O’Malley v. Chaput

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somal.jpgcchap.jpgWhat a difference a diocese makes!

Two months ago, two girls were booted out of a Catholic school in Boulder, Co. because their parents are lesbian partners. There hadn’t been any problem, it seemed, until that fact came to the attention of headquarters–the Denver archdiocese over which Charles Chaput presides.

Two days ago, the AP reported that a small parochial school in the diocese of Boston, St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham, had withdrawn its acceptance of an 8-year-old boy upon discovering that his two parents are lesbians. This was a local decision, made without the knowledge of headquarters–the Boston archdiocese presided over by Sean O’Malley.

With Cardinal O’Malley accompanying the pope on pilgrimage in Fatima, the archdiocesan spokesman quickly informed the media that the archdiocese had no policy of excluding children of same-sex couples from its schools. Then the superintendent of schools announced that the archdiocese would find another church school for the boy to attend, and that a policy on the children of same-sex couples would be developed “to eliminate any misunderstandings in the future.” (Catholics United spent yesterday collecting
2,500 signatures urging that the policy be one of allowing all children to have access to a Catholic education.)

Meanwhile, two local organizations that raise scholarship money for Catholic schools announced their opposition to discrimination in admissions. The Catholic Schools Foundation, leading provider of aid to needy students in Greater Boston, sent out a letter saying it would not provide scholarships to children attending schools that discriminated. That was “at odds with our values as a foundation, the intentions of our donors,
and ultimately Gospel teaching,”

After the Denver decision, Archbishop Chaput took to the pages of his diocesan newspaper to justify his policy of exclusion. It was, he claimed, necessary for the proper communication of Catholic doctrine as well as in the interest of the child for parents to be with the program. So why is it OK for Catholic schools to admit children of, say, divorced parents but not children of same-sex ones?

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.

Chaput’s point, I suppose, is that same-sex couples, by their very existence, offer a “serious counter-witness” in a way that divorced parents don’t.

It will be interesting to read what O’Malley has to say on the matter after he gets back from Fatima–stay tuned to Cardinal Seán’s Blog. And while we’re waiting, we may ponder his emergence as the closest thing to a paladin progressive Catholicism has in the American hierarchy today.

  • Robert Vasa

    Archbishop Chaput’s point, I suppose, is that same-sex couples, by their very existence, offer a “serious counter-witness” in a way that divorced parents don’t.
    Acting homosexuals offer a “serious counter-witness” because such sexual relationships cannot be normalized, under any circumstances. Homosexuality is intrinsically disordered. Divorced parents can, in some cases, find the original marriage was invalid and a granted Declaration of Nullity. This situation can be corrected an normalized.

  • Jan Ignace

    Since the funeral of Senator Kennedy, Cardinal O’Malley has about the same credibility among orthodox Catholics as Barak Obama…which is to say who cares what he says.

  • Oistin McGiollach

    That Catholic Education authorities in Boston are buckling to the gay agenda is not surprising given the dissembling influence in that city of Jesuit-run Boston College.
    In 2003, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had before it a proposed constitutional amendment (known as H.3190). defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Known as H.3190, was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature. On April 28, 2003, Father James Keenan, S.J. who teaches at Boston College, testified before a hearing on H.3190 as follows: “I am here today to testify against H.3190 because it is contrary to Catholic teaching on social justice.” Father Keenan concluded his testimony by saying: “as a priest and as a moral theologian, I cannot see how anyone could use the Roman Catholic tradition to support H. 3190.”
    The May 10, 2010 edition of the online journal RenewAmerica carried an article by Eamonn Keane who in a critique of the work of another Boston College Professor, Thomas Groome, which was very revealing. Referring to comments made by Groome in the Boston Globe 2003 in reference to H.3190, Keane said:
    “In 1996, a statement on “Same-Sex Marriage” was issued by the US Bishops opposing the granting of the status of “marriage” to homosexual couples. In November 2002, the CDF issued with the approval of Pope John Paul II a Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Involving the Participation of Catholics in Political Life. It stated that there existed “fundamental and inalienable ethical demands” that obliged Christians to seek to safeguard the family “based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman,” adding that “in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.” In 2003, another CDF document approved by Pope John Paul II titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons stated that allowing children to be adopted into same-sex unions is “gravely immoral” and “would actually mean doing violence to those children” (n. 7).
    In May 2003, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Judiciary Committee was considering a Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment which stated that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts understands “marriage” to be a union of one man and one woman. The amendment’s purpose was to pre-empt a possible favourable judgement by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in regard to an application before it seeking to have marriage licenses granted to homosexual couples. On 28 May 2003, the Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts issued a joint statement calling on Catholics to support the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment. The bishops’ statement said that any judgement by the Supreme Court redefining marriage so as to include homosexual couples “would have devastating consequences.”
    Returning to Groome, in June 2003 he prevaricated about the need for legislation to defend the meaning of marriage as a union of one man and one woman. In an interview with the Boston Globe on 26 June 2003, he was asked the following question: “That official (church) voice recently was used in the Massachusetts bishops’ letter regarding gay marriage. Catholics by a majority have told pollsters they don’t think homosexual behaviour is immoral. What’s your position?” In reply, Groome said:
    “I think the bishops are entitled to speak out on issues of public morality. There will always be a distinction between what is moral and what is legal. I don’t know where I come down on whether or not the law before the Massachusetts Legislature (that would define marriage as heterosexual only) is wise.”
    In this response Groome wasted a valuable opportunity to explain to a large audience the reasonableness of the Massachusetts bishops’ call to legislators to defend the true meaning of marriage. Groome went on in this interview to compromise and discredit Catholic teaching further. When asked by the Globe “how independent can Catholic teachers be from church orthodoxy,” he answered:
    “It all depends what we mean by orthodoxy. I don’t know of any Catholic theologian who doesn’t want to teach what is orthodox Catholic faith. The difficulty is that the official church at the moment has a narrower view of what is orthodoxy than I have. Take an issue like ordination of married men, the notion of optional celibacy. The present church’s legislation requires celibacy, and many of the bishops and the present pope would see that as close to being divinely inspired. That wouldn’t be my sentiment at all. I think it’s a human regulation that we should dispense with. It should be optional. I would have a similar sentiment on the ordination of women.”
    “Doctrinally speaking, Groome has here placed two questions on the same plane which should not be treated as such. While the Church is committed to maintaining mandatory clerical celibacy for ordained priests in the Latin Rite, something for which there are very good reasons, the question of the Church’s doctrine on the male-only ministerial priesthood however pertains to something instituted by Christ over which the Church has no power. In his statement, Groome is basically depriving “orthodoxy” of its concrete content: the “official church,” by which he means the teaching of the magisterium, is no longer seen by him as authoritative.
    In view of the social and political advancement of the gay agenda in recent decades, it is ironic that Groome — who holds a Professorship in Theology and Religious Education at a Jesuit-run Catholic university — could not in a statement to the media give unequivocal support to the value of adopting legislation that would defend the true meaning of marriage as the a union between one man and one woman. Groome’s response in this instance should not however surprise us given the fact that Boston College allows gay activists to teach courses in its theology and pastoral ministry department.
    During July/August of 2007 and 2008, Boston College’s Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry which had Groome as its director, ran several courses on Pastoral Ministry which included a subject titled Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counselling. The teacher of the course was Dr John McDargh who is a Professor in the theology department at Boston College. When the Supreme Court of Massachusetts sanctioned same-sex marriage in 2004, Professor McDargh was one of the first to take advantage of the change in the law by ‘marrying’ his gay partner, Tim Dunn. According to an article authored by McDargh and published on the website of MassEquality, an organisation promoting equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, Dunn and McDargh have a son they adopted from Russia” (‘Thomas Groome’s and Fr Robert Drinan’s Impact on the Consciousness of Catholics’, RenewAmerica, May 1o, 2010)

  • Sophia Donnatelli

    Oistin is right. Dissident theologians at Boston College are dragging down Catholic life and culture in this great city of ours. They erode the faith of their students and their dissembling public comments on things Catholic are a scandal. Fr Keenan, John McDargh and Thomas Groome should be sacked. But this will not happen, Keenan is regarded as a top notch moral theologian, McDargh is entitled to his “academic freedom,” and Groome is feted by the Archdiocesan authorities, he was keynote speaker for the English-speaking catechists at the Boston Archdiocesan annual Catechetical Conference in 2007.
    The controversy over whether or not Catholic schools enroll children of openly gay couples suggests to me that there is deep confusion in Catholic precincts over how the Church should respond to the gay agenda. Even though Catholic Charities have pulled out of the adoption business rather than continue to cooperate in the evil of adopting children out to gay couples, it only did so because it was compelled to by our bishops. The following report from the Boston Globe in 2006 relating to this decision is revealing: “Catholic Charities…will shut down its adoption operation June 30, Hehir said…Hehir said he hoped the decision will end the tumult surrounding the gay adoption issue. The controversy began in October when the Globe reported that Catholic Charities had been quietly processing a small number of gay adoptions, despite Vatican statements condemning the practice. Over the last decades, the Globe reported, approximately 13 children had been placed by Catholic Charities in gay households, a fraction of the 720 children placed by the agency during that period. Agency officials said they had been permitting gay adoptions to comply with the state’s antidiscrimination laws. But after the story was published, the state’s four bishops announced they would appoint a panel to examine whether the practice should continue. In December, the Catholic Charities board, which is dominated by lay people, voted unanimously to continue gay adoptions. But, on Feb. 28, the four bishops announced a plan to seek an exemption from the antidiscrimination laws. Eight of the 42 board members quit in protest, saying the agency should welcome gays as adoptive parents.” (Catholic Charities stuns state, ends adoptions. Gay issue stirred move by agency. By Patricia Wen, Globe Staff | March 11, 2006).
    I wonder how many Catholic Charity officials still support adoption rights for gay couples? How many of them I wonder are alumni of Boston College’s theology department? Why was it necessary for the bishops to set up a “panel” to examine whether or not cooperation with gay adoption services should continue? Speaking personally, and leaving aside Catholic teaching on this question, my gutt-feeling tells that it could never be right to be involved in the channelling of helpless and innocent children to gay couples, no matter how “good” or “stable” their relationship appeared to be.

  • Readers should check out this fantastic article by noted writer and lecturer, Dale O’Leary on this topic at bryanhehirexposed.wordpress.com. Here’s are selected passages:
    The concept of father and mother is central to Catholic theology. God is our Father in Heaven, not a generic parent. Jesus is our brother, and therefore the Blessed Mother is our mother. Every biological father has from the moment his child is conceived the awesome responsibility of being an image of God the father. Failure to do this carries terrible consequence for the child’s faith and sense of security and for society. Two mommies or no mommy is not God’s plan.
    Every child has a biological father and mother. Separation from one or both parents is always perceived by the child as a loss. A fatherless family is not equal to a father/mother family. Tragedies happen – death, divorce, desertion, single parenthood. When they do, the adults involved must cope as best they can, but no one should purposefully make a tragedy.
    Teachers in a Catholic school cannot promote “diversity” in family styles. They cannot pretend that Heather has two Mommies or that it is good for Gloria to go to Gay Pride rallies.
    Parents who send their children to Catholic schools need to understand this. If, in spite of this, same-sex couples insist on applying, they need to be told in no uncertain terms that were their children admitted they would be taught what the Church teaches and if their child’s classmates ask why Suzie has two mommies, they will be told that Suzie has one mommy and another woman lives in their house, but God’s plan is for every child to have a mommy and a daddy.
    What about children whose parents divorce and one or both remarries?
    If the parents choose a Catholic school or even CCD for their children, the teachers cannot compromise the truth.
    I was given the responsibility of presenting the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce to a seventh grade class. In the front row was a boy whose family I knew. His father had recently divorced the boy’s mother to marry a younger woman. I presented the teaching clearly and unambiguously. The boy looked me in the eye and said, “Are you saying that God doesn’t like divorce?’
    “Yes,” I responded, “in the book of the prophet Malachi it says God hates divorce.”
    He replied, “Good.”
    I knew that this boy had borne the pain of divorce and he was glad that God was on his side. We must be on the side of the children. We cannot assume that the children want to be protected from the truth.
    Persons in same-sex relationships who have children naturally want to protect their children’s feelings. They aren’t going to want their children to be exposed to the truth. A Catholic school cannot agree to hide the truth.
    Once people go down the wrong path, there are no good answers. Either the children will be denied the benefits of a Catholic education and feel rejected because they can’t go to Catholic school or they will be admitted and then find out that God doesn’t approve of their parents’ choices or they will be admitted and the school will compromise its principles. If this happens, the other students will be confused about the Church’s teaching and not understand why God doesn’t approve of Suzie’s mommies who so nice and bring cookies and help out in the cafeteria.
    So what is the school to do? What is in the best interest of the children of same-sex couples and the other children? If they accept the children in the school, the children will either be alienated from their parents on whom they rely or alienated from God who would be seen as condemning their parents’ choices. While older children might be able to understand and even appreciate the Church’s teaching, younger children certainly will not. To them it will just seem mean. It will put the teachers in an untenable position and confuse the children’s classmates. Therefore, it is reasonable for Catholic elementary schools to explain to same-sex couples that this is not the place for their children.
    The real question is: Why would a same-sex couple want their children in a Catholic school? Surely, they know the Catholic Church’s teaching. If they think that teaching will change, they are gravely mistaken. One can only assume that they hope that their presence at school events and their acceptance into the community will undermine that teaching and they are using their children as pawns.
    The Catholic Church has every right not to allow its schools to be used in this way and in doing so, they are protecting the best interests of all the children.
    Also, read Archbishop Chaput’s entire piece at:

  • Sophia Donnatelli

    Further to my last blog, I am distraught to find that Thomas Groome’s method of religious education called Shared Christian Praxis has been chosen as the basis for delivery of catechetical programs in parishes in Ireland in the time leading up to the Eucharistic Congress (read this from the official website: http://www.iec2012.ie/E-Congress/April-2010/visionintro.pdf
    The 1991 work of Groome referenced in the Eucharistic Congress web catechesis is Sharing Faith. Here are some quotations from it:
    :The Catholic Church made ‘priesthood’ exclusive by requiring that its candidates be male and celibate” (page 319).
    “Confining ordained ministry to men is rightly challenged as the creation of a patriarchal culture and without biblical warrant… It seems that the exclusion of women from ordained ministry is the result of a patriarchal mind-set and culture and is not of Christian faith. The injustice of excluding women from priesthood debilitates the church’s sacramentality in the world; and is a countersign to God’s reign” (page 328)
    “I am convinced that the exclusion of women from ordination reflects injustice in at least three significant ways. (1) It is an injustice to women who recognise themselves as gifted and called by God to serve the church in ordained ministry; (2) it is an injustice to the church and its people, who could be served so significantly by ordained women; and (3) such exclusion functions as a legitimating sign for patriarchy and sexism — thus doing spiritual and moral harm to society” (p.517).
    If this material is not withdarawn from the Eucharistic Congress Website it will be a sad sad day.

  • Solomon Gilsch

    Groome’s book ‘What Makes Us Catholic’ is definitely anti-Catholic. It has been the subject of adult faith education courses in many places. Read the following for indepth critique of Groome’s work.
    If any of Groome’s books are on sale in your local Catholic bookstore, ask your bishop to have them removed. To stock books by authors hostile to Catholic teaching is to cooperate in the spread of their errors.
    I bet Groome and Richard McBrien have made lots of dollars from their employment at Catholic Colleges and from the sale of their books which frequently mangle Catholic doctrine. Let’s stop the flow of money to them. Protest against their being invited to speak at conferences in your area. Let’s try to cut the money trail.

  • Padraig Delahunty

    Catholic Truth Scotland website has just announced that a protest by Catholics outside the Pauline bookshop in Glascow has led the nuns who run the shop to withdraw a window display of Thomas Groome’s books. Groome teaches theology at Boston College. The books were recommended to the nuns by Jesuits at St. Aloysius parish in Glascow. Those who contacted the Pauline bookshop in Glascow and convinced the good sisters to remove Groome’s offensive books from display have done a great service for all Catholics in the British Isles. I have often been bewildered to find good nuns running Catholic bookshops and selling the most appalling materials containing attacks on Catholic teaching. By having Groome’s books removed, potential readers are protected against the toxicity of error. Also, even though it is a small step in the right direction, it will reduce the flow of money to dissident authors such as Groome. Such forthright action is necessary if we want to protect Catholic children from the diabolical influences on them of marauding dissidents. The next step now is to get the Irish Bishops to remove all references to Groome’s books from their website for the Eucharistic Congress.
    Padraig Delahunty