Catholic School: Lesbian Parents "Disqualify Their Children from Enrollment"
Facing a firestorm of criticism for refusing to allow the child of a lesbian couple to return to parochial preschool next year, the Denver Archdiocese has responded with a statement to the effect that the child's exclusion is the fault of his mothers--for being a committed same-sex couple.
The decision not to re-admit the student, a 4-year-old pre-schooler at Boulder, Colorado's Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, was announced March 5, and sparked an immediate outcry. The Archdiocese claimed that those speaking out against the decision are "people who disagree with the Church's position on homosexuality in general and this decision is an excuse to voice that opposition to Church teaching," reported a March 8 story at Catholic News Agency.com.
The same article quoted from a March 5 statement on the decision that was issued by the Archdiocese of Denver, which said that the "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." However, the statement went on, "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."
The statement also said, "No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school's philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese," reported Denver news station and NBC affiliate Channel 9 on March 6. Channel 9 also reported that some members of the staff at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School said the decision not to allow the boy back "disgusted" them, while other parents were mulling withdrawing their own kids.
"This could be one of those moments where the community is holding a mirror up to the church for it to take a look at its policy and reconsider what they've been doing," Pastor Roger Wolsey told the news channel. "They're entitled to do what they want," Wolsey said. "And I would respect them no matter what they decide. I think a lot of churches are doing a lot of soul searching right now."
The church holds that gays are sexually "disordered" people who may not choose their orientation, but whose sexual expressions of intimacy with life partners of the same gender are "inherently evil." The church says that God intends gays and lesbians to forsake family life and lead celibate lives. Moreover, the church has said that it is a form of "violence" for same-sex parents to raise their children, even though they may provide supportive, loving homes.
But the array of voices and perspectives on the issue indicate that those who denounce the decision are not simply opponents of the church's teachings on gays. Some question the church's consistency in applying its standards to families that do not measure up to church teachings. In a March 8 article at the "Get Schooled" section of the website for the newspaper Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reporter Maureen Downey wrote, "As a Catholic school graduate myself, I am surprised only because I had classmates whose parents were divorced, which is also in open discord with church teachings." Added Downey, "The divorce question is not addressed in the story, but I would like to know the archdiocese's position on children of divorce in their schools."
A commentator to the posting added, "Do they admit children of parents who use birth control (also against Catholic teaching)?"
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