The news of the Catholic school in Boulder that will not allow the children of a lesbian couple to re-enroll next year has been making national headlines (and most of them not pretty). The pastor in charge of the school says he was merely complying with archdiocesan regulations; and yesterday, Archbishop Charles Chaput came to his defense, explaining the diocese’s position (the excerpt is a bit long, but worth quoting in full to hear his entire argument):
The Church never looks for reasons to turn anyone away from a Catholic education. But the Church can’t 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.
The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are “bad,” or that their children are less loved by God. Quite the opposite. But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society. The Church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The policies of our Catholic school system exist to protect all parties involved, including the children of homosexual couples and the couples themselves. Our schools are meant to be “partners in faith” with parents. 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. It also places unfair stress on the children, who find themselves caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church.
Read the rest of his column here. The school is within its rights as a private institution to turn away prospective students, but the archbishop’s explanation still will not likely satisfy everyone. This looks to be an issue that won’t be going away anytime soon.