JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri is facing stiff resistance over its guidance 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. Some teachers and pastors object to this plan, saying 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.
A version of Sunday's bulletin at St. Boniface, a parish in the diocese, contained an article on the diocesan guidance written by Church Militant and another one written a day later by LifeSiteNews. The pastor of St. Boniface is currently away on vacation and isn't immediately available for comment.
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" and warning that the "faithful will soon become aware of these falsehoods and get upset and agitated."
Proud Parenting, a pro-LGBT blog, gave a thumbs up to 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."
In his letter, Bp. Gaydos endorses the "development and presentation" of this program. He further claims the program "promotes our Catholic moral teaching and supports the role of the pastor to act in the best interests of the people of his parish."
Church Militant reached out to Joleen Manson, a parishioner at St. Boniface, who was at St. Boniface for Mass on Sunday. Asked what she thought of her priest she responded, "That priest is a priest who informs his parishioners when he sees moral corruption in all situations, including his own diocese. " She continued, "He believes his main job is to save souls; and he will not compromise his soul or the souls that he is responsible for by covering up what he sees as corruption and immorality."
Asked if she thought the policy supports Catholic morality, as Bp. Gaydos asserts, she said no. Manson confirmed she was aware that the new policy no longer binds students of same-sex and nontraditional families to a conduct which is "consistent with the Catholic faith and morals" both "in and outside of school."
Church Militant then asked if she thought Bp. Gaydos was correct in asserting the policy "supports the role of pastor" to act in the best interest of his parishioners. Manson replied:
It does not support the pastor, in my opinion, because one priest will allow these students to be admitted and the next parish priest that comes does not, and this causes confusion and dissension among the people, students and the entire community. ... Pastors should be able to do their main job, which is to save souls, without worrying about what faction in the church community is for or against it and or having to take the backlash that comes in either decision.
Manson noted that pastors of schools and parents of children were not involved in the crafting of this policy. She then explained her concerns over the scandal that would come to children by having such an open-door policy.
"This is a problem because students will show up in attire made for the opposite sex, and little children will be confused about what this means," she explained. "Two women or men showing up as a married couple at school events will confuse the community. This will then have to be explained to the little ones. Then other students will question their sexuality and think that being a homosexual or transgender is okay."