Catholic Education for Children of Same-Sex Couples?

July-August 2010By Gail Besse

Gail Besse taught in public and parochial schools for eighteen years. She has worked as a reporter, editor, and bureau chief for Massachusetts daily newspapers, and is currently a freelance writer.

One day after he rescinded the school admission of a boy being raised by two lesbians, Fr. James Rafferty heard from the Associated Press. The women had called the AP claiming discrimination. Forty-eight hours later, television satellite trucks and news crews converged on St. Paul's Church and Elementary School. Helicopters circled the small town square in Hingham, Massachusetts.

Global publicity enveloped the Archdiocese of Boston, the pastor, and the beleaguered parish, whose parishioners Fr. Rafferty had ministered to for sixteen years as the sex-abuse scandal unraveled, exposing the guilt of four of its former priests, including the infamous John J. Geoghan, who in 2003 was murdered in prison.

The "gay-parent" controversy that hit in May stemmed in part from the particular individuals involved. The women were less than truthful, and key archdiocesan players castigated the pastor in the press days before Sean Cardinal O'Malley finally rose to his defense. Still, the general factors at play here will continue to challenge other Catholic schools. Should they admit children being raised by practicing homosexuals? As it stands, some do and some don't.

In any case, it would seem reasonable that at least the following four issues should be considered: Church teaching on homosexuality, a school's mission as defined by the Magisterium, the role of parents as partners in faith, and the consequences of accepting same-sex couples as part of the school community.

Apparently, none of these issues was raised publicly by Boston archdiocesan spokesmen during the first week Fr. Rafferty was pilloried in the media — and sadly by many Catholics — as "punishing the child for having gay parents."

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Back to July-August 2010 Issue

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Does this school prohibit enrollment of students whose parents are divorced and remarried? If not, there is hypocrisy afoot here.

The Scriptures say that children are not to be punished for the sins of the parents. That should have been a plain enough directive as to how this situation should have been handled.

On the other hand, the school would be within its rights to restrict admission to children of parents who are Catholics in good standing. But I see no indication in the article that this school does that, otherwise, I suspect, the author would have made a point of it.
Posted by: johnquirk
July 23, 2010 04:16 PM EDT
And we wonder why only 25% of Baptized Catholics in the USA attend Mass on Sundays. I recently heard a talk by Fr. Corapi, who always recites the teaching of the Church, where he commented on Bishops who have tried to get him to PC his remarks. His mail bag is 99% positive. If Bishops like O'Malley followed his example I wonder what the result would be for their diocese. Posted by: golfer21
July 29, 2010 07:22 AM EDT
The decision to not accept children of gay parent(s) is, indeed, a wise and compasionate decision. Religious education is important to the development of the soul and must be consistent - comprehensive education, to coin a popular phrase, including example of the parents. This is not only important to the soul of the individual, but a sound religious education is important to our republican form of government. Many people seem to have forgotten the role of religion was considered an important ingredient by our Founding Fathers. Dr. Skousen points out in his book, 5000 year leap, that one of the principles of the Founding Fathers was that "Without Religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained." (Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means to education shall forever be encouraged) This country has strayed far from the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and many in the Church have also strayed from Church Teachings, a victim of our materialistic world. This general decline in morality has resulted, not only in a decline in the membership of Christian/Western Churches, but also in an increase in unprincipled, nanny-state, unconstitutinal mindset in our politicians. Otherwise, why would so many radical (and one could argue evil)people be in the Obama administration? A sound Catholic(from our point of view) education is imperative if we are to return to a prosperous, virtuous nation, not to mention, saving souls. Posted by: awunsch
July 19, 2010 01:34 PM EDT
A few years ago there was a similar instance that occurred here with a female religious principal against a number of parents and other parishioners with similar results. Posted by: bbaker
July 19, 2010 02:02 PM EDT
The lesbian couple act like they are actively divorcing the Catholic Church. Placing the child as a pawn to make their points. I think also, to ensnare that Church in a lawsuit. Pushing, pushing to change the Church's standards to fit their own beliefs. And how many children and people are spiritually harmed by the pushing to make points. Politically correct thinking will not save our souls. Posted by: emanresu
July 19, 2010 07:30 PM EDT
Unfortunately, as a resident of a Boston suburb, I have no expectation that Cardinal "Sean" will respond any differently in the future. Posted by: kingsmill
July 31, 2010 04:34 PM EDT
As predicted, Cardinal O'Malley did not respond any differently. The child in question, who's being used as a pawn to push the envelope for Boston Catholic schools, is already enrolled in a parochial school in the next town. Orthodox Catholic bloggers are trying to publicize problems within the Archdiocese in the hopes of getting them rectified. For news of what's going on there, check these two sites.
Posted by: Roamin Catholic
August 19, 2010 07:19 PM EDT
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