The following is a statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry:
The leaders of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis have taken a courageous step by standing by their teacher who is involved in a civil same-gender marriage. Unfortunately, like most prophetic witnesses, actions, and words, their decision has garnered them only a penalty from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis of not being allowed to be identified as a Catholic school. The school’s name has already been removed from the archdiocesan website.
New Ways Ministry applauds the courage of the Brebeuf leaders. They knew the possibility of this penalty, but they also knew that they would not be following their consciences if they acquiesced to the archdiocese’s demands. In Catholic teaching, violation of conscience is one of the most serious errors one can commit, certainly more serious than any violation of sexual ethics.
Over the past decade, close to 100 employees at Catholic institutions have lost jobs because of LGBTQ issues. New Ways Ministry has been tracking this shameful trend, as well as the few acts of resistance that have arisen during these disputes. In 2016, the Sisters of Mercy made a commitment to continue employment of a transgender employee after his transition. The Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, in whose diocese the school was located, did not stop their decision or impose penalties because he saw the sincerity of purpose the Sisters exhibited. Why couldn’t Archbishop Charles Thompson have sought the path of listening and reconciliation instead of a harsh, punitive action that will only alienate more and more Catholics?
In their statement, the Brebeuf leaders said “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.” In fact, they have set a remarkable precedent of courage and risk that all Catholic institutions can learn from and should emulate. Read more via New Ways Ministry