That’s what a school in Boston did, and, not surprisingly, they made headlines. Well, I’m here on Cape Cod, and the local newspaper, The Boston Globe, has a story today in which Boston Archbishop Sean P. Cardinal O’Malley comments publicly on the situation. And, as a loyal churchman caught in a sticky wicket, he plays both sides.
On the one hand, O’Malley says that the church’s main concern is the best interests of the child, regardless of who the child’s parents happen to be. The Globe reports that on O’Malley’s blog, he writes of a time when he accepted the child of a slain prostitute into a Catholic school in the West Indies.
On the other hand, O’Malley says that he supports the head of the school who expelled the child, and he says that the policy of the Archdiocese of Denver to do the same should be studied and considered.
In other words, O’Malley is trying to do and say the right things for public opinion (support the child) while also shore up his standing in the church bureaucracy (support his priest and another archdiocese). It’s not an easy situation, and I do not envy him.
In fact, he sums up his own predicament well,
As the archdiocese prepares a policy for all its schools to follow, O’Malley said, it will have to grapple with “the question of how do we make Catholic schools available to children who come from diverse, often unconventional, households, while ensuring the moral theology and the teachings of the church are not compromised?’’
This is a question not exclusive to the Catholic church, either. I know many Protestant churches — famous ones — who are currently trying to navigate these same turbulent waters without crashing their ecclesial vessels on the ideological Scylla and Charybdis on either side.