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An Indianapolis Catholic school has fired a teacher in a same-sex marriage after a Jesuit school in the city did not

Two Catholic high schools in Indianapolis were facing the same instruction from an archbishop: Fire a teacher who is in a same-sex marriage, or lose the arch...

Posted: Jun 25, 2019 1:35 PM
Updated: Jun 25, 2019 9:00 PM

Two Catholic high schools in Indianapolis were facing the same instruction from an archbishop: Fire a teacher who is in a same-sex marriage, or lose the archdiocese's recognition as a Catholic institution.

One refused last week, and is keeping its gay, married teacher. But officials at the other have announced they are firing theirs.

Adding to the tense situation: the two teachers have been married to each other since 2017, multiple sources have told CNN. Their marriage, which the couple shared on social media, led a local Catholic to complain to the archdiocese, the sources said.

The schools different approaches to the teachers appear to be influenced partly on their differing degrees of autonomy and reliance on recognition by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Cathedral High School said Sunday it will fire its teacher following 22 months of deliberation after Archbishop Charles Thompson told the school it would forfeit its Catholic identity if it did not.

Last week, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, about 11 miles from Cathedral, refused to fire its teacher in question -- and will no longer be recognized or identified as a Catholic institution by the archdiocese. The school said it plans to appeal the decision to the archdiocese and the Vatican, if necessary.

In a statement Monday, the Indianapolis Archdiocese said all Catholic school employees are ministers of the faith and must abide by all church teaching, including about marriage.

'This issue is not about sexual orientation; rather, it is about our expectation that all personnel inside a Catholic school -- who are ministers of the faith -- abide by all Church teachings, including the nature of marriage,' the archdiocese statement reads.

'If and when a minister of the faith is publicly not doing so, the Church calls us to help the individual strive to live a life in accordance with Catholic teaching.'

'It is very difficult to part ways' with someone who continues to rebuff the teaching, 'but we readily honor the person's dignity and decision,' the statement says.

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.'

Why Cathedral says it fired teacher

The decision by Cathedral, a 101-year-old school affiliated with the Brothers of Holy Cross, was agonizing, its president and board chairman said in a joint statement Sunday.

But to keep its existence as a Catholic school, it must follow the archbishop's guidance, board Chairman Matt Cohoat and President Rob Bridges said.

The school officials laid out what would happen if the archdiocese no longer recognized it as a Catholic institution:

• Cathedral could no longer refer to itself as a Catholic school.

• Cathedral 'would lose the ability to celebrate the Sacraments as we have in the past 100 years with our students and community,' a celebration 'essential to Cathedral.'

• Its diocesan priests could no longer serve on its board of directors.

• It would lose its affiliation with the Brothers of Holy Cross.

• Crucially, it would lose its status as an independent nonprofit organization, and therefore could not operate as a nonprofit school.

'In today's climate we know that being Catholic can be challenging and we hope that this action does not dishearten you, and, most especially, dishearten Cathedral's young people,' the school's statement reads. 'We know that some individuals do not agree with every teaching of the Catholic Church and so their conscience struggles between the teaching and what they believe is right. ...

'Please know that we offer our prayers and love to this teacher, our students and faculty, our Archbishop, and all associated with Cathedral as we continue to educate our students in the Catholic Holy Cross tradition.'

Crucial differences between the schools

Brebeuf, which kept its teacher, is in a different situation. It is not merely affiliated with a religious order. It is sponsored and governed by one -- the Jesuits -- and therefore enjoys a degree of independence from the church hierarchy.

Whereas Cathedral depends on the archbishop's recognition to retain its nonprofit status, Brebeuf does not, Kurt Nelson, director of Catholic school programs at Marian University, told CNN affiliate WRTV

'Cathedral school ... isn't part of another network, so if they don't keep their Catholic identity through the archbishop, they're not a Catholic organization, and therefore they would lose their tax-exempt status,' Nelson told the Indianapolis TV station.

Cathedral, in its own statement, also broached the difference.

'Because Brebeuf is a specific ministry of the Jesuits, their canonical and nonprofit status is different than ours. Therefore, the two schools cannot function the same way if Cathedral were to receive a similar decree as Brebeuf.'

Why Brebeuf says it kept teacher

In a statement, leaders from Brebeuf Jesuit Prep School said they have '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 Brebeuf's instructor does not teach religion and 'is a longtime valued employee of the school.'

In an interview on Tuesday, Paulson called the archbishop's decision to revoke Brebeuf's Catholic status, an 'imprudent and unnecessarily narrow interpretation of enforcing oversight of faith and morals in Catholic education.'

'The archbishop would argue that he's doing it out of defense of the faith and preventing scandal,' Paulson said, 'and I would come and say that I really think that I'm the one preventing scandal in the church.'

Paulson said Brebeuf began seeking its own tax exemptions in May, when it became clear that an agreement wold not be reached between the school and the archdiocese.

The school's president and trustees, meanwhile, have called the archdiocese's 'direct insertion' into personnel decisions made by a school run by a religious order 'unprecedented.'

'This is a unique action among the more than 80 Jesuit secondary/pre-secondary schools which operate in dioceses throughout North America.'

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 school's leaders said.

'The Archdiocese has assured us that Jesuit priests may continue to serve at Brebeuf Jesuit and will retain their ability to celebrate the sacraments of the Catholic Church.'

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 918230

Reported Deaths: 15011
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1252491952
Lake623371084
Allen52301746
Hamilton43009443
St. Joseph41155584
Elkhart32831485
Vanderburgh29698436
Tippecanoe26442247
Johnson23106414
Hendricks21708338
Porter21255340
Clark16988222
Madison16899378
Vigo15562272
Monroe14186190
LaPorte13961235
Delaware13613215
Howard13531258
Kosciusko11150134
Hancock10534159
Warrick10431174
Bartholomew10233166
Floyd10099202
Wayne9557216
Grant8858194
Morgan8654158
Boone8231109
Dubois7521123
Henry7391126
Dearborn734186
Noble7208100
Marshall7168127
Cass7060117
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Jackson638980
Shelby6386106
Gibson5999105
Harrison587984
Huntington586490
Montgomery5663101
DeKalb555691
Knox532999
Miami523183
Clinton522464
Putnam519067
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Jefferson456091
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Adams435565
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Scott389563
White383457
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Clay376455
Greene375589
Wells375183
Fayette363074
Posey351841
Jennings341756
Washington324046
LaGrange312074
Spencer310734
Fountain306553
Randolph302087
Sullivan294947
Owen275961
Orange269659
Starke268961
Fulton264451
Jay248134
Perry244950
Carroll239926
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Vermillion225850
Rush225530
Parke212020
Tipton205354
Pike200938
Blackford163834
Pulaski155250
Crawford140818
Benton138316
Newton138141
Brown130646
Martin124416
Switzerland122310
Warren112616
Union92211
Ohio75811
Unassigned0461

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1319265

Reported Deaths: 21265
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1480641537
Cuyahoga1311202313
Hamilton948871307
Montgomery647451122
Summit548531041
Lucas49502853
Butler45993649
Stark39954963
Lorain30438525
Warren29170326
Mahoning25988629
Clermont24726278
Lake24088411
Delaware21722140
Licking19822239
Fairfield19780218
Greene19671266
Medina19208285
Trumbull19195506
Clark17188321
Portage15585224
Richland15540228
Wood15187208
Allen13654254
Miami13283244
Muskingum11821148
Wayne11448234
Columbiana11100239
Tuscarawas10388264
Marion10273144
Pickaway10162128
Scioto9766124
Erie9479170
Ross8979172
Lawrence8225116
Hancock8105140
Ashtabula8083184
Geauga7976155
Belmont7791183
Jefferson7093168
Huron7087125
Union703549
Washington6823116
Athens666163
Sandusky6608132
Darke6394135
Knox6308120
Seneca6113135
Auglaize569888
Ashland5631110
Shelby555799
Mercer545188
Brown533067
Defiance5278100
Madison527368
Crawford5148113
Highland514876
Fulton508781
Clinton505379
Logan494582
Preble4788110
Putnam4733106
Guernsey439057
Williams437281
Champaign426463
Ottawa425783
Perry414051
Jackson402259
Pike367140
Morrow359149
Fayette353951
Coshocton345064
Hardin341868
Adams338864
Gallia329254
Holmes3148107
Henry312668
Van Wert299269
Hocking280467
Wyandot271858
Carroll250451
Paulding231742
Meigs197842
Monroe178649
Noble160340
Morgan153528
Harrison145740
Vinton130217
Unassigned05
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