While the congregation “granted yes to the suspension,” Mackey reflected, “of course they're discerning,” and how long the appeals process will last is unknown.
“The two are kind of unrelated,” she said. The suspension does not indicate the congregation is more likely to rule one way or another.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said that the temporary suspension was “following standard canon-law procedures,” and that “this is a common, temporary, measure that does not affect a final determination.”
The local Church added that it awaits a final determination from the Congregation for Catholic Education.
The archdiocese had announced June 20 that “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 in June, 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.”
Layton Payne-Elliot, the Brebeuf teacher who attempted a same-sex marriage, is civilly married to Joshua Payne-Elliot, who was dismissed earlier this year from a different Catholic high school in Indianapolis, because contracting a same-sex marriage violates archdiocesan policies and Catholic teaching.
Joshua Payne-Elliot filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese in protest of his dismissal, one day after having reached a settlement with Cathedral High School, where he had been employed.
The archdiocese has said that “religious liberty, which is a hallmark of the U.S. Constitution and has been tested in the U.S. Supreme Court, acknowledges that religious organizations may define what conduct is not acceptable and contrary to the teachings of its religion, for its school leaders, guidance counselors, teachers and other ministers of the faith.”
In a press conference June 27, Archbishop Thompson stressed that Payne-Elliot was removed not because he was homosexual, but because he had contracted a same-sex marriage, in opposition to Church teaching on marriage.
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The conflict between Brebeuf and the archdiocese began with an archdiocesan request that the contract of Layton Payne-Elliot not be renewed because he is in a same-sex marriage.
The school leaders wrote in June 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.”