Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Catholic Schools

Archbishop Chaput on Catholic Schools:

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.

That’s the background. Now to the human side of a painful situation. The Church never looks for reasons to turn anyone away from a Catholic education. But the Church can’t change her moral beliefs without undermining her mission and failing to serve the many families who believe in that mission. If Catholics take their faith seriously, they naturally follow the teachings of the Church in matters of faith and morals; otherwise they take themselves outside the believing community.

The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are “bad,” or that their children are less loved by God. Quite the opposite. But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society. The Church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The policies of our Catholic school system exist to protect all parties involved, including the children of homosexual couples and the couples themselves. Our schools are meant to be “partners in faith” with parents. If parents don’t respect the beliefs of the Church, or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult, if not impossible. It also places unfair stress on the children, who find themselves caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church.

Most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced. That simply can’t be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents. That isn’t fair to anyone—including the wider school community. Persons who have an understanding of marriage and family life sharply different from Catholic belief are often people of sincerity and good will. They have other, excellent options for education and should see in them the better course for their children.

Thank God for Archbishop Chaput. To read more, go here.


Mike said...

Archbishop Chaput's defense of this decision saddens me, and smacks of hypocracy. Does the school cast out children of unmarried heterosexual couples? How about single parents (divorced or widowed) -- does the Church expel their children unless those parents prove their celibacy? After all, since "sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong," then all single parents would have to sign celibacy pledges or else risk their children being kicked out of school. At least that would be applying the rule fairly.

Perhaps that's the flaw in my thinking: expecting the Church to be logical, or reasonable, when it comes to homosexuality. The only way I would support his decision is if they applied the rule to single parents and unmarried heterosexual couples as well. While that would seem harsh to the children, at least it would demonstrate admirable adherence to the Church's core beliefs -- rather than the thinly-veiled bias demonstrated now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, should the ADW have practicing homosexuals, married homosexuals as teachers in their Catholic schools? Should children whose parents are practicing homosexuals, with a live-in partner at home, be allowed to attend Catholic schools?

Kat said...

For me, this is something that I can see both sides of. On one hand the schools are bound to uphold Catholic Moral Teaching, on the other hand the child shouldn't be made to suffer because of the sins of the parents.

I also believe that if this is to be enforced with any credibility it needs to be enforced across all of Catholic Moral Teaching not just one section of it. But that is my opinion.

Charles said...

I think it's a logical fallacy to totally equate unmarried homosexual relationships with unmarried heterosexual relationships. They may be in sin, but not in their steps to reconciliation.
I could understand an argument that both reveal our desire for union but in ways incomplete of love for self, spouse and child or for God, the sacrament of marriage and the Church's teachings.
However, they are not exactly equal in how they are to be reconciled. Archbishop Chaput clearly and correctly points out that parents are co-partners in instructing children in the faith whether that be through parochial schools, foster care, adoption, CCD and any number of programs.
Thus, certainly, the expectations they would have homosexual relationships to be reconciled would be seem to be more substantial ("harsh") than those of heterosexual relationships.

Anonymous said...

Archbishop Chaput is so right, our schools should be "parteners in faith" with parents. Our schools should not be turned into rent collecting machines. Or, as is the case with the Archdiocese of Washington, machines that attempt to collect delinquent rent.