The child of gay parents was denied admission to St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, Kansas. Some Catholics are so upset that they started a petition to protest the decision. The pastor, Father Craig Maxim, reiterated Catholic doctrine, and he was subsequently supported by Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann.
There really should be no issue here, but increasingly Catholic schools are faced with similar challenges.
Parents are not required to enroll their children in a Catholic school, but once they elect to do so, they are obliged to follow its strictures. If they find some of the rules disagreeable, they are free to enroll their child in some other school. They are not free to reject those rules and then claim victim status. Nor are they free to enlist others in their effort to override school and Church authorities. Mutiny is not acceptable.
This is not simply a matter of maintaining fidelity to Catholic teachings; it is a matter of respecting diversity. Catholic schools offer a diverse educational alternative to public schools and other private institutions. Everyone should respect their right to autonomy, regardless of whether they agree with Catholic teachings.
The petition is straightforward. “Respectfully, we believe that the decision to deny a child of God access to such a wonderful community and education, based on the notion that his or her parent’s [sic] union is not in accordance with the Church teaching in Sacramental marriage, lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message.”
The petition reeks of a simplistic sentimentalism and is incredibly myopic. The issue is not about one child—it is about all students.
Catholic students who are taught that marriage is between a man and a woman—not two men or two women or multiple partners—cannot be expected to respect the Church’s teaching on marriage if some of their classmates have two fathers. If the teachers and administrators sanction gay marriage, why should students feel obliged to abide by Church teachings on any subject?
The central issue is not hard to understand, though it is increasingly resisted in today’s society. Gay couples are denied by nature, and nature’s God, the ability to procreate. That’s the way it works. Gays may adopt children, but in doing so they are ineluctably paying homage to nature, and nature’s God—their adoptive children were made possible because of a union between a man and a woman. That’s the way it works.
Catholic teachings on sexuality, marriage and the family respect what nature, and nature’s God, have decreed. Anyone is free to disagree. They can even pretend that everything that exists is nothing but a social construction. But they are not entitled to force those of us who know better to yield to their fantasies.
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