Jesuit school loses Catholic status for retaining a gay teacher

Jesuit school loses Catholic status for retaining a gay teacher June 23, 2019

BREBEUF Jesuit Preparatory School is officially ‘no longer Catholic’ according to a diktat issued by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

The archdiocese severed ties with Brebeuf after administrators refused to fire a gay teacher for getting married.

The school’s head is Greg Vanslambrook. Image via YouTube.

The archdiocese said that it recognises all Catholic school teachers, guidance counselors and administrators as ministers. As a result, these employees have a responsibility to:

Convey and be supportive of all teachings of the Catholic Church.

Since the church shuns same-sex marriage, the gay teacher’s marriage resulted in the archdiocese’s intervention. In a statement, the diocese said:

Regrettably, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School has freely chosen not to enter into such agreements that protect the important ministry of communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students. Therefore, Brebeuf … will no longer be recognized as a Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

This means that the school “can no longer use the name Catholic,” according to the statement. It also won’t be included in the archdiocese’s Catholic school directory.

The breakup comes after a “sincere and significant” disagreement between the archdiocese and the Jesuit religious order’s Midwest province over the church’s attempt to get involved in an employment matter.

The school “respectfully declined” the archdiocese’s order to dismiss a “highly capable and qualified teacher” because of that teacher’s same-sex marriage, Brebeuf Jesuit said in a statement to its community on Thursday. The school said:

To our knowledge, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ direct insertion into an employment matter of a school governed by a religious order is unprecedented; this is a unique action among the more than 80 Jesuit secondary/pre-secondary schools which operate in dioceses throughout North America.

Religious orders exist in something of a gray area within the structure of America’s Catholic hierarchy. On one hand, they are under the governance of national and worldwide organizational heads – in this case, the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, who are known for educating generations of students. On the other hand, religious orders need to have permission from local bishops to operate in a specific diocese.

In this case, the school decided to follow its own conscience on the matter. The school said the archdiocese’s mandate would “harm” its:

Highly capable and qualified teachers and staff. After long and prayerful consideration, we determined that following the Archdiocese’s directive would not only violate our informed conscience on this particular matter, but also set a concerning precedent for future interference in the school’s operations and other governance matters that Brebeuf Jesuit leadership has historically had the sole right and privilege to address and decide.

Image via YouTube

The Rev James Martin, above,a Jesuit priest and author of a book about the relationship between the Catholic Church and the LGBT community, cited the archdiocese’s hypocrisy on Thursday in wanting a gay employee fired but not acknowledging other aspects of life that aren’t supportive of Catholic Church teaching.

LGBT people are the only ones being targeted in this way. They are the only ones whose sexual lives are investigated in this way. … This is ‘unjust discrimination,’ as mentioned in the Catechism. And it must cease. Brebeuf’s willingness to stand with its LGBT employees, and its unwillingness to participate in the targeting of LGBT people is a necessary and courageous stance.

You won’t be surprised to learn that old-school Catholics detest Martin. Last year there was uproar when he was invited to speak at the World Meeting of Families. He responded by saying at the time he “isn’t bothered” by the “ocean of hate and threats” which he has received.

What kind of Jesuit would I be if I let hatred stop me from loving? Besides that, homophobia represents a very small percentage of Catholics, and I have the support of my Jesuit superiors, several cardinals, archbishops and bishops, and, also, the majority of the faithful, many of whom have LGBT people in their families. These protesters are not only on the wrong side of history, they’re on the wrong side of the Gospel.

The school is trying to figure out how to appeal the archdiocese’s directive but insisted that Brebeuf will remain a Catholic school despite not being recognised as one. The archdiocese will still allow Jesuit priests to serve at the school and celebrate the sacraments, according to administrators.

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  • There’s been some interesting fighting over this in the Catholic sub on Reddit, and yes Reverend Martin is being tarred, shingled, and rode out on a rail verbally.

  • rubaxter

    More rumblings from The Fly Over Districts.

    This YHWH bubba seems to be a real bast&#8203ard. Almost makes you wonder how anyone could work for him and not agree with what seems to be pretty basic Terms of Employment?

    It’s as if your a fighter pilot yet refuse to shoot down planes full of paratroopers.

  • Bubblecar

    Ha, they do love their battles. Has there ever been a time when the Church wasn’t at war with itself? (Answer: no)

    They clearly aren’t coping with the 21st century, but then they hadn’t coped with the previous centuries either. The difference is that this time it’s terminal, as they’re shedding the flock at an unprecedented rate.

  • Michael Neville

    So the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is a nest of bigots. It’s just another example of the Catholic Church’s basic anti-humanist teachings.

  • Broga

    ” “highly capable and qualified teacher” ”

    Perfect example of cutting off your nose despite your face. They would, of course, welcome some half as able, incompetent, brain shrivelled by religious indoctrination, teacher. If their word “evil” or “wicked” means what they say it means then this act exemplifies it.

  • Etranger

    Very good decision by the archbishop. The school should now have their eyes opened to what saying “I’m Catholic” truly entails. They will realize that if they were truly LGBT-friendly, they would not support the RCC.

  • Etranger

    To be fair, what Archdiocese is not such a nest? Every person who supports the RCC is at a minimum an indirect bigot.

  • Etranger

    It is amazing to read the vitriol against Martin by con christians. He is not even that pro-LGBT. All he preaches is that folks should not treat LGBT like crud. He still condemns gay folks who have sex, etc.

  • Michael Neville

    That particular Archdiocese was more blatant than most in their homophobia.

  • Etranger

    This action was pretty novel. But other Archdioceses (Denver, Boston) have their homophobia on display regularly.

  • larry parker

    Therefore, Brebeuf … will no longer be recognized as a Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

    They say that like it’s a bad thing.

  • Yes, it seems he scares them silly. Or something.

  • bullet

    The Jesuits have been irritating the RCC for hundreds of years. Still good news.

  • rubaxter

    They may be the RC storm troops in some instances, but they also have a history of independence which sometimes actually delivers the CORRECT result.

  • rubaxter

    The Lutherans used to include ‘the catholic church’ in one of their creeds, but it was Small ‘c’.

  • Alchymist

    I hope for consistency that the Archdiocese also reacts the same way to anyone who has been divorced and remarried and anyone who has had (or fathered) a child out of wedlock. Otherwise they are just being petty.

    Of course, that’s likely to result in a lot of Catholic schools having to close but that doesn’t seem like a bad thing.

  • Alchymist

    “The holy, catholic and apostolic church” from the Nicene Creed

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    This means that the school “can no longer use the name Catholic,” according to the statement

    What they don’t want to say, but are saying:
    This means that the school, the parents and the community it serves won’t send another dime took the Catholic authority, instead supporting their new “non-Catholic” church.

    I’m willing to wager the will be a change of heart.

  • Etranger

    Jesuits are always interesting and frustrating – they are some of the most intelligent thinkers, philosophers and social activists. But they have such a cognitive dissonance when it comes to action in the Church – they get right up to the point of being extremely reasonable and rational and then they stay within the same church they disagree with. This school’s decision highlights the reasons why you cannot be moral and good and still be an actual Catholic.

  • Sophotroph

    There was a huge, far-reaching ban on tons of words enacted by BeliefNet, which owns Patheos.

    It’s a poorly-disguised attack on the profitable half of the site for ideological reasons.

    Some have said it’s just a bug, but new words seem to be being added. The “Google made us do it” excuse seems to have fallen apart.

    Edit: Note to The Freethinker:
    You or your mods are going to have to remove words from the list manually, iirc, or it’ll just stay like this.

  • Barry Duke

    That’s an impossible task. There aren’t enough hours in the day for such a mission. BTW your comment went into moderation because you used a restricted word: “BeliefNet”.

  • Sophotroph

    That’s… not a good word to be on that list.

    Can I get some context? Why can’t you just delete the whole list? How is it set up?