by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  May 25, 2017    20 Comments

Diocesan priest: ‘We are sitting back while children are being abused’

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ( – Bishop John Gaydos of the diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, is spearheading a new policy that pushes pastors to admit LGBT students from abusive homes into Catholic schools. Some teachers and pastors object to this plan, saying it forces them in practice to ignore the abusive environment LGBT students endure at home and also exposes other students to scandal.

The 17-page policy drafted by the Jefferson City diocese was presented to all priests of the diocese on May 9 and to all diocesan school principals on May 11. One priest, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, objected to being morally responsible for LGBT students when he knows they’re living in objectively abusive situations at home.

In reference to the archbishop of Boston, Cdl. Sean O’Malley, who had to close adoption agencies in the archdiocese rather than place children in LGBT homes, this priest at the policy meeting remarked, “Cdl. O’Malley had to close an adoption agency because the Church would not put children into those homes. It’s psychologically and emotionally abusive.”


The priest reminded those at the meeting that clerics and teachers were duty bound to anticipate and report suspected child abuse. “And then you have a transgendered child … We are sitting back while children are being abused.” Speaking of Bp. Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, who was convicted for not suspecting potential child abuse, the priest added, “We had a bishop taken out because he didn’t suspect child abuse. We’re standing back, planning how to watch it all happen.”

Cdl. O’Malley had to close an adoption agency because the Church would not put children into those homes. It’s psychologically and emotionally abusive.Tweet

It should be noted that the new plan would no longer require LGBT parents and students to sign the School Handbook, agreeing to practice Catholic ethics. Instead, they are encouraged to sign a nebulous document called Covenant of Trust, “which doesn’t include this promise to abide by this code of ethics. In relation to this, the priest remarked, “Why are we having people sign a Covenant of Trust when we’re breaking it by ignoring the situation of these children?”

Proponents of the policy say it’s worded in such a way as to give pastors and principles the right to refuse to enroll such students, who would be immersed in an objective state of scandal at home and who would be a potential source of scandal to other students at school. There are others who believe that in practice, gay friendly or weak priests will cave to political pressure and bend the rules to admit problematic students into Catholic schools. They foresee such commonsense problems evolving, which include the transgendered bathroom fiasco and transgendered sports issue that’s currently plaguing public schools.

We had a bishop taken out because he didn’t suspect child abuse. We’re standing back, planning how to watch it all happen.Tweet

Church Militant reached out to Jesse Barton, a teacher and parent in the diocese, for his insight into issues related to the policy. Barton, who has watched this policy unfold, told Church Militant, “This document is … carefully-worded and ambiguous … The issue here, as defined by the anonymous priest in the audio recording … isn’t the policy, it’s the praxis.”

Barton then paraphrases the priest, who at the meeting addressed the presenters of the policy: “Anyone with a mustard seed’s worth of contemporary sense understands that arriving at the answer of ‘NO’ [meaning no admittance] is a practical impossibility for the priests of our diocese.”

The Church isn’t following her duty to safeguard the teachings of the Church regarding this policy, says Barton:

Families are asked to “support the moral and social doctrine of the Catholic Church to ensure consistency between home and school.” Nowhere in the document, however … are souls trapped in these irregular unions asked to separate, which is what the Church requires of all of us living in a state of objective sin. Instead, we are to accompany them. To where?

As a teacher and parent, Barton believes it’s insulting to the LGBT community not to ask them to convert, as if they weren’t able:

Do couples engaged in openly gay lifestyles, those who adopt children, genuinely respect our Catholic faith? It’s disingenuous. In fact, this whole exercise is insulting to the LGBT community … that our diocese regards them with such contempt that we are essentially regarding them as permanently lost. No call to conversion.

For Barton, this policy, absent of any meaningful call to conversion, is saying to the person, “You’re not worth saving. … the political and legal cost of choosing Christ instead of the world is just too great, so we’ll enable you. That’s what it says.”

Church Militant reached out to the diocese for comment but has yet to receive a response.


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Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for

Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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