By Martina Moyski
KANSAS CITY, Ks. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas is refusing to compromise Catholic doctrine — and his Catholic schools — by supporting one school's decision to refuse enrollment to the child of a same-sex couple. Naumann is facing backlash from critics who insist the archbishop should show greater "mercy."
Saint Ann School in Prairie Village is the school at the center of the controversy. Its pastor, Fr. Craig Maxim, sent a letter to parishioners last month explaining the decision to decline admission to the child.
"The Archdiocese states that since same-sex unions are not in conformance with the Church's teaching on sacramental marriage and these unions have no current ability to bring their relationships into conformity, the parents cannot model behaviors and attitudes consistent with the Church's teachings," the letter explains.
Enrolling the child of same-sex parents "creates conflict for those children and what is experienced at home. It also could become a source of confusion for other school children [at St. Ann's]," the letter continues.
A number of Catholics are objecting to the decision and have petitioned Naumann and School Superintendent Kathy O'Hara to reconsider.
The petition reads: "Respectfully, we believe that the decision to deny a child of God access to such a wonderful community and education, based on the notion that his or her parent's union is not in accordance with the Church's teaching in Sacramental marriage, lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ's message."
They argue that "modern marriages may be inconsistent with the Church's teaching" in numerous ways: "divorce, vasectomies, remarriage without annulment and fertility treatment."
O'Hara responded in a media statement, affirming, "Our schools exist to pass on the Catholic faith."
"The Church teaches that individuals with same-sex attraction should be treated with dignity," she said. "Same-sex parents cannot model behaviors and attitudes regarding marriage and sexual morality consistent with essential components of the Church's teachings."
Pastor Maxim explained in his letter that other schools outside of the diocese of Kansas City may have different policies regarding children of same-sex couples. "Each diocese has the ability to form policy on these matters," he wrote.
For example, enrollment decisions are left up to individual priests in the Charleston, South Carolina diocese. A priest on Hilton Head Island disallowed a same-sex couple to enroll their children in St. Francis by the Sea School in 2018.
Critics accused the priest of discrimination. "My children are being banned because of who I am," said one partner of the same-sex union. "This is discrimination. Why punish my children for my choices?"
O'Malley's policy grew out of a reaction to a sharply criticized decision of a priest at St. Paul School in Hingham, Massachusetts who revoked the admission of a child of lesbian parents in 2010.
Naumann won the election to head the U.S. bishops' Pro-Life Committee in 2017 — a surprise win over left-leaning Cdl. Blase Cupich, who was expected to gain the seat.
In the same year, he formally cut ties with the Girl Scouts because of their partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Nauamann has forbidden pro-abortion Catholic politicians from receiving Holy Communion, per canon 915, including Kathleen Sebelius, former governor of Kansas. He was also among the handful of American bishops to condemn Tim Kaine in 2016 when he was running for vice president.
"If he knows these truths of biology, why would he believe that anyone has the right to authorize the killing of an unborn human being?" Naumann asked at the time. "Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being's life? Our choices end where another individual's more fundamental rights begin."