Boston Catholic schools will not â€œdiscriminate against or exclude any categories of studentsâ€™â€™
That is the word out from the Archdiocese, following up on a story that we discussed here and here last year, when the child of a lesbian couple was rejected from a parochial school. Via the Boston Globe, there is apparently no guarantee, however, that the child or another boy or girl in a similar situation would not be excluded:
[T]he policy, which was distributed to pastors, parishes, and school administrators by e-mail, said school parents must accept and understand that the teachings of the Catholic Church are an essential and required part of the curriculum.The new guidelines were developed by a panel of clergy and lay school administrators at the direction of Cardinal Sean P. OMalley in response to a widely publicized incident last year in which St. Paul School in Hingham rescinded the admissions offer to the 8-year-old boy. The archdiocese helped place the boy in a different Catholic school.The Hingham episode drew sharp criticism from prominent funders of Catholic education in Boston. The Catholic Schools Foundation, which gives millions in scholarships to low-income students, said it would not subsidize tuition at any school with a discriminatory admissions policy. Michael B. Reardon, executive director of the foundation, said yesterday his organization is pleased with the new policys clear message of inclusiveness.From the perspective of the foundation, the key part of this is that it does not exclude any group of students, and it promotes what is essential to Catholic education, which is inclusivity, he said.Because the new policy said admissions decisions should be based in part on the best interest of the child, it remains uncertain whether the Hingham episode would have occurred had the new policy been in place. The specifics of that case remain unclear because the pastor involved, the Rev. James F. Rafferty, has declined interviews.The situation at St. Pauls in Hingham may have taken a different route, but it might have come to the same conclusion, said the Rev. Richard M. Erikson, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Boston. Father Rafferty still today has the authority to make these decisions as the pastor. But the expectations of the diocese and the guidance the diocese gives in those judgment calls is clearer today than it was then.He added that the archdiocese stands ready to work hand-in-hand with the pastors and principals when there are judgment calls.Rafferty was among those who participated in the drafting of the new policy. In a statement through the archdiocese yesterday, he said: I welcome the fact that we now have a clear policy to guide us in the important work of Catholic education.