How the Jesuits plan to appeal Indy archbishop’s decision to revoke Brebeuf’s Catholic status

Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis in Indianapolis.In this June 13, 2017 file photo, Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis in Indianapolis. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis says it no longer will recognize a Jesuit high school as Catholic because it refuses to fire a teacher who's in a same-sex marriage. It says a decree to be issued Friday by Archbishop Thompson states Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School "can no longer use the name Catholic and will no longer be identified or recognized as a Catholic institution." (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

The Midwest Jesuits plan to appeal a decree by Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis that Brebeuf Jesuit High School is no longer recognized as a Catholic school after the school’s administrators refused to terminate a teacher in a same-sex marriage as requested by the archdiocese. In a statement released on June 20, Father Brian Paulson, provincial of the Midwest Province of Jesuits, said the order “will appeal this decision through the formal appeal process established in church law: first, pursuing local recourse to the archbishop, and, if necessary, hierarchical recourse to the Vatican.”

According to the archbishop’s decree, Brebeuf Jesuit High School “can no longer use the name Catholic and will no longer be identified or recognized as a Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.”

Advertisement

The canonical appeal process, which starts at the diocesan level and can then proceed to the Vatican if not resolved locally, will unfold over the next month or more, and is likely to involve several complicated issues concerning both the relationship between religious orders and diocesan bishops and also a bishop’s responsibility for oversight of Catholic education within his diocese.

Kurt Martens, a canon law professor at the Catholic University of America, says the bishop does have the canonical right to take away the title “Catholic” from a school in his territory but this case is murky.

Canon law stipulates three ways in which a school can be understood as Catholic: if it is “under the control of the competent ecclesiastical authority or of a public ecclesiastical juridical person, or one which in a written document is acknowledged as Catholic by the ecclesiastical authority.”

“[Brebeuf] is a Catholic school which is being directed by a public juridical person, which is the Jesuits,” explained Dr. Martens. “If it is a diocesan school, then it is clear that the bishop would have control. But when you get to the level of religious, what is the control that a bishop still has?” That is not clear, says Dr. Martens.

In an interview with America, Father Paulson said, “I acknowledge that the archbishop definitely has the right to decide what ministries/apostolates in the archdiocese can call themselves Catholic.” He says that where the province and Brebeuf differ with the archdiocese is on what degree of autonomy in personnel decisions is appropriate for a school operated by a religious order, in accordance with a religious order’s right, also recognized in canon law, to direct its own apostolates.

According to canon 806, the bishop has the right to “watch over” and “inspect” Catholic schools in his territory, even those directed by religious orders. However, “they retain their autonomy in the internal management of their schools,” the canon continues.

Father Paulson said that “Brebeuf and the Midwest Province believe that the archbishop’s request that the school not renew the teacher’s contract is neither a prudent nor necessary exercise of his responsibility to oversee ‘faith and morals’ as well as Catholic education within the archdiocese.”

Canon law recognizes a bishop’s right to “appoint or to approve teachers of religion and, if religious or moral considerations require it, the right to remove them or to demand that they be removed.” It also notes that the bishop is “to be careful that those who are appointed as teachers of religion in schools, even non-Catholic ones, are outstanding in true doctrine, in the witness of the Christian life and in their teaching ability.”

The archdiocese said in their statement, “The Archdiocese of Indianapolis recognizes all teachers, guidance counselors and administrators as ministers.” Father Verbryke said in a live video interview with America that while Brebeuf would apply such a standard for “the president, the principal, campus ministers [and] religion teachers,” they would not use it as the “yardstick” for other teachers, and it is “because this particular teacher is not a religion teacher or campus minster that we felt that we could not in conscience dismiss him from employment.”

Father Paulson says that the archbishop wants all Catholic schools in Indianapolis to include language in their contracts and handbooks defining every teacher as a minister. His understanding is that this approach is meant to guarantee that schools “have the right in civil law not to hire and to fire/not renew employees whose lives do not conform to Catholic doctrine.” By recognizing all employees as ministers, Father Paulson said a school would be able to invoke “the ‘ministerial exemption’ in civil law in regards to discrimination.”

“Brebeuf chooses not to take this approach,” said Father Paulson.

While looking for all employees to be supportive of the Catholic mission of Brebeuf, Father Paulson explained that the school would take “more of an ‘all things considered’ determination of the faith, morals, character, talent and ability to contribute to the mission of the school” when determining whether to retain employees. Thus, while recognizing that “this teacher’s marriage is not in conformity with church doctrine,” Father Paulson said that Brebeuf believes “the teacher makes a valuable contribution to the mission of the school.”

Dr. Martens says that the Jesuits have 10 days to appeal the decree once it is issued. (The decree was issued on June 21.) “They will have to ask the bishop to reconsider and the bishop has 30 days to respond.”

In those 30 days, the archbishop’s decree is not automatically suspended, and the school will continue to be under its limitations. However, canon law stipulates that the Jesuits have the right to ask for a suspension of the decree while the recourse is in progress and the archbishop can either grant a suspension or not. If the archbishop declines the request for suspension, the Jesuits can also appeal that decision to a higher authority.

If, after 30 days, the archbishop declines the appeal altogether, the Jesuits can take the case to the Vatican, Dr. Martens explained. Father Paulson indicated that the province would appeal the case to the Congregation for Catholic Education if necessary.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Rhett Segall
3 weeks 2 days ago

Would it be acceptable to Brebeuf's administration if a history or math teacher at their school worked part time at an abortion clinic. Let's say the teacher in question said that in their conscience they believe a woman has a right to choose and should be afforded proper medical care.

Will Nier
3 weeks 1 day ago

The married couple are not destroying life. Actually enriching life. May God continue to Bless them.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Amen

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Will Nier: They’re not “married”. You’re not Catholic. Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the sodomitic male couple are not valid in Jesus’ eyes. If you don’t like the sacraments you’re not Catholic and take it up with Jesus that you disagree with Him. It’s not “love” to commit sodomy.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Dale Athlon: What planet do you live on? What century are you from? There has been progress in the last century. Homosexuals are free to be who they are in the USA and in many, if not most, countries in the world. There are some countries, however, that still, still, still enshrine ignorance, prejudice and hatred to the point of imprisoning queer people. How sad. How foolish. How unChrist-like of them. I can’t believe I am wasting my time with people who think and feel like you. Peace, Brother...

Oz Jewel
3 weeks 1 day ago

Well, Sheila, you are wasting your time declaring up is down, in is out, black is white and homosexuals can exchange vows with one another of conjugal fidelity for life and a lifetime of homosexual sex and remain in the state of grace. You do know there are a lot of countries where the law of the land and the law of Allah are one and the same.
They kill homosexuals, officially by throwing them off somewhere high, these days progress has been made, they are stoned to death.

The ten commandments do not EVOLVE, they were REVEALED once and for all on Mt Sinai as illustrated by being written in STONE for as long as the planet exists.
Jesus declared quite clearly that He did not come to abolish the law, but to write it on our hearts; it still all stands and includes not just death to homosexuals but forbids cross-dressing as an abomination.
The rich, post war world has DEVOLVED morally. You cannot serve both God and money.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

You, Sir, disgust me. Please admit that if you could, you would kill homosexuals.

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

They create no life. They cannot create life, perversion precludes life.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 1 day ago

Rhett Segall
As a cradle Catholic educated in Catholic schools, I have long watched bishops make ludicrous, meaningless, and bigoted decisions that lack any message from the Gospel of Christ.

Please spare me the excuse of being outside Catholic teaching. Catholic schools and churches are filled with people who are not faithful to all the Church’s credos. If the bishops expelled all these people, very few churches would exist.

On a positive note, at least we no longer condemn these people to be burned alive in front of all the villagers.

Oz Jewel
3 weeks 1 day ago

Judith Jordan
You have presented no testimony to faith, just that by the accident of birth you were raised in the religion of your family and sent to schools within that culture. What do you say for yourself as a competent discerner of spirits and judge of the morality of bad example and corruption of the young by scandal?
We could say the same about Martin Luther and each cleric who has abused a child sexually.

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Judith Jordan: You’re not Catholic, you’re a heretic. See following

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Being a follower of Jesus means you follow the Gospel. Sticking a male reproductive organ into another man’s execretory tract or mouth is not what Jesus ever taught, please get mental help and stay away from children. 😦

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Dale Athlon: You are one sick person... crude and cruel, and closed-minded. Good Bye.

Oz Jewel
3 weeks 1 day ago

the devil is in the detail. Sheila. You do not know what you are dealing with, it seems; the practices are much more numerous, crude and disgusting.
There is plenty of "gay" porn on the internet if you need to see it for yourself.

Frank Elliott
3 weeks 1 day ago

Oz,
Doubtless, you’ve spent hundreds of hours masturbating to it.

Frank Elliott
3 weeks 1 day ago

I see you want all your children for yourself. I’m not into children. Moreover your children are probably as ugly as you are and always will be.

Rudolph Koser
3 weeks 1 day ago

Even though it's a "legal" thing how one can blanket all teachers as ministers is redictulous. Many schools have non-Catholics on staff teaching non-religious subjects. Are they Catholic ministers? Likewise on the college level there is even more diversity even in theology departments. Nothing would have been said about two heterosexual teachers being divorced or living together. Our bishops are obsessed with sex.

Anne Jeremy
3 weeks 1 day ago

My husband and I, along with our large family endeavor to live in accordance with the teachings of our Faith. Perceiving that by sending our children over the years to a Catholic school, a privilege that we have paid an absolute fortune to do, as opposed to pursing a public education, our justification has always been that being a Catholic setting, they should support us faithwise as. I recall on one occasion my 9 year old daughter coming home and telling her Dad and I, that the Music teacher had shared with the class (owing to her change in surname) that she was in a new relationship now with her boyfriend, (outside of Marriage!), on account of her recent divorce with her former husband. Children of this age are very impressionable, and when any school states that teaching staff, as a condition of their employment, simply support the Catholic teaching and not say things out of line with it, surely this should be respected, otherwise the staffer can teach elsewhere. The gay gentleman in the story above clearly revealed his situation to the school community, thus letting not just the Jesuit staff know, but likely families attending there as well, many of whom would have felt this was wrong, thus their concerns raised to the Archbishop. You say that the Bishops are obsessed with sex, but would you also make this accusation against Jesus, when he promoted good relationships between men and women in the institution of Marriage? I have never regarded one's faith as a smorgasbord of choice of what to follow, but if we are to reject the Catholic teaching publicly and in an educational setting involving young children, what should any Archbishop whose vocation does include shepherding his flock, to do? And what of parents/families in that community, to think of any Church Leader coming out to defend sin? Please, you need to think this issue through more deeply - the Archbishop is only acting within the confines of his role; it is the Jesuit community who are failing their school community!

Peter Schwimer
3 weeks 1 day ago

I would argue that if you are uncomfortable with the position of the Jesuits in this instance, the first thing you should do is make sure non of your family attends a Jesuit institution. The issue here is not the sexual inclinations of faculty. The issue is whether a duly authorized entity has the absolute right to interprete the rules of the Catholic Church and to establish policies and protocols to accomplish their mission. I cannot recall a passage in which Jesus spoke about homosexuality. I can recall the great commandment: love one another as I have loved you.
In similar fashion, will the bishop now remove all gay ministers from all practices in the Church? We know that there are gay priests and religious, ought we to turn them out? Maybe we should.

Kevin Murphy
3 weeks 1 day ago

Please stop with the "Jesus never said anything about" argument. He didn't mention incest either but that doesn't mean He'd be comfortable with siblings having sex. Jesus affirmed the Mosaic law, which prohibited homosexual relation. Also, His command to love one another didn't pertain to sexual relations.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

“Love one another as I have loved you” is such a simple, beautiful concept. Why don’t we just follow his lead???!!! It’s all about love. And we think it’s about everything else...

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Sheila gray: I know a Chicago cop and he says gay male domestic disturbance calls are the worst things he witnesses. Brutal physical violence. Unstable unions and pervert lust, it’s not “love”. Perversion can never be loving, since it’s based on beastly conduct,

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Dale athlon: What, Sir, is your problem? You are a hater, and you know nothing about queer life. I know many, many gay men who you know nothing about. You know nothing about our communities. Queer people all over this country, approximately 40 million of us, are way beyond your limitations. We are doing good and raising children who will leave people who think like you in the dust. Au Revoir. Queer people are awesome

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

St. Ignatius is repulsed by Jesuit homoperversion today. It’s deplorable.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Grow up, Dale. Some people might wonder why you are such a homo-hater. I don’t wonder at all. Someone made you hate. I hope you heal before your life ends.

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Takes one to know one, Sheila.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

What is wrong with all of you, making such hateful comments about almost One Billion people?Yes. There are probably close to one billion queer people on Planet Earth. If you are Catholic, if this is how many Catholics feel about queer people, then what’s the point? There Is No Love In Your Withered Heart. I’m outraged at the ugly, viscous comments. It’s sick.

Oz Jewel
3 weeks 1 day ago

We hate the sin and love the sinner; even you with your anger and contempt and bitterness and rash judgement and condemnation.
Address the issue or be ignored and pitied.
You are not having a conversation about fact and truth, you are being abusive. As soon as you attack another when they do not agree with you, you have lost the argument and shown yourself incapable of coping with the challenge.

Daniel B
3 weeks 1 day ago

Peter, please correct me if I am wrong on the facts. I thought the Archdiocese acted against the school for refusing to terminate the employment of a teacher that was married to a person of the same-sex, not because he is gay.

Judith Jordan
3 weeks 1 day ago

Anne Jeremy
As a cradle Catholic educated in Catholic schools, I have long watched some bishops make ludicrous, meaningless, and bigoted decisions that lack any message from the Gospel of Christ.

Please spare me the excuse of being outside Catholic teaching. Catholic schools and churches are filled with people who are not faithful to all the Church’s credos. If the bishops expelled all these people, very few churches would exist.

On a positive note, at least we no longer condemn these people to be burned alive in front of all the villagers.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Wow. That simple, is it? Apparently, the Jesuits are not prejudiced against homosexuals. Good.

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

It’s not love or merciful to allow people to live beastly lives and die young and have depression and STDs and abuse alcohol and drugs and consider suicide. Save them from mortal sin. That is fraternal love, to save people from damnation and promote being like Jesus who never would commit sodomy. Get real.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

What is going on? How dare you?! You know NOTHING!!! You realize, don’t you, that your heart is filled with hatred for millions of people? And that is OK? Homosexuals make up approximately 10-15 percent of the human population. God Made Us This Way. Get over yourself, please.

J Jones
3 weeks 1 day ago

Sheila, I agree with with you. These comments are full of bigotry and full of nonsense in their assertion that a rejection of bigotry is an an attack. The good news is that these commenters, their views and their mistaken belief that they are victims of those who reject bigotry are the minority in the US. They are going to become more and more outrageous for awhile and that is scary because some of them hold power right now (VP Pence) but their power will dwindle. Every win in the courts and in the legislature for businesses will be cancelled out by economic boycotts of those boycotts and jurisdictions by the increasingly predominant gay-friendly population. My prayer is that this action by the Jesuits is an indicator that, within the Church, we may be reaching a critical mass of clerics who have matured as priests and as leaders; that there may be a building critical mass who realize that obedience and Christian discipleship are sometimes diametrically opposed; that canon law is really corporation policy and procedure, not divinely inspired at all.

Keep talking, Sheila, As a survivor of abuse in the Church, as a gay woman, as a Catholic, your voice belongs at the table of discussion and it belongs at the table of Christ. And it is not an abusive voice. It is the voice of just anger and a righteous demand to live free from bigotry. Keep talking.

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

The LGBT agenda is bigoted, and they don’t dialogue. It’s hypocritical. LGBT is a hate-filled, family wrecking, and anti-Christ movement with the HEINOUS “by any means necessary” intolerant mindset. Most of the sex abuse within the Church was from serial pro-lgbt predators!! All the studies’ statistics have revealed this. Gay predators have cost Catholics hundreds of millions in settlement payouts. Their Lust has a bad cost.

J Jones
3 weeks 1 day ago

Dale, again, you are engaged in classic bigotry. Further, none of the studies have revealed what you claim they revealed. The gender of child victims of sexual abuse does not prove the sexual orientation of the sexual abuser of those children. Whatever the cause of this deep prejudice of yours, Dale, it contradicts the RCC teachings you say you hold dear. These are destructive stereotypes and your information is false. Please stop.

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

J Jones, your reply is hate-filled and bigoted against the Catholic Church. McCarrick was/is a homosexual. He’s the archetype of ABUSE and satanic leadership within the RCC. You’re on the wrong side. I will pray for you. You are prejudiced in favor of LGBT. That’s the wrong side of God, because it leaves people in sin.

J Jones
3 weeks 1 day ago

Dale, McCarrick is a(n unindicted) serial sexual criminal and serial sexual harasser. I am not aware of anyone - anyone - who has defended his criminal and inhumane sexual abuse and sexual harassment of other human beings. I do not know anyone - LGBTQ or straight - who condones sexual abuse or sexual harassment of anyone of any age of any gender of any sexual orientation of any identity. McCarrick is an unindicted serial sexual criminal and serial sexual harasser. Those are the most salient pieces of information about him, just as they are the most salient pieces of information about ANY serial sexual criminal and serial sexual harasser, including the straight ones, Dale.

His criminal conduct is wholly irrelevant to this discussion. That you raise his name here is another indicator that you are engaged in classic bigotry: you are aware of a sexual criminal who is a gay man and you assert that all gay men are criminal.

Please stop.

Frank Elliott
3 weeks 1 day ago

Dale,
I avoid anal sex for the simple reason that people like you are proof that excrement can be fertilized.

Crystal Watson
3 weeks 1 day ago

Deeming all teachers "ministers" is just a legal mechanism to get out of non-discrimination lawsuits ... it's a way to sidestep teachers' legal rights. I hope the Jesuit school keeps standing up for the teacher!

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

The Jesuits are supposed to help people. Instead they leave the teacher in mortal sin? They leave the teacher on a path to Hell, not heaven. If the Jesuits at Brebeuf were Catholic they’d be CONVERTING the teacher to Jesus Christ and the Gospel, not confirming the teacher is what is disgusting satanic sin. We sure live in bizarre times where everything is upside down, and self-righteous people are here trying to call male homogenital copulation: “love” that’s Christ-like? Jesus never promoted anything but male & female and the God-created natural reproductive use of sex organs.

Why are Jesuits and grads allying with beastly disordered lifestyles?

Crystal Watson
3 weeks 1 day ago

Just to add, if I was a parent I would never send my child to a Catholic school. I wouldn't want them to absorb the misogyny, homophobia, and reactionary sexual attitudes that characterize conservative Catholic thought. Education shouldn't mean indoctrination.

Peter Schwimer
3 weeks 1 day ago

Crystal, indoctrination is exactly what education is about. Kids can learn facts anywhere. What public, private or religious education does is indoctrinate them into the mores and ethics of society. It does tell them how to act and with whom. Along with parents it teaches right and wrong. If that isn't indoctrination, I am not sure what is. Finally, education teaches us to think for ourselves. Its the whole purpose of school.

Crystal Watson
3 weeks 1 day ago

I agree school should teach kids to think critically and for themselves, but the Catholic church doesn't do that.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Peter, indoctrination is exactly what education is not, and never should be. Open your mind, Sir. Education is about enabling students to be all they can be. It’s about pointing young minds to LIFE, and all it can be. Thank God for these Jesuits!!!

Oz Jewel
3 weeks 1 day ago

Well Crystal, give yourself an extra pat on the back for the virtue of withholding non-existent children from being sent to a Catholic school.

At the core of educating every Christian is providing them with the knowledge and understanding of the faith they have been baptised into, and that means loads of doctrine.
Led out of ignorance into the knowledge of doctrinal truth.
Your notional non-existent children would have been sorely deprived.

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Crystal: send your kids to public school to learn hip-hop, drug use, sex & abortion. I sincerely hope you aren’t around children,

Will Nier
3 weeks 1 day ago

What the archbishop did is an abomination. He stands in direct opposition to Christs command to love and certainly is a slap in the face to Pope Francis who so wonderfully stated so clearly: " Who am I to Judge.". The archbishop must be forced to step down. No reason at all that this teacher should loose his job he is validly married and recognized as such by the law of the land and I would say the eye of God. The Church must learn to be inclusive and acceptance to all God's children

Dale Athlon
3 weeks 1 day ago

Jesus or the Apostles would never accept or promote men inserting their male reproductive organs into another man’s orafice. You aren’t Catholic.

sheila gray
3 weeks 1 day ago

Jesus never said anything about sex

Advertisement

The latest from america

The role of caring for elderly family members is increasingly falling to mid-life adults. (iStock/kali9)
We can honor our parents by supporting a paid family leave program, one that is not limited to raising children but also recognizes the growing financial and physical burdens of caring for elderly family members.
Amy ZiettlowJuly 17, 2019
Fast food makes only one promise. That it is fast. Christ promises to feed us with food that will last.
Terrance KleinJuly 17, 2019
From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S.
The Editors: These comments need to be called out as racist, xenophobic and sexist.
The EditorsJuly 16, 2019
People wait to apply for asylum in the United States along the border on July 16 in Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
“It is contrary to American and Christian values to attempt to prevent people from migrating here when they are fleeing to save their lives and to find safety for their families,” Cardinal DiNardo said.
Kevin ClarkeJuly 16, 2019