CNA reached out to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Friday inquiring about the “legal guidance and recommendations” that Dennin mentioned in her statement.
Margaret Kaplow, a spokeswoman for the NCEA, told CNA Friday that "We only refer schools back to their ordinary. We don't make policy. We don't advise policy. We're a membership association that is based on professional development and data,"
"The bishop sets the policy for the diocese," she added.
On the organization’s website there is a reference sheet which offers schools resources regarding Catholic social teaching and gender identity.
A spokesman for the Xaverian Brothers did not respond.
Ray Delisle, a spokesperson for the Worcester Diocese, said Friday: “First, I must make note that Bishop McManus has been away on the regional bishops’ retreat this week and I believe their letter arrived early this week.”
“That being said, policies take time to be implemented. Even though it was sent to all 21 schools in our diocese, including diocesan, parochial, and private Catholic schools, some schools may have had a policy in place,” he added.
“We will have to wait and see how it goes. Given all these factors, there is no response or comment to their letter at this time.”
The Worcester Diocese’s policy refers to Pope Francis’ frequent statements about the dangers of “gender ideology” and counsels schools to accompany those suffering from confusion related to their sexuality.
The policy says that “Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the importance of a proper understanding of our sexuality, warning of the challenge posed by ‘the various forms of an ideology of gender that denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences.’”
“We must not demean or deny the sincerity and struggle of those who experience same-sex attraction or who feel their true gender identity is different from their biological sex. Rather, we seek to accompany them on their journey of life, offering them the light of the Gospel as they try to find their way forward,” the policy says.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Just over a year ago, McManus revoked the Catholic status of a Jesuit-run school in Worcester for defying his order to stop flying flags supporting LGBT pride and the Black Lives Matter movement.
In March Pope Francis called gender ideology “one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations.”
McManus is the latest of several other bishops to issue pastoral policies in schools in an attempt to address the issue of gender ideology, which the U.S. bishops in a 2017 ecumenical letter have called harmful to people and societies “by sowing confusion and self-doubt.”
This article has been updated.