Given all the talk about how Catholic schools are closing left and right due to low enrollment, you’d think they’d do anything they can to bring in more students. When they’re in the news, however, it’s often because administrators are firing gay teachers who commit the sin of getting married, even when the kids love them and they have the support of the parents.
In Springfield (Illinois), the Catholic Diocese plans to get even stricter. A new policy has created even more obstacles for students by punishing them if their parents aren’t meeting Catholic expectations:
The Family School Agreement would… require that non-Catholic families… attend Mass weekly and contribute to Catholic parishes, even while in most instances paying higher tuition rates at those schools.
Specifically, they have to give the Church at least 8% of their income (on top of tuition), attend Mass weekly, and show up on the Holy days — even if they’re not Catholic themselves. Why would they send their kids to Catholic school if that’s the case? Maybe because they feel their kids will get a quality education or at least one that’s better than the public school alternatives.
What about parents who are gay? Or divorced and remarried? Or co-habitating?
One of the points of the agreement… is the expectation that parents, adoptive parents or legal guardians of children enrolled in Catholic schools meet with their parish pastor if they are “not living in accord with church teaching.”
Great. So parents who want their kids to attend Catholic school, but whose lives are deemed improper by Church doctrine, have to be lectured first?
That’s not all:
Parents and students who actively promote “a moral or doctrinal position contrary to Catholic teaching” — supporting ordination of women priests, for instance — would be considered in violation of the Family School Agreement. The agreement says that could lead to the expulsion of the student.
“What parents in their right minds would idly sit by while a religion teacher is forced to tell their children that something is wrong with their family?” said John Freml, an SHG graduate and a Springfield leader of Call to Action and Equally Blessed, two organizations that support the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics in the church.
“This is not the kind of church that Pope Francis has called for, and [Springfield Bishop Thomas John] Paprocki should reread what the pope has said about how the church should treat children of same-sex parents,” Freml said.
To reiterate, if your parents are Catholics who think women ought to be ordained, you’re part of the problem.
It’s unclear how many Springfield Catholic schools are actually adhering to this agreement that Paprocki signed off on, but if it actually goes into full effect, the only thing it would do it push out kids whose families don’t fit into the narrow Church-sanctioned box. The litmus test is all the more reason for people to get out of the Church at the next possible opportunity.
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