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Archbishop Punishes School That Won't Fire Gay Teacher

Archbishop of Indianapolis Charles Thompson says it can no longer call itself Catholic
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2019 3:11 AM CDT
In this June 13, 2017 photo, Bishop Charles Thompson speaks after he is introduced as the new archbishop of Indianapolis in Indianapolis.   (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

(Newser) – A Jesuit high school that refuses to fire a longtime teacher who is in a same-sex marriage no longer qualifies as Catholic, according to the Archbishop of Indianapolis. Archbishop Charles Thompson plans to issue a decree Friday saying Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School "can no longer use the name Catholic and will no longer be identified or recognized as a Catholic institution," the AP reports. All teachers and other employees, Thompson says, must "convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching." Trustees from the high school said in a statement that they "respectfully declined" the archdiocese's demand "that we dismiss a highly capable and qualified teacher due to the teacher being a spouse within a civilly recognized same-sex marriage."

The Very Rev. Brian Paulson, who heads the Midwest Province of Jesuits, says the teacher involved is a "longtime valued employee." He says the school plans to appeal the decision all the way to the Vatican if necessary. Since it is run by the Jesuit order, the school has more independence than other Catholic schools, and trustees say they plan to keep it that way. "It is rare for a Catholic institution not only to side with its LGBT faculty members, but also do so in the face of such fierce opposition from a bishop," the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who wants the church to do more to welcome LGBT Catholics, tells CNN. Principal Greg VanSlambrook says Brebuef still plans to call itself an "independent Jesuit Catholic school." (Read more Catholic Church stories.)

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