The Boston Archdiocese moved with impressive speed to counter the knee-jerk decision of a pastor and principal to withdraw acceptance of an eight-year-old child to St. Paul School (Hingham) when word emerged that the child is being raised by a lesbian couple.
Discord in Catholic teachings! How about children of divorced or remarried parents who attend Catholic schools?
And speaking of discord, an estimated 33 percent of students are raised in non-Catholic homes. Seventeen percent of those non-Catholics are Baptists. What about parents who don't attend mandatory Mass on Sunday and Holy Days? But most importantly, the decision of Rafferty and Duggan to discriminate against the child flies in the face of the teachings of Jesus Christ, who preached a gospel of love and social justice.
Mary Grassa O’Neill, Secretary of Education & Superintendent for the Archdiocese of Boston, launched the PR comeback. She issued a statement yesterday to say “the Archdiocese does not prohibit children of same sex parents from attending Catholic schools.” The schools “welcome children based on their parent’s understanding that the teachings of the Church are an important component of the curriculum and are part of the students’ educational experience.”
The Archdiocese is working with the boy’s parents to find a more welcoming school. They are open to considering other schools. O’Neill promised the Archdiocese will “develop a policy to eliminate any misunderstandings in the future.”
The school kerfuffle over an issue based on a sexual preference is the last thing that the Boston Archdiocese, --ground zero in the U.S. priest sex scandal saga-needs. The Archdiocese has made great comeback strides since the departure of the imperious Cardinal Bernard Law and the appointment of Cardinal Sean O’Malley. The Capuchin-Franciscan friar took over the Boston post in 2003, six months after Law resigned.
O'Malley, who has been traveling with Pope Benedict in Portugal, will certainly do the right thing and reassure all that the Catholic schools of Boston have welcome mats for all as long as they are willing to learn the lessons of the gospel.