The decision to deny enrollment to the young child of a gay couple to a Catholic school in Kansas has received support from more than 7,000 people.
The petition, created by ‘pro-life and pro-family communities’, runs counter to an earlier one signed by 2,000 urging the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas to allow the child entrance to Prairie Village Catholic school.
The latest petition does not make clear how many of its signatures are from local Catholics, but does state it was written by ‘concerned faithful’ in the archdiocese.
‘It is clear that the rapid secularization of our society is increasingly causing hostility to the practice of the Catholic faith,’ the petition reads.
‘Unfortunately, the lack of sound catechesis can leave many Catholics to form their consciences on these issues based on the opinions of the world rather than the immutable truths of the Gospel.’
A spokesperson for the archdiocese said on Thursday that they were aware of at least one petition in support of the church’s decision but did not know its provenance.
Local parishioners say they learned the kindergartner was blocked from attending the school when Reverend Craig J. Maxim of St. Ann Catholic Church wrote a letter to parents last month.
He wrote in the letter that he had sought guidance from the archdiocese, which told him the child’s parents cannot ‘model behaviors and attitudes consistent with the Church’s teachings.’
‘This creates a conflict for those children and what is experienced at home,’ Maxim wrote in the letter, dated February 27. ‘It also could become a source of confusion for other school children.’
More than 1,800 people signed a petition calling for the church to reconsider the decision, which they argued ‘lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message.’
While some 650 people said they are part of St. Ann’s parish, most other signatures were from local parishes.
That petition was addressed to Archbishop Joseph Naumann and school Superintendent Kathy O’Hara.
The most recent petition, started on March 12, backs Naumann directly.
‘Especially given the activity of many pressure groups in the Church today, we are all the more encouraged by your steadfast decision to uphold the perennial truths of the moral law – for everyone’s good,’ the petition reads.
One parishioner from the area who signed the petition denied it was because the parents are gay but said: ‘It’s about whether they are living their lives in a state of grace in accordance with the mandates of the church… that goes for anybody, whether they are gay, straight, married or single.’
The controversy comes amid a deepening divide within the Catholic church, and other religious groups, about whether to offer a more inclusive version of the faith and those who argue compassion shouldn’t mean the compromising of traditional values.
Others have attacked the archdiocese for hypocrisy, with the petition arguing that Catholic schools accept children of parents who are not practicing Catholicism.
This view is backed by Rev. James Martin, a secretariat of communications for the pope, who has written about how the church can be more welcoming to LGBTQ people.
On Twitter, he called the archdiocese’s decision ‘unjust discrimination.’
‘In this case, these rules are being applied selectively and used to target LGBT people specifically, as well as punishing the child,’ Martin said in a tweet.
In defending Naumann, the petition read: ‘We are saddened to witness such attacks directed against our Mother the Church, and against you personally, in the aftermath of the decision of Saint Ann Catholic School not to admit as a student the child of a same sex ‘couple.’
‘Although we are all sinners, and we cannot judge the intentions of the persons involved as faith-filled Catholics striving to raise all Catholic children in a hostile world, we know the grave damage that can be done by scandal.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail – Rod Ardehali