Late last week, we shared with you the news of an Indiana Catholic school that was punished for supporting a gay teacher. While the school felt no need to fire the teacher simply for being gay, the commanding Archdiocese decided to revoke Catholic association with the school.
Now another school is throwing their gay teacher under the bus to save itself.
Cathedral High School in Indianapolis announced this Sunday that it will be firing a gay teacher at the behest of the archdiocese. The school’s board Chairman Matt Cohoat and President Rob Bridges posted a letter on the school’s website to announce the decision.
“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,” Cohoat and Bridges said in their letter. “We want you to know that we respect an individual’s conflict between teaching and their conscience.”
In Cathedral’s case, the archdiocese made it clear, over two years of conversation, that the teacher had to be removed. Otherwise, the fate of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, which had its Catholic association stripped away, would befall Cathedral. The letter then says that administrators made the “agonizing decision.”
In Cathedral’s case, the excommunication would have been worse. Brebeuf is sponsored by Midwest Jesuits, a specific order of Catholic priests, and not directly by the archdiocese. As such, its excommunication is not as terrible as Cathedral’s would be. According to the letter, the latter school would lose the ability to offer sacrament and could not use priests from the archdiocese as teachers. In addition, Cathedral would lose its 501(c)(3) status and be incapable of operating as a nonprofit school.
The Huffington Post reports that Cathedral High School received $1 million in public funding in 2018. While Brebeuf received $375,583 worth of public funding, the HuffPost writes that Cathedral received more than 3 million dollars worth.
“Though the institution is private and religious, student scholarships to the school are heavily subsidized with public money through the state’s school voucher program. Over 230 students received $1,136,258 in taxpayer dollars to attend the school during the 2018 – 2019 school year, according to a report from the Indiana Department of Education. In total, over the past three years, the school has received $3,457,075 through the voucher program.”
All of this conflict is due to the fact that the archdiocese believes that all Catholic school teachers act as ministers to the youth. As such, a gay teacher/minister would be going against the principles of the Catholic faith.
So in just one week, we have seen one school be excommunicated because it chose to go against this gay minister rule and one school that followed it in fear of losing its status. But for Brebeuf, the school plans to appeal the archdiocese’s decision, even if they have to go to the Vatican to do it.
Update (06/25/2019): this article was updated to include information about the public funding given to the Cathedral High School.