JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - More Catholics are resisting a new guidance pioneered by the diocese of Jefferson City that pushes administrators to admit students from same-sex parenting homes into Catholic schools, without requiring students to live according to Catholic faith and morals both in and outside of school. Teachers, parents and pastors, who object to this plan, say it places little emphasis on the conversion of troubled students or parents. They further say it forces pastors, in practice, to ignore the psychologically and spiritually harmful environment of same-sex homes and exposes other students to scandal as well.
When a version of a diocesan parish bulletin containing articles authored by Church Militant and LifeSiteNews pertaining to the policy got circulated at St. Boniface parish on Sunday, parishioners felt "shocked" said parishioner Rick Manson to Church Militant. Speaking of the bulletin he added, "Everyone was eager to receive it."
The head of the diocese, Bp. John Gaydos, who's spearheading the open-door policy, wrote a letter Wednesday to his priests, labeling the resistance a "misinformation campaign." Manson, however, believes a good priest "always gives his people the facts." Praising his own pastor Manson said, "He represents Our Lord and is proud of his role of leading his people on the right path to everlasting life, an endeavor he take very seriously."
Manson is upset that more people weren't involved in forming the new school policy and indicated that few knew anything about it. If this policy was truly for the good of parents and children, Manson told Church Militant, then administrators, parents and pastors with schools "should have been included in the thought process."
He also believes the policy will hurt enrollment, "This is not a policy to be shoved down the throats of good people who pay tuition to have their children attend a Catholic school instead of public school," said Manson. "It shouldn't be a means to increase student enrollment, in fact it will surely hurt enrollment."
Proud Parenting, a pro-LGBT blog, endorses the Jefferson City diocese for being a "pioneer among other U.S. dioceses," concerning its "guidance on inclusion of students from families headed by LGBT parents." The diocese, it adds, "oversees 37 Catholic elementary schools and three high schools with about 7,000 students."
Scandal of Catholic students is a real concern for Manson. "Our children," lamented Manson, "have enough problems to deal with without being confused about same-sex marriage, who's in the restroom with me and exploring or trying homosexual experiences to try to fit in with a group."
Pope Francis last year condemned what he called the "ideological colonization" of children in schools. Denouncing gender ideology the pontiff lamented, "Today children — children! — are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. ... this is terrible!"
In his letter, Bp. Gaydos endorses the "development and presentation" of this program, claiming it "promotes our Catholic moral teaching." Manson disagrees. "This does not promote morality in any sense of the word. ... Any type of homosexual act should be exposed as immoral, not confused with normal everyday lifestyles."
The bishop also said the program "supports the role of the pastor to act in the best interests of the people of his parish." Manson believes any policy should give clear guidance and not be subject to conflicting judgements. "It leaves the priest with the role of allowing children to explore sexualialty," Manson told Church Militant. "It will not be a code for each and everyone if the priests aren't on the same page. It's either right or wrong and not up to someone's discretion."
Manson believes if a nontraditional or same-sex family wants to live that lifestyle then they should utilize a public school. In order to be part of a Catholic school, he said it was necessary that they first "stop promoting this gender confusion." He added, "I feel so sorry for the small child, trying to sort out all their feelings towards others when their parents put their own well being and peace of mind first."
Finally, he stated that this open door policy will cause him to donate less to the diocese. "I know this whole event will make me look at the yearly diocesan fund appeal" as a means of funding this policy. He added, "I will not have a part in it. I have given faithfully each year to the diocese but now I cannot in clear conscience. Perhaps if more will withhold funds from the diocese that will change things a little."