice would mean realizing that they are in an irregular situation and desiring to rectify it. Jim,Regarding the meaning of "return to Christian practice," I would point out this passage from "Marriage:Love and Life in the Divine Plan," A Pastoral Letter of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

We understand the pain of those for whom divorce seemed the only recourse. We urge them to make frequent use of the sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. We also offer encouragement to those who have divorced and remarried civilly. Although the Church cannot recognize such subsequent unions as valid marriages, she hopes that people in this situation will participate in parish life and attend the Sunday Eucharist, even without receiving the Sacrament.

I would say that participating in parish life and attending Sunday Mass would be a "return to Christian practice," and it doesn't sound to me that the bishops require divorced and remarried Catholics to have the intent of regularizing their situation.If same-sex parents are to be treated the same as divorced and remarried parents, shouldn't the Church invite them to attend Sunday Mass with their children, with the understanding that the parents may not receive communion?

To give another example for the divorce/remarried analogy. There was a family at my childhood parish, where the mom was divorced/remarried without annulment. I know this because she never received communion. She went to Mass every week and brought her non-Catholic second husband (and kids and grandkids). Finally, the first husband died. She (presumably) confessed, had her marriage blessed, and took communion. She was so happy that (now that I live away) my mom told me all about the blessing they had during mass.I have no idea why she didn't have an annulment, (I don't know if she tried to get one or not.), but she certainly was faithful to the church's teaching by not receiving communion and still practicing her faith all these years.According to this policy, her children would be asked to leave the school? I just can't imagine it.

Nancy, I don't know anybody who confuses homosexuality with personhood, if that's your point, so I didn't try to address it. I will say that, when the Church purports to be the Body of Christ on earth, and shoves a kid out the door because of who or what his parents are, it strikes me as counter-productive and unChristlike.Sean, I don't exactly go looking for these situations, though I guess I could avoid some of 'em if I told the kids at the door to find somebody else to help them, give them rides, or stick up for them when they're in trouble. Would it make me a better Christian to live in a safe little enclave where the screwed-up adults and their kids get kicked out? Hmmmm.Mark, I'm not sure what your point is about the gay parents having to make peace with the situation. To be sure, the Church has a right to teach what it does about homosexuality and to kick out whomever it wants to from its private schools. In my view, however, the Church needs to think about what it gains and loses by doing this. While I'm no longer a practicing Catholic, my husband and son are, and policies like the one promulgated by Chaput certainly made it harder for me personally to be an advocate for the Church with my son.OK, that's enough from me. I'll leave the last word for someone else.

Those who do not believe in or do not support the mission of The Catholic Church or the mission of Catholic schools are nonbelievers.I would call them "infidels," and would of course include Jews, Episcopalians, Lutherans, the Amish, Methodists, and so on.

You make a very valid point Jim.The phrase When a couple in an irregular situation returns to Christian practice . actually means something; it is the premise and in fact is key to, the entire notion of the sort of pastoral care and John Paul II so eloquently and clearly described.The manner in which a heterosexual couple returns to Christian practice might entail and annulment or may be as straightforward as getting their marriage blessed by the priest. In any case the manner in which a homosexual couple returns to Christian practice would be very different than that for a heterosexual couple.And so how a homosexual couple would return to Christian practice is a very important point.

David, why would you call them infidels rather than nonbelievers?A homosexual sexual relationship can never be transformed as long as it remains a sexual relationship. This is not to say that a relationship between two people of the same sex can not be transformed into a Loving Friendship.

If by "return to Christian practice" means, for a divorced and remarried couple, "regularizing" their situation either annulment and sacramental marriage or by separating, there is no need for pastoral care of the divorced and remarried. They need only be told to regularize their situation.Note the Pope's last paragraph:

Dear brothers and sisters, my heartfelt recommendation today is to have confidence in all those who are living in such tragic and painful situations. We must not cease to hope against all hope (Rom 4:18) that even those who are living in a situation that does not conform to the Lords will may obtain salvation from God, if they are able to persevere in prayer, penance and true love.

What do you think that means?

David - It means we should not lose hope that homosexuals will somehow find slavation and their way to heaven. I does not mean that we must allow homosexual couples to enroll their children in Catholic school.

Barbara: re: your brother-in-law's mariage situation and school experience - it doesn't surprise me. I'm sure some dioceses and schools handle it differently than others. Compare your brother-in-law's experience to JPII's recommendations posted by David Nickol earlier - doesn't sound like it matches up. If your brother-in-law lives in the Denver archdiocese, maybe he'd have a different experience (not sure, just speculating).For practical purposes, you may well be right that "The moral seems to be, so long as you can keep it secret, dont worry about it.", and that's sad. I'd like to find a way to say this without being judgmental: just assessing your brother-in-law's situation as you've described it, he's existing in a sort of "gray area" with regard to the church - his family situation is not the ideal, but apparently, there haven't been any consequences. Ideally, he would want to "rectify" his situation, just as, ideally, his children would choose to be initiated into the church. Maybe some grace has yet to come out of the experience.

"If same-sex parents are to be treated the same as divorced and remarried parents, shouldnt the Church invite them to attend Sunday Mass with their children, with the understanding that the parents may not receive communion?"Yes - I'd think so anyway. But I don't call the shots in that diocese. (or any diocese!)

"If by return to Christian practice means, for a divorced and remarried couple, regularizing their situation either annulment and sacramental marriage or by separating, there is no need for pastoral care of the divorced and remarried. They need only be told to regularize their situation."I disagree (of course!) The process for a couple in this situation to come to terms with what the church asks of them can take many years, and may involve many discussions, tears, crises, etc. It's the kind of thing that can call for all of a pastoral minister's understanding, empathy, skill and love."Note the Popes last paragraph:"Dear brothers and sisters, my heartfelt recommendation today is to have confidence in all those who are living in such tragic and painful situations. We must not cease to hope against all hope (Rom 4:18) that even those who are living in a situation that does not conform to the Lords will may obtain salvation from God, if they are able to persevere in prayer, penance and true love."What do you think that means?"I think it's a call to hope; and it doesn't neglect to mention the necessity of persevering in prayer, penance and true love.

I does not mean that we must allow homosexual couples to enroll their children in Catholic school.God forbid!!!

David, why would you call them infidels rather than nonbelievers?Nancy,Infidels and nonbelievers mean pretty much the same thing, but I think the word Infidels helps convey the idea that people such as Anglicans, Baptists, Jews, Buddhists and so on are rejecting the obvious truth of the Catholic Church and will be held accountable on Judgment Day. Nonbelievers somehow implies to me the idea that it's not their fault they don't believe. But as Saint Paul pointed out in Romans, there are certain things that are just obvious, and those who do not accept them should not be considered blameless.

I disagree (of course!) The process for a couple in this situation to come to terms with what the church asks of them can take many years, and may involve many discussions, tears, crises, etc. Its the kind of thing that can call for all of a pastoral ministers understanding, empathy, skill and love.Jim,I don't see a fundamental difference between the situation of a couple who is remarried outside the Church after divorce and a same-sex couple if both of them continue to attend Mass, pray, and in general grapple with the knowledge that they are in a relationship of which the Church disapproves. While there exists a possibility that the divorced and remarried couple may in some way be able to marry sacramentally (after an annulment or the death of the first spouse), in reality, for most of them, the only solution will be to separate. I don't see in the pope's words a precondition to pastoral care by the church that the divorced and remarried couple must have the intention of taking any specific action. When the bishops invite the divorced and remarried to take part in the life of the parish and to attend Sunday Mass, there is no hint of a precondition that they must make up their minds first that they are going to "regularize" their situation. I do not see that either a same-sex couple or a divorced and remarried couple is incapable of "Christian practice." I think its a call to hope; and it doesnt neglect to mention the necessity of persevering in prayer, penance and true love.I think it means that John Paul II is saying, "Let's not abandon such people even if they persist in their situation permanently." The fact that he mentions that these people persevere in prayer, penance, and true love" would seem to me to be a wish that they persevere in "Christian practice" even though they remain in a relationship the Church does not approve. It is, of course, not an endorsement of them remaining in the relationship. But it is an acknowledgment by the pope that people in such relationships may still be considered part of the community, take part in parish life, and not be treated as outcasts.

I am trying to understand, and think it is important to understand, those who so dislike the bishop's way of resolving this. Regarding this, what exactly would make you happy?Obviously this sort of situation, like many others, needs to be handled with tact and care, bearing in mind the feelings and senstivities of all involved, but do you think it prudent to expose the school to the risk of frivolous lawsuits?Should the bishop just waive Church teaching regarding homosexual acts? Should he just let all this go with a wink and a nod? Should he abandon enrollment requirements altogether? Should he petition Rome to change Church teaching regarding homosexuality? Should he simply sell or close the school and therby exit this controversy altogether?How do you think the bishop can follow Church teaching regarding this?I am trying to understand.

. . . .but do you think it prudent to expose the school to the risk of frivolous lawsuits?Ken,Has the pastor or the archbishop said they are doing this to protect the Church from frivolous lawsuits? If that is the reason, or one of the significant reasons, for taking this action, why have we not heard it from the Church?Should the bishop just waive Church teaching regarding homosexual acts? Nobody is asking the Church to disregard its teachings regarding homosexual acts any more than its teachings on divorce and remarriage. A major question here is why children of divorced and remarried couples may attend Catholic schools but children of same-sex parents may not. Why are divorced and remarried couples invited to take part in parish life and same-sex couples invited to go away?

David, we all will be held accountable on Judgement Day:"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, we all will be held accountable on Judgement Day:Nancy,Thanks for clarifying that.

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

In Matthew 5:17-19, wouldn't you say that some of the commandments referred to involved prohibitions on eating pork or shellfish? How many of the 613 commandments in Hebrew Scripture do we follow today?

Archbishop Chaput defends the decision at http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/3560

"I dont see a fundamental difference between the situation of a couple who is remarried outside the Church after divorce and a same-sex couple if both of them continue to attend Mass, pray, and in general grapple with the knowledge that they are in a relationship of which the Church disapproves. "No, me neither. (And for any "orthodox police" who may be reading this, I will leave it at that!)"I dont see in the popes words a precondition to pastoral care by the church that the divorced and remarried couple must have the intention of taking any specific action. When the bishops invite the divorced and remarried to take part in the life of the parish and to attend Sunday Mass, there is no hint of a precondition that they must make up their minds first that they are going to regularize their situation. "On that, I'm not certain I agree with you, at least not completely. I do agree that the bit you quoted doesn't prescribe a specific program. I guess my view is this: the church is, or should be, a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. But that doesn't mean that it's okay for me to do nothing about my sinfulness. Those ads from United Church of Christ - "ejector" and "bouncer" - say that sinneres are welcome there. The same is, or should be, true of the Catholic Church. I hope this is true for the UCC, I do know it's true of the Catholic Church, that we also call sinners to repent. It's not enough to be a place of welcome. Welcoming is the first step. The next is, Begin the hard work of transforming your life. Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near.

. . . . I do know its true of the Catholic Church, that we also call sinners to repent. Calling on sinners to repent is different from requiring them to.

Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.

Setting aside that "seventy-seven" times sounds all wrong when you are used to hearing "seventy times seven," it does seem that Jesus expected everyone to be very, very patient and forgiving. I know this is a huge question that cannot be answered here, but given the fact that Jesus did not just allow "sinners and tax collectors" to come to him, but rather he went and ate with them, how much like Jesus is the Catholic Church? Did Jesus ever send anyone away? Even Judas?

"Welcoming is the first step. The next is, Begin the hard work of transforming your life. Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near."Jim --You are assuming that the lesbian couple is in a state of serious sin. None of us have the right, duty or even competence to make such a judgment. It is quite possible that they have seriously considered the teaching of the Church about homosexual practices and think in all honesty (whether they are right or wrong) that the Church's teaching is mistaken. I dare say that this is exactly what has happened with a lot of gay Catholics in recent years. And the Church itself teaches that they *must* follow their consciences. True, some Churchmen also say that you must follow your conscience AND form it according to the consciences of those whom you think are mistaken (the popes and bishops). This obviously calls for contradictory behavior -- we must agree with the bishops and not agree with them at the same time. This is an obvious impossibility. So then the question becomes: what should the dissenter do when his or her conscience conflicts with obvious Church teaching?It seems to me that the dissenter should look at the teachings of the most recent Council, i.e., Vatican II -- which said that the faithful are the Church, not just the bishops. And it is also clear that huge numbers of the faithful do not now agree with the bishops' teaching on the matter. In other words, it is not a universal belief of the RCC that all homosexual practices are immoral. Now to the infallibility of the hierarchy's teaching. According to the "dogma" of infallibility the teachings identified as infallible must be teachings of the Church. Remember too -- "the Church" is now seen clearly as all the faithful. BUT it is now also clear that not nearly all of the faithful believe that homosexual practices are immoral. It follows that the bishops' teaching about homoexuality cannot be an infallible teaching of the Church, and honest dissenters must continue to dissent. So It follows that the Sacred Heart Parish couple (if they are honest dissenters -- we can't really know, I grant you) should follow their consciences, however their consciences lead them.

Ann:beautifully clear. Only, I am not completely sure that "it is now also clear that not nearly all of the faithful believe that homosexual practices are immoral". You're right for Catholics in the US of course, but what about the ones in the rest of the world?

"You are assuming that the lesbian couple is in a state of serious sin. None of us have the right, duty or even competence to make such a judgment. It is quite possible that they have seriously considered the teaching of the Church about homosexual practices and think in all honesty (whether they are right or wrong) that the Churchs teaching is mistaken. I dare say that this is exactly what has happened with a lot of gay Catholics in recent years. And the Church itself teaches that they *must* follow their consciences. "Ann - Actually, I am not assuming that of this particular couple. I know nothing of their lives. My statements about reforming our lives were more general - although they would apply equally to that couple as to the rest of us. I don't think it's beyond possibility, though, to see that our brothers and sisters in the faith are making serious mistakes in their lives, and fraternally correcting them. I have a solemn duty to do that for my own children. It is the same for a bishop and his flock."According to the dogma of infallibility the teachings identified as infallible must be teachings of the Church." I'm not sure that infallibility enters into this discussion. I agree that the church is the whole church, not just the bishops. But the authority to teach faith and morals does reside with the bishops, not with the faithful as a whole.

Has anybody seen this? It's Henry Rollins response:http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2010/03/its-time-for-gays-to-star...

Jim P. --I don't deny the charism of the bishops to teach as best they understand the message of Christ and the OT.. The doctrine of infallibility is relevant here because the bishops' teaching about homosexuality is no longer universally believed by the faithful (or near universal) . It follows that the bishops' cannot claim it is an indisputable and even infallible teaching. That being the case AB Chaput's claim that the couple is in contempt of settled Church teaching (as Sean put it) is simply not true, from which it follows that they should not censure those parents and take action against the children.I think we need to see that there is a distinction between "what the Church teaches" and "what the whole Church believes". Granted, we know what the bishops teach, but that is no longer a universal belief of the faithful. So there can be honorable dissent from it.

Hi, Ann, the discussion of infallibility is somewhat of a sidetrack that I'd rather not go down. Let's agree that, whether or not it has the charism of infallibility, this teaching is authoritative. Your distinction between "what the Church teaches" and "what the whole Church believes" is a good one and I'd need to think about the implications. What does it mean if there is a teaching that is not fully accepted? I would think that the lack of acceptance (or full acceptance) doesn't really diminish the *truth* of what is taught - either it is true or it isn't true, regardless of how many believe it. Do you agree?

Judging from his very recent statements Father Breslin is clearly more interested in a shot at the episcopacy than he is in fostering harmony and the Christian spirit in his parish. He would surely fit in with most of the current group.

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