09 March, 2010

Now it's not enough to be against gays themselves?

Today CNN reported on a young grade school student who was "disenrolled" (I.e. kicked out) of a Catholic Parochial School. Why? Because the parents were partnered lesbians!

Now a child will suffer for the "sins" of the parents. The pastor took the action, and was supported in a public statement by the Chancery (I.e the bishop) because the same-sex couple were violating the teaching of the Church forbidding same-sex sexual behavior.
How did the pastor or bishop know that the couple were having sex?

Regardless of their private behavior, was it appropriate to punish the child? And you better believe the child will be negatively affected.

Where is the compassion of Christ in this situation? I am distant from the actual incident, but at least as reported, I see no reaching out with care, love and compassion to the child.There seems to be no compassion offered to  the couple either. Again as reported, for church leaders to say, adults should know the teaching and obey it or suffer the consequences, seems hardly Christlike  [I will certainly will correct distortion of facts, if they are brought to my attention].

One has only to recall the Mexican Cardinal who uttered such hateful words about homosexuals. The Vatican had to remind the Cardinal that even the Catholic Catechism  requires respect for homosexuals. What about the often (usual?) formal, impersonal treatment or total neglect of sex abuse victims here in the U.S?

The argument about the hurtful outcome for the child and other children in the school and the "scandal" caused to the laity" are those commonly dragged out. Some churchmen must begin to realize that the laity are hard to scandalize. The most recent case I can remember of the laity being scandalized is at the cover-up behavior of bishops who hid the crimes of pedophilia.

Just think of what a Catholic/Christian response of love and compassion might look like. The clergy would plainly state there was a pastoral concern for the child and the couple. They could, personally and through others show deep understanding, support and love for the child. They could speak with (not to) the couple and at least appreciate their lives and love for each other.

Thirteen years ago when Cardinal Laveda was archbishop of San Francisco, he was able to work with others to discover a way for same-sex couples to share health benefits and remain employed by Catholic agencies without violating Catholic teaching or principles. Can't at least this kind of solution be arrived at?

We need to act with the love and compassion of Christ FIRST and then deal with the words we use to express the beliefs Catholics hold.

Earlier in the day I had been commenting on a friend D's joy and happiness over being a godparent; the hope he has to support, nurture and love DA, and the big celebration the family had. I shared with him my joy in becoming Confirmation sponsor for my nephew who is 14.

After hearing about the above "incident," I began to ponder what kind of Church these youngsters will grow up into: one showing greater compassion or one so bound to statements of "teachings" and "correctness" that love and compassion will wither. I do agree here with the Holy Father that what we need  is to maintain hope. 


  1. This one is tough one. I can see both sides. I do think kids are the innocent here. However when parents enroll kids into catholic school, basically they are saying they will be partners with the church on teaching the faith. Catholic school number one responsiblity is to teach the faith.

    But where does it stop? A couple gets divorced they kids get kicked out? A man becomes a murder, kids get kicked out? My Goodness we all are sinners, if all the kids were kicked out because of parents there be no kids in catholic schools.

    However if these lebians were outright slamming the church or anything like that than that's another issue. I read about this I have not seen they were slamming the church, seems to me they were living quiet lives, only wanting the best for these kids.

    In the end it is the bishop's decision and he will have to live with this decision. I do not condone his actions are do I condemn him. But I know if I had children and that happened to me I would be crushed. It is a tough thing. I don't know what the answer is. Its not my job to second guess the Bishop even though I really don't get it

  2. Seb,

    You know what after I walked away from the computer I really thought about this issue deeper and I thought of my baby nephew. What if this happened to him. What if something did happen to his parents and I raised him. You know what? I am kinda pissed off right now. Jesus tells us do not stop the children, let them go to him. So ya I'm pissed. I do not understand it, why did the bishop condone this? Maybe there is more to the story that I don't know about. I don't know.wow this is different for me..haha, I will pray for understanding. thank you-davide

  3. D,

    Here is one place where I really think we we are on the same page.

    We agree that that child should not have to suffer for what the adults in his life have done.

    My real purpose in putting up this post was not to discuss, lesbians, gay or homosexuality. At this point it was not to argue over Church teaching about LGBT people. As you so aptly said, what would happen if the parents were adulterers, murderers, etc.

    Even beyond that, the Church needs leaders who are true pastors, not just Canon Lawyers; pastors who are understanding and compassion. That's my beef. Give us true pastors.

    I always appreciate your comments.

  4. Stories like this are always disheartening to hear. I believe you are justified in questioning where the compassion of Christ might have been. This child must suffer the consequences for something his parents are [accused] of having done. I say "accused" because unless somebody has photos or first-hand knowledge the child's homosexual parents were having sex, there is no basis for the school's suggestion that a sin was committed, thereby justifying their actions. After all, we are constantly being told "love the sinner, hate the sin" and the message I seem to hear most often bandied about is that simply BEING a homosexual is not the sin; the sin is in ACTING out on one's homosexuality. Now, I could be wrong but to me that suggests "having sex with another of the same gender" and while I think it would be quite a loveless relationship indeed, for two parents to be in a relationship where they were not expressing their love for one another in bed—it's not unheard of. Who is to say that this child's parents WERE, in fact having sex? Again, where is the school's evidence; was it just the appearance that unrepentant sin was taking place in this child's home? (Let us not get started along that path because as you alluded, there are greater sins (imo) that were committed by some within the church when they covered up the behavior of those who were having sex with their underage charges. Children should always come first in every community; we should protect and nurture them, always—and kicking an innocent out of his school (a place where he might learn values and skills that will make him a productive member of our society) because of something "somebody else" is "alleged" to have done seems wrong to me.

    I admit, I'm looking at this from a "non-Catholics" point of view. I know there are points and some perspectives that I am not taking into consideration. In addition, I do not know that I would agree with the decision these two women made when they chose to enroll their child into the Catholic Parochial School. I don't know what was going through their mind (their intentions) so I could be mistaken but it "seems" kind of like their way of saying, "in your face, Catholics!" when they enrolled the child—and that, I do have a problem with. Surely, they must have known it could have ended this way and if they didn't what were they thinking? Were I in a relationship and my partner and I were raising a child, I would only consider enrolling that child into a Catholic school IF my partner and I had sat down with those in charge and worked it all out, up front (explaining our relationship at home and why we had an interest in enrolling our child there). I'm making an assumption but it's probably unlikely that the school would agree to enrollment at that time—but maybe, you never know. Otherwise, I imagine we would enroll our child in a private school (assuming public schools in the area were unacceptable).

    I'll probably take a little heat from both sides of the fence for this comment because it may appear that I'm coming down on both, the Church AND the lesbian parents. However, I was always taught that there are two sides to every story and I can't, in good conscious come down on the school's decision without knowing if there wasn't more to this than has been reported.

    Regardless, I don't believe the best interests of the child have been looked after here; neither by the Church, nor by the parents (not because of their sexuality, but because I suspect this was more of an act of defiance—using the child as their tool of choice—and that isn't fair to the child either).


  5. Michael,

    Thank you for your comments. You may be right that you will be in the "dog house" from both sides. Whether my posts show it or not, I always try to study and ponder both/all sides. You too have tried to do that.

    If, in fact, the parents had consciously set out to defy the Church and cause an issue, at their son's expense, then they are despicable; they too would be showing no compassion toward the child and using him as an object.

    I wrote this particular blog to raise the sad issue of lack of pastoral care and compassion for victims.

    Another example of lack of compassion is the Brazilian bishop who excommunicated the mother and physicians who performed an abortion on the woman's 9 year old daughter had been raped by her stepfather and was pregnant with twins.

    Regardless of the abortion itself and the excommunication, no compassion was shown to the traumatized child. Even the Vatican had to step in with a statement...And a few weeks later the bishop stepped down.

    Again, thanks for your thoughtful response.


Comments most welcome.