Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Archbishop Chaput Takes The Mound To Explain Why It's OK To Deny Education To The Children Of Gays.

Archbishop Chaput throws a curve ball at the children of a lesbian couple. Is the Legion going to get the same pitch or will they get an intentional walk?

The following is in the words of the Archbishop himself. It's his explanation of why it was very Catholic to kick two preschoolers out of a Catholic parish school because they had two mommies, and why it's also very Catholic to leave the children of divorced, single, or non Catholic children in Catholic schools. It's quite the pitch.

Catholic schools: Partners in faith with parents
Archbishop Charles Chaput - Denver Catholic Register - 3/10/2010

Denver news media have reported in recent days on the case of two children of a lesbian couple in Boulder. The couple was informed by Sacred Heart of Jesus parish school that the older child, whom they were enrolling in kindergarten for next year, would be allowed to attend kindergarten but would not be able to continue into first grade the year after. Their younger child would be welcome to finish preschool, but not continue into kindergarten. Many have wondered why. Sacred Heart of Jesus parish has borne the difficult publicity surrounding this issue, but archdiocesan policy was followed faithfully in this matter, and the policy applies to all Archdiocese of Denver schools. (It's really the Archbishop's policy. It's his sovereign Archdiocese.)

Some background is important. Then we’ll turn to the human realities involved.
Catholic schools began in this country in the early 19th century. Catholics started them as an alternative to the public schools of the day, which taught a curriculum often hostile to Catholic belief. In many ways times have changed, but the mission of Catholic schools has not. The main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; in other words, to form students in Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic social values.

We take great pride in the academic excellence of our schools as well. The reason is simple. A strong, well-rounded academic education helps to create mature citizens who contribute to the wider community. It’s also true that some of our schools exist as a service outreach in largely non-Catholic communities. Many of our schools also accept students of other faiths and no faith, and from single parent and divorced parent families. These students are always welcome so long as their parents support the Catholic mission of the school and do not offer a serious counter-witness to that mission in their actions. (Wow, how does attending a non Catholic church not offer a counter witness? How does divorce not offer a counter witness?)

Our schools, however, exist primarily to serve Catholic families with an education shaped by Catholic faith and moral formation. This is common sense. Other religious traditions do the same according to their beliefs, and at a heavy sacrifice. We need to remember that Catholic families pay twice for a Catholic education: through their taxes, they fund public education; then they pay again to send their children to a Catholic school. The idea that Catholic schools should require support for Catholic teaching for admission, and a serious effort from school families to live their Catholic identity faithfully, is reasonable and just. (Unless you are of another faith, divorced, or cohabitation with an opposite sexed partner.)

That’s the background. Now to the human side of a painful situation. The Church never looks for reasons to turn anyone away from a Catholic education. But the Church can’t change her moral beliefs without undermining her mission and failing to serve the many families who believe in that mission. If Catholics take their faith seriously, they naturally follow the teachings of the Church in matters of faith and morals; otherwise they take themselves outside the believing community. (The moral of the story is heterosexual sex, no matter how sinful or how much it destroys families, is more Catholic than gay sex....period.)

The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are “bad,” or that their children are less loved by God. Quite the opposite. But what the Church does teach is that sexual intimacy by anyone outside marriage is wrong; that marriage is a sacramental covenant; and that marriage can only occur between a man and a woman. These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society. The Church cannot change these teachings because, in the faith of Catholics, they are the teachings of Jesus Christ. (They may not be less loved, but they do make better political footballs and/or targets for curve ball theology.)

The policies of our Catholic school system exist to protect all parties involved, including the children of homosexual couples and the couples themselves. Our schools are meant to be “partners in faith” with parents. If parents don’t respect the beliefs of the Church, or live in a manner that openly rejects those beliefs, then partnering with those parents becomes very difficult, if not impossible. It also places unfair stress on the children, who find themselves caught in the middle, and on their teachers, who have an obligation to teach the authentic faith of the Church. (Ostracising the children is for their own good in order to protect them from Church teaching and Church teachers. He may have a point here--at least in his Archdiocese.)

Most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced. That simply can’t be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents. That isn’t fair to anyone—including the wider school community. Persons who have an understanding of marriage and family life sharply different from Catholic belief are often people of sincerity and good will. They have other, excellent options for education and should see in them the better course for their children. (The mission of Catholic schools is children. Only in the case of gays does the mission become the parents.)


I'm struck by the fact that this is happening in Boulder Colorado, not downtown Denver. One wonders if this would have been such an issue for a parish school in a less affluent neighborhood.

Archbishop Chaput comes very close to stating there are different rules for different schools in his third paragraph. Less affluent neighborhoods are given more slack because they are an 'outreach' to non Catholics and divorced or single parents. I'm still not quite sure why that 'outreach' justifies victimizing the children of lesbians in Boulder.

Chaput is with in his rights to do whatever he sees fit. I don't have any problem with that. I have a problem with statements like this: "The Church does not claim that people with a homosexual orientation are “bad,” or that their children are less loved by God. Quite the opposite." If this is true then why does this policy not apply to other families and other children whose parents are not living the totality of Catholic marriage teaching? It sure looks like in Chaput's Catholic world God will just have to equally love children of gay parents outside of His church. Which leads me to ask 'why bother with the church'?

I sure hope that the parents of these two children didn't operate under the mistaken assumption that in a Catholic Christian school their children would be subject to less harassment and less discrimination, because if they did, they were way wrong. Chaput is most definitely operating under the maxim that the sins of the parents will be visited on the children--at least one particular sin. Thank God it's only being done for the good of the children and their teachers, to protect them from stress and conflict or actually living like Jesus. Otherwise one would be tempted to see this action as less than pastoral.

This seems to be the new management strategy for the 'twenty first century bishop' as John Allen calls them. The idea is to deny everything possible to Catholics who don't toe the line. Now they've figured out a very twenty first century sort of 'collateral damage' policy. This is why Chaput can come up with this 'rationale' in Denver which denies innocent children, and Wuerl can deny heterosexual couples spousal benefits in Washington. The abortion and gay issues provide perfect opportunities to practice management by denial in new ways--by denying Catholic rights and services to innocent people. I wish one of them would point out just exactly which verse of Jesus's in the Good News justifies punishing the innocent to coerce the guilty. Seems to me this is a blatantly SECULAR/POLITICAL strategy.

Personally I hope Archbishop Chaput stays consistent. If the sins of the parents can be visited on the children he had better visit the sins of Father Maciel on the Legion and remove their canonical status. Otherwise he will force the rest of us to live with even more stress, confusion, and hypocrisy.


  1. Chaput is no Saint to follow. He is getting the cult following though from gay bashers, for getting tough, speaking his discrimination and teaching everyone to exclude gays from the "public square."

    He said: " The main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; in other words, to form students in Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic social values."

    Catholic faith, with the lower case f - not all Catholics fit into Chaput's idea of practicing Catholic faith. Many use birth control, cheat on their spouses, don't go to Church at all, etc.

    Burke's Catholic faith of "morality" is of discrimination against gays. His Catholic faith of "social values" is discrimination. It certainly has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    The sins of a regular Catholic school's parents are many, not to mention the teachers and the priests. If the "social value" is to form children's consciences, he's teaching them to shun their neighbor, judge their neighbor, punish their neighbor's children.

    Burke is a belligerent Catholic priest who has never grown up in his Faith. He's a sick wacko.

  2. It seems that the rule is: you can call yourself "Catholic" as long as you stay in the closet. Practicing birth control, conceiving artificially, surviving an abortion, divorcing, being homosexual, or, yes, being among the sexually active clergy are all ok--as long as no one either knows or talks about it. And this gives what kind of message to our kids?

  3. The shorter message from Chaput & Burke-don't do as we do, do as we say, in everything, including voting.

  4. Anonymous, that sounds familiar - it's sort of like 'don't ask - don't tell.'

  5. Sacred Heart of Jesus School... or

    Sacred Heart of Leviticus?

    Goodness, I think Leviticus even advised us to welcome to the stranger among us. But no.... somehow the "sacred heart" must be breaking! I know mine is.

    Suffer the little children to come to me. That does not mean the children should "suffer"!

    Worse and Worse! What's next????

  6. great pic of chaput. what a "regular guy" he is...
    in all seriousness, i'm getting pretty tired meanness masquerading as kindness--or, in this case, as warm and fuzzy reminders of america's national pastime. i guess bishops put on baseball uniforms when they want to fight (and win) culture wars.

  7. No matter what these men who are the 21st century Bishops believe, it is only a disordered mind that would treat children this way. I remember when I was a child in Catholic School, and one of my classmate’s parents divorced and the father remarried- that the little girl was somewhat ostracized and made an example of in the class. This left a very bad taste in my mouth then as does this action in Boulder. I think this is a major problem with the authoritarian mind set that only understands black vs. white and right vs. wrong. They just do not have the depth of understanding that there are no absolutes. Situations are always black and white, right and wrong. What happens here is that the Bishop himself tips his balance of social justice to a dark side to insist that he is 100% right in his dogmatic teaching. This balance in the Catholic Episcopacy is being rebalanced in many issues to a primitive understanding of ethics and society. It is a defensive ploy coming from a fearful borderline core part of the personality. It means that these men can not operate from the ethical standards of the Jesus on the Mount, but give into the fearful paranoia of the inside demon.

    The Bishops are using this same faulty authoritarian approach with there pressure on a Michigan Congressman that may defeat a health care bill. What is so discouraging is that so many of us see abortion (as medically defined, not as recently defined by the bishops) as a failure in society and to be decreased but not altogether forbidden. In the mind of a totalitarian that believes he or she is absolutely right, we might as well be abortionists! The authoritarian mind set is primitive and certainly not the mind set of Christ.

    This is why they hate Vatican II. It gave too mush to the sense of the laity for some in the curia of the 1960’s and 70’s to remain politically. This is not a spiritual group of men. So many of the People of God are much more educated, sophisticated and spiritually minded that they have developed a better sense of ethics and more solidity of character than do this group of patriarchs. It is the priesthood of Baptism that is the important priesthood not the priesthood created by the leadership that is currently destroying so many Christian Institutions.

  8. This is stating it the way it is:

    "It is a defensive ploy coming from a fearful borderline core part of the personality. It means that these men can not operate from the ethical standards of the Jesus on the Mount, but give into the fearful paranoia of the inside demon."

    Thank you Dennis. You are--excuse the word--absolutely correct. Once one has given into the rational delusions spawned by fearful paranoia the Sermon on the Mount becomes a subversive tactic designed to undermine authority. Usually their authority. Christ like thinking becomes incompatible with borderline thinking.

  9. "The Church never looks for reasons to turn anyone away from a Catholic education."

    Except this time. How does this help the children? I wish the Archbishop good luck talking American Catholics into toeing the line. He's going to get kind of lonely once all the sinners are tossed out.

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  11. I don't think delusions or delusional thinking is ever rational but this pattern of thought turns partial truths into factoids and then uses deductive and often paranoid reasoning to "prove that they are absolutely correct with these factoids." Have you noticed how little the authoritarian traditionalist uses inductive reasoning form observation of of social or scientific phenomena? When one is delusional it is difficult to observe anything in an acceptable and reasonable mind set. We can understand where many of these patriarchs are coming from, but it is hard enough to control our own inner demons let alone find ways to counteract the delusions of the inner demons of people that have some resources and believe themselves omnipotent as well as omniscient.

    So many of the Bishops are very sick and do more harm to the world than do paranoid schizophrenics. People are so afraid of schizophrenics that they have put most of them in jail, yet the more harmful personalities come from the inner demons of people with severe character defects and the Bishops like sociopathic used car salesmen are in this category of misbehavior. Christ said if a man ask for your shirt give him your coat too. Used car salesmen are adept at taking your shirt without asking. These Bishops in their fear steal decency from society. Most are not of a spiritual mind set that would listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling those willing to observe and listen. Oh for the days of a John XXIII, a Cardinal Benardian and a Cardinal Newman - gone and we miss them. Most similar men could not be appointed to the Episcopacy of the Twenty-first Century - they had too much sense and hope and love for the current group (Perhaps in Dublin there is an exception at least I hope.) May God help those that do not see through the Episcopate of John Paul the Great. May we understand the demonic mind of those that support them. 

R. Dennis Porch, MD

  12. I'm curious...if all of you are in such disagreement with the basics of Catholic Theology and Doctrine (and they are very clearly defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church), why continue to call yourselves Catholic? Why set out to redefine a faith rather than simply join a church that more accurately represents your point of view - Episcopalian for example?

  13. The reactionary redefining of the Church began after unfortunate death of John Paul I with the Opus Dei supported new Pope and the Litmus test appointments of men who did not accept Vatican II. It may take out church 100 or more years to recover and again open the windows to allow the light of the Holy Spirit to shine through. Many have left to seek spirituality in a more open venue. It is a difficult decision for many of us cradle Catholics educated 16 or in my case many more years in Catholic institutions. There is only one philosophical absolute- Change is inevitable! Absolute, would you turn against a family member in trouble. The problem is not catholicism but it is the leadership of the institution that moves from scandal to scandal caused by their own opacity to the Holy Spirit. I guess the decisions of the bishops to hide scandal are made by anonymous men so they are hard to trace. All that is imploding in front of our very eyes. dennis

  14. I can't answer your question for any other commenter, but I will answer it for myself.

    I'm not looking for another club to join or a 'bar' where I can fit in and 'everyone knows my name'. That's way too simplistic and childish a solution.

    The spiritual path is supposed to be a challenge to one's enculturated ego. Religions to often want the spiritual path to be an affirmation of their enculturated God. Jesus fought his own tradition on just those lines by challenging the assumptions behind the rules of Pharisaic Judaism. Ultimately He taught it's not about the rules, it's about the spirit behind the rules.

    So I ask myself this question: What energy really benefits from the current Institutional abusolutist emphasis on rules and doctrine? Who benefits from the current push to make those absolutist rules the law of the secular land? Who benefits from the political gay bashing and the cover up of clerical sexual abuse? Who benefits from forcing birth on poor women incapable of raising another child? Who benefits from denying birth control to over populated Catholic areas? Who really benefits?

    The answer is the dark side of the energy equation. All of these absolutist doctrines, which seek to take choice away from people, foment human misery, exploitation, poverty, and greed. The spirit from which they operate is about control, domination, and fear of 'others'.

    With baptism comes rights, but also responsibilities. My responsibility is not obedience to rules, but to freely live the Spirit and that Spirit is about loving like an adult, not obeying like a fearful child.

    To follow Jesus means to slay the demons with in ourselves, but this also applies to His Church. To maintain obedient silence is to enable evil. What do you think the abuse crisis is all about?

    I would rather stand against the evil in my own Church than transfer to what you think is just another more congenial 'religious' club.

    Perhaps that's is how you wish Catholicism to be, or how you see religious observance, a club of sorts in which you feel comfortable and want others to be just like you. Unfortunately we are called to be just like Jesus, not like me, and not like you.

  15. "With baptism comes rights, but also responsibilities. My responsibility is not obedience to rules, but to freely live the Spirit and that Spirit is about loving like an adult, not obeying like a fearful child.

    To follow Jesus means to slay the demons with in ourselves, but this also applies to His Church. To maintain obedient silence is to enable evil. What do you think the abuse crisis is all about? "

    Yes, Colleen, it is so difficult to first slay our own demons. One must recognize them first. If you hide behind an authoritarian structure,
    it is impossible to recognize our own demons. This is the problem with the absolutism seen in our church. R. Dennis Porch, MD