Mar 102010

One of the most common rebuttals to the situation of the children being raised by Lesbian couple  not being able to attend a Catholic schools is the seeming issue of fairness.  That a equal standard is not being applied to other irregular situations involving heterosexual couples and the children being raised by them.  I agree with Jimmy Akin take on this and as he usually does he puts it succinctly.

You see, an awful lot of parents of kids in Catholic school aren’t morally perfect, and if children were to be excluded on the mere grounds that their parents are sinners then enrollment would be quite low indeed.

And this is true. If a Catholic school applied that kind of test in determining enrollment then it would thwart its principal mission, which is providing a Catholic education to students to help them be more holy and closer to God.

So, “Your child can’t enroll because you’re a sinner” is a nonstarter as a principle of enrollment.

But does it follow from this that a parents’ actions should have no bearing on the enrollment of their children? Couldn’t certain actions of the parents cause such a problem that it would fundamentally interfere with the school’s mission?

Suppose that the parents insisted that their child attend the school naked (and suppose that civil law allowed this, for purposes of the thought experiment).

This fundamental rejection of the school’s dress code would cause such severe problems that the school would be entirely warranted in saying, “I’m sorry, but your child cannot come to school if you’re going to insist on nakedness.”

That’s an extreme, but it’s not hard to see how having a child in class whose “parents” are of the same gender could interfere with the mission of the school:

1) It will impede the ability of teachers to be frank about the nature of marriage due to the problems that will ensue with a child in this situation in the classroom.

2) The child will also become a proselytizer for homosexual “marriage” and/or be tormented relentlessly by other children.

3) The other children will be scandalized (in both the proper and the colloquial senses) by knowledge of the child’s situation.

4) All of the above will be exacerbated to the extent that the “parents” have any presence at or try to play any role in the life of the school.

So . . . bad idea.

It’s not the fact that the “parents” are sinners that makes it rational for the school to deny their children entrance. It is the fact that the nature of their public relationship is such that either the school would have to refrain from teaching the fullness of Christian doctrine regarding the nature of matrimony or tremendous problems would arise with a child in this situation in the student body.

At least that’s how I see it.

How do you? [National Catholic Register Blog]

Catholic schools can’t become Parent Cops seeking out the situations of the children’s parents.  But the situation of a same-sex couple is apparent from the get go and is quite public.  The situation for the child is of course quite hard.  Dawn Stefanowicz a child who grew up with same-sex parents has worked with many other children from similar situations and it is a very difficult circumstance for those children.

  9 Responses to “Fairness of it all”

  1. I think the example of parents requiring students to attend school naked is a poor one and does not translate as it is something the student would be doing. It would only translate if in the current situation, the lesbian parents required that their student take a lesbian spouse at school. The point is that the student is being punished for what the parents are doing. A different example is needed. Also the school’s reasoning needs to either also apply to divorced/remarried couples, or provide a sound reason why it shouldn’t.

  2. No one is being “punished” in this case. A vulnerable child has been placed in the unfortunate position of instead of being raised by a mother and a father who love her and love each other, is being raised by two women who are in a sinful and abnormal relationship. Society once protected children from being placed in this situation, but no longer. The Catholic school must fulfill its mission of proclaiming the truth , including the truth about such relationships, however to do so in a classroom setting in the case of this kindergarten-age child would likely be traumatizing for her. Ideally, a vulnerable child would not be exposed to an irregular and sinful relationship at all, but since the adults she regards as her parents are in such a relationship, to prevent her from being possibly traumatized (further, I should add), it is better for her not to learn the truth at such a young age, in a classroom setting, with no one she loves and trusts to help her process it.

    Life and choices are not just about the desires of the adults involved – children are profoundly affected by adults’ choices, as well. And the younger the child is, the more vulnerable he or she is. Society once understood this; now the concern of so many adults is “have it my way”, and to h*ll with how this affects anyone else – including little kids, who desperately need their Moms as well as their Dads. Substitutes and play-acting to suit the adults aren’t good enough, no matter how much we pretend they are, and lying about it to children isn’t any good either.

    This little tyke is in a difficult enough spot as it is without a Mom and a Dad and a proper home; the Church is right to protect her peace-of-mind from being further compromised.

  3. I do not agree with Jimmy when there is a situation like the one I have been in for twenty years.

    It is why I am no longer Catholic.

  4. Tough situation that requires tough decisions. If the couple is openly defying the Word of God and Church teachings, what other option does the school, the Priest, or the Bishop have than to tell them to go somewhere else. Is it “fair,” that depends on your interpretation of what God tells us. There is no gray area with this issue. If we condone this lifestyle, we assist in the continuing destruction of the family. We should continue to love and pray for the couple and the children.

  5. One more thing. Most of us who are sinners do NOT go about bragging about it, nor displaying the sin for everyone to see.

  6. Lydia McGrew blew the “What about other sinners?” argument out of the water:

    I think it’s very important to remember that if two lesbians are the “parents” of a child, the teachers are going to have to refer to them both as “your mother.” Think about that. The gay couple with the child in school forces the school personnel to affirm the homosexual agenda continually in words and in deeds. This does not apply to heterosexual couples, yes, including those who are divorced and remarried without annulments. It is far, far more of an affirmation of a perverse attempt to remold reality for the teacher to refer to a child as having “two mommies” than for the teacher to refer to the stepfather as “your dad” and the biological mother as “your mom.” The situation with the two lesbians co-opts the school for the homosexual agenda in a special way. Consider the implications for a situation like the one with Lisa Miller that we have discussed elsewhere. Her former partner is claiming to be the child’s other mother and demanding full rights in law. Imagine if they had stayed together longer before Lisa repented and got out of the relationship, and imagine that they had sent the child to, say, a Catholic preschool. Janet Jenkins would be able to say, “The Catholic teachers at the Catholic preschool called me Isabella’s mother! What’s the matter with all the rest of you?” A very powerful sociological message, there, and one which Catholic and other Christian schools should not cooperate in sending.

  7. Ever more satisfied that leaving the Catholic Church was the right decision.

  8. Scott W, thanks for sharing. That’s an interesting point.

    EP, hetereosexuality isn’t defined by the Catholic Church as a “grave disorder”, so the divorced/remarried couples aren’t an equal comparison. Perhaps a better comparison would be an unmarried woman sending her donor-conceived child to a school in which she’d have a traditionally “feminine” education, be taught that her mother’s lifestyle is wrong and artificial insemination is an affront to nature, and have to sign an agreement to follow the school’s rules about behavior and modesty of dress even when off-campus. (Incidentally, there are such schools near me: a Muslim girls school and a traditional “Bible” college.)

    Incidentally, there is a precedent for turning away children from parochial schools for their parents’ beliefs. I went to college with a young man who was not welcome back after his second year at a Jesuit school, as his atheist father became such a nuisance by insisting on curriculum changes, making his son drop out of extracurricular activities, etc. The strange part was that his father had enrolled him, believing strongly in the benefits of a Jesuit education, but somehow overlooked that his teachers would all be religious.

  9. The Church has always been clear about the meaning of marriage and it is to be expected that a Catholic school would be faithful in teaching the same. The refusal to enroll the child is not a punishment but an attempt to protect the child from difficulties that will surely arise from the difference between what the child will learn from school and experience at home.

    It is always with difficulty understanding such desire to subject oneself into that which they want to change for themselves.

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