Indianapolis, Ind., Jun 20, 2019 / 12:49 pm
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis announced Thursday that a local Jesuit high school will no longer be recognized as a Catholic school, due to a disagreement about the employment of a teacher who attempted to contract a same-sex marriage.
“All those who minister in Catholic educational institutions carry out an important ministry in communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students both by word and action inside and outside the classroom,” the archdiocese said in a statement Thursday.
“In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, every archdiocesan Catholic school and private Catholic school has been instructed to clearly state in its contracts and ministerial job descriptions that all ministers must convey and be supportive of all teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Teachers, the archdiocese said, are classified as ‘ministers’ because “it is their duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. To effectively bear witness to Christ, whether they teach religion or not, all ministers in their professional and private lives must convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching.”
“Regrettably, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School has freely chosen not to enter into such agreements that protect the important ministry of communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students. Therefore, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School will no longer be recognized as a Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.”
School leaders said that despite the archdiocesan decision, “our identity as a Catholic Jesuit institution remains unchanged,” in a June 20 statement to the school community.
The conflict between the school and the archdiocese began with an archdiocesan request that the contract of a teacher who is in a same-sex marriage not be renewed.
The school became aware of the teacher's same-sex marriage in the summer of 2017, according to a June 20 statement from Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, head of the Jesuits' Midwest Province.
Paulson said the archdiocese requested “two years ago that Brebeuf Jesuit not renew this teacher’s contract because this teacher’s marital status does not conform to church doctrine.”
The school leaders wrote that “After long and prayerful consideration, we determined that following the Archdiocese’s directive would not only violate our informed conscience on this particular matter, but also set a concerning precedent for future interference in the school’s operations and other governance matters that Brebeuf Jesuit leadership has historically had the sole right and privilege to address and decide.”