What to make of the decision in the Land of Chaput, aka the Archdiocese of Denver, to boot a preschooler out of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School in Boulder for having two mommies?
The archdiocese says it must do so because it “would be a cause of confusion for the student in
that what they are being taught in school conflicts with what they
experience in the home.” The parish priest in charge of the school is a bit more forthcoming:
If a child of gay
parents comes to our school, and we teach that gay marriage is against
the will of God, then the child will think that we are saying their
parents are bad. We don’t want to put any child in that tough position–nor do we want to put the parents, or the teachers, at odds with the
teachings of the Catholic Church.
How exactly would the parents or teachers be put at odds with church teachings? What Fr. Bill Breslin knows is that having little Kevin in school will mean that parents and teachers (and he himself) will be loath to engage in the kind of denunciation of same-sex relationships that Archbishop Chaput specializes in. And there would be those pesky field trips and parent conferences and sleep-overs etc., all creating the impression that Kevin’s family is pretty darn normal. No, the real danger contemplated here is not that the child might be upset but that the presence of the child would upset the church’s teaching authority. It would be an Occasion of Scandal.
Of course, Catholic schools are not unfamiliar with problems involving families who violate the principle invoked by the archdiocese to exclude this child; namely: “Parents living in open discord with Catholic
teaching in areas of faith and morals unfortunately choose by their
actions to disqualify their children from enrollment.” Allowing as how the parish and archdiocese are “within their rights” not to admit children from families who are in such violation, America‘s James Martin rhetorically inquires:
So do the same rules apply to a child
of parents who [are] in similar discord? That is, the child of a single,
divorced parent? To a child of divorced and remarried parents? To a
child of a single, unmarried mother? To a child of a parent who
commits adultery? To a child of a parent who uses birth control? To a
child of a parent who steals from his company? To a child of a parent
who fails to forgive his neighbor? To a child of a parent who fails
to care for the poor? To a child of any parent who sins? They too
would be in “open discord.”
The answer to all of the above is, Martin implies, of course not. But the difference is that in all the above cases, the parent in question would be likely to admit that the violation in question was a bad, or at least regrettable, thing. Members of same-sex relationships, not so much. Therein lies the real discord.