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Lesbian couple's child barred from Catholic school

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

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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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