Catholic Education & Same-Sex Parents: A Question of Truth and Tolerance

The Holy Father in his amazingly insightful and thorough work Truth and Tolerance outlines a way—though focusing primarily on religious matters—that Catholics may engage a pluralistic world in a spirit of peace and tolerance while adhering completely to the divine truths of the Catholic faith, to which Catholics are called to live in accordance with and call others to through evangelization.

The whole point of the work is to establish the principles by which Catholics should encounter and engage people of different faiths, worldviews, lifestyles, etc., in the modern situation with its emphasis on conscience, individual freedom, and self-determination that inevitably creates a diverse society. The obvious danger is relativism and therefore a lack of any real conviction and principle. The “balance” is a correct temperament and a prudential spirit to find the proper avenue to best evangelize the world.

Considering the thesis of the Holy Father, a controversial question has come to plague Catholic education in the wake of the modern world: should Catholics schools accept children with parents of the same-sex? This is quite obviously a prudential question but not without far-reaching implications and ramifications.

This moral dilemma poses two fundamental questions: (1) Does adherence to tolerance in this situation necessarily negate and obscure the truth? (2) Does discrimination in this circumstance, thereby emphasizing a certain truth about man, constitute an act of intolerance that the Church should avoid?

33 Responses to Catholic Education & Same-Sex Parents: A Question of Truth and Tolerance

  1. Todd says:

    Jimmy’s examples were pretty poor: a set-up to induce his readers to agree with him. I prefer to go deeper.

    What is the mission of a Catholic school? Is it to form children as Catholics and to protect them from exposure to same-sex couples and their families? If that is the case, then a school has a *right* to admit or eject anyone they wish.

    Does a Catholic school possess a *responsibility* to educate children of any believer/parishioner who requests it? If so, it would seem the bishop, pastor, and school administration were rather petty in attacking a living situation–rather than the actual sinful acts of the parents.

    Suppose the three unmarried guys in Full House were called into question. Three single men raising three daughters. Is the difference that they were supposedly having occasional sex with the occasional girlfriend? Or maybe we can point to Mary Kate and Ashley’s troubles as evidence that even sexless, that full house wasn’t the best situation for childrearing.

    Seriously, this is a very difficult discernment. One would have to look at the root teaching of the Church. CCC 2229 speaks of the “right” of parents to “Choose a school … which corresponds to their own convictions.” Correspondence isn’t the same as “exactly matches.”

    The Vatican II declaration Gravissimum Educationis, in section 8:

    “But its proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and (humankind) is illumined by faith”

    Is the decision to reject children of same-sex parents in keeping with Church teaching?

  2. c matt says:

    To answer the question as posed: Should Catholic Schools accept children with parents of the same sex?

    Provided that the school does not compromise the Church’s teaching on properly ordered relationships – if the parents want to send them there, and the school is clear about what they will teach, then why not? It’s likely the only chance the child would get to learn the other side’s teaching, given the living arrangement. Certainly can’t see the parents having any basis for complaining about the school. Make them sign an acknowledgement that they understand the Church’s position regardless of whether they agree with it, that such position will be taught, and that they consent to such being taught as part of the child’s curricula, as a prerequisite to enrollment. Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad idea for divorced parents as well. But they don’t seem to raise a stink when the school’s teaching calls their life choices into question (assuming that the school does).

  3. j. christian says:

    It is difficult to articulate a principle. The degree of scandal introduced is not necessarily a function of the type of sin of the parents.

    What if the parents are Hindu fundamentalists, and little Vijay is very vocal at his Catholic school about his religion? This isn’t too far-fetched: at our parish school, when a teacher asked the kindergarten students about practicing their prayers, one kid piped up, “Oh, my mom said that we don’t do prayers.” So it goes at the parish school, where most are simply avoiding the public school, not seeking a Catholic education.

    It’s not easy to gloss over the fact that a kid has two mommies. Whether or not the couple are being chaste is not the issue: it is a public matter (unlike so many other examples) that is not easily avoided. With a gay couple at school, issues about sexuality that normally wouldn’t come up at all are suddenly thrust upon the kids. Presumably, as Jimmy Akin states, there is at least some line the school cannot allow parents to cross. Where to draw that line is a prudential/pastoral matter. I would probably err on the side of excluding the family, but I wouldn’t rule out excluding other families for other (publicly scandalous) reasons.

    (Of course, as a practical matter, many parish schools can’t afford to exclude any tuition-paying family these days…)

  4. c matt says:

    Have to agree Akin’s analogy is pretty lame.

  5. Mike Petrik says:

    I think I agree, c matt, at least in principle. The idea here is that the Church and Her schools should accept sinners of pretty much all stripes, but it is imperative that Church teaching be undiluted and not affected by the risk that some of those sinners don’t agree they are sinning. In practice that is tough to pull off though. I like and agree with your suggestions, but when Heather’s two mommies show up for the volleyball game it will be hard to avoid implying approval to other families, even acknowledging that such families would be taking unfair inferential liberties. On balance, I nonetheless agree with your approach, especially since as a practical matter I’m pretty sure that the “acknowledgement” you describe will scare them off anyway.

  6. j. christian says:

    I’m not sure that Akin was making an analogy as much as establishing that there is, de minimis, a principle of excluding some families from Catholic schools on the grounds of scandal. People may disagree on where to draw the line, but the existence of a line is not out of the question.

  7. Mike Petrik says:

    I agree with your interpretation, j., and I think Jimmy is correct. As a board member of two different Catholic high schools I can attest that difficult prudential questions arise from time to time, and I think that the idea that a school can never take into account the risk of scandal and the very real messaging problems associated with it is naive. That said, I know the schools with which I’m associated try very hard to figure out ways to minimize scandal without excluding families or children.

  8. Phillip says:

    My wife teaches in a Catholic school. This question came up a couple of years ago with someone who worked at Planned Parenthood. The parent said she would not bring up her opposition to the Church’s teaching on abortion at ths school. The principal, who had been in Catholic schools for twenty years at that point, voiced her objection. In her experience most parents that were so opposed to Church teaching caused trouble in short order. That happened after about three months at which point the mother became very vocal with people at school functions etc. They kicked the kid out and the school won’t take anyone whose parents so clearly dissent from Church teaching any more.

  9. Eric Brown says:

    Thank you gentleman for your responses, which have thus far been very good. I am ashamed to admit that I made some assumptions and had certain expectations in raising this subject (based mostly on the wild commentary over at NCR); I am quite content that I was wrong.

    I think the treatment of the subject at NCR is quite elementary as well. Some of the responses to the piece are quite good and valid points. With all due respect to Archbishop Chaput, I do think this decision (which mirrors similar situations in California and Massachusetts) was not a particularly good decision. I do assume good intent regardless of disagreement.

    Though I am not accusing those who support the school in question and Archbishop Chaput of homophobia (I haven’t seen anything that would make me think so) it is somewhat troubling that it’s only in such instances (involving gays) that the scandal card is issued. Sure, other instances (divorced, remarried, cohabitating and unmarried parents) are not as obvious in a public sense, but they are not wholly a private reality either. To my knowledge, there is no instance to where any school has rejected children in such a situation and used it as a “teaching moment.”

    Quite obviously a divorced parent is not the same as a homosexual parent and each affects the faith community in a different way, but from the Church’s perspective, each of these things constitute mortal sins. It seems to me, if objective intrinsic evils are going to be used as “litmus tests” at the door, we need not be selective of what evils we will and will not tolerate.

    Truthfully, I am sympathetic to the position of the school in question, but I am not quite sure it is practical and I do not think disagreement constitutes an immoral position. Should the children if any parents not conforming to Catholic teaching on the “domestic church” be kicked out? What if their parents are not even practicing Catholics? If the parents were Muslim (or any other religion) and they agreed, in advanced, that their child would conform to the rules of the institution, including receive a religious education that is in accordance with the Catholic faith, I see no compelling reason why the student should not be allowed to attend. This is not an argument that there is no justification for ever denying someone admission to a Catholic institution, but in this instance, I personally am not convinced.

    Would the policy be the same for Catholic middle schools? Catholic high schools? Perhaps, even Catholic colleges? And what is the difference? Would it not cause any scandal in these settings, never mind the age of the students?

    This is related to other nagging questions in terms of the Church’s ministry. I know from others and having dealt with personally teaching religious education on Sundays—people entering RCIA to become Catholic or be confirmed are sometimes cohabitating, remarried, and engaging in or living in certain situations the Church deems to be objectively sinful. In teaching CCE (or religious education, whatever its acronym) I discovered that an alarming number of my students did not believe most, if any, of the Church’s teaching—and that is if they knew the teachings at all. When it came time for them to be confirmed, I was deeply troubled because I knew in certain instances, I was observing atheists falsely confessing to believe the truths of the Catholic faith and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation (another reason why we should return to the ancient custom of doing the sacraments of Christian initiation in unison). Granted, these situations may not be as immediately troubling a problem as the ethical dilemma raised here. But where do we the draw the line?

    There is yet another mounting crisis: should the children of same-sex parents be baptized? This is not yet a pertinent question in the United States but it is in Canada. So while in varying situations, there is a legitimate concern regarding scandal, the integrity of the Church’s teaching, and addressing the issue of homosexuality, there is also a need to evangelize. Thank God it is not my responsibility to perform that prudential calculus.

  10. Phillip says:

    Actually my wife’s school has in any staff members’ contract that if they violate Catholic morals they can be dismissed. That includes divorce, affairs, cohabitation etc.

  11. c matt says:

    Perhaps it was not an analogy, but an exampleof where the line must be drawn as you say. But that line was so far from the situation in question it made the line rather unhelpful. Sure, a clear case is easy to see. But this case (same sex parents willing to abide by the school’s teaching authority) is not so easy. I completely agree it is a prudential judgment, and the level of the institution (elementary, high school, college/university) is certainly a factor. I would hope the prophylactic agreement would scare off those looking only to make trouble.

  12. It seems to me that the big prudential concern here would be: To what extent would admitting the children of same-sex-couples interfere with the community and the mission of the school?

    Some Catholic schools (especially parish ones) are simply schools run by Catholics, teaching Catholic principles, available to anyone who wants to attend. Some of these Catholic schools in fact have only a minority of actual Catholics among the student body. However, other schools are in some sense an intentional community, and as such involve a lot of outside-the-classroom interaction for the families of the children. In such a situation (usually more the case for small, independent Catholic schools, not parish schools) I could potentially see the school wanting to exclude from its community families they saw as not fitting in the culture of the community. I’m not really sure what I think about the school-as-intentional-community idea. The primary point of a school, after all, is to teach. But given that such schools do exist (often set up as an alternative to nominally Catholic parochial schools) I could see such a school having prudential reasons to exclude a family for moral/cultural reasons.

    The main reason I can see for excluding the child of a same-sex-couple from a Catholic school would be fear that it would interfere with the teaching of Catholic moral doctrine. Clearly, having one’s child in Catholic school is not a privilege for the sinless, or they’re be much emptier than they are. However, I think there might be legitimate concerns on the part of the administration or diocese that with the children of a same sex couple in the school either
    1) Teachers would be afraid to present Catholic teaching on the issue or
    2) The presence of the child of a same sex couple in the school would be implicitly taken by students or parents as an indication that homosexual relationships are good and normal.

    The former seems like something which could basically be dealt with through having good teachers, so I don’t think it’s actually a very good reason. The latter seems more concerning to me, primarily when it comes to younger children (say elementary age — not high school or college). At this age children often think in terms of “good people” and “bad people”.

    The old school approach if the child of a local “fallen woman” was in the school would be to take a shame culture approach and simply make it clear to all the children that that child’s mother was a “bad person”. However, because of increased tolerance in this day and age, we (I think rightly) don’t really want people going around telling some seven year old that she’s a bastard and her mother can’t be allowed to visit polite company. I don’t think we’d really want to see the child of a same-sex-couple treated that way either.

    However, if a set of same-sex-parents is treated as totally normal, many children at a young age will draw the conclusion that this is good. So many parents who both don’t want to use shame as a teaching tool and yet want to inculcate Catholic teaching in their children simply seek to keep the existence of sinful lifestyles from their children’s view until their children are old enough to have a less dualistic view of the world and understand that some people are doing very wrong things, without necessarily being shameful and wicked people.

    This, I think, would actually be the best argument for excluding such a family from a Catholic school, and I’m pretty sympathetic to it in regards to kids under the age of 10 or so — though each situation is individual and I don’t think there is some blanket right way to do things in all Catholic schools in every situation.

  13. There is yet another mounting crisis: should the children of same-sex parents be baptized? This is not yet a pertinent question in the United States but it is in Canada.

    This is actually something where I’d be permissive for rather traditionalist reasons: While I understand that we have reason to hope that God’s mercy reaches those who through no fault of their own die without baptism, I feel pretty strongly that if a baby is brought to the priest to be baptized, that baby should be baptized. Even if it seems pretty unlikely that the parents will do a good job of raising that child in the faith.

    If we believe there are real graces infused through baptism, it seems like they must have some effect. And I really don’t like the idea of putting a soul at risk because one isn’t sure about the child’s parents being committed enough.

  14. Joe Hargrave says:

    There are sins, and there are sins.

    If the children of parents living in ANY kind of sinful lifestyle were prohibited from Catholic school, I don’t think there would be very many students left.

    Homosexual “marriage” or whatever you want to call it causes a qualitatively greater level of confusion and scandal than say, divorced parents. Perhaps when divorce was still taboo, it would have been the time to say “no children of divorced parents”, and the same with unmarried parents, etc. It’s too late for that.

    It’s not too late to draw the line here, and I think it may be necessary for the good of society. And the true teaching of the Church on this issue must not be obscured or muddled.

    So I would say no, do not admit them, under any circumstances, for any reason. Keep the radical homosexual agenda out of our Catholic schools.

  15. Eric Brown says:

    Not everyone who is homosexual is trying to promote a political agenda. I certainly don’t think Catholic schools need a totally open door policy. In the past, I attempted (and I humbly think it was successful) to try to highlight a different perspective, generally speaking, on such social issues and I took issue with generalizations such as the “homosexual agenda” as a broad term (though I know what is meant by it) to make a point. Hopefully the piece I wrote clarifies, in a greater sense, the perspective from which I am looking.

  16. Todd says:

    While we’re on the topic of giving scandal, I’m wondering what the view would be on two situations the NCR same-sex couple reported:

    1. That it would be acceptable for the children to be enrolled in parish religious education?

    2. The pastor quietly suggesting that an episcopalian church might be a better home for the family?

    The clumsiness of the whole situation seems to be a clue that bishops, pastors, and school administrations have not thought this out too well.

  17. Eric Brown says:

    Yes and the whole question goes back to the piece I just referred to (in the link) in my previous comment–the Church has not adequately addressed on several fronts the problem of homosexuality; negative action, in terms of condemnation, is not sufficient because the positive action is terribly lacking, e.g. how many Courage chapters exist in the United States?

  18. M.Z. says:

    The scandal of homosexual households would seem as real on a Little League team as in a classroom. Our schools aren’t shrines where we cleanse ourselves before entering. I think we should also keep in mind what the word scandal means: it is an inducement for others to engage in sin. The toleration of children from homosexual households being educated should no more cause for confusion in church teaching than a drunk appearing at a confessional. Education is a proper good for children, be they from straight households or homosexual ones. The Sacrament of Confession is a universal good, no matter how many times the drunk relapses.

    The argument for closing school enrollments has been the incredible cost undertaken to provide a Catholic education and the sheer fact that resources were finite. That argument in many places is no longer valid. It is rather exceptional today to find a parish school that is dependent on parish support. Typically they are dependent on tuition and alumni support. Parishes may provide some scholarships to parish members, but we aren’t talking Wichita.

  19. John Henry says:

    I was talking with a friend, now a priest, about this recently, and I am troubled by Archbishop Chaput’s actions here. I do not see why children of divorced and remarried parents, or unmarried parents, or any other family configuration would be accepted in Catholic schools, while children with homosexual parents/guardians would not. I don’t see this as a matter of the ‘homosexual agenda’ so much as treating people with respect; children are children – they should not be refused a Catholic education based on their family situation, and parents – even gay parents – should not be refused something as basic as an education for their child. The Church is not to be hermetically sealed off from society; rather, it is to preach the Gospel to all people. I think selecting a particular class of people, particularly given the unfortunate politicization around these issues, and singling them out for discriminatory treatment, is very unwise and does very real damage.

  20. Joe Hargrave says:

    “Not everyone who is homosexual is trying to promote a political agenda.”

    I would submit that anyone who is living in a homosexual union, who has then gone out and adopted a child or even worse, had one “in vitro”, and who is making attempts to enroll their children in Catholic schools explicitly opposed to their life style IS trying to promote a political agenda.

    “The toleration of children from homosexual households being educated should no more cause for confusion in church teaching than a drunk appearing at a confessional.”

    Way to justify the unjustifiable.

  21. Joe Hargrave says:

    Frankly I’m appalled at the lukewarm response to and the coddling of those who would undermine and subvert basic social institutions such as the family and the school.

    Divorce and fornication and single parenthood are bad enough. But at least they conform somewhat to natural law. Men and women are supposed to be together and procreate. When they fail by having children out of wedlock or breaking their sacred vows, it is a cause for scandal to be certain, but it is at least a reflection of our human nature.

    Two people of the same sex having “children” is a perversion of nature, of divine laws, and of the foundations of a stable society. It should be opposed. And no child should ever be exposed to it. We are called to be loving towards the gay individual – we are never called to accept or indulge the gay lifestyle and certainly not the homosexual perversion of the family, which is an affront to civilization.

    You want to call me a bigot for taking that stance, fine. I’ll accept the label, even though it is false and unjust. I’d rather be unjustly labeled bigot than have the stain of complacency with the objective evil of the corruption of the youth on my soul.

  22. j. christian says:

    The scandal of homosexual households would seem as real on a Little League team as in a classroom.

    Who said it isn’t? This year was our first experience with a kid in Little League, and it hasn’t been a very edifying experience, to say the least. At least LL isn’t a Catholic institution. (Interestingly, one of the coarser kids on the team is the son of an Orthodox priest… Go figure.)

    Our schools aren’t shrines where we cleanse ourselves before entering

    Perhaps not, but is it too much to ask that the families who send their kids to Catholic school actually *want* a Catholic education and aren’t just avoiding the public schools? It’s pretty scandalous that functionally atheist parents at our parish school are teaching their kids to fight their teachers on learning prayers — never mind the same sex parent issue.

    The toleration of children from homosexual households being educated should no more cause for confusion in church teaching than a drunk appearing at a confessional

    That’s not even remotely close to being analogous. A kid can see an intoxicated person stumbling into church, smell the booze on him, hear him slur his speech, and immediately *know* what’s wrong with that picture. The happy lesbian couple just looks like another (albeit different) set of parents. Teaching sexuality is a delicate thing for kids of a young age, especially when they’re trying to sort out all kinds of gender and family roles. Their natural affinity is like-to-like; so a boy might reasonably conclude that he could marry a man someday, if he sees one of his classmates with two daddies. This is not to say it “causes” someone to “turn gay,” but given how little we know about the reasons for homosexuality, admitting it is at least partially an environmental/behavioral phenomenon, it’s reasonable to object to introducing that kind of confusion.

    What is a parent to do? Glossing over it — “Well, son, some people have two mommies” — is not good enough. And teaching what the Church teaches means someone’s going to be offended. I’d like to believe that my fellow parishioners have my back in that case, but where I live, I’m not so sure.

    1. That it would be acceptable for the children to be enrolled in parish religious education?

    I call BS on this. As Joe said: This is clearly a political issue. It *is* an agenda, no matter what anyone says. Remember what the Church says about gay couples raising children: that they are doing *violence* to the children. That’s pretty strong language. How can they be so ignorant of Church teaching and yet sincere about seeking the sacraments for their children? We’re not talking about earnest Courage members here; presumably they’re not calling themselves married and raising children. We’re talking about people who want to subvert Church teaching, plain and simple.

    I’m with Joe. Don’t give them an inch, or they’ll take a mile.

  23. Wait… that’s what the book is about??? I was trying to read it, you see. But I have a hard time understanding such intelligent books. But now that I know the thesis I’m going to try reading that book again and see where I get because it is SO important to know how to behave as a Catholic in a pluralistic world without being either fanatical or relativist.

  24. S.pamb.ot says:

    You want to call me a bigot for taking that stance, fine.

    I don’t think you are a bigot, Joe. I think you have made presumptions about the gay parenting partners that are not in evidence.

    I support allowing any child into a Catholic school whose parents want the child to receive a Catholic education. From what I’ve seen (the bishop’s statements, and an interview with the parents in NCR), the parenting partners want their children to understand the Catholic faith, and for the most part, that is good enough for me.

    As the children grow older and more mature, they can express their desires for themselves (verbally, by their behavior in school, or by their test scores), and perhaps the decision to continue enrollment can be re-evaluated. But that is true of all children in Catholic schools whether they have gay parenting partners or not.

    And I would hope that you would agree with me on this point: an older child who shows outward signs of being pious and who expresses a desire to receive a Catholic education should be admitted to a Catholic school no matter how bafoonish or outlandish the behavior of the parents. (Right?)

    I don’t call that “giving an inch” to the gay parenting partners (as j. christian does), I call that giving innocent children the best possible chance to have life in Christ.

  25. Tim Shipe says:

    Great post Eric- I think this dovetails with the one I posted on how to dialogue with Muslims. Some would object that we shouldn’t teach anything about Islam in our Catholic schools- but I believe it is all in how we follow-through- be it exposing Catholic youth to Islam or deciding whether to allow in children of actively gay parents.

    The danger of course is that in many Catholic schools the orthodoxy is m.i.a., there are so many admnistrators and faculty that take a protestant approach to Christianity- meaning that they pick and choose what they believe and unfortunately what they teach- either explicitly or by way of subtle subversions. So, there is a definite and legit fear that some or many schools would accept a child with all kinds of home environments, and then fail to follow-through with offering a solid orthodox Catholic worldview and theology to at least give that child a taste of the world as seen through Christ’s perspective.

    The problems may come in at the elementary school level where the teachings on sexuality/marriage/family may not be zeroed in on and so it may seem that the tolerance for “gay” families is not just a merciful and teachable moment thing, but a scandalous embrace of ‘diversity’ (read moral relativism) love without truth- so a false love/sympathy ultimately- and a scandal to be avoided. In high school, hopefully, the student is going to be exposed to the High Theology of orthodox Catholicism- and as long as he/she is not going to be rude and rebel-rousing, and said gay parent(s) are not going the route of trying to undermine the mission statement of the school/Church- then I think this could be handled on a case-by-case basis, with an ongoing assessment process, where a school administrator could act in good faith to say- ‘well this isn’t working out- Jimmy is openly and aggressively challenging the Church’s teachings and trying to lead others away from their Catholic beliefs- this is a time for building up the faith in the young, not exposing them to too much moral radiation which they are already subjected to outside of the school environment”- or maybe it is the parent(s) who are not allowing the free flow of Catholic Spirit and teaching to continue by preaching an alternative gospel of sexual ambiguity or just conducting themselves in a beligerent fashion.

    So- it depends on the orthodoxy of the school itself- not a given with so many ex-nuns and ex or unhappy-priests hanging around the schools- and it depends on the individuals involved- I wouldn’t take a one size fits all approach- it’s a messy business to be sure- but we need to use all kinds of inadequate home environments as teachable moments- where we actually have something to say that reflects our Church’s beliefs and not all the subjective opinions that are out and proud among the Catholic rank and file, and even teachers. administrators, sisters, and clergy- it’s scary out here in Catholic school land

  26. j. christian says:

    Spambot, when you call it “giving innocent children the best possible chance to have life in Christ,” I have to laugh. I’d guess that anywhere from 50% to 67% of the parents of kids in my son’s K class have very little desire to do such a thing. Sure, despite their best efforts to raise little moral relativists, the parents might fail and their kids wind up as practicing Catholics anyway. It’s painfully naive to think that that’s what’s going on in these cases. The parents might not be actively trying to force a political agenda, but they’re doing in spite of themselves. The “we don’t do prayers” outburst is just one example. Maybe you think that’s okay, that all a parish school needs to be called “Catholic” are a few crucifixes scattered on the walls, but I don’t apologize for demanding something more … demanding.

  27. S.pamb.ot says:

    j. christian,

    Thank you for the response. I understand everything you wrote up to this point:

    “Maybe you think that’s okay, that all a parish school needs to be called “Catholic” are a few crucifixes scattered on the walls,…”

    I don’t know where you got that idea. Perhaps I did not emphasize this enough, but I want Catholic schools to provide a robust Catholic education to every student enrolled. Parents who are not supportive of this goal ought to send their children elsewhere. All I want is nothing different for a child of gay parenting partners as for any other child.

  28. Phillip says:

    Tim is right about most Catholic schools being of mixed quality as far as Orthodoxy is concerned. Even in my wife’s school, where the staff has to sign a contract that they will not contradict Church teaching in their personal lives, there are some who are (quietly) living contrary to that teaching. This unfortunately does come into the classroom teaching at times especially in the middle school where sexual issues are taught in the health class and some teaching has been far from Catholic.
    Part of this problem seems to be in part defining deviancy down. Joe is correct in that the family is the foundation of society (and all social justice.) Apart from the family, any and all efforts at moving society forward are doomed to failure. But for the past forty years the family has been under attack. As Pope Benedict noted in Caritas in Veritate, the lack of openness to life in families is a threat to openness to social justice. This contraceptive mentality is furthered by easy divorce and single parent families. These are now so common that most Catholic school would not even think about excluding such families. But perhaps they should.
    The current attack on families (and thus society and all social justice) is part of the homosexual agenda. Perhaps not for all but for many. Many quite consciously, and others perhaps unconsciously, do seek to undermine the family – a lifelong committment of a man and woman open to children. That is what the family is and what it always will be as known in Natural Law. Anything else, single parenthood, divorced households, homosexual couples, are to be prayed for and mourned over as a deviation from God’s plan for the dignity of husbands, wives and children.
    But if deviancy has been defined down as far as it has to date, that does not mean we should define it down further. This is in fact a social justice issue. Prudence may in certain situations dictate that such arrangements be tolerated, but they should be the very rare exception rather than the norm.

  29. […] Leave a Comment  Interesting contrast in approaches to the children of same-sex couples. Even the conservatives of the blogosphere aren’t unified in opinion. It’s rather refreshing to see people grappling with a serious issue bereft of the ability to […]

  30. Joe Hargrave says:


    ” I think you have made presumptions about the gay parenting partners that are not in evidence.”

    What presumptions? And what “evidence”? I have made no presumptions about the abomination of “gay parenting partners”, nor will I. I need make no presumptions to know the extent to which such a scenario is a perversion of the family, an assault on civilization, and a cause for grave confusion and scandal to young children.

    My sympathy, love and support goes out to the gay individual struggling to live a moral life.

    My conditional tolerance goes out to two homosexuals who decide to live an immoral life of cohabitation, as much as it would two heterosexuals who do so with absolutely no intention of ever getting married or having children – they should be little seen and heard from, at least as advocates of their “lifestyle.”

    I draw the line at this abominable desecration of the family, and I react with contempt, moral outrage and the natural instinct of self-defense to anyone who would force children to be exposed to it. And if you think my language is tough, you should see the list of people whom St. Paul says aren’t getting into heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

    ” the parenting partners want their children to understand the Catholic faith, and for the most part, that is good enough for me.”

    It’s not good enough for God. Is there anything you want that you don’t think you should have? Is there anything these people want that you don’t think they should have?

    We live in an age of information. Let them buy a Catechism. Or better yet, let them stop ruining the lives of innocent children and at least have the decency to live out their sin amongst themselves.

    This is not about learning the Catholic faith, but subverting it. It is about a demand for recognition and validation of a perverse lifestyle that is an affront to civilization and to God. Enough is enough.

    “But that is true of all children in Catholic schools whether they have gay parenting partners or not.”

    If you mean to tell me that the children of homosexual fornicators have no qualitatively different issues of both a personal and a public nature than the children of other households, then I would say you are wrong. By virtue of being exposed to such a lifestyle, and being taught that it is normal and even GOOD, their moral faculties will be damaged and they will be a danger to themselves and others.

    I believe this is already true of many people from “broken” homes or “postmodern” families. The major difference is that there are still many Catholics who recognize divorce, adultery, fornication and single parenthood as moral failures – and they can be repented and avoided in the future.

    Not so with homosexual “marriage” (and “family”!), which is as much about ideology as it is about anything else. It is an AFFIRMATION of a deviant lifestyle, it is not considered a failure but rather an expression of “who they are”, and it cannot be considered otherwise.

    “And I would hope that you would agree with me on this point: an older child who shows outward signs of being pious and who expresses a desire to receive a Catholic education should be admitted to a Catholic school no matter how bafoonish or outlandish the behavior of the parents. (Right?)”

    Wrong, for the reasons I stated above. Catholic education is not a universal right, and the mission of the Catholic Church is to lead souls to salvation.

    Maybe in some instances it could be allowed, but I would personally set forth the following conditions:

    1) that the school be a private boarding school in which the parents have no involvement
    2) that the prospective student fully understands and assents to the immorality of living a homosexual lifestyle, and that this teaching will be a part of the Catholic education
    3) that the parents sign an agreement not to engage in any sort of political disturbance or lawsuits against the school as a condition for enrollment

    Then, perhaps, it can be considered.

    “I call that giving innocent children the best possible chance to have life in Christ”

    Oh really? So all of the Catholics who can’t afford Catholic school – what are they to do? Many Catholics make do without Catholic school. It isn’t a right, it isn’t necessary for salvation, and a lot of them are overrated anyway.

  31. Joe Hargrave says:

    When I read the results of some studies done on the effects of gay parents on children, I am filled with a mixture of pity and rage.

    “In terms of aggression and play, sons of lesbians behave in less traditionally masculine ways. They are likely to be more nurturing and affectionate than their counterparts in heterosexual families.”

    This is exactly what we don’t need in society – more effeminate men. More repressed, awkward, anti-social men who don’t know how to relate to women or hold down a job. An overbearing mother and and absent father causes psychological damage in ways most of you don’t understand. Two mothers and no father can only be worse – especially when it is a chosen lifestyle.

    “One study examined by the researchers indicated that a significantly greater proportion of young adult children raised by lesbians had engaged in a same-sex relationship (six of 25 interviewed) than those raised by a heterosexual mother (none of 20 interviewed).”

    Need I say more? This is sterility perpetuating sterility, death perpetuating death. It is a life given over to self-gratification of either the material or spiritual (“psychological”) desires, to the detriment of individuals and society.

    “Those raised by lesbian mothers were also more likely to consider a homosexual relationship.”

    Of course! Because they are completely corrupted and have no male influence in their lives to give them confidence, which men need to interact with the opposite sex.

    “Teen-age and young adult girls raised by lesbian mothers appear to be more sexually adventurous and less chaste than girls raised by heterosexual mothers. Sons, on the other hand, were somewhat less sexually adventurous and more chaste than boys raised by heterosexuals.”

    Daughters become sluts and sons become repressed. This isn’t just about homosexual parents, of course – it is about any situation in which a mother and father are absent. But this takes an already bad situation and makes it worse, it amplifies it and glorifies it. It’s disgusting and its a crime against children.

    “The studies indicate that sexual orientation has no measurable effect on the quality of parent-child relationships or on the mental health of children.”

    By materialist standards, of course not. The materialists deny the soul, they deny objective morality, they deny natural law, they deny everything that makes man something more than a complicated receptor of pleasure and pain stimuli. As they say, it is not “measurable” – until the more promiscuous daughters contract a venereal disease, or when junior never gets married and has children of his own, and in some cases becomes a repressed psychopath who shoots up his school or becomes a serial rapist.

    This is a plague and a curse on civilization. A sane society would have outlawed it. And we still do in some states. But for how long?

  32. Eric Brown says:

    This conversation has gotten slightly off topic. Thank you for your thoughts. I’m closing the discussion.

  33. […] About Sinful Lifestyles With Children Eric Brown wrote a post about the question of whether children of same-sex-couples should be allowed…. One of the problems that lies at the root of this controversy, I think, is the question of how to […]

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