Child of Lesbian Parents Denied Entrance to Catholic School

From the Denver Post: a Catholic preschool has denied entrance to a student because her parents are a lesbian couple.

A preschool student at a Catholic school in Boulder will not be allowed to return next school year because the student's parents are two women and the Denver Archdiocese says their homosexual relationship violates the school's beliefs and policy. According to teachers at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School, a meeting was held Tuesday to discuss the issue. The staff was told a student would not be allowed to re-enroll because of his or her parents' sexual orientation. The staff members were also told not to talk to the media. In a statement sent to 9NEWS, the Archdiocese 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," the statement said.  Because this student's parents are homosexual, the Archdiocese says they were in clear violation of the school's policy.  According to legal experts, it is legal for the Archdiocese to deny a student enrollment at the private school because of the school's policy.

The Archdiocese explains its as follows:

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.  Its full position is here.   

The parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus said this on its blog:

Glossing over differences on essential matters, and pretending that crucial issues are irrelevant, is not tolerance. It is relativism, meaning that nothing is important anymore and everyone can have their own interpretation of what is goodness and truth.  This kind of tolerance, which is a decidedly secularist invention, seeks to separate all moral discourse from public life. However, those who embrace this kind of tolerance do not, of course, acknowledge that they are imposing their own moral judgments upon society. The Catholic Church invests in parish schools so as to assist children in becoming disciples of Christ and to stand as a light shining in the darkness that has rejected Christianity and the truth of being human, including the meaning of human sexuality.  The full text of the parish's statement is here.

The parish and archdiocese are within their rights not to admit children from families that are "in open discord with Catholic teaching in areas of faith and morals."  So do the same rules apply to a child of parents who in similar discord?  That is, the child of a single, divorced parent?  To a child of divorced and remarried parents?  To a child of a single, unmarried mother?  To a child of a parent who commits adultery?  To a child of a parent who uses birth control?  To a child of a parent who steals from his company?  To a child of a parent who fails to forgive his neighbor?  To a child of a parent who fails to care for the poor?  To a child of any parent who sins?  They too would be in "open discord." 

James Martin, SJ

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James Lindsay
10 years 10 months ago
Actually, declining enrollments are a function of rising costs. We no longer have women religious (Sisters and Nuns) working for free. Catholic schools have become less the parochial schools of the past and more elite, due to the demographics of who can afford to send their kids. Declining enrollment has nothing to do with parental politics or moral views. Indeed, my own parish's school have an unusual mix of liberal and conservative families, both with kids in the parish school. A neighboring parish is much more conservative. Sadly, the economic developments are leading to kids with serious entitlement issues being our leading graduates and future priests (if, indeed, any of them chose the priesthood).
Marie Rehbein
10 years 10 months ago
It strikes me that this is a lesbian couple.  Up to this point, it always seemed that the Church was more concerned with male homosexuality, because that is so explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament.  What exactly is the sin being committed when two women raise a child together?
James Lindsay
10 years 10 months ago
I fail to see how holding the Church to decent and civilized behavior more in line with the Gospel is seeking to destroy her. Time is not on A/B Chaput's side.
10 years 10 months ago
Good points made in your last paragraph. Fr. Martin.   The church seems bent on discriminating against gays/lesbians to the exclusion of others who "live in discord with church teachings".
10 years 10 months ago
' but I have to assume that this was a stunt just for the inevitable bad press that the parents knew it would create'

These thoughts are posted on other Catholic blogs so they must be true?????.. These thoughts were prevalent in 1940s50s about Jews and 1960s about blacks moving into neighborhoods. Traps ... like prejudice didn't exist .. it's always a trap.. and the poor pastor and A/B Chaput fell into the 'great big gay trap'..too bad the Church authorities didn't see it coming as soon as these prescient bloggers.
10 years 10 months ago
"Traps ... like prejudice didn't exist ."
Saying that an individual's or couple's actions are in clear and deliberate violation of Catholic teachings is not "prejudice" - it is stating an objective fact. 
Your analogy is misguided and hyperbolic...
As for the guess that this was a deliberate move to challange the school - it is a personal opinion that was not read on another blog.  Hoever, it is very similar to the accusations that Catholic Charities in DC were throwing homeless on the street - when, in fact, it was the actions of the city that caused the contractual issues and threats of contract termination against the Catholic non-profit.
The victim card is a great smear, though - and the press loves to paint the church in a bad light so they eat it up...
Jim McCrea
10 years 10 months ago
Mike Brooks said:  "The Church hasn't survived for 1700+ years by succumbing to political pressure."
You have to be kidding!  The Catholic Church is the ULTIMATE political animal that has accommodated itself to the way the political winds have blown over a great deal of its history.
Wake up, Mike.
David Nickol
10 years 10 months ago
"As for the guess that this was a deliberate move to challange the school - it is a personal opinion that was not read on another blog."
There are virtually no facts to support the idea that this is some kind of "lesbian plot" to embarrass the Church. The child is currently a student in the school and apparently will finish the year. What the Archdiocese and the local parish priest have decided is that the child will not be permitted to re-enroll in the school next year. It is not as if the parents took the child to a Catholic school, tried to enroll him or her, and said, "We're lesbians! Try to keep our kid out!" I have read every news account available, and there has been not even a hint of a statement from the lesbian parents. You apparently imagine them cackling with glee that their plot is working, whereas I imagine them cringing and hoping that neither they or their child gets any media coverage. 
We just don't know the story, but it doesn't surprise me at all that many seem to be assuming the lesbian couple are "gay activist" rather than parents who chose what they thought was the best school for their child. If it is the latter, of course, they turned out to be very wrong indeed.
Think Catholic
10 years 10 months ago
"They too would be in 'open discord.'"  This is not accurate for all your examples.  The school's criteria isn't whether somebody sinned once, it is whether they continue to do so unrepentantly and publicly.  "A single, divorced parent" may not have sinned at all and might have been a victim of the other spouse divorcing him/her, and as long as the parent didn't live as married to someone else then there's no continual sin anyway.  "A single, unmarried mother" has no sin in her continual situation of being a mother.  And so on.  If you want to analogize, you can't compare the situation to possibly-isolated instances of "discord," but you have to compare them to continual states of "being in" discord, plus the public "openness" of that contunial state of discord. 
10 years 10 months ago
'Here comes everybody',,,, slam the door.
10 years 10 months ago
It's easy to distinguish the various scenarios that Father lists in his last paragraph from the scenario at issue: each of them are one-time infractions that the perpetrators can confess and resolve with the help of the grace of God to not do again; whereas the homosexual partners here are in an ongoing relationship of sin, which, as far as we know, they have no intention of rejecting. This is yet another instance in which Father seeks to rationalize unnatural homosexual behavior through the sins of others.

If the homosexual partners sincerely confess and resolve to no longer engage in sinful homosexual acts, then I would have no problem with the child's enrollment. As a man who has confessed his sin of homosexual acts and who through the grace of God has resisted the temptation of such acts for several years, I resent these women's decision to fight the Church rather than fight their own sinfulness.

Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery, "...sin no more." Enough said.
10 years 10 months ago
Anyone remember the days when the Church cut slack to couples 'living like brother and sister'?
Why do you have a problem of assuming sister and sister... brother and brother? How about statistically eliminating all one-two child families by assuming birth control is present in most? That this banning happened in A/B Chaput's archdiocese is understandable as the moves to the small 'remanant' well under way. The Catholic Tea Party now has a leader.
John Borst
10 years 10 months ago
The fascinating aspect of this issue is the near total disgust from commentors at The Heart of the Matter parish website referenced above.
I wonder what the parish priest must think of the overwhelmingly negative reaction to his decision. Unfortunately, I suspect he is of the mind that everyone else is wrong except me and thee and he isn't to sure about thee.
Is it any wonder the Catholic school system in America is in sharp decline?
James Lindsay
10 years 10 months ago
I think the local Archbishop is confusing Catholic Identity with Identity Politics. While I can see the point of not putting the child in a confusing situation regarding his parents' sexuality, I don't think the matter will come up in pre-school - so the explation is simply an excuse for bigotry. Of course, those of us who desire change in the Church should welcome this, as the key to any revolutionary change is to spur your opponents into actions such as this that make them look villanous. Indeed, the Roman persecutions of the early Christians had the same effect. Those of us on the Left should give the Archbishop an award for making our case for us.
10 years 10 months ago
John -

Why should the priest care what the commentors from a website say? Indeed, to me the point is precisely that: that the Church is not a democracy and that pressure from a misguided public should not sway the Church's teaching. The Church hasn't survived for 1700+ years by succumbing to political pressure.

Catholic membership and schools are in decline because of the 1960s self-absorbed rejection of authority and institutions, not because of the Church's rigidity. Why conform to God's will when you can debate God instead?

So She has essentially two choices in the US: 1) Resist political pressure and face incerasingly lower membership and enrollment; or 2) Succumb to the political pressures of the day and become just another Protestant/Neo-Christian sect.

And the shame of it is that the end result is a degradation of society in which STDs are prevalent, children are deprived of their mothers and fathers, and more women and children than ever are living in poverty on the government dole. Perhaps one day our me-focussed society will see that the Chruch had it right all along and will return to Her, though I fear we have a long decline to witness before then.

Eric Stoltz
10 years 10 months ago
Of course the arguments of the archdiocese and the pastor are lame attempts to justify a pre-determined conclusion. Their declarations of consistency are disingenuous, because they deal only with sexual ethics. If each and every parent of every child in every Catholic school were to be interrogated as to their acceptance of each and every point of official Catholic teaching on threat of expulsion, there would be no students in our Catholic schools. And if every parent were ''perfect'' Catholics, why would we even need Catholic schools?
However, for the archbishop and the pastor, it's easy to pick out gays and lesbians and proclaim they are taking a stand for the truth. Meanwhile they overlook the sexual wanderings of heterosexuals because they know straight people would not stand for such rules being applied against them, but are only to happy to see them applied to gay people. It makes the straight people feel so superior to those ''sinners.'' The archibishop gets a feather in his hat that will be noticed approvingly by the Vatican, the pastor gets new esteem in the eyes of his bishop..everyone wins except the child and the lesbian couple, who are dispensible in our game of Church.
Vince Killoran
10 years 10 months ago
Mike's comment got me thinking: how about the child of a parent who is widely known to be involved in crime?  I taught at a Catholic school for several years where this was the case and-thank God- we didn't give the kids the boot.
p.s. I am in no way equating a loving gay or lesbian relationship with organized crime!
10 years 10 months ago
While I tend to agree that this child should remain in the school (where it can be instructed on the truth of the gospels etc.) but I have to assume that this was a stunt just for the inevitable bad press that the parents knew it would create - i.e. flaunt your definace of the church during the review process and then declare yourselves victims of discrimination to the press when this definace results a negative outcome.
That said, I always find the story selection by Fr. Martin a bit suspect - it is as though he only picks headlines if they conform to his ideas on what the church should or should not do on a particular issue.  (notice the absence of stories on the abuse and cover-up within his own order in Germany and Oregon)
On homosexuality, he obviously believes that practicing homosexuals should be accepted into the fold without any reference or refutation of their state of sin and, in accordance with this opinion, he selects stories that display the Church and hierarchy to be a victimizer against innocent homosexual parties.
This is also a favorite trick of the secular media.  A prime example is Washington DC, where the city government is forcing their version of morality (i.e. institutionalized homosexuality) on all groups that apply for tax-payer funded grants.  If you do not bow to the radical state agenda regarding sexuality and marriage, then you are denied access to money that was paid from your collective pocket as a citizens. 
It is not the Church discriminating against homosexuals (no one is denied charity at the kitchens or shelters) so much as it is the government and homosexual activists that are discriminating against traditional religious citizens and their non-profit networks.  However, the press plays it exactly the opposite - presenting the church as the victimizer as it resists the radical agenda forced on it by the city and a radical minority.
As usual, "America" is on the side of the governement and radical activists and uses story selection to promote this agenda.
Marie Rehbein
10 years 10 months ago
Joe Cleary,
I know of a case where a child was denied baptism by the parish priest because, even though the mother was a regular at church, the father had some issues with the Catholic Church that kept him away.  So, I guess the answer to your question is "no sacraments for them".  It gives new meaning to the idea that punishment for sins is visited upon the children.  Though in my personal opinion none of these cases involve sins, it is the personal opinion of the cleric in charge that counts.
10 years 10 months ago
 Father Jim - On your earlier blog entry I asked if this diocese or the Church would therefore deny the sacraments to these two children. Or are they considered “ clean enough”  for sacraments but not the catholic school?
On what basis would we deny the sacraments to these two children?
And do I mean starting with refusing baptism based upon parents who do not meet a certain criteria. Will we then deny these children communion and confirmation and a catholic wedding and a catholic funeral? Do they need to reach the age of majority to no longer be judged by the actions of their parents? Is it a lifetime “scarlet  L”?
Oh yes, are 'real' catholic colleges now also required by the good bishop to refuse the children admission?
Not creating a culture war- just trying to follow the arguments to the logical conclusion.
10 years 10 months ago
By the same logic, will they also dismiss any children whose parents are not Catholic? 
10 years 10 months ago
Michael -

Why do you think the Church should change its views to suit your beliefs? Do you believe that public opinion should dictate the Church's teaching?

The good news is that in this case and the recent DC case where benefits to same-sex partners and spouses were denied, the Church is standing up against the radical left's agenda to dilute Catholicsm and water down all religion. This appears villanous only to those who are not faithful believers; to us who believe with all our heart, we applaud the Church's necessary response to those who are trying to destroy her.

Seems to me that you should be looking for a new Church instead of trying to force change based on your personal biases. Take up your cross, dude.
10 years 10 months ago
First , the pope has not spoken "ex Cathedra" declaring that homosexuality is a sin. Therefore, I will in good conscience, believe that God created them equal, homos and straights. they are who they were born to be.
Second, the Church hierarchy needs to prioritize. All the bishops who shielded abuser priests need to resign and spend the rest of their lives performing penance and good works. How dare they point a finger at anyone!
Third, there needs to be a complete overhaul as to what the Church emphasizes in liturgy.  The gospel selections need to instruct the faithful about love, forgiveness and developing a real relationship to Jesus. You know the Jesus who loved his fellow human beings and who never judged. He loved.
Helena Loflin
10 years 10 months ago
Terrible decision by the Catholic preschool.  But, a private institution has the right to be as small minded and wrong behaving as it chooses.  Hopefully, in another generation or two, homosexuality will be viewed by the Church for what it is, part of God's creation.  
10 years 10 months ago
The question becomes why would a homosexual couple chose a Catholic school in the first place?  They know that Catholic doctrine is against their lifestyle and must have known that there would be conflict at some point.  It is all a bit too strange to believe whether they are "activists" or not.
However, this appears to be a part of a greater trend - i.e. liberal culture attempting to challange the rights of religious to practice their faith publicly and in a manner consistent with their tradition.  Like in Washington, this is an attempt to shame or (in DC) use law to force liberal practices on Catholic schools, hospitals and charities.
The state cannot allow for exceptions to the liberal regime.
PS - those who call homosexual acts as "natural" or genetically determined are essentially denying free will of humans and the truth of natural law...think about it.
Craig McKee
10 years 10 months ago
Is this really a SURPRISE, given the fact that it's taking place in the archdiocese of a man who just told his BAPTIST audience in Houston that JFK was ''wrong?''
Gina Lanz
10 years 10 months ago
I don't hear any one really caring about this child and parents. What about their souls? At what point does anyone call out the sin? WWJD? The gospels show Jesus calling out the sinners to repent and ''sin no more''. Both the Old and New Testaments identify same sex relations, among other behaviors, as sin. Sin keeps us from giving and experiencing real and pure love - which is God's goal for us. But, no one liked Jesus for that kind of love and no one likes Fr. Breslin for his Jesus-like love.

As Catholics we read scripture and witness Christ's death and resurrection each Sunday. But it appears most of us are leaving Mass and joining the crowd. We look the other way or dare I say, we even support blatant sin in our lives or the lives of others. Is this Love?
James Lindsay
10 years 10 months ago
The Church's problem is that it had to reverse itself under JPII on homosexuality. From the early seventies until JPII, homosexuality was not regarded as disordered. Indeed, science does not regard it as such. The problem was that logically the Church could not also say that sex was a gift from God in marriage (which has been the teaching since Humanae Vitae, which made unitive love equal to generative love. If homosexuality is not disordered and sex is a gift of God, well, you can draw the inference. The only way to reject gay sexual practice was to consider homosexuality disordered as a state of life. If this is not the case (and it is not) then the teaching of the Church on gay sexuality for homosexuals must change (as it will within a generation). The teaching can remain in regard to heterosexuals, who must still abstain from all sexual relations outside the bounds of their marriages. Now, as to whether certain acts are out of bounds within a heterosexual marriage, that is frankly none of the celibate clergy's business as long as no force is used.
10 years 10 months ago
Do we also deny this two children the opportunity to attend CCD class?
Do we deny them the sacraments?
If so, why?
If not, why not ?

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