Refusal to fire employee in same sex marriage results in split between Indy school, Archdiocese

Refusal to fire employee in same sex marriage results in split between Indy school, Archdiocese
Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School will no longer be recognized by the Indianapolis Archdiocese because the school refuses to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WAVE) - A Roman Catholic high school in Indianapolis will no longer be recognized by the Indianapolis Archdiocese because the school refuses to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage.

Emails were sent out Thursday afternoon from the Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School Board of Trustees to parents and school supporters advising them of the break.

The letter says Brebeuf Jesuit, an independent Catholic Jesuit school founded in 1962 by the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, has “always maintained control of our school’s operations and governance, including our personnel decisions.” It goes on to say, “we understand that a formal decree announcing the Archdiocese’s decision will be published in The Criterion (the archdiocesan newspaper) on or around Friday, June 21.”

Indianapolis Archbishop Charles Thompson (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
Indianapolis Archbishop Charles Thompson (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)

While saying the Archdiocese, headed by Archbishop Charles Thompson, may decide not to participate Masses or formal functions at Brebeuf Jesuit, school officials say “Brebeuf Jesuit is, and will always be, a Catholic Jesuit school.”

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has released the following statement:

"The Catholic Church teaches that Catholic schools are integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and to be places of learning where students encounter the living Christ.

"All those who minister in Catholic educational institutions carry out an important ministry in communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students both by word and action inside and outside the classroom. 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. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis recognizes all teachers, guidance counselors and administrators as ministers. A comprehensive description of Catholic Church teaching can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

"In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, 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.

“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. The attached decree is effective as of June 21, 2019.”

DECREE

Whereas, the undersigned and officials of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis have been in extensive dialogue with the President and Board of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School on whether or not Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School was willing to remain as a recognized Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; and,

Whereas, I accept and respect a school’s right and responsibility to make decisions that result in such a determination; and,

Whereas, it is my canonical responsibility to oversee faith and morals as related to Catholic identity within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis; and,

Whereas, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School has chosen not to implement changes in accord with the doctrine and pastoral practice of the Catholic Church;

I, the Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson, D.D., J.C.L., with great sadness, acknowledge the choice of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School to no longer retain Catholic identity according to the doctrine and pastoral practice of the Catholic Church and, therefore, to no longer remain as a Catholic institution in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Therefore, in accord with canon 803 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, I hereby decree that:

The institution known as Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School (2801 W. 86th St., Indianapolis, IN 46268), by its own selection, can no longer use the name Catholic and will no longer be identified or recognized as a Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis nor included in the listing of The Official Catholic Directory.

This decree is effective immediately and will remain in effect until such a time as Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School demonstrates their desire to operate in accord with the doctrine and pastoral practice of the Catholic Church. This decree is subject to hierarchical recourse according to the provisions of canons 1734 and following.

Given this 21st day of June 2019

at the Office of the Archbishop

The Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson, D.D., J.C.L.

Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

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