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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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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.

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