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Cardinal calls for study of policies on children of gay couples in Catholic schools

Last week, St. Paul School in Hingham rescinded the acceptance of a child of a same-sex couple, a decision drawing both praise and ire in the Catholic community. Pilot file photo/ George Martell, The Catholic Foundation

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Reardon’s letter said the organization will not fund schools that have “an exclusionary admissions policy or practice” and that refuse to admit students of same-sex parents.

“We believe a policy or practice that denies admission to students in such a manner as occurred at St. Paul’s is at odds with our values as a Foundation, the intentions of our donors, and ultimately with Gospel teaching.”

According to Reardon’s letter, this CSF policy has been in effect since its founding in 1983.

The decision to deny the child enrollment is being opposed by national groups as well.

Catholics United, a national Catholic organization that promotes social justice, circulated a petition on its website calling for the archdiocese to allow the applicant to attend St. Paul’s and “allow all children to have access to a Catholic education.”

The group of 42,000 Catholics has collected nearly 5,000 signatures, according to organizing director James Salt. Those signatures were delivered to Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s office via e-mail, the website also said.

However, officials from Cardinal O’Malley’s office said they had not received the electronic petition.

“We humbly ask Cardinal O’Malley to intervene in this matter and allow this child to attend St. Paul Elementary School,” said Chris Korzen, Catholics United’s executive director, said in a May 13 press release. “In making this request, we do not intend to challenge the Church’s teaching on marriage and relationships. Rather, we simply believe that no one should be denied the benefits of a Catholic education on the basis of their parents’ background.”

“We welcome Dr. O’Neill’s statement, and look forward to a final decision regarding this matter,” Korzen added.

However, Catholic Action League of Massachusetts executive director C.J. Doyle called upon the archdiocese to support St. Paul’s, calling the school’s action “entirely appropriate, warranted, and necessary.”

“The admission of a child of a lesbian couple to a Catholic school would only result in self-censorship, and de facto acceptance of same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption,” Doyle’s statement said in part. “The archdiocese must support Saint Paul’s.”

Doyle also questioned why a same-sex couple would want to enroll children in Catholic schools.

“A student is admitted to a parochial school with the expectation that the parents will cooperate in imparting Catholic values, a condition which it clearly does not obtain in this case. The real question here is why two people who radically repudiate the moral teachings of Catholicism would want their child educated in a Catholic school,” he said. “It would seem that they are either looking for an excuse to litigate, or an opportunity to embarrass the Church in the court of public opinion.”

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