After a Catholic school in Kansas refused to enroll a kindergartner whose parents are gay, and a petition was launched against the school’s decision that was signed by over 1,800 people, a second petition was launched by others who supported the school’s decision and was signed by over 7,000 people.
The St. Ann Catholic school in Prairie Village, Kansas reportedly blocked the child’s attendance but other parents were unaware of the situation until Reverend Craig J. Maxim of St. Ann Catholic Church wrote a letter to parents in February, saying he asked for guidance from the archdiocese, which responded that the gay parents could not “model behaviors and attitudes consistent with the Church’s teachings.” Maxim wrote, “This creates a conflict for those children and what is experienced at home. It also could become a source of confusion for other school children.”
The first petition was addressed to Archbishop Joseph Naumann and school Superintendent Kathy O’Hara. It read, “Respectfully, we believe that the decision to deny a child of God access to such a wonderful community and education, based on the notion that his or her parent’s union is not in accordance with the Church’s teaching in Sacramental marriage, lacks the compassion and mercy of Christ’s message.”
O’Hara responded in part, “Matrimony is held up by the Catholic Church as a sacrament entered into between a man and a woman. Marriage is considered the building block of the family, of society, and the heart of the church. The Church’s teaching on marriage is clear and is not altered by the laws of civil society … The Church teaches that individuals with same sex attraction should be treated with dignity. However, the challenge regarding same sex couples and our Catholic schools is that same sex parents cannot model behaviors and attitudes regarding marriage and sexual morality consistent with essential components of the Church’s teachings.”
The second petition, addressed to Naumann, stated that it was created by “concerned faithful”’ in the archdiocese. It asserted, “It is clear that the rapid secularization of our society is increasingly causing hostility to the practice of the Catholic faith. Unfortunately, the lack of sound catechesis can leave many Catholics to form their consciences on these issues based on the opinions of the world rather than the immutable truths of the Gospel.” It stated to Naumann, “Especially given the activity of many pressure groups in the Church today, we are all the more encouraged by your steadfast decision to uphold the perennial truths of the moral law – for everyone’s good.”
The petition added, “We are saddened to witness such attacks directed against our Mother the Church, and against you personally, in the aftermath of the decision of Saint Ann Catholic School not to admit as a student the child of a same sex ‘couple.’ Although we are all sinners, and we cannot judge the intentions of the persons involved as faith-filled Catholics striving to raise all Catholic children in a hostile world, we know the grave damage that can be done by scandal.”