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

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

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

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

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Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?....it is call social justice for children...it 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 ....education.It 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:http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/feb/10022403.htmlor this:http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=5618or this:http://fumare.blogspot.com/2010/03/fumare-exclusive-catholic-notre-dame....

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."http://www.amazon.com/Women-Gender-Medieval-Europe-Encyclopedias/dp/0415... 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.http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=morris&book=scandinavian&st... 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:http://www.americamagazine.org/blog/entry.cfm?blog_id=2&id=43675445-3048... "[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."

Mr DeHaas: Thank you so much for all of the reflections and links you've included throughout both of these threads. I've been reading them all and have found them very helpful and informative.

" I see no reason at all except prejudice to assume, based on no facts whatsoever that the parents or their friends alerted the press."Once again, you're awfully quick to assume the worst possible motive, David. I agree with you that we don't know who alerted the press. Having been around the block once or twice in my life, it seems likely enough to me that it was someone sympathetic to the parents. Ok?

Yes David I am just a Big Meanie. Typical angry white guy. Satisfied?Sean,What does being white have to do with it?You said, "As noted above, marriage is a public declaration. By their very behavior they show contempt for the Churchs teaching. It is a public witness."As I pointed out, but you did not acknowledge, these two women are not married. My question to you is, Do you say the same of Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried? Do you say that by their very behavior they show contempt for the Churchs teaching? After noting that they cannot receive communion, Pope John Paul II says this of the divorced and civilly remarried Catholics:

However, there are many appropriate pastoral ways to help these people. The Church sees their suffering and the serious difficulties in which they live, and in her motherly love is concerned for them as well as for the children of their previous marriage: deprived of their birthright to the presence of both parents, they are the first victims of these painful events.It is first of all urgently necessary to establish a pastoral plan of preparation and of timely support for couples at the moment of crisis. The proclamation of Christ's gift and commandment on marriage is in question. Pastors, especially parish priests, must with an open heart guide and support these men and women, making them understand that even when they have broken the marriage bond, they must not despair of the grace of God, who watches over their way. The Church does not cease to invite her children who find themselves in these painful situations to approach the divine mercy by other ways ... until such time as they have attained the required dispositions (Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, n. 34). Pastors are called to help them experience the charity of Christ and the maternal closeness of the Church, receiving them with love, exhorting them to trust in Gods mercy and suggesting, with prudence and respect, concrete ways of conversion and participation in the life of the community of the Church (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by Divorced and Remarried Members of the Faithful, 14 September 1994, n. 2). The Lord, moved by mercy, reaches out to all the needy, with both the demand for truth and the oil of charity.

He does not say they must be ostracized because by their very behavior they show contempt for the Churchs teaching.

Sean wrote: "marriage is a public declaration. By their very behavior they show contempt for the Churchs teaching. It is a public witness"... to which David replied: "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."My comment: Living together, which is essentially what this couple is doing (to the best of my extremely limited knowledge about them and their relationship) is itself a sort of distortion of marriage. It is public witness, regardless of whether the state recognizes it as a marriage, and regardless of how private they want it to be. That the church may not have known about it until earlier this year doesn't change the public witness aspect of it. Possibly there are many other irregular arrangements in that parish (such as divorced/remarried-without-annulment situations, or single parents living with boyfriends/girlfriends), unbeknownst to the parish and school authorities. Perhaps, if they do learn about them, those families would be held to the same standard as this family.

"The Church doesnt require belief by parents to baptize children. "Actually, Gerelyn, for infant baptism, it does."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."Note that *wives and* children, not just the children, were baptized in your example. It's not unusual today that one parent in a marriage is Christian and the other isn't, and the Christian parent wants the child to be baptized. The rule, enshrined in canon law, is that there must be a "founded hope" that the infant will be raised as a Christian.Beyond that, I suppose it's possible that at different times and places, different standards have been used in this regard, but current church practice is that, for infant baptism, the expectation is that the child will live in a home that will support its faith.Btw, please note that I am not saying, and have never said here, that these children should not have been baptized. Fwiw, my personal rule of thumb in ambiguous situations is, 'when in doubt, baptize the child.' But some parishes do hold the bar high for infant baptism.

(Btw, Jim P = Jim Pauwels; I'm on a different computer right now, and darned if I can remember my usual password!)

Having been around the block once or twice in my life, it seems likely enough to me that it was someone sympathetic to the parents. Ok?Jim,You did not say originally "someone sympathetic to the parents." You said, "Surely it was the parents or friends of the parents who alerted the press." Here is a quote from a news report:

According to 9News.com employees of the school, who requested anonymity were angry and disappointed. "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."
It could easily have been someone from the school staff who alerted the press.You may think I am giving you a hard time, but as I keep pointing out, we know almost nothing about the lesbian couple. Yet time and again, people have made assumptions along the lines that they must have enrolled their children in a Catholic school as a "publicity stunt," that they must have engaged in some behavior that precipitated this decision, and that they can't possibly "support the mission of the school."I will agree with you that it is likely that someone sympathetic to the couple or unsympathetic to the decision of the pastor and archdiocese who alerted the media. But I don't think it is nitpicking to say I disagree with the statement, "Surely it was the parents or friends of the parents who alerted the press."

Coding error above! The first indent is a quote. The second indent is me talking again.

"Possibly there are many other irregular arrangements in that parish (such as divorced/remarried-without-annulment situations, or single parents living with boyfriends/girlfriends), unbeknownst to the parish and school authorities. Perhaps, if they do learn about them, those families would be held to the same standard as this family."The fact the above scenario can be held open as a "perhaps they will be held to the same standard" reveals the discriminatory application of the Church's teaching on family inherent in all of this. Other families who do not fully conform to the Church's teaching could not be held to a different standard than the couple in question here. If this is acceptable, you would have to reject all the children whose parents are divorced and remarried. In which case, you would have kicked out many of the kids I went Catholic school with, many of whom are still practicing Catholics.

"Jim, Im 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? "As I stated in my 3/11 2:21 pm comment, that they may or may not claim to be married in some way isn't really material. Their living arrangement seems to be some sort of public witness against the church's understanding of marriage."You may say it concerns sexuality, but we really dont 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?"I don't believe I've said anything about sex. (Did I? I've already spent more time on this than I should). To me the core of the issue in this regard is that *both partners seem to be described as the children's parents*. To illustrate why this is the problem, think of possible alternative relationships that wouldn't be problematic for the church. For example, suppose that one of the partners is the children's biological or adoptive parent - which, btw, I assume to be actually the case - and that for all practical purposes she is a single mom. Many single moms struggle to make ends meet. She could take on a roommate to help pay the rent. Suppose further that it so happens that the mom and the roommate are both gay. I would think that none of these circumstances would prevent these children from registering at the school. But to describe the couple as the child's parents, plural, takes us down a very different path.

"The fact the above scenario can be held open as a perhaps they will be held to the same standard reveals the discriminatory application of the Churchs teaching on family inherent in all of this. Other families who do not fully conform to the Churchs teaching could not be held to a different standard than the couple in question here. If this is acceptable, you would have to reject all the children whose parents are divorced and remarried. In which case, you would have kicked out many of the kids I went Catholic school with, many of whom are still practicing Catholics."(Last time I'm responding to this objection).Ben, if in fact there is a double standard in Denver, then you've busted them. So far, nobody has figured out whether or not there is such a double standard in Denver. That you know of kids whose parents were divorced and remarried (not necessarily a sin in the church, btw) doesn't say anything about what Denver does when they find someone in that situation.Or, maybe Denver analyzes the different cases in such a way that they don't believe it is a double standard. Maybe in Denver's eyes, there is a fundamental difference between the two cases. Absent any evidence whatsoever, all we can do is wonder.

"I will agree with you that it is likely that someone sympathetic to the couple or unsympathetic to the decision of the pastor and archdiocese who alerted the media"\Thank you. And if it turns out that I'm all wet about who alerted the press, then I will stand corrected and, I hope, be among the first to say so.

"Note that *wives and* children, not just the children, were baptized in your example. Its not unusual today that one parent in a marriage is Christian and the other isnt, and the Christian parent wants the child to be baptized. The rule, enshrined in canon law, is that there must be a founded hope that the infant will be raised as a Christian."---True that in some cases, kings permitted their wives to be baptized. In other cases, as in Clotilda's, the wife was already Christian before marriage. Another example: Queen Bertha was already a Christian when she came from Paris to marry Ethelbert of Kent, a worshipper of Odin. He agreed in the pre-nup to let her continue practicing her religion, and she and her chaplain paved the way for Augustine of Canterbury. (Her husband, like Clotilda's, was eventually baptized, too.)------Were the children in the Chaput situation baptized? Isn't the reason for their exclusion from Catholic education to protect the teachers from "worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents"?If the teachings about homosexuals are true, they should be shouted from the housetops, regardless of the results. The missionaries who went out to the tribes of Europe chopped down their sacred groves, destroyed their temples, and sent the temple treasures back to Rome. They were not concerned about the feelings of the pagans. In fact, they were quite open about telling pagans like King Radbod that their ancestors were in hell.

Suppose further that it so happens that the mom and the roommate are both gay. I would think that none of these circumstances would prevent these children from registering at the school. Jim,It depends on what you mean by "gay." If they are both celibate "homosexual persons" who are committed to celibacy and agree that their sexuality is "intrinsically disordered" and that were they to have sex with each other it would be an act of "grave depravity," then I see no impediment to admitting the child to the school under the stated policy of the archdiocese. However, people who self-identify as "gay" don't usually agree with the Church's teachings on homosexuality. Describing oneself as "gay" generally indicates self-acceptance. The Church, in its official documents, says "homosexual persons," not "gay people."If two self-accepting gay people are raising a child, I would think the that child would be prohibited from attending a Catholic school under the archdiocese's policy, whether the couple living together were involved in a sexual relationship with each other or not. They would still be in disagreement with the teachings of the Church.

Chaput's unconvincing objections concerning the potential for confusing the children about their parents' moral status would seem to apply as much to whatever religious instruction is customarily available to non-parochial school chidren as to that presented in the context of the parish school. Would the ban on accepting the children of gay couples in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Boulder extend then to a ban on their receiving religious instruction of the sort customarily available to students in non-parish schools? And,assuming the children involved have already been baptized, how would the ruling square with the chidren's rights as baptized Christians to receive appropriate pastoral instruction? Consider the Code of Canon Law, particularly, Canon 217:Can. 217 Since they are called by baptism to lead a life in keeping with the teaching of the gospel, the Christian faithful have the right to a Christian education by which they are to be instructed properly to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation.But not in the Diocese of Boulder?

David,What does being angry have to do with it? I am sorry for the shot, but it gets tiresome when people decide the reason for a persons beliefs or positions must be anger, or hatred, or ill will. It's an easy way to dismiss the concerns of people you don't agree with.I am angry at no one, I hope the best for these people, but I believe the way they are going about it is wrong and ultimately futile.

"If two self-accepting gay people are raising a child, I would think the that child would be prohibited from attending a Catholic school under the archdioceses policy, whether the couple living together were involved in a sexual relationship with each other or not. "Right - you would think. Your and my disagreement (at least one of them :-)) is whether or not their policy is that cut-and-dried. I'm not saying you're wrong, although I hope it's not that ... discriminatory. We're trying to induct that policy from one case and a handful of public statements.FWIW, having enrolled my own children in Catholic schools (not in Denver), my experience is that the parents aren't subjected to a quiz or orthodoxy test, nor intrusive questions about their sex life or sexual preferences. It's kind of an adults-to-adults transaction: the assumption is that you want your children to go to this school because you buy into their beliefs and values, and will seek to live them. If there is a significant area where an applicant disagrees with the church, then ... maybe it's not the right school.

"Can. 217 Since they are called by baptism to lead a life in keeping with the teaching of the gospel, the Christian faithful have the right to a Christian education by which they are to be instructed properly to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation."Susan - in your opinion, what is the role of parents in ensuring that right for their baptized children? For example, are parents adequately seeing to that Christian education by dropping the children off at religious at at 4 pm and picking them up at 5 pm?

Susan in your opinion, what is the role of parents in ensuring that right for their baptized children? For example, are parents adequately seeing to that Christian education by dropping the children off at religious at at 4 pm and picking them up at 5 pm?Jim, certainly that's not the ideal approach; it's the absolute bare minimum. However, we accept bare minimum standards in lots of aspects of the Christian life. Unfortunate as it may be, that is the case, and we often institutionalize the bare minimum (as happened in the move away baptism by immersion in the past few centuries, for example). And the sort of approach to catechesis you describe has been an acceptable minimum for some time.

What does being angry have to do with it? Sean,One of the reasons I asked if you were angry is because you said, "By their very behavior they show contempt for the Churchs teaching." Do the Catholics who use artificial birth control, or the Catholics who divorce and remarry, or the Catholics who cohabit before marriage, show "contempt" for the teachings of the Church? I am gay, I can't really call myself a Catholic except in the broadest possible sense, and I disagree strongly with the Church's teachings on homosexuality (just to name one area), but I do not have "contempt." Now, I know what contempt for the Church and its teachings sounds like, since I hear it from people when I mention discussions on this blog to people who can't imagine why I would even participate here. I had occasion to exchange a few words with the famed Fr. Neuhaus many long years ago when there was a particularly bitter fuss over gay people wanting to march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. I went up to him after he gave a talk at a Catholic bookstore and asked him, "Why does there have to be so much conflict between the Church and gay people?" And he got a gleam in his eyes and said, "Because they know we're right!" On the other hand, I called the office of the Archdiocese and spoke to a priest at the heart of the whole thing, and he did his best to defend Cardinal O'Connor's position, but he lamented the situation, talked to me for a very long time, and we ended the conversation agreeing that we should both attempt to make things better. Which priest do you think made me find the church more attractive?

Grant said: "These parents could have a case for the Vatican Signatura.Oh, yes, Raymond Burke would be SO very open to giving them a fair hearing!Grant's mistake is assuming the possibility of a fair hearing for LGBT folks by Holy Mother the Church.I still can get you a good buy on the bridge over the Golden Gate if you are interested.

"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. "Wise and thought-provoking words, Bill - thanks.

David,I am a lawyer, and I meant contempt in the sense of an open disregard or disobedience to authority. Are you saying your "strong disagreement" isn't that?

David,Which matters more? Which one made the Church more attractive or which one was right? I love my children, and some of the most helpful and loving conversations I have had with them have been when they heard something they didn't want to. as were mine with my own father.I have absolutely no argument with people who say that if the Church changed its teachings on a number of issues it might attract more adherents - maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't - but that doesn't matter at all. You don't seem concerned that if the Church suddenly accepted all of your views regarding what you see as objectionable doctrine it might drive others away who object to your views. Why not? So, whose views please the most people can't be the basis for Christ's Church.What ought to attract one is Jesus Christ. I happen to believe that the Church is the one, holy and apostolic Church. That it is the Church Christ established.I am not angry, I am confused. How can people say they believe that the Church is Christ's Church and still believe it is wrong about almost everything that is important in life?

Jeanette DeMelo, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Denver, has gotten back to me with a clarification. I've updated this post accordingly, and will let you know when I receive her reply to my follow-up questions.

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.

As a reminder, this is the paragraph from Archbishop Chaput's column that led me to believe the "policy" applied to the children of gay couples:

Denver news media have reported in recent days on the case of two children of a lesbian couple in Boulder. 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.

"Which priest do you think made me find the church more attractive?"The one who told you what you wanted to hear, of course. But I think Fr.Neuhuas had a keen insight--it seems people with same sex attractions are often much less tolerant of the Church than the Church is of them.

You dont seem concerned that if the Church suddenly accepted all of your views regarding what you see as objectionable doctrine it might drive others away who object to your views.Sean,I am under no illusion that the Church will suddenly accept all of my views! And while I do think the Church teachings on homosexuality (and many other matters involving sexuality) is "objectionable doctrine," that really is not the issue here. As I have said any number of times, the policy of the archdiocese makes no sense. How can it be argued that children may not receive a Catholic education because it might confuse them by teaching them that what their parents say is right is actually wrong? If the lesbian couple is living a life of error and sin, and they want their child to receive a Catholic education, which the Church believes will reveal to the children that their parents are living a life of error and sin, why in the world would the Church tell the parents to find some other school that will teach their children that error and sin is not error and sin?What I find objectionable in this situation is that unlike with the divorced and remarried, the Church (or perhaps I should say the Archdiocese) is telling the lesbian couple (and all gay people) to just go away. The Catholic Church may be in dialog with Jews and other non-Christian religions, and Protestant religions about which there is disagreement more profound than over homosexuality. But its "pastoral" approach to gay people is to say, "Go away. Come back when you are a closeted 'homosexual person' and then we can talk." The Church's treatment of gay people, even if all the Church's teachings on sexuality are true, is not compassionate or caring or "pastoral" in any way. I was actually stunned when I read Pope John Paul II's address touching on pastoral care of the divorced and remarried. As I said, the woman commenter on Father Bill's blog seemed to sum up the attitude of the Church (as I see it) when she said, "To divorce and remarry is a sin. To be in a same-sex relationship is an ABOMINATION."

The one who told you what you wanted to hear, of course.Neither priest told me what I wanted to hear. I thought Cardinal O'Connor was pig-headed on the subject, and the priest from the archdiocese defended his every action. But he also was kind and listened to what I had to say and wished me well, although we had a fundamental disagreement. Father Neuhaus was self-satisfied and smug and couldn't have cared less about what I thought or felt.

But I think Fr.Neuhuas had a keen insightit seems people with same sex attractions are often much less tolerant of the Church than the Church is of them.Mark Proska,We're talking here about a couple who wants to send their children to Catholic school, and an archbishop who says they can't because they are lesbians. Who is more tolerant than whom? Lesbians to archbishop: "We want our children to have a Catholic education." Archbishop to lesbians: "For your own good, and for the good of your children, go away."

Nancy asks: "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?"Nancy -- You are trying to change the subject. I asked not about settlements, etc. Rather, I asked you if you could name one bishop who criticized anothre bishop publicly.Can you?

"name one bishop who criticized another bishop publicly."I googled "Catholic bishop criticizes other bishops". The only thing example I saw was Archbishop Raymond Burke who last year publicly criticized other American bishops for allowing pro-choice politicians to receive communion.

name one bishop who criticized another bishop publicly.http://www.seattlepi.com/local/406280_Hunthausen18.htmlAbp. Hunthausen, on learning that his (now deceased) close friend the bishop of Spokane had sent a known pedophile as a visiting priest to his diocese without warning him about his history of child molestation: "(I had) feelings that were so sad that I knew nothing about it" he said. "I still can't comprehend, I still don't know why"Not exactly a ringing criticism, but it's the closest to criticism I could come up with.

Kudos to Jim Pauwels. His interpretation of the Denver policy now (see the update) seems to be the correct one. He ably disputed what seemed so clear and unambiguous to others and did so with persistence and calmness beyond the call of duty.

Thank you, Irene and Claire. As you see, neither criticizing a group of bishops about a different subject nor criticizing a dead bishop is the same thing as criticizing a living fellow bishop about his behavior in regard to agusive priests. Apparently there just weren't any.Rocco says L'Osservatore Romano has an "astonishing" front page article by a woman who criticizes the Vatican for the lack of female decision-makers in the Church. She even refers to the tradition of "omerta" of the good ole boys there. http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/ Maybe things are starting to change a bit wirh regard to transparency?. I wonder if the need for it is finally sinking in for the Pope.

True, Jim P. seems to be correct. At least in theory. It only remains to see the policy in practice.

Here is a late take on this:Do you suppose the bishop would be willing to allow the kids in school if the couple would agree to accept pastoral care from the local priest with the goal of helping them to normalize their domestic situation?

From the archbishop's spokeswoman: "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."------- Couples who have far fewer children than the number of years they've been married seem to be open in their rejection of the beliefs about contraception. Individuals who display yard signs or wear campaign buttons supporting political candidates opposed by bishops seem to be open about their rejection of the beliefs.

Se Bill D.'s and my comments on teh new thread on BXVI and Bonaventure -and change.Those committed to the absolute loyalty that Cardinal Rigali (and his followers) spoke to Weakland about can brook no change - fear that one move away from the status quop will open the dike.So we get the kind of incident that happened on Boulder that shocked lots of people -and the reflexive defenses from those in the absolute loyalty camp.So it goes...

Patrick, thank you for your kind words.David N., I have used "homosexual" and "gay" in this discussion more or less interchangeably. If there are shades of meaning that I'm missing, I apologize. Honestly, while I know the church uses the phrase "homosexual persons" in its official docs, that formulation strikes me as a bit stilted. But if you think it's more precise, then I'll stick with it.

Grant, thanks for going to the source and reporting the response.

Kudos to Jim Pauwels. His interpretation of the Denver policy now (see the update) seems to be the correct one. He ably disputed what seemed so clear and unambiguous to others and did so with persistence and calmness beyond the call of duty.I agree entirely with the sentiment, although we have further clarification of the policy still to come, and then we need to see how it works in actual practice. But Jim deserves the praise for being calm and persistent.

Sterile orthodoxy = Orthotoxy (HT a friend)Grant, earlier you shared a comment from an observer who opined that the children, if turned away from the sacraments, etc., might have a legitimate case to make to a Vatican court.I have my doubt --- and its name is AB Raymond Burke.

If there are shades of meaning that Im missing, I apologize. Jim,No need for an apology! I am not trying to impose my usage, but I do believe "gay" is a self-description. Awhile back we had a discussion about Cardinal Newman and Father Ambrose St John. I don't doubt that their relationship was platonic, whatever their sexual orientations. If somehow we could know that Cardinal Newman did indeed have a homosexual orientation, I still wouldn't call him gay. We've had several politicians over the years who were married with children but who made the news because they were caught in furtive homosexual encounters. I wouldn't call them gay. I wouldn't call a priest with a homosexual orientation who kept his vow of celibacy a "gay priest" (although if he wanted to identify himself as such, I wouldn't object). I think to be gay does not require that someone be sexually active. But I do think it requires a person to be willing to say -- if only to a very limited circle -- "I'm gay." I also wouldn't consider men who would not even consider having sex with other men to be "temporarily gay" if they have homosexual sex in prison. But you are correct that "homosexual persons" sounds stilted, and I believe Nancy would argue (with some justification, and if I understand her correctly) that there is no such thing as a "homosexual person," but rather there are persons with a homosexual orientation.

Building on Jim's explanation, was wondering if some of our legal folks could weigh in on this. No lawyer but:- it appears that this "law of the archdiocese" or policy has natural law as its foundation- usually, a law that is "unenforcable"; observed more in the breach than in practice; eventually is defined as "unjust";- it would seem that a "policy" is analgous to a law - thus, a policy that is unenforceable; not applied to all with the same force (e.g. divorced and remarried children; etc.) would eventually be an "unjust" policy- given Jim's explanation and the broad expanse that this policy then places upon all the catholic school administrators in the archdiocese; why have we not seen other decisions that discouraged or did not allow other children of divorced but not annulled parents to remain in catholic schools; what about schools in economically poor areas that enroll non-catholic children - what do their parents have to do to meet this policySo, specifically, how do you maintain a policy that requires you to make judgements about personal and family matters that are not your business - it seems that this policy eventually becomes "unjust".

"I am not trying to impose my usage". Don't worry about that - I appreciate any and all tutelage. Using the wrong word in the wrong way and thereby offending someone is exactly the kind of stumble that I'm all too llikely to make.

By the way, I think the policy of the Archdiocese of Denver is wrongheaded not just because it appears to discriminate against gay people. If they want to stick to the policy as stated, I would rather see it be used unjustly against gay people than be expanded to kick whole groups of other children out of Catholic school on account of their parents. I would be appalled if the Archdiocese, say, in an attempt to prove itself unbiased, kicked out all children of those who were divorced and civilly remarried. On the other hand, if Archbishop Chaput sets the tone for education in the Catholic schools out there, maybe it would be better if nobody attended them.

This is amazing David. It seems you have finally arrived at one solution; sell or close the schools.

Ken, that wasn't just uncharitable it was dishonest. What part of he would RATHER NOT see this policy expanded to harm other people do you not get?

In an article titled Catholic School Rejects Children of Lesbian Parents, Sparking Faith Debate we learn the following:

The children's parents have not spoken publicly, but the school's decision was leaked to local media by teachers at Sacred Heart who disagree with it.Michael Voris from RealCatholicTV.com said the fact that school teachers were the whistleblowers brings to light the culture wars raging inside the church. "This is about Catholic Identity and building boundaries, which all groups do," he said.But many opponents of the church's decision said they found it hard to reconcile the school's doctrinal boundaries with these words it features in a video tour on its Web site: "Let the children come to me ... for the kingdon of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 . . . .

So much for the theory that this was a gay rights publicity stunt.

Also from the article I linked to above -- and I have been waiting for them to make this argument --

Some critics of the church point out that it allows children of divorced parents and children born out of wedlock to attend the school -- even though both situations are sins in Catholic teachings.But Sacred Heart's priest, the Rev. William Breslin, said in his blog that the situations were different: "It's 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," Breslin wrote. "People who are divorced do not say divorce is good. There are no pro-divorce parades. Divorce is a tragedy for everybody."

It seems to me that this whole thing is less about right or wrong behavior on the part of the parents and more about the culture wars, familiar territory for Archbishop Chaput. The reason there are no pro-divorce parades is because almost every state in the union has no-fault divorce. As everyone knows, half of all marriages end in divorce. The pro-divorce side has already won, and apparently Father Breslin and Archbishop Chaput are content to concede. Archbishop Chaput is not fighting a religious battle. He's fighting a political one, and students in his school system are pawns.

So it turns out, if you believe "Faux News", that the leak was a publicity stunt by those who did not agree with the pastor's decision. And who would believe the leakers were so callous as to ignore the women's earnest pleas to keep the matter private? Could they have been so cold as to not have consulted the women? I suppose that's possible, but any way you look at this, it does not seem to speak well of those who were responsible for the publicity. I'm sure the young children are thrilled with the way their lives have been disrupted.

Mark Proska,Your message made me laugh.The prevailing theories among the defenders of Archbishop Chaput have been that (1) the lesbian couple enrolled their children in Catholic school as a "publicity stunt" to lay the groundwork for a "frivolous lawsuit" or (2) the lesbian couple must have been causing trouble in some way that caused the archdiocese to have to expel the children or (3) whatever the case, the lesbian couple and/or their friends were the ones who caused the brouhaha by going to the media. Now that it turns out that none of that is true, in order to be indignant you now focus your disdain on the school. Now it is the school that is pulling off a "publicity stunt." . . . . but any way you look at this, it does not seem to speak well of those who were responsible for the publicity.The problem is that all the publicity is coming in the form of statements from "Father Bill" and Archbishop Chaput. How many different public statements do we have from them now? They have not attempted to avoid controversy, but instead have outlined a broad and controversial policy that has turned one incident involving one couple and their two children into one of the chief topics of conversation in Catholic circles.The lesbian couple is not talking, so it seems clear to me the archdiocese could have contained this if they had so desired and not turned it into part of the culture war. Im sure the young children are thrilled with the way their lives have been disrupted.It was the archdiocese that has disrupted their lives by forcing them to go to another school.

If you read the very interesting discussion of this incident on Vox Nova, you'll find that according to one of the commenters (Kurt) with apparent inside knowledge of this situation, the children of the lesbian couple were enrolled in Sacred Heart of Jesus School with the knowledge of both the pastor and the principal. The school staff and benefactors of the school are upset with the decision, as are the classmates of the children who are not being permitted to return next year. Some parents are planning to remove their children from the school, and some benefactors are planning to stop contributions.I can't independently verify this, since it is not in any news coverage, but it is more reliable than the speculation that has gone one here and elsewhere about who is responsible for what "publicity stunt."

David: I agree that equally interesting as the question,"Who alerted the media" is the question, "Who alerted the archdiocese?". My bet is on other parents.

I'm not sure why we're so concerned with who alerted the media. The enforcement of this policy is news, regardless of who tipped off the press.

I don't understand why publicity is considered to be such a negative thing if you happen to agree with Chaput's decision. The individuals have not been identified -- the impact on them is solely the result of the policy itself. You should be happy the Church is now publicly standing up for itself.

Today archdiocesan spokeswoman Jeanette DeMelo replied to my follow-up queries. Here's what I asked her:

Who else would be affected by this policy, and what is the threshold? The children of divorced and remarried parents who didn't receive an annulment? The children of parents who use contraception? The children of non-Catholics or mixed marriages or Catholics who don't attend Mass? The children of unmarried cohabiting parents?Has there ever been a similar situation in the archdiocese that did not involve the children of same-sex couples?Finally, the archbishop used the word "policy" to describe this rule. Is there language that clearly sets out that policy and how it is to be enforced?

Here's her reply, in full:

Archbishop Chaputs column addresses the issue of counter-witness to Catholic teaching. And the statement issued March 5 (found on www.archden.org) quotes the policy and explains the context. We have made other decisions involving parents and individuals in discord with Catholic teaching that did not involve homosexuality. It is not surprising these matters are not widely known because we dont talk about personnel matters in public nor do we talk about particular parent/school relationships in public for the sake of all involved.

After poking around the archdiocese's Web site, I found this policy statement:

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. Our admission policy states clearly, No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the schools philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese.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.We communicated the policy to the couple at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School as soon as we realized the situation. We discussed the reasons with them and have sought to respond in a way that does not abruptly displace the student but at the same time respects the integrity of the Catholic schools philosophy.

http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/3513

The mothers gave an exclusive today to National Catholic Reporterhttp://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/children-denied-catholic-schoolin...

"'Who alerted the archdiocese?'. My bet is on other parents."Jim--Probably, although it would have been parents other than those "publicity stunt" parents who leaked it to the press. I think it's also possible the pastor himself may have gone to the archdiocese, seeking guidance.Barbara--The publicity is a negative thing because of the disruption it caused in the lives of the children. Children change schools all the time, so citing the change in school as the source of the disruption misses the point. The disruption is due to the children's privacy having been violated by the "news" being plastered all over the newspapers. And the blame for that, based on the citation several comments above, rests at the feet of the parents who were miffed by the pastor's decision, and leaked this private information to the press. It would be nice if the children could seek legal action against the leakers, but that's probably a long shot. Based on the recent response to Grant's helpful request, it's clear that the archdiocese was quite respectful of privacy concerns.Grant--It's hardly "news" that the Church implements policies consistent with Church teaching. At least, it's not news in the Denver Archdiocese. Sadly, for the other archdiocese, it may in fact be news.

Barbara,I was not referring to Davids first remark. Actually it might be good if Catholic schools tightened up on enrolment requirement e.g., actually ask parents if they are validly married in the Church. If they are not (properly married in the Church), perhaps they could be referred to the local priest who in turn might ask the couple to elaborate, and offer to help them normalize their situation.I was referring instead to his closing thought:On the other hand, if Archbishop Chaput sets the tone for education in the Catholic schools out there, maybe it would be better if nobody attended them.

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