Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, “A Triumph and a Tragedy,” is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on “Catholic Answers Live.”
Archbishop Chaput deserves another round of kudos for a stand he has taken regarding a school in his archdiocese.
Basically, he backed the school up when it refused to allow two children of lesbian “parents” to renew their enrollment.
This should cause no controversy whatsoever, but of course it has.
I’m not surprised at the controversy, because a few years ago I blogged about a similar case in Orange County, California. The amount of blowback was a bit startling, given my readership. That led to a follow-up post, and then another follow-up post as we sorted through the arguments.
A key issue that was raised at the time—and that, indeed, kicked off the discussion—was the question of where Catholic schools should draw the line regarding what is acceptable in parental behavior.
And—no surprise—that argument is being trotted out now.
You see, an awful lot of parents of kids in Catholic school aren’t morally perfect, and if children were to be excluded on the mere grounds that their parents are sinners then enrollment would be quite low indeed.
And this is true. If a Catholic school applied that kind of test in determining enrollment then it would thwart its principal mission, which is providing a Catholic education to students to help them be more holy and closer to God.
So, “Your child can’t enroll because you’re a sinner” is a nonstarter as a principle of enrollment.
But does it follow from this that a parents’ actions should have no bearing on the enrollment of their children? Couldn’t certain actions of the parents cause such a problem that it would fundamentally interfere with the school’s mission?
Suppose that the parents insisted that their child attend the school naked (and suppose that civil law allowed this, for purposes of the thought experiment).
This fundamental rejection of the school’s dress code would cause such severe problems that the school would be entirely warranted in saying, “I’m sorry, but your child cannot come to school if you’re going to insist on nakedness.”
That’s an extreme, but it’s not hard to see how having a child in class whose “parents” are of the same gender could interfere with the mission of the school:
1) It will impede the ability of teachers to be frank about the nature of marriage due to the problems that will ensue with a child in this situation in the classroom.
2) The child will also become a proselytizer for homosexual “marriage” and/or be tormented relentlessly by other children.
3) The other children will be scandalized (in both the proper and the colloquial senses) by knowledge of the child’s situation.
4) All of the above will be exacerbated to the extent that the “parents” have any presence at or try to play any role in the life of the school.
So . . . bad idea.
It’s not the fact that the “parents” are sinners that makes it rational for the school to deny their children entrance. It is the fact that the nature of their public relationship is such that either the school would have to refrain from teaching the fullness of Christian doctrine regarding the nature of matrimony or tremendous problems would arise with a child in this situation in the student body.
At least that’s how I see it.
How do you?