Archbishop of Indianapolis, Charles Thompson, has issued a statement cutting ties with a local Jesuit High School. The decree follows the school’s refusal to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage.
Thompson first asked Brebeuf Jesuit preparatory school in 2017 to terminate the employment of the teacher once news of their marriage spread on social media.
The school refused to comply with the request.
A statement issued yesterday by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said it was distancing itself from the school.
‘Whether they teach religion or not, all ministers in their professional and private lives must convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching.
‘The Archdiocese of Indianapolis recognizes all teachers, guidance counselors and administrators as ministers.’
Jesuit School stripped of Catholic status
In a decree issued today, the Archbishop says the school, ‘can no longer use the name Catholic and will no longer be identified or recognized as a Catholic institution.’
In response to yesterday’s statement from the Archdiocese, Brebeuf Jesuit school issued its own statement.
‘Brebeuf Jesuit was founded in 1962 as an independent Catholic Jesuit school. While we’ve enjoyed a collaborative partnership with the Archdiocese for nearly 57 years, we have always maintained control of our school’s operations and governance, including our personnel decisions.
‘It is our understanding that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, at the direction of Archbishop Charles Thompson, will no longer formally recognize Brebeuf Jesuit as a Catholic school in the Archdiocese.’
It goes on to say, ‘The decree follows a sincere and significant disagreement.
‘Brebeuf Jesuit has respectfully declined the Archdiocese’s insistence and directive that we dismiss a highly capable and qualified teacher due to the teacher being a spouse within a civilly-recognized same-sex marriage.
‘After long and prayerful consideration, we determined that following the Archdiocese’s directive would not only violate our informed conscience on this particular matter, but also set a concerning precedent for future interference in the school’s operations.
‘We also recognize the harm that adhering to this mandate would cause our highly capable and qualified teachers and staff.’
Brebeuf Jesuit has 793 students in grades 9-12, with a faculty and staff of 132.
In the past year, another Catholic school operating within the archdiocese, Indianapolis Roncalli high school, fired or suspended two guidance counselors. Both were in same-sex marriages.
‘The targeting of LGBT employees must cease’
Among those to criticize the actions of the Archbishop was American Jesuit Priest, Rev. James Martin, SJ. One of the more liberal voices in the church, the American Jesuit priest has published a book on how the Church can build bridges with LGBTI Catholics.
‘I stand with my brother Jesuits who stand with our LGBT colleagues, and who stand against the relentless targeting of LGBT people.
‘Many other church employees, including faculty and staff in Catholic schools, do not conform to, or agree with, aspects of church teaching: straight couples living together before marriage, married couples practicing birth control or using in vitro fertilization, etc., as well as employees who are not Catholic, not Christian, or not believers. Yet they are not targeted.
‘The targeting of LGBT employees must cease, and Brebeuf and the Midwest Province are here standing with the marginalized. Despite what the Archdiocese says, this is the most Catholic thing that Brebeuf could do.’