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US Catholic School fires teacher for being gay

Lily Wakefield June 24, 2019
Catholic archbishop gay teacher fired indianapolis

Archbishop Charles Thompson (centre) heads the Indianapolis archdiocese which ordered the school to fire the gay teacher. (ArchbpCThompson/ Twitter)

A US Catholic school has fired a gay teacher to avoid losing the support of the Indianapolis archdiocese, headed by archbishop Charles Thompson.

The news came just days after Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in the same city refused to fire a gay teacher, and subsequently lost its status as a Catholic school.

The teacher who was fired by Cathedral School has not been identified, and the school called the decision “agonising” in an open letter to students, staff and parents.

It said: “Archbishop Thompson made it clear that Cathedral’s continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting our Catholic identity due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage.

“If this were to happen, Cathedral would lose the ability to celebrate the Sacraments as we have in the past 100 years with our students and community.

“Therefore, in order to remain a Catholic Holy Cross School, Cathedral must follow the direct guidance given to us by Archbishop Thompson and separate from the teacher.”

catholic school refuses to fire gay teacher
Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis refused to fire a gay teacher. (Brebeufjesuit/ Instagram)

Former pupils expressed their anger with the Catholic school on social media

Ex-pupils took to social media to express their disappointment in the school’s decision. One former student said: “Makes me sick I went to this school. That teacher was one of the kindest men I have ever met. You won’t be getting a dime from my family.”

Another said: “A very sad day for Cathedral. No words to express my disappointment in my alma mater.”

Cathedral school claims that its situation is different from that of Brebeuf, and that it has more to lose including the status necessary to operate as a non-profit school and funding from the archdiocese.

The school said: “We respect the position of our brothers and sisters at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as they also navigate this painful time… Because Brebeuf is a specific ministry of the Jesuits, their canonical and nonprofit status is different than ours.”

Executive director of LGBT+ Catholic group DignityUSA Marianne Duddy-Burke said in a statement: “For too long, bishops have acted as if they own the term ‘Catholic.’ The reality is that every baptised member of the Church has the right to claim that identity and membership in the larger Catholic community.

“By definition ‘Catholic’ means universal, and is experienced in multiple expressions across the world. That identity and experience cannot be governed or denied by any bishop. Brebeuf leaders are modelling this truth.”

Pope Francis named Charles Thompson the archbishop of Indianapolis on June 13 2017.

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