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THE BOSTON VIRUS continued, number 58

December 22, 2010

Catholic School Admission Policy: APC Member Feedback

In follow-up of our last post about the Catholic Schools policy to admit children of gay parents, here’s an email/letter written by a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council opposed to the policy and sent to several APC members.  In the email, this person summarized their sentiments about the policy as shared with the APC back in September. It is “must reading” by every priest in the Archdiocese.

Dear [names redacted],

I think it would help us to look at the policy for admission to Catholic schools within the historical context of the past few years.  In 2006 when Catholic Charities of Boston closed its adoption services because it would no longer place children with homosexual couples, as required by state law, the Cardinal proved then to be a man of principle and prudence.  I was not in the APC then, but I am sure he would have not wanted to end the adoption program, but he was left with no realistic option by the state.  His position was also clear on May 15, 2007, when the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston came to the defense of marriage with his strong opposition to so-called “gay marriage” via his Marriage Prayer.  To this day, we at Saint ___ we pray this prayer at every Sunday Mass.  In this prayer, he states Catholic teaching unequivocally as follows: “Help us treasure the gift of marriage that reflects the love of Christ for the Church, where the self-giving love of husband and wife unites them more perfectly and cooperates in your plan for new life created in your image…Help us uphold the institution of marriage in our society as the place where love is nurtured and family life begins.”  Now, again the facts on the table are forcing his hand to seek standards regarding the admission to Catholic schools and thus the need of a policy on this matter in the Archdiocese.  He stated in a May 19 blog post when referring to a similar situation in Denver: “The Archdiocese of Denver has formulated a policy that calls into question the appropriateness of admitting the children of same-sex couples. It is clear that all of their school policies are intended to foster the welfare of the children and fidelity to the mission of the church.  Their positions and rationale must be seriously considered.”

So let us review the Denver case.  The decision to refuse the continuation of a child from kindergarten to 1st grade was based on their policy that states: “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.”   The soundness of this policy is explained by the Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput when he states that the Catholic Church teaches that marriage “can only occur between a man and a woman, if parents don’t 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.”  So, the homosexual partners by “openly” flaunting their relationship while seeking to enroll the child in a Catholic school is the key item in his statement, for their lifestyle is the de-facto rejection of the teaching of the Church.  It is not sufficient that the guardians of any child may reject any particular teaching of the Church but that they do so in an “open” manner.  The “open” manner issue is the key in understanding the dilemma that appears to confuse many; for the issue of being in open defiance is the one that causes the problem, since it calls into effect the sin of scandal.  The Catholic Catechism states: “2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor’s tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.”  The proposed “non-discrimination” policy will, without a doubt, lead to scandal among the faithful.  Regrettably, scandal will occur for many reasons and this after having had such clarity in the past on certain matters relating to the gay agenda; namely, adoption by homosexual partners and the Archdiocese’s staunch opposition to so-called “gay marriage”.  Why then now yield to political correctness and consent to the proposed School admission policy?  What forces are at work that may have caused this shift? Why, during the presentation of the policy at the meeting, did we not seriously consider, as the Cardinal suggested, Denver’s positions and rationale?

I venture an answer: The Catholic Schools Foundation; an independent organization that provides scholarships to students at inner-city Catholic schools, which has stated in a letter their funding requirements.  They said that the organization will not fund schools that have “an exclusionary admissions policy or practice” and that refuse to admit students of same-sex parents.  How is it possible that an independent organization that seeks the good of Catholic children would do so at the expense of Catholic principles?  The Catholic Schools Foundation should be at the service of the Mission of the Church and not the other way around.  They have confused their role because they are looking through the glasses of proportionalism and political correctness, both of which fail the test of Catholic fidelity.

A Catholic education is indeed a prized commodity, not just because it excels in the temporal education of their pupils, but because the Catholic schools serve a higher end: the Mission of the Catholic Church.  This Mission is the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel for the conversion of sinners and having as its ultimate goal the beatific vision for all her children.  We will fail in this Mission if we are the cause of scandal by appearing to condone the behavior that the Catechism describes as follows: “2357…Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”  So, let’s not be naïve in thinking that a “non-discriminatory” policy will not convey to those applying or already in Catholic schools a sense that we are making an equivalence between a homosexual partnership and a true Catholic family.

The Catholic Church is Catholic because it is universal and invites all men to be her children, but at the same time she has discriminatory policies; for instance, we do not ordain women and this teaching of the ordinary Magisterium has been upheld as infallible by the Vatican in its November 8, 1995 publication by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding this matter, which stated as follows – “Dubium: Whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith. Responsum: In the affirmative.”  The document goes on to explain that “this teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium.”  So, as Catholics we are obliged to give our assent of belief to this teaching in the same manner as we believe anything else the Church teaches us authoritatively in matters of faith and morals.  She also discriminates when it comes to whom and when she receives someone into the Church through the sacrament of baptism.  Canon law states: “868 §1. 2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.”

Furthermore, subsequent to the mainly homosexual clerical abuse in America, the Vatican issued new directives regarding the admission of candidates to the priesthood that in part reads: “Deep-seated homosexual tendencies, which are found in a number of men and women, are also objectively disordered and, for those same people, often constitute a trial. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. They are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter.  In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.”  This again is in line with what the once Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, now our present Pope, stated back in 2003: “the adoption of children by gay people was against the Church’s teaching and to allow it was to do violence to those children in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to human development”.  So, why the conundrum?

So, ignoring for the moment those who would recur to slogans and simplistic characterizations, such as “homophobe” or “zealot”, we will hear the argument that the children of those couples should not suffer for the sake of the sin of their guardians, without realizing that the ones at fault are these guardians who by their lifestyle stand in direct contradiction to the constant teaching of the Church.  However, and more importantly, it is absolutely necessary to take into consideration the just expectations of the many Catholic parents who have the right to a Catholic education for their children.  These parents, enroll their children, not only for the excellence a Catholic education brings, but because they wish their religion to be taught without self-imposed restrictions.  We know now the pattern: first the gay agenda pleads for toleration and when that is granted they make demands in excess of justice.  Not to mention the necessary interactions among children during the school year and the certainty that the homosexual guardians would be present at school events, whether in the school itself or even at the house of these same homosexual guardians. By these means the children would be exposed to this disordered social arrangement with their innocence severely compromised.  All this despite the best efforts of the Catholic parents who sought to protect the innocence of their children by enrolling them in a Catholic school only to find themselves in this unfortunate, yet unnecessary, predicament.

We were told at the APC meeting that Catholic teaching would not suffer on account of the new policy, but how could that be?  Do we really think that by adding the word “qualified student” we have solved the problem?  The answer is definitely not, if our goal is to keep our Catholic identity and not become just another public school with a Catholic name.  And this surrendering of our identity because we wish to maintain funding sources that come with strings attached?  It would be preferable to reduce our services than to sell our character and do violence to our children.  We need to be reminded that toleration of sin is no virtue.

So, let us not fail in our advising role to our Cardinal, keeping the admonition of Christ found in the Gospel of Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Reason demands consistency: consistency internally with the Archdiocese’s previous stands on matters related to the issue at hand and consistency externally with the decision another American Archbishop has inscribed into his policies regarding admission to Denver Catholic schools.  The last thing we need is to pit Archbishop against Archbishop on this matter.  Let us not surrender to money or political correctness, while perhaps gaining a few lines of praise from the Boston Globe or those who advance the Gay Agenda, but stand by solid principles that would advance the Mission of the Catholic Church in Boston.  The Boston Globe and the Gay Agenda are not the barometers of our Faith, but part of the Culture of Death, which must be confronted.

This situation brings to mind another scenario in 1968, when the commission established by Pope Paul VI advised him to relax the Church’s teaching regarding contraception.  Yet the Pope, in a display of moral fortitude and against the majority, decided to uphold the traditional Catholic teaching regarding the evils of contraception, which is not simply a “mean” Catholic rule, but something intrinsic to man that goes to the essence of our humanity and natural law.  Let us advise our Cardinal with uprightness and courage, so that once again he sees in us his true collaborators and friends by saying NO to the proposed policy of “non-discrimination”.

–APC member opposed to forthcoming policy

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The writer of the letter adds one final point.  If the Archdiocese were to proceed with the policy, with any qualifiers they wish, it would contribute to the Balkanization of Belief (one diocese saying and doing one thing and another, another) to the great confusion of the faithful and to the glee of those who seek to silence the moral voice of our Holy Catholic Church and to Her very Mission.

Every member of the Cardinal’s Cabinet, the Cardinal himself, every priest, and every member of the Archdiocesan Presbyteral and Pastoral Councils should see this letter.  If you know any of them, send it along.  Stay tuned for our upcoming campaign soon.

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