In a clash that pits Catholic teachings against shifting values of American society, a group of parishioners and parents has accused Orange County church leaders of defying Pope John Paul II by allowing a gay couple to enroll their two boys in a diocese school.
Eighteen people signed a letter last month demanding that St. John the Baptist School in Costa Mesa accept only families that sign a pledge to live by Catholic doctrine — a move that effectively would kick the boys out of school. The church regards homosexual acts as sinful, and in 2003 the pontiff condemned marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.
"This is not a radical or mean-spirited approach to Catholic education," read the letter. "It is a straightforward assurance to any prospective parent that their child will be taught the fullness of Roman Catholic doctrine."
But Father Martin Benzoni, who oversees the 550-student elementary and middle school, last week rejected the group’s demands. He released a new policy stating that a child’s education comes first and that a family’s background "does not constitute an absolute obstacle to enrollment in the school." [Source]
It seems to me that this effort is mistaken. Accepting a child to a school that has same-sexed parents is not the same thing as defying either the Pope or the truth of the Church’s position on homosexuality. Many Catholic schools enrolls students of other faiths or in cases where the parents have no faith at all. I know of know Vatican documents that restrict Catholic education to only those in one hundred percent in conformity of the Church.
Hugh Hewitt posts in reply to this article:
I doubt there is a Catholic school in the nation that doesn’t have children within it whose parents are divorced and remarried outside of the church, using birth control, or missing Mass on a regular basis. In fact, as a matter of doctrine, I believe all of us are sinners. Proponents of exclusion of the children are thus raising one form of sin to a higher level of condemnation than all others, so high, in fact, as to condemn the innocent children for the sins of their fathers.
I believe that some forms of sin do indeed require a higher form of condemnation then other sins, though I also would not put the sin of the father (or is that fathers?) onto the children. St. Paul made a distinction between the effects of sin when he said "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal. " — 1st John 5:17 His point though is that a more restrictive view towards Catholic education would in fact result in near empty schools since unfortunately there is a small percentage of Catholic who assent to all of what the Church teaches.
I am also unsure of why a homosexual couple would want to enroll their child in a school run by a Church that has been called both hateful and homophobic by activists. Maybe they know that in the majority of Catholic schools know that the children will never actually hear the Church’s true position on homosexual activity. Or it could be a case of activists seeking further inroads into the acceptance of homosexual activity.
‘Well kids what did you learn in school today?’ ‘We learned from the Catechism that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." We also learned from one of the Vatican’s letters that your adopting us is "gravely immoral." Well isn’t that special!’
The above is a fictional conversation and as a result of the education given in most Catholic schools might even be considered in the genre of fantasy.
Benzoni acknowledged the conflict between the two-father family and the teachings of the church, but said that the boys — both kindergarteners, adopted by a pair of Costa Mesa men — had been baptized in the faith and deserved a Catholic education.
It is true that baptized Children deserve a Catholic education, but the real question is why were they allowed to be baptized at all?
Can. 868 §1. For an infant to be baptized licitly:
1/ the parents or at least one of them or the person who legitimately takes their place must consent;
2/ there must be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Catholic religion; if such hope is altogether lacking, the baptism is to be delayed according to the prescripts of particular law after the parents have been advised about the reason.
It seems doubtful as a matter of prudence that an adopted child of an actively homosexual couple should be baptized. There would not seem to be a founded hope that the child will indeed be brought up in the Catholic faith. In most cases it would not be easy for a priest to judge this of parents unless they were public sinners, but in this case it should have been easy when two men calling themselves the parents present a child to be baptized. In these cases the Baptism would be valid but would probably not be licit. The petitioners might have been correct in their opposition if they had originally opposed the baptism, but I don’t believe they were correct to oppose the Catholic education of the Children.