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

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

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

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


Commenting Guidelines

Nancy: You haven't answered my question. I addressed a single specific point. It is not necessary to say everything in every post.

Actually Father, with all due respect, I asked you my question first.

Ann quotes Joe McFaul: "Who will speak for this child?Ann says: Dont hold your breath waiting for a bishop to criticize another bishop, Joe. The bishops didnt even speak for the abused children until the courts forced them to.Posted by Nancy Danielsonon March 10th, 2010 at 8:33 pm Ann, why dont you name the bishops you are referring to and give evidence of the charges you accuse them of. rather than referring to all the bishops?Nancy --You're asking me to give an example of a sort of person who did not and does not exist -- an example of a bishop who criticized another bishop for wrong-doing. So far as I know there hasn't been one.If you have any examples -- any examples at all -- of any U. S. bishop who criticized another individual bishop's handling of sexual abuse, please tell us who he was. I'll be happy to apologize. If there were even one, it would give me hope for the Church in the U. S.

Let's do A/B Chaput a favor and measure the family thing. Catholic HighSchools almost always have or should have a communion breakfast father/ sons; Mom/ daughter and even sometimes both. Twenty years ago I tried to get parents to show up.. not even a fraction showed compared to those who went to the football games. What percent of parents in Denver Archdiocese Catholic HighSchools show up for the Communion breakfast IF THEY STILL HAVE THEM. The Archdiocese has 7 Catholic HSs. some private some diocesan. some boys some girls some seem both. Can we measure the family faith by measuring the communion breakfast turnout? My experience, though 20 years old, was girls schools did much better. nothing like a measure stick to know about how those all important family values are being promulgated. seven phone calls to the campus minister.

Nancy Mollie just posted some of the contents of the latest Commonweal. Here is a quotation from the Fraternal Correction article by Nicholas P. Cafardi which compares the behavior of the American and Irish bishops in response to the sex abuse problems. If you can correct the author with some evidence, Id appreciate it.To petition the Holy See to remove bishops who protected pedophile priests would have been a courageous act by a courageous archbishop. Such episcopal courage was by and large lacking in the United States, and perhaps that obvious failure of the American episcopacy is what drove Archbishop Martin to act in Ireland. This is not to say that the man who was president of the USCCB when the crisis broke in 2002, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, now of Atlanta, showed no courage in pushing the bishops to act; or that there were not individual bishops, such as Archbishop Donald Wuerl, then of Pittsburgh, who deserve our praise for dealing forthrightly with this issue in their dioceses. But sadly, no U.S. bishop did as Archbishop Martin of Dublin did, practicing fraternal correction to protect the church, its people, and especially its children, publicly naming bishops who had not protected the young, and asserting that these bishops would have to go.Why didnt that happen here? Why did no American bishop announce publicly that the issue was not merely one of individual priestly abuse but of episcopal malfeasance, and that those bishops who had facilitated the sexual abuse of children had failed in their canonical duties and would have to resign? One reason, of course, is that there was no Diarmuid Martin in the U.S. church.God bless Commonweal for publishing this.

The problem is there is compassion for the bishops and not the people.

Yes Nickolis Cafardi nailed exactly where the episcopal failure lies... no fraternal correction.. so we had 25 years of continuing cover-up.And this weekend the Pope will be trying to negotiate the German mine fields. This mine field has been laid by this 25 years of episcopal failure. It's as if the hierarchy placed the mines themselves. IMHO The Pope's chances of making it thru this field are slim.. but will the hierarchs finely recognize what they have done?

Nancy, You show an abysmal knowledge of Catholic schools in this world of ours. There are countries and schools where the Catholic Church or a Catholic Order runs the Catholic school and none of the children or their parents are Catholic.Why then does the Church do it? is call social justice for is call living the message of Christ and conversion by example if it happens at all but most of all it is just called ....just is something I would think Chaput would know. Let's cut to the quick, and be honest the guy is a ....(depending on your, shall we say "orientation," you can fill in the blank)

I don't see that there is a matter to resolve. As I have written extensively in the other thread, this issue exists for many families with children in Catholic schools, who learn that their parents are considered to be living a life that is unworthy by Catholic standards. It doesn't result in their investigation, much less their expulsion from Catholic schools. I don't see why gay people should be singled out.

It's been apparent to me for some time that a number of folks in this discussion are prone to view this issue through the prism of civil rights. That's understandable. Nobody here would deny that gay persons have been subject to all sorts of deplorable discrimination in American society, and it's natural that we might see this as another case in point. Nor is the church blameless in its treatment of gay persons - I say this as one who attended Catholic school and saw how people who were thought to be gay were treated by other students.So it's understandable that this might be viewed as a case in which the people are being excluded - are being victimized. They are not doing anything wrong; they are living their lives and not bothering anyone else. They are just different than the rest of us. There is no reason they should not be entitled to the same rights and protections as everyone else. Furthermore, as Christians, we should be willing to work for justice; to speak up for victims; to show solidarity with them; perhaps even to see the face of Christ in them. Those of us who have received the blessing of a Catholic education know what a precious gift it is. Why would we want to deny that gift to anyone who desires it?In the face of all that, I suggest that in fact this is the wrong viewpoint for this situation.As a starting point, let's all acknowlege that, in fact, nobody's rights are being violated in this case. I know of no "right" to attend a private school of any sort. Catholic schools usually are run by a parish, which is to say, by the member families and their leaders - the pastor and the principal of the school. Surely they have the right to set the ground rules for whom they wish to be members of their association.Next, let's ask the question that I think is perplexing us so much: why *shouldn't* this family be allowed to send their children to this school? The answer, best as I can discern, is because of the sinful nature of the arrangement between the two parents. In the view of the Catholic church, there is no possible way that two persons of the same sex can have any sort of a familial arrangement that approximates marriage.But why not? After all, As far as we know, they are minding their own business, so why shouldn't they live in the way that seems best to them? To understand why this should be so, we need to recall the church's understanding of the nature of marriage. According to the church, marriage is, by its very nature, a public relationship. Recall that marraige is the foundation of the family; and the family is the basic building block of human society. This is why the church insists that weddings take place in the church where the faith community gathers, in the midst of that community. The public dimension is intrinsic to marriage.These two women, to whom we should accord every charitable assumption and extend the benefit of every possible doubt, are, by the nature of their relationship, providing public witness that is contrary to what the church teaches about marriage. That is their right as Americans; but that right doesn't extend to the internal church community. The church needn't, and arguably shouldn't, invite into its midst people who witness to ways that would hurt it.As Archbishop Chaput said, these children have a right to a good education. The US provides many alternatives to them. The church cannot prevent these women from living however they see fit. But the church is not obligated to indicate its support and acquiescence to something that it views to be quite sinful and also harmful to its members.

Consider my situation in India.My children studied in a school run by Hindus, because that was the best school in our area, a truly wonderful one. May be if they had the same rule as in Denver I would not have been able to send my children there.Nancy asked (some time back) why they would send the children to the school if they did not agree with the school's mission. Well, though I did not agree with this school's mission, I wanted to send my children there because that was where they would get the best academic education. And I have no regrets about it.

The question is, does a Catholic School have a right to enroll Families that support their Catholic mission? Let us not pretend that failing to support the Catholic mission of our Catholic schools has not led to this: this: this:

Ann, how about you giving us the names of the bishops that knew about the bishops who were guilty of enabling the abuses? If you are aware of any settlements that were made where a victim was paid off, while the criminal was allowed to go free, include those as well. Do you believe that any bishops exist who were not aware, or are you claiming that all the bishops are guilty of remaining silent?

I like Sunil's perspective because it takes this question out of AB Chaput's diocese and puts the Catholic school mission in a worldwide context.Many of my girlfriends graduated from the Catholic girls high school in our town. Many were not Catholic. This school took a lot of "wayward girls." It also attracted girls who had given birth out of wedlock who didn't want to return to the local public school. It was a smaller, safer place where taunts were not allowed. And those friends got a fine liberal arts education that included immersion in Catholic culture--art, music, history and belief.The policy was accept everyone, love everyone, make no apologies for your beliefs.This was 40 years ago, and I know times are different. But, in my view, that high school, sadly closed now, was a great example of what a Catholic school should be. It made a few converts. But it made many more friends of the Church among the girls who attended, and perhaps contributed to their ability to accept and love those who think different from themselves.It strikes me that people who turn away from the larger world, are fearful of engaging it, are those who are fairly uncertain of the strength of their own faith. Aren't the best Catholics the ones who can love the world, live in the world, be a light to the world?

"I understand why many Catholics would want to see the actions of the Archbishop in the best possible light,"I don't think I'm doing that, I do think that your conclusion ('children of homosexual couples need not apply') is to cast it in the worst possible light, though. I suggest you exercise a bit more circumspection, given that, as you have pointed out numerous times, we don't know all the circumstances in this case.

Jim: Did you read Chaput's column? He is unambiguous:

The couple was informed by Sacred Heart of Jesus parish school that the older child, whom they were enrolling in kindergarten for next year, would be allowed to attend kindergarten but would not be able to continue into first grade the year after. Their younger child would be welcome to finish preschool, but not continue into kindergarten. Many have wondered why. Sacred Heart of Jesus parish has borne the difficult publicity surrounding this issue, but archdiocesan policy was followed faithfully in this matter, and the policy applies to all Archdiocese of Denver schools.

Hi Nancy, there is a quick answer to your "rights" based analysis:There are lots of things we have the "right" to do. Jean has the "right" to order those needy kids at her doorstep to get off her property for trespassing. I had never understood that to be the response we would encourage Catholics to cultivate. The debate here, basically, is whether your engagement with the world should be focused on your own self-protection from people whose values are different, versus reaching out to those people. The problem with the Abp's response is that he may be forcefully proclaiming the Church's values, but only in a way that excludes others who don't share them. Realizing how difficult the task is, nonetheless, it seems important to define one's values in a way that always leaves open the possibility that others will or might be persuaded to share them. In that respect, his response is actually a capitulation to the cultural trend that the Abp claims to deplore: a statement that these women, and their children, are not open to the grace of the truth of the Catholic Church, thus, need to be exiled from the Catholic Community. It is not a forceful defense of Catholic theology, but the opposite.

Nancy--I think many on this blog might have categorical differences with you on the mission of Catholic education. I would think that the mission of Catholic education was to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ incarnate and raised, and the Triune life of God that he revealed. It is more than possible to assent to this readily and completely and think the Church is totally wrong on homosexuality. Simply as an example, I am a gay man, single but looking for a relationship. I am also writing a doctoral dissertation on what the three-fold body of Christ (resurrected, eucharistic, and ecclesial) teaches and challenges about the way we understand human bodies. I would think this supports the mission both of the Church and Catholic education.I would also be very interested to know what qualifies as 'taking one's faith seriously' in Chaput's eyes.

Barbara, do you really believe that these children are being exiled from the Catholic Community and that they are not being open to the Grace of the Truth of the Catholic Church because the Catholic school they want to enroll in desires that the Families enrolled in their school support their mission, or is it because their Parents have intentionally denied them the Love of a Father and are not open to the Grace of the Truth of the Catholic Church?

To those who seemingly disagree so vehemently with Bishop Chaput regarding this; what then would you have the man do? Bearing in mind his vocation and role as ordinary of the diocese, and his responsibility to oversee the local Catholic schools; what could he do to pacify you?

I have mixed feelings about this.At my (secular) college there was a push among the administration during my time to establish the learning community--the school's strength--as a learning community in terms of morality as well. Moral education is part of the school's charter.As an RA, I was in awkward positions at times. If someone was drunk or promiscuous, I couldn't really discuss their very real problems with the administration in a "pastoral" way. The administration would want the kids expelled. I would want to find ways to seek counseling or some other solution. So in the end kids ended up not getting the help they needed.I think that moving forward, the Church has to develop a thoroughgoing pastoral ability to accept and minister to persons with a homosexual orientation. Part of that pastoral response has to be unambiguous, clear teaching about the sinful nature of homosexual acts. I think Archbishop Chaput is right in presenting this aspect of the situation. If a little kid with two mommies is in the class, teachers will naturally shy away from saying that parents are a mommy and a daddy--or whatever is age-appropriate at the time. There needs to be a comfort zone in which moral truths can be clearly, unapologetically taught.On the other hand, there also needs to be a programmatic, thoroughgoing responsiveness to the fact that many Catholics, especially teenagers, will experience homosexual inclinations and orientations. Chastity education as such has come out of the closet, as it were, and I think kids are the better for it. Sexual urges are openly discussed. But the shame factor regarding homosexual orientation continues to deny some kids their real claims to pastoral help. Yes, the confessional can be a good place to sort these things out, but will kids who are deeply ashamed get that far? In the current political climate, it's often the Church that is made to feel ashamed of its teaching. It's a blatant political move. I don't think the intention of the pastor or the archdiocesan policy was to embarass the children or parents or to make any public statement. Rather the opposite was true: they wanted to keep a space of freedom open in which to present the Church's moral teaching. However, now that the matter has been made public, and politicized, I think it's a wake-up call for the pastoral response to be stepped up considerably.

Nancy: Yes, I do.

Well Barbara, rather than just criticizing the bishop, please tell us; how would you resolve the matter?What do you think the bishop should do, and why>

Jim, as pointed out numerous times before, your argument does not explain why lesbians are singled out rather than divorced and remarried couples.

"The debate here, basically, is whether your engagement with the world should be focused on your own self-protection from people whose values are different, versus reaching out to those people. The problem with the Abps response is that he may be forcefully proclaiming the Churchs values, but only in a way that excludes others who dont share them."Barbara - these are two sides of the same coin. The church needs to do both: be externally focused ("go forth and baptize everyone") and ensure its own internal integrity ("seek the one who is lost"). The church can't be credible as a witness if its own household is not in order.

Grant - I did read the Archbishop's statement, including the part you highlighted. It states that its policy is general - across the board for all archdiocesan schools. But it doesn't say what that policy is. David N. believes that policy is, Children of same-sex couples may not attend Catholic schools. I'm questioning the accuracy of that formulation, as I don't believe he is quoting an archdiocesan source in this.

"Jim, as pointed out numerous times before, your argument does not explain why lesbians are singled out rather than divorced and remarried couples."Who says divorced and remarried couples are held to a different standard in Denver? I have no reason to think that is the case.

Barbara, yes you do hold the Catholic school responsible because it desires to have Families that support the Catholic school's mission which is to Witness to The Truth of Love, or yes, you hold the Parents of these Children responsible for intentionally refusing them the complementary Love of a Father, and not being open to the Grace of The Truth of the Catholic Church and the complementary Nature of Perfect Love?

David N. believes that policy is, Children of same-sex couples may not attend Catholic schools. Im questioning the accuracy of that formulation, as I dont believe he is quoting an archdiocesan source in this.Jim,Read this:

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. To allow children in these circumstances to continue in our school would be a cause of confusion for the student in that what they are being taught in school conflicts with what they experience in the home.

And this:

If a child of gay parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their parents are bad. We don't want to put any child in that tough position - nor do we want to put the parents, or the teachers, at odds with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Why would good parents want their children to learn something they don't believe in? It doesn't make sense. There are so many schools in Boulder that see the meaning of sexuality in an entirely different way than the Catholic Church does. Why not send their child there?

And this:

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.

While the pastor and archbishop may not be stating the policy as bluntly as you do in the sentence I quoted from you above, all the reasons they give make it clear that they have decided same-sex couples by the very act of being same-sex couples do not "support the mission" of Catholic schools. Also they have stated that it is in the best interest of a child of same-sex parents not to be taught Catholic teaching on homosexuality lest the child be "confused." They have also stated that teachers with the child of a same-sex couple in their classes would be put in an awkward position.While the first paragraph refers to "parents living in open discord," almost all of the reasons given for their actions would apply to same-sex parents who are utterly discrete and do not let on to anyone except their children that they are in a same-sex relationship.

Nancy, did you ever see the Terminator? Do you remember the scene where A.S's neighbor yells at him and he has to ask his computer how to respond and it gives him three random but appropriate responses?I have this vision of you plugging in comments and getting a set of questions back from a computer software that has been programmed to generate random orthodox bits that sort of sound like they really mean something. I think I better sign off now.

A couple of thoughts here:-While Archbishop Chaput is just one guy, he exercises lots of influence on the Catholic right.His actions are suggestive of the approach to get everyone in line with his view of the Church.Given tendencies in clerical vocations we've ediscused, that may be part of a larger ominous trend.-The discussion of this matter is bigger than just a child in Boulder.The actions in regards to gays (say the denial of health benfits in the future in Washingtron) closely link up with the idea of "clearly" proclaiming the Bishop's view (see the pastoral from the last meeting) on sex and marriage.-The issues of divorced/rematrried catholics raised here and how they relate to the Church is highly relevant.I think it was back in the previous thread that Jean said she thought the approach was couterproductive and I agree in spades: it's not pastoral and is based in a world that is quite encapsulated and a hierarchy that in general is taken with their own discretion and showing a large lack of listening to their people.So someone here said the issue is really the Church talking on homosexuality - I think that's half right: it's the Church talking on sexuality (and the credibility thereof).But we've been over this numerous times.I do think we should not underestimate the role of the Abp. which I also think is for the worst.

Jim,Just one additional point. While the pastor and archbishop could have said something like, "Out of respect for the privacy of all those involved in this matter, we decline to comment except to say we are doing our best to resolve the situation taking into consideration the best interests of the parents, and particularly the children, involved in this unfortunate incident." Instead they justified their actions in a matter about which we know almost no details by making a general case about why children of same-sex couples should not attend Catholic school. In making the broad general argument that they did, if any children of same-sex couples are now permitted to attend Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Denver, it is going to be necessary to explain why they are exceptions to the arguments put forward in this case. If the pastor and the archbishop were the Supreme Court, we would say they ruled broadly in this case, neither stating nor implying there were any special circumstances. Their "ruling" was that children of same-sex couples do not belong in Catholic school.

Jim,It seems to me that your heavy focus on whether the mothers' relationship comports with Catholic teaching on marriage obscures the main issue here- the archdiocese's rejection of a child. Regardless of his or her parents' standing with the Church, they have entrusted their child to the care of a Catholic community. There is absolutely no evidence that they sought to undermine the community's teaching or values in anyway. I think David's very worthwhile question above has really gone unanswered. Are we to assume from this that the Archdiocese of Denver would reject baptizing a child if it was presented to the Church by gay parents who are, for whatever reason, not in full communion with the Church? If that's the case (and it would seem perfectly consistent with the archdiocese's policy concerning its schools) then that is scandalous exponentially beyond having an lesbian couple as part of the wider community.

"It seems to me that your heavy focus on whether the mothers relationship comports with Catholic teaching on marriage obscures the main issue here"Then we disagree, Ben - in my view, it it doesn't obscure the main issue, but rather identifies it. I disagree that the main issue here is "the archdiocese's rejection of a child". They haven't rejected the children, they're rejected the parents' relationship. I suspect that nothing would be easier than for the parents to solve this problem, and their children would then be able to be re-enrolled.For those who are critical of the archdiocese, the one component of this story that seems to be completely off-limits for any discussion or consideration is that the parents may need to change their lives in any way. Yet it is the parents' lives that are at the heart of the matter.To entrust their child to the care of the Catholic community, they need to at least try to conform to the community's standards and expectations. What's wrong with that expectation? I've asked that multiple times and nobody has an answer, apparently.The evidence that the parents have sought to undermine the community's teaching is found in the nature of their relationship, which is a distortion of what the church teaches about marriage. I don't assume anything about Denver's baptismal policies, but as I've stated a couple of times now, it's not beyond imagining that the children wouldn't be admitted to infant baptism. Yes, I agree with you that it's a very serious thing when the church refuses to baptism an infant. It goes to the nature of infant baptism and the parents' serious responsibility to provide a Christian home and family life for the infants.

"Just one additional point. While the pastor and archbishop could have said something like, Out of respect for the privacy of all those involved in this matter, we decline to comment except to say we are doing our best to resolve the situation taking into consideration the best interests of the parents, and particularly the children, involved in this unfortunate incident. I don't say you're wrong, David. It's not clear to me how this issue got as public as it now is. Surely it was the parents or friends of the parents who alerted the press.

Jim said: "They havent rejected the children, theyre rejected the parents relationship. I suspect that nothing would be easier than for the parents to solve this problem, and their children would then be able to be re-enrolled."I say: Hogwash. What else do you call it when a school tells students they can't return? Who suffers here, Jim?

BenYou say - "There is absolutely no evidence that they sought to undermine the communitys teaching or values in anyway."As noted above, marriage is a public declaration. By their very behavior they show contempt for the Church's teaching. It is a public witnessandYou say -Are we to assume from this that the Archdiocese of Denver would reject baptizing a child if it was presented to the Church by gay parents who are, for whatever reason, not in full communion with the Church?No, but how can a person make a solemn promise before God that he or she will bring up the child in the faith of the Church if they plan to live a life that rejects a core value of it in a way that is clear, unambiguous, and daily visible to the child?

I dont say youre wrong, David. Its not clear to me how this issue got as public as it now is. Surely it was the parents or friends of the parents who alerted the press.Jim, We just do not know that. There were reports that there were those among the school staff who were appalled by the decision. The lesbian couple is reportedly adamant about maintaining their privacy. We have not heard a word from them or from anyone speaking on their behalf. I see no reason at all -- except prejudice -- to assume, based on no facts whatsoever -- that the parents or their friends alerted the press.

As noted above, marriage is a public declaration. By their very behavior they show contempt for the Churchs teaching. It is a public witnessSean,There is no same-sex marriage in Colorado. The lesbian couple is not married. They have not made a public declaration. From what we know, they have been living discreetly in this parish for some time.Catholics who divorce and civilly remarry do make a public statement, but they are not excluded from parish life, and in fact the USCCB recommends they attend Sunday Mass.No, but how can a person make a solemn promise before God that he or she will bring up the child in the faith of the Church if they plan to live a life that rejects a core value of it in a way that is clear, unambiguous, and daily visible to the child?How can a non-Catholic in a mixed marriage promise to raise a child as Catholic if he or she does not believe that the Catholic faith is true? Suppose a person who is a devout member of a non-Catholic or non-Christian religion marries a Catholic and agrees to raise the children as Catholic. Then suppose the Catholic parent dies. Is the non-Catholic parent incapable of continuing to raise the children as Catholic? Once the Catholic parent is gone, must the children be booted from the school because every day they will see the parent who is raising them practice a religion that is not in accord with Catholicism?

No, but how can a person make a solemn promise before God that he or she will bring up the child in the faith of the Church if they plan to live a life that rejects a core value of it in a way that is clear, unambiguous, and daily visible to the child?Suppose a Jew and a Catholic marry and the Jew agrees to raise the children Catholic. May they not attend Catholic school because the Jew rejects the divinity of Jesus and the Resurrection? Or suppose a divorced and remarried couple, both formerly practicing Catholics, want to raise their children as Catholic. Are they incapable of making that decision honestly? Should their children be kept out of Catholic school?

The Church doesn't require belief by parents to baptize children. Many kings/chieftains of the tribes of Europe allowed their wives and children to be baptized by missionaries, even though they themselves continued worshipping the old Gods.E.g., Clotilda "incarnates the traditional model of the holy royal missionary consort whose vocation was to bring her husband to Christianity." accepted Clovis's proposal "on the condition that her children would be baptized in the orthodox faith."And King Gorm the Old and his consort, Queen Thyra the Prudent, both clung to the old ways, but allowed some of their children to be baptized. All red herrings to distract from the obvious underlying fact.

By their very behavior they show contempt for the Churchs teaching. Sean,It makes you very angry, does it not, that these two women are attempting to live together as a couple and raise children? You can't bring yourself to empathize or sympathize with them, can you?

Fr. K - interesting comments that this is "ONE" bishop - but, where do you draw the line? You have mentioned before your concerns about a trend over the last 50-100 years that places "undue" importance, almost adoration upon the Pope (esp. JPII's manner of exercising power, authority, and charisma; the centralization of power in Rome/Curia since Vatican I). In many ways, AB Chaput is behaving in similar ways to what is modeled by the papacy currently and in recent history. There seems to a diminishment of the role of laity, theologians, the heirarchy of announcements, decrees, decisions, etc. There is complete ignorance of any type of "receptivity" by the People of God.Many posts in dotCommonweal over the past 12 months have focused on biships such as Chaput, George, Dolan, Mahoney - so, how does the average catholic decide when and when not to listen to them? Or is your point just that we can not "CONFLATE" any specific bishop as speaking or being the Total church?Jim - there is a very interesting experience going on in the Australian Catholic Church this lent - weekly Sunday reflections by various bishops by dioceses on the Sunday lenten gospels.Here are some quotes from these bishops from last Sunday's gospel on the Prodigal Son:"The parable of the prodigal son and the inexhaustible forgiveness of the father (who clearly represents God) are obviously anti-Pharisee; it is meant to annoy them, to undermine their self-righteousness. The parable is also interpreted as the symbol of God's incomprehensible loyalty and commitment to creation and creatures, no matter what happens, no matter how great the sin.""It is not true that Jesus opened the gates of the kingdom to hard-boiled and impenitent criminals, or that he denied the existence of "sinners". What Jesus opposed were the walls that were erected within Israel and those who treated other Israelites as if they were outside the covenant and excluded from God's grace.' Interestingly the preacher to the papal household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, a Capuchin, also picked up this same theme when he told the Pope, cardinals, bishops and prelates of the Roman Curia and the general superiors of religious orders in Lent 2007 that...'What Jesus condemns is the Pharisees relegating to themselves the determination of true justice and their denying to others the possibility of conversion.' He refers specifically to the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector: '"He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others" (Luke 18:9). Jesus was more severe with those who condemned sinners with disdain than he was with the sinners themselves.""Initiates into the Catholic religion, for example, are presented with a list of doctrines and dogmas - a set of rules and regulations that are to govern their lives and to a large degree are to "conform" their conscious thinking about God. I believe that this dogmatic and doctrinal approach obfuscates or even negates the powerful messages contained in the Jesus parables...including the Prodigal Son. And so we continue to think in terms of punishment and rewards when it comes to our relationship with God rather than letting God be the absolutely compassionate and loving God of Jesus Christ.""Because, for the father for God it's never a matter of 'being worthy'. You are my son, not because you are worthy but because you are my son. So that's the first thing you see about the God who cut's him short. This is a God who shatters the logic of worthiness."Jim - there is always a tension between an institutions boundaries, rules, regulations and the gospel message. The above four snippets came from four different bishops but they convey a totally different approach to a situation such as Boulder, CO. We are a merciful, sacramental, and story filled church - this Boulder decision does not reflect that."

Jim, I'm going to have to disagree this is about marriage. There is no indication that the parents of the child claimed to be married, so why inject that issue? You may say it concerns sexuality, but we really don't even know if the parents engage in sex. There are lots of heterosexual couples who stop having sex for various reasons, and the same is true for some gay and lesbian couples. There is no indication that they made a public statement that they are having sex, and if the pastor or principal asked them then they stepped over a line. Even the old requirement of divorced and married couples "living as brother and sister" did not entail any sort of public announcement of the arrangement. To assume that because one identifies as gay or lesbian means they are engaging in sexual activity is simplistic and reduces identity to activity; would a widower stop being heterosexual just because he no longer had sex?Sean, any particular activity does not immediately show "contempt for the Church's teaching." What is this binary universe of love/hate you live in? People who do not practice some aspect of any Church teaching do not immediately hate the Church. They may be uninformed, misunderstand, respectfully disagree, try to grow in understanding, fail unintentionally, and so on. This idea that people are at any given moment in 100% agreement or 100% disagreement ignores the reality of the human condition.

As I reflect on this incident, I see it as part of a broader problem beyond Abp. Chaput and his pastor.I thought of the NCR editorial that we're seeing a "hermeneutic of dysfunctionality."I think that's the case.Going back to post VII, we saw the appointment of hierearchy chosen for loyalty and (as was pointed out well in the Werakland autobiography) expeced to be under the thumb of the curial masters.This, by the way, is hardly the truth from the beginning.This kind of governance is analogous to the worst kinds of government beauracracy and beaurocrats (which many here who support the Abp. et al decry in governmemt) where any pronouncement from on high is expected to be treate dwith a "hizzah" or at least not criticized.Ironically, Zenit today has a piece on the Irish Bishops proudly welcoming the Vatican Statement on sex abuse.Could they have done otherwise or spoken up like Fr. Twomey?The issue then here is yes. Abp, Chaput, yes, the way the gays are treated, yes the Church's views of marriage and sexuality , but, ultimately, where we are going and how this incident mirrors, yes, an incident in one place, but, from reactions here, where our Church is headed.

Yes David - I am just a Big Meanie. Typical angry white guy. Satisfied?Gerelyn - Did I say it requires belief? No, I said it requires a commitment to bring the child up in the faith. I simply say that when both parents live lives that openly defy that faith and plan to continue to do so, it is hard to take that committment seriously.Do we really believe that these women if asked by there children will say, "Yes children. Our manner of living is sinful, don't ever do it"?As I said in the previous thread, it is one thing to say that the school ought to include these children in spite of the scandal that might be caused by the "parents" behavior, it is another all together to say that the bahvior is not scandalous. We haven't had the former discussion, and probably never will on this blog because none of those making the argument thinks the Church's teaching on the underlying issue of homosexual behavior and sex outside of marriage is valid in the first place.

it is one thing to say that the school ought to include these children in spite of the scandal that might be caused by the parents behavior, it is another all together to say that the bahvior is not scandalous.Sean, the sin of scandal means to cause another to sin. What exactly about this situation is causing other people to sin?

(Sean, sorry if you thought my post was directed at you. It wasn't.)-----Pretending to protect children from the truth reveals a lack of belief in the so-called truth by the so-called protector. What's really being protected is something else entirely.

Here is a link to an article by Michael Sean Winters that resonates with this discussion: "[T]he church cannot preach sexual ethics in a vacuum; one reason its message has failed so utterly is because American Catholicism has reduced religion to morality and specifically to sexual morality. Unfortunately, because the liberalism of the public sphere requires that we set our dogmatic claims aside, the Church's cultural position invites just such a reduction. In an article in the Catholic quarterly Communio, theologian Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete commented: "It is a great temptation for the Church to reduce its mission to that of an ethical authority in order to gain access to the public forum." Few would argue that the Church's moral teachings, standing on their own, are persuasive in today's culture. But they were never meant to stand on their own. What is distinctive about Catholicism is not the manner in which its members copulate, but how we pray and to whom. This core sense of wonder at the admittedly large claims of the Catholic faith--that God himself came down from Heaven, was born of a virgin, walked upon the Earth, died, and rose from the dead--and the wonder they must necessarily inspire to those who hold them, are what the Church must reclaim if its credibility is to be restored. Unless a bishop or theologian can trace his views on moral issues to the empty tomb of Easter morning, there is nothing distinctively Christian or Catholic about them."