Abp Chaput Weighs in on Catholic School’s Battle with Lesbian “Couple”

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colo. has stepped in to support a Boulder Catholic grade school who told a lesbian couple told they would no longer be able to enroll their children.

The parish school of Sacred Heart Church in Boulder had informed a lesbian couple that their two children — one in kindergarten and another in pre-school —  would be allowed to complete the year, but could not re-enroll, citing Archdiocesan policy requiring children’s families to practice Christian values.

Chaput addressed the controversy in his Wednesday column for the Denver Catholic Register, saying that “archdiocesan policy was followed faithfully in this matter, and the policy applies to all Archdiocese of Denver schools.”

“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,” said Chaput.

“That isn’t fair to anyone — including the wider school community.”

The Archdiocese of Denver’s admission policy states that “no person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school’s philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese.”

The lesbian “couple,” who have remained anonymous, had already enrolled the children under their care in the Sacred Heart of Jesus School for the current school year when their relationship came to light.

Father William Breslin of Sacred Heart Church said that the decision not to allow the child to re-enroll was “the most difficult decision of my life,” but that his priestly vows of obedience to his bishop required him to follow the Archdiocese’s policy.

“It is not about punishing the child for the sins of his or her parents,” he said. “It is simply that the lesbian couple is saying that their relationship is a good one that should be accepted by everyone; and the Church cannot agree to that.”

In his column, Chaput agreed with Breslin’s decision, saying that “the main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; in other words, to form students in Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic social values.”

He explained that while many archdiocesan schools “accept students of other faiths and no faith, and from single parent and divorced parent families,” they have welcomed them so long as they “support the Catholic mission of the school and do not offer a serious counter-witness to that mission in their actions.”

Although he recognized the “painful situation” situation between the lesbian couple and Sacred Heart, Chaput explained that “the Church can’t change her moral beliefs without undermining her mission and failing to serve the many families who believe in that mission.”

“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,” said Chaput.

“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,” he said. “These beliefs are central to a Catholic understanding of human nature, family and happiness, and the organization of society.”

Chaput further illustrated that the archdiocesan policy was meant for the good of all parties involved: the couple, the children, and the school.

Because the parents reject or fail to respect the Church’s teachings, he explained, the situation puts “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.”

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  • consecrata

    I accept and respect Arch. Chaput’s decision…the ‘couple’ might have been trying to show that their relationship is legitimate…but I grieve for the children. I don’t know why there is no research being done on the effects of homosexual ‘couples’ raising children…the children of such ‘couples’ that I have met have been harmed by this, confused and dysfunctional, often angry and ashamed…boys who see the gay couple’s friends acting sexually at home parties, begin themselves to act out in the same way…these relationships are not only morally wrong but they are unnatural – but my heart aches for the children. Perhaps the school would have been the only safe haven they would have known…God help them.

  • LarryW2LJ

    What will be extremely interesting is how this will be played out in the judicial system; if it comes to that point. I can see a situation where the “Separation of Church and State” proponents will now believe that the State will have the duty and the right to interfere with how the Church has decided to handle this (i.e. try to force the Church to keep these students enrolled).

    If that indeed happens, it will be an opportunity to examine their logic on this “Separation of Church and State” issue; and to try to figure out why it is a “One Way” street.

  • consecrata

    I continue to be concerned about this issue. Arch. Chaput says that Catholic schools are supposed to work with parents to see that their children are raised in the faith and this is true. However, I’ve been speaking to teenagers about to receive the sacrament of confirmation. These are high school students. And the majority of them do not attend Sunday Mass, nor do their parents. This is known by all…one of the teachers was looking for a video of the Mass because some of her students had never been to Mass and she was trying to explain the Mass to them…this simply does not make any sense. It seems that we are giving away the sacraments like candy…no conditions, no expected responsibility from the parents or their children. Yet these kids have been in Catholic school since kindergarten…and there is no cooperation from the parents to see that their children fulfill even the minimum requirements of the faith…this is no secret because they don’t try to hide this…they just don’t feel it’s necessary to go to Mass or confession…if the homosexual ‘couple’ has an agenda we don’t know about, then perhaps it’s best to keep the children out of Catholic school; but if they accept that they are ‘defective’ sexually, and want what’s best for their children, then let the children go to Catholic school..didn’t Christ say: “Let the little children come to Me and do not prevent them.?” He did not tell children of prostitutes to stay away … or children of sinners to stay away. And it’s naive to think that all parents send their children to Catholic schools so they can learn about their faith and live their faith…many send their children to Catholic schools primarily because these schools offer the best education…

  • LarryW2LJ


    I agree with you 1000000%.

    What is even MORE troubling to me is something you touch on. Where are the parents? Eben though I went through Catholic school through Grade 6; my parents (expecially my Mom) taught me my Catholicism, for which I am eternally grateful. Now, it is my turn. I am doing for mine, what mine did for me. And I am trying to do it by example. They are both in Catholic school – which is far different from what it was in my day. In a lot of ways, it is better; but in some ways …

    But I make sure we attend Mass every Sunday and on all Holy Days, unless there is someone with a cold or the flu or something like that. I take my children along with me to Confession once a month. When things happen, as they always will, I try to explain to my kids why it is a good thing or bad thing, based on our Faith.

    The first schooling has to start at home. Some day, when I stand before the Lord, I don’t want Him asking me, “What kind of teacher were you?”

  • consecrata

    I continue to pray and reflect about this situation. I listened to Nancy Pelosi’s breathy voice saying there is no funding of abortion in the health care bill…this is a lie. Then I began to wonder why our Bishops continue to permit Catholic politicians like Pelosi, Sebelius, Biden, Kerry, Daschle, etc. to receive the Eucharist while they publicly promote abortion…the termination of human life within the womb of the mother. We reject a child whose ‘parents’ are living in non-accordance with Church teaching while we welcome to the Eucharist adult politicians who continually choose to publicly defy Church teachings on a grave moral evil and encourage others to do the same…this just doesn’t make sense to me. Arch. Burke continues to state that canon law forbids the giving and the receiving of the Eucharist in cases like the public support and advocacy of what is against the teachings of the Church…is he lying? Is he perhaps mistaken? He is a canon lawyer and sits as head of the highest Vatican court so he must knowwhat he is talking about…yet, the Bishops oppose this…while turning away a young child for the sins of her parents…the more I reflect and pray about this, especially in relation to so called Catholic politicians getting away with opposing the Church especially regarding abortion, the more I believe those children should remain in Catholic school…have the ‘parents’ sign a contract stating that they will accept whatever the children are taught…”Let the little children come to Me, and do not prevent them”…

  • Cathy

    I thank the pastor and the archbishop profoundly for their faithfulness and real compassion in protecting the children and their lesbian mothers as well as the other families in the parish. What a terrible, years-long conflict the lesbian mothers were attempting to impose upon themselves and their children, knowing their personal choices were in opposition to church teaching.

    At my child’s Catholic school, a pair of homosexual men enrolled their child. I often saw them talking at length with their child’s teacher in the afternoons. That year the principal refused permission for me to place copies of the Vatican document, “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality” in the teachers’ boxes. Being a new convert, I was too shocked to respond to a nun who did not want her teachers to understand their Faith better.

    Whether they intend it or not, parents who dissent from church teachings on faith and morals harm their own children and all of the families who attend the school.