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An Archbishop told a Jesuit school to fire a gay teacher. They said no

A Jesuit high school in Indiana can no longer call itself "Catholic" because it employs a teacher engaged in a same-sex marriage, the Archbishop of Indianapo...

Posted: Jun 21, 2019 9:12 AM

A Jesuit high school in Indiana can no longer call itself "Catholic" because it employs a teacher engaged in a same-sex marriage, the Archbishop of Indianapolis says.

Archbishop Charles Thompson's decree, dated June 21, means that Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis will no longer be recognized or identified as a Catholic institution within the archdiocese.

"To effectively bear witness to Christ, whether they teach religion or not, all ministers in their professional and private lives must convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching," the Archdiocese of Indiana said in a statement on Thursday.

The Archdiocese said they tried but failed to reach an agreement with the Jesuit school.

The conflict pits the Jesuits, an order of priests known for educating generations of Catholics, against the church's powerful hierarchy. It's also the latest battle between Catholic schools who want to employ gay and lesbian teachers against bishops who insist that all employees toe the line on Catholic doctrine.

What makes this conflict unusual is that Jesuits and their schools enjoy a degree of independence from the church hierarchy. In contrast to other Catholic schools forced to fire gay teachers, the Jesuits rejected Thompson's request to remove the teacher.

"It is rare for a Catholic institution not only to side with its LGBT faculty members, but also do so in the face of such fierce opposition from a bishop," said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of "Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity."

"In this case, it is also rare that a bishop would go so far as to publicly remove the designation 'Catholic' from the school," continued Martin, who is based in New York and not affiliated with the school.

The Catholic catechism teaches that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" but also that LGBT people "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

In a statement, three trustees from Brebeuf Jesuit Prep School said it has "respectfully declined the Archdiocese's insistence and directive that we dismiss a highly capable and qualified teacher due to the teacher being a spouse within a civilly recognized same-sex marriage."

The Rev. Brian Paulson, who heads the Midwest Province of Jesuits, said that the teacher does not teach religion and "is a longtime valued employee of the school." The teacher is not named in any of the statements.

"To our knowledge, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis' direct insertion into an employment matter of a school governed by a religious order is unprecedented," the trustees said. "This is a unique action among the more than 80 Jesuit secondary/pre-secondary schools which operate in dioceses throughout North America."

In 2014 the Archdiocese of Cincinnati ordered teachers at the city's Catholic schools to sign detailed morality clauses if they wanted to stay on the job. The revised contracts forbid teachers from -- among other things -- exhibiting a gay "lifestyle."

Paulson said the Jesuits will appeal this new decision, first through Archbishop Thompson, and then, if necessary, at the Vatican.

Leaders of Brebeuf, founded in 1962 as an independent Catholic school, said they have always had control over their personnel decisions.

"Whereas the Archdiocese of Indianapolis may choose to no longer attend or participate in the school's Masses and formal functions, Brebeuf Jesuit is, and will always be, a Catholic Jesuit school," the trustees said.

In a tweet on Thursday, the school used the hashtag #BeBrave to announce its decision.

"We understand that this news will likely spur a host of emotions, questions and even confusion in the days ahead," the school's trustees said. "Please be assured, the Archdiocese's decision will not change the mission or operations of Brebeuf Jesuit."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1524527

Reported Deaths: 20751
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2077652558
Lake1010411517
Allen946081024
Hamilton73638551
St. Joseph65362761
Elkhart50026632
Vanderburgh48959530
Tippecanoe44411338
Johnson38772527
Hendricks36850462
Porter34709476
Madison29301547
Clark26328328
Vigo25941346
LaPorte23600313
Monroe23478249
Howard22382381
Delaware21877370
Hancock18857220
Bartholomew18433216
Kosciusko18124203
Warrick17207215
Wayne16474303
Floyd16129257
Grant15566299
Morgan14615232
Boone13622138
Noble11983142
Shelby11877152
Dearborn11825113
Henry11771201
Marshall11444171
Dubois11418152
Jackson10772104
Cass10380143
Lawrence10308221
DeKalb10292132
Huntington10277140
Gibson9749126
Montgomery9377144
Knox9162125
Harrison9157117
Whitley886771
Steuben8739105
Jasper8325116
Putnam8306100
Clinton827596
Miami8249135
Jefferson8030127
Wabash7914139
Ripley7278116
Adams6713103
Daviess6661130
Scott663586
White624484
Greene6159112
Clay615275
Decatur6062120
Wells6001120
Jennings600081
Fayette5886122
Posey561648
LaGrange535797
Randolph5171129
Washington511470
Owen5068100
Fountain482580
Spencer457456
Sullivan449866
Starke443986
Fulton440393
Orange435083
Jay419964
Rush418839
Perry397555
Carroll384549
Franklin382850
Vermillion363562
Pike327845
Parke327338
Tipton320675
Blackford275955
Pulaski275375
Newton235461
Brown233556
Benton221521
Crawford220132
Switzerland201414
Martin191822
Warren179522
Union172619
Ohio125216
Unassigned0759

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2496243

Reported Deaths: 31987
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2696772100
Cuyahoga2600613087
Hamilton1742641756
Montgomery1162791651
Summit1084961418
Lucas929121193
Butler82981963
Stark766321431
Lorain63976809
Warren52895489
Mahoning50955930
Lake47462611
Clermont46371452
Delaware40674220
Trumbull39527790
Licking38492416
Medina38487427
Fairfield35469349
Greene33906435
Portage32283366
Clark31960453
Richland29400444
Wood29143301
Allen25702403
Miami23931408
Muskingum23316255
Columbiana22903409
Wayne21965365
Tuscarawas19512428
Erie18531224
Ashtabula18489362
Marion18456235
Scioto17888214
Ross17287260
Pickaway16251181
Hancock16004232
Geauga15456229
Lawrence14746186
Belmont14033248
Union1403384
Huron13838184
Jefferson13519261
Sandusky13180200
Athens12624107
Knox12037201
Seneca11934204
Darke11316202
Ashland11157184
Washington11009172
Auglaize10785147
Crawford10333178
Shelby10308160
Brown9972145
Fulton9661154
Highland9632151
Guernsey9612122
Defiance9486137
Logan9403147
Clinton9299132
Mercer9015112
Madison8971111
Preble8428170
Williams8263138
Putnam8024136
Champaign7974113
Ottawa7909123
Jackson7763121
Perry7415102
Coshocton7345136
Morrow723984
Fayette703292
Pike658489
Hardin6532133
Gallia634391
Adams6159127
Van Wert6025121
Henry598196
Hocking5835105
Wyandot498894
Carroll4961101
Holmes4857167
Paulding421665
Meigs397774
Monroe313868
Harrison296362
Noble295652
Morgan289448
Vinton254646
Unassigned08
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