A Pro-Gay Indiana School Lost Catholic Status

The Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School is dealing with losing its official Catholic status after defending a gay teacher. / Image via Instagram @brebeufjesuit

An Indiana high school said no when an Archbishop tried to get rid of a gay teacher there.

Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis was ordered to fire the teacher because he is married to another man. While the school is of the Catholic faith, its status as a Brebeuf Jesuit school gives it some independence from the Catholic hierarchy. As such, the school attempted to ignore the order.

“While we’ve enjoyed a collaborative partnership with the Archdiocese for nearly 57 years, we have always maintained control of our school’s operations and governance, including our personnel decisions,” wrote the school’s president Father William Verbryke, and two trustees, in an open letter.

He then added:

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

Unfortunately, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis did not take the action sitting down. Archbishop Charles Thompson released a decree yesterday stating that Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School 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.

Despite the fact that the teacher, whose identity has been withheld in all related documents, does not teach religion at the school, Thompson states that the church considers Catholic school teachers to be ministers.

“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 to CNN. “In this case, it is also rare that a bishop would go so far as to publicly remove the designation ‘Catholic’ from the school.”

Despite the decree, Jesuit priests are still able to work and teach at the school. The school is also attempting to appeal the Archbishop’s decision. They plan to do so first through him before possibly going all the way to the Vatican.

“We understand that this news will likely spur a host of emotions, questions and even confusion in the days ahead,” wrote Verbryke. “Please be assured, the Archdiocese’s decision will not change the mission or operations of Brebeuf Jesuit.”

Sources: CNN, Newsweek

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