US: 'We are all children of God’

The letter landed in email inboxes early in May, and since then, students, parents and graduates of Washington’s prestigious Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School have talked of little else. It has been the subject of spirited discussions, emotional exchanges, fervent Facebook posts.

Sister Mary Berchmans, the school’s president emerita, wrote the letter that has provoked so many reactions. In her carefully worded missive that emphasized following “the Gospel commandment of love,” Berchmans said the 220-year-old Catholic girls academy will publish announcements of same-sex unions in its alumnae magazine.

The decision, which stands in contrast to official church teaching on same-sex marriage, was greeted with a mixture of responses by the school community. Some called it “beautiful” and “overdue.” Others labeled it a “great disappointment.” In some quarters, there was unhappiness it took so long for the school to reach this point, while a smaller number expressed anger that the school was veering from Catholic doctrine.

The school’s decision followed a push last month by several ­hundred graduates who learned of an alumna who was told a few years ago that she could not have her marriage announced in the publication because it was a same-sex union. The graduates formed a chat group on Facebook to discuss the issue and urge the school to change its policy.

In her letter, Berchmans, who graduated from Visitation in 1948 and was its headmistress for many years, wrote, “Recently, a Visitation friend invited me to reflect upon what it means to Live Jesus in relationship with our ­LGBTQ alumnae.”

That conversation — as well as “much prayerful consideration and thoughtful dialogue” — led the school to its new policy, she wrote. Read more via Washington Post