NOTE: THIS POST WAS DRAFTED 3/23/01, BUT NOT POSTED UNTIL 5/17/10
School parents speak up. One couple gave an interview to Tom Fox of NCR about the dismissal from a Catholic of the daughters of a lesbian couple.
The interview just published is the first of a series. No one knows yet what the overall impact and attitude of parents will be. Seldom is the "voice of the laity" considered very important in situations like this.
One thing is sure, the fragility of the parish and the catholic parish school may continue for some time. Most likely the archbishop and pastor will not "change" or modify their position. There will be some (a minority) parishioners who will leave the parish. So too, a larger number, but still a minority could withdraw their children. A simmering controversy could last for a long time (a generation?) and weaken parish life. Which, if any, of these things will happen is unknown. My suggestion is that this "single incident" could have long-term effects.
More immediate, and adding to the controversy and pain, is what seems to be happening already. Many parents whose children attend the school, are in a quandary as to the future for their children. Andy and Anna Bush are in this situation.
Anna is Catholic. Andy is non-Catholic. They were not married in the Church. The difficulty is that Andy and Anna and their three children have been accepted as members of the parish and their children have been accepted in the Catholic School. Andy has been very active in leadership roles in the administration of the school.
The question in their minds is what has changed. Will they become outcasts. Why, in practical terms, were they acceptable when their children started school. Will it be different now? It seems that the bishop should clarify how he will enforce the Church positions and laws.
One thing the bishop could do is really clarify, state publicly and enforce the idea that only Baptized and Confirmed Catholics can have any leadership role in the parishes and institutions in the diocese.
He could really do the same and state that any "irregular" couple (Unmarried young couples, gay couples, those re-married after a divorce without an annulment, and married couples practicing "artificial birth control" [except that that is less public and harder for outsiders to know about]), could not enroll their children in a Catholic School, out-of-school religious education or any program that dealt with sacramental life. The Problem with this alternative that most Catholic parishes and Catholic Schools would lose hefty prpotions of their leadership and students.
Perhaps we will learn more at a later date!!