Jefferson City Diocese Opens Schools to LGBT Students

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  •  May 25, 2017   

Diocesan priest: 'We are sitting back while children are being abused'

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. ( - A Missouri bishop is paving the way for dilution of Catholic ethics in diocesan schools. Bishop John Gaydos of the diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri is spearheading a new policy that pushes administrators to admit students from same-sex parenting homes into Catholic schools, without the parents having to sign a statement promising to respect Catholic ethics. Some teachers and pastors object to this plan, saying it forces them in practice to ignore the psychologically and spiritually harmful environment of same-sex homes, and also exposes other students to scandal.

The 17-page policy drafted by the Jefferson City diocese was presented to all priests of the diocese on May 9 and to all diocesan school principals on May 11. One priest, who wishes to remain anonymous, objected to being morally responsible for students from same-sex homes when he knows they're living in objectively abusive situations.

"Cdl. O'Malley had to close an adoption agency because the Church would not put children into those homes [of homosexual parents]," said the priest. "It's psychologically and emotionally abusive."

The priest reminded those at the meeting that clerics and teachers were duty-bound to anticipate and report suspected child abuse. "And then you have a transgendered child. ... We are sitting back while children are being abused."

"We had a bishop taken out because he didn't suspect child abuse," he continued, speaking of Bp. Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri. "We're standing back, planning how to watch it all happen."

Why are we having people sign a Covenant of Trust when we're breaking it by ignoring the situation of these children?

It should be noted that the new plan would no longer require the conduct of such students "both in and outside of school" to be "consistent with Catholic faith and morals." Instead, they are encouraged to sign a nebulous document called Covenant of Trust, "which doesn't include this promise to abide by this code of ethics."

"Why are we having people sign a Covenant of Trust when we're breaking it by ignoring the situation of these children?" the priest asked.

Proponents of the policy say it's worded in such a way as to give pastors and principles the right to refuse to enroll such students who would be immersed in an objective state of scandal at home and who would be a potential source of scandal to other students at school. There are others who believe that in practice, gay-friendly or weak priests will cave to political pressure and bend the rules to admit problematic students into Catholic schools. They foresee commonsense problems evolving, like the transgender bathroom fiasco and transgender sports issue currently plaguing public schools.

Church Militant reached out to Jesse Barton, a teacher and parent in the diocese, for his insight into issues related to the policy. Barton, who has watched this policy unfold, told Church Militant, "This document is ... carefully worded and ambiguous. ... The issue here, as defined by the anonymous priest in the audio recording ... isn't the policy; it's the praxis."

Barton then paraphrased the priest: "Anyone with a mustard seed's worth of contemporary sense understands that arriving at the answer of 'NO' [meaning no admittance] is a practical impossibility for the priests of our diocese."

We had a bishop taken out because he didn't suspect child abuse. We're standing back, planning how to watch it all happen.

The Church isn't following Her duty to safeguard the teachings of the Church regarding this policy, says Barton:

Families are asked to "support the moral and social doctrine of the Catholic Church to ensure consistency between home and school." Nowhere in the document, however ... are souls trapped in these irregular unions asked to separate, which is what the Church requires of all of us living in a state of objective sin. Instead, we are to accompany them. To where?

As a teacher and parent, Barton believes it's insulting to the LGBT community not to ask them to convert, as if they weren't able:

Do couples engaged in openly gay lifestyles, those who adopt children, genuinely respect our Catholic faith? It's disingenuous. In fact, this whole exercise is insulting to the LGBT community ... that our diocese regards them with such contempt that we are essentially regarding them as permanently lost. No call to conversion.

For Barton, this policy, absent any meaningful call to conversion, is saying to the person, "You're not worth saving. ... [T]he political and legal cost of choosing Christ instead of the world is just too great, so we’ll enable you. That's what it says."

Church Militant contacted the Jefferson City diocese for comment but as of press time has received no response.


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