Boston Archdiocese contradicts school's decision to cancel admission of lesbian couple's child

Dr. Mary Grassa O'Neill / Photo Credit: Archdiocese of Boston
Dr. Mary Grassa O'Neill / Photo Credit: Archdiocese of Boston


The Archdiocese of Boston countered the decision of a local Catholic elementary school that denied admission to the 8-year-old child of a lesbian couple. Although the elementary school acted on the grounds that the parents' relationship is in “discord” with Church teachings, the Archdiocese of Boston, in the absence of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, said on Thursday that the archdiocese “does not prohibit children of same sex parents from attending Catholic schools,” and that it would help the couple find another Catholic school for their child.

On Monday, one of the child's parents, who remained anonymous, told the Associated Press that St. Paul Elementary school in Hingham, Mass. rescinded her son's application to attend third grade in the fall. Principal Cynthia Duggen and parish priest Fr. James Rafferty told the woman during a conference call that the boy could not attend as the parents' relationship “was in discord with the teachings of the Catholic Church” which state that marriage can only take place between one  man and one woman.

However, in a statement on Thursday, Dr. Mary Grassa O'Neill, superintendent of Catholic schools in Boston, countered St. Paul's decision, saying that the “Archdiocese does not prohibit children of same sex parents from attending Catholic schools.”

“We will work in the coming weeks to develop a policy to eliminate any misunderstandings in the future,” she noted.

The archdiocesan decision was reportedly made during the absence of Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who this week was in Fatima, Portugal for the Holy Father's apostolic visit.

“The Archdiocese of Boston is committed to providing quality Catholic education, grounded in academic excellence and the teachings of the Catholic Church, to the students at all of our schools,” O'Neill continued.

“We believe that every parent who wishes to send their child to a Catholic school should have the opportunity to pursue that dream,” she added. “Our schools welcome children based on their parent’s understanding that the teachings of the Church are an important component of the curriculum and are part of the students’ educational experience.” 

“Since the issue involving St. Paul School in Hingham was brought to our attention on Tuesday of  this week, we have met with the pastor and principal to learn more about their decision,” O'Neill explained. “Earlier today I contacted the student’s parent and expressed my concern for the welfare of her child. 

“I offered to help enroll her child in another Catholic school in the Archdiocese,” the superintendent added. “She was gracious and appreciative of the suggestion and indicated that she would  look forward to considering some other Catholic schools that would welcome her child for the next academic year.”
“Academic rigor, faith formation, Gospel values, strong character development, respect, and support are hallmarks of our schools,” O'Neill concluded.

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