Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput posted a defense of the decision by Sacred Heart parish in Boulder to expel the children of a lesbian couple. In the face of mounting bad press criticizing the school for discrimination, Chaput explained simply that Sacred Heart is Catholic and that gay sex and marriage are not condoned by the Church. He said the children and the lesbian moms are loved but not wanted at Sacred Heart. How the children were let into the pre-school program in the first place and the parents allowed to pay for the privilege of having their children integrated and then booted and themselves referred to as an affront to the Church, is a question unanswered in Chaput’s letter.
Chaput, a proudly conservative political prelate, though, didn’t miss the opportunity to insert an attack on the tax code and suggest that Americans should be allowed to send their kids to Catholic schools and receive a tax write off as a result– no matter whether they’re atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, Muslim, Hindu, divorced, unmarried and sexually active, or pretty much anything similarly non-Catholic. Anything, that is, but gay of course.
From Chaput’s column:
The [lesbian] couple was informed by Sacred Heart of Jesus parish school that the older child, whom they were enrolling in kindergarten for next year, would be allowed to attend kindergarten but would not be able to continue into first grade the year after. Their younger child would be welcome to finish preschool, but not continue into kindergarten…
It’s also true that some of our schools exist as a service outreach in largely non-Catholic communities. Many of our schools also accept students of other faiths and no faith, and from single parent and divorced parent families. These students are always welcome so long as their parents support the Catholic mission of the school and do not offer a serious counter-witness to that mission in their actions…
Our schools, however, exist primarily to serve Catholic families with an education shaped by Catholic faith and moral formation. This is common sense. Other religious traditions do the same according to their beliefs, and at a heavy sacrifice. We need to remember that Catholic families pay twice for a Catholic education: through their taxes, they fund public education; then they pay again to send their children to a Catholic school. The idea that Catholic schools should require support for Catholic teaching for admission, and a serious effort from school families to live their Catholic identity faithfully, is reasonable and just. [emphasis added]
We need to remember that Catholics pay a lot of money to be free of the gays! The column begs a question: What exactly constitutes “offering a serious counter-witness to [the Catholic] mission in their actions”?
Gay parents, clearly. But what about parents who are lawmakers who support abortion rights? Chaput has called on priests to deny serving these kind of parents communion. How about parents who are insurance industry professionals who offer policies that support abortion and birth control and stem cell research and euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide? How about the medical people involved in such things?
How about people who listen to and watch an extremely popular Fox News host who calls on American Catholics to leave their faith for its commitment to social justice, because social justice is anti-capitalist socialism. Is supporting and promoting endless Glenn Beck rantings considered a serious counter witness to the mission of the Church?
Beck this week:
I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long, it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!” Listen here.
Concerned Coloradans demand a follow-up column from Chaput, providing much clearer detail on who among us are welcome to send our children to Catholic school– to send them, that is, and not have them later expelled through no fault of their own. As Chaput says, the devil is in the details.