INDIANAPOLIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - Less than one week after casting a Jesuit school adrift for hiring a teacher married to a same-sex partner, the Indianapolis archdiocese was successful at bringing another school into compliance with Catholic teaching.
Cathedral High School, which operates under the aegis of the Brothers of the Holy Cross in northeast Indianapolis, also employed a teacher in a same-sex union. Unlike Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, however, Cathedral opted to terminate the contract of an employee inobservant of the Catholic faith rather than forfeit its Catholic identity.
In a letter to the "Cathedral Family," the Board of Directors explained the difference between it and Brebeuf:
We respect the position of our brothers and sisters at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as they also navigate this painful time. Brebeuf is sponsored by the Jesuits while Cathedral is merely affiliated with The Brothers of Holy Cross. Because Brebeuf is a specific ministry of the Jesuits, their canonical and nonprofit status is different than ours. Therefore, the two schools cannot function the same way if Cathedral were to receive a similar decree as Brebeuf.
However, the board retained a tone of defiance:
It is Archbishop Thompson's responsibility to oversee faith and morals as related to Catholic identity within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Archbishop Thompson made it clear that Cathedral's continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting our Catholic identity due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage. If this were to happen, Cathedral would lose the ability to celebrate the Sacraments as we have in the past 100 years with our students and community. Additionally, we would lose the privilege of reserving the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel's tabernacle, we could no longer refer to Cathedral as a Catholic school, our diocesan priests would no longer be permitted to serve on our Board of Directors, and we would lose our affiliation with The Brothers of Holy Cross. Furthermore, Cathedral would lose its 501(c)(3) status thus rendering Cathedral unable to operate as a nonprofit school.
Cathedral has been a Catholic school for the past 100 years and our Catholic faith is at the core of who we are and what we teach at Cathedral. We are committed to educating our students in the tenets of the Catholic faith with an emphasis on the Holy Cross tradition. For every Catholic, the celebration of the Sacraments is central to the life of faith. Similarly, as a Catholic community, the celebration of the Sacraments is essential for Cathedral. Therefore, in order to remain a Catholic Holy Cross School, Cathedral must follow the direct guidance given to us by Archbishop Thompson and separate from the teacher.
The letter ends on an apologetic note — not for having hired the employee in the first place, but because they were forced to fire a teacher openly flaunting Catholic teaching on marriage:
In today's climate we know that being Catholic can be challenging and we hope that this action does not dishearten you, and, most especially, dishearten Cathedral's young people. 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. We want you to know that we respect an individual's conflict between teaching and their conscience. We will continue to educate and root our students in the fullness of the Catholic faith with an emphasis on the Holy Cross tradition.
Please know that we offer our prayers and love to this teacher, our students and faculty, our Archbishop, and all associated with Cathedral as we continue to educate our students in the Catholic Holy Cross tradition. We ask that dialogue about this difficult situation be respectful of the dignity of every person and that you continue to pray for our Cathedral family and the wider Indianapolis community.