School appeals to Rome over gay-employee policy

A Catholic high school is appealing to Rome after losing its Catholic identity because its employee policy allows a teacher in a same-sex marriage to be on the staff.

Indianapolis’s Brebeuf Jesuit high school is appealing Archbishop Charles C. Thompson’s decision to strip it of its Catholic name because it refused his request to sever the employment of a teacher who married someone of the same gender.

An immediate outcome of Thompson’s decision is that the school’s academic year will begin without its traditional all-school “Mass of the Holy Spirit”.

Another outcome, according to a letter posted to the school’s website on Sunday by President William Verbryke, SJ, is that Jesuits who minister at the high school must seek permission from the archbishop to celebrate Mass.

Out of pastoral concern and charity, Verbryke’s letter says the archbishop and another Brebeuf priest will celebrate daily Mass in the school chapel before classes start.

The archbishop has also ruled that no other school Masses (such as the Mass of the Holy Spirit) are permitted.

Instead of the school’s opening Mass, Verbryke says there will be a service in which the Jesuits “will call upon the blessings of the Holy Spirit in our school community for this academic year by holding a school-wide prayer service during the school day.”

Verbryke says while the school is disappointed and saddened by the archbishop’s decision, “… our appeal includes our request for the ability to have school Masses on campus once again.

“However, we must, and do acknowledge the authority of the Archbishop with respect to the celebration of Mass within the Archdiocese.”

The archdiocese is defending its handling of the Brebeuf case.

A statement from the archdiocese says all Catholic schools must:

“Clearly state in [their] contracts and ministerial job descriptions that all administrators, teachers and guidance counselors must convey and be supportive of all teachings of the Catholic Church.

“Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School freely chose not to implement these practices and therefore decided to no longer be recognized as a Catholic institution in the Archdiocese.”


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