A Kansas Catholic school has sparked outrage over its decision to ban the child of a same-sex couple from attending kindergarten at a local Catholic grade school, reports CBS Kansas City, Missouri affiliate KCTV.
In response, more than a 1,000 parishioners of the St. Ann Catholic Church in Prairie Village, Kansas and more than 20 other parishes in the metropolitan area signed a petition asking church officials to reconsider their decision.
The online petition addressed to Archbishop Joseph Naumann and school Superintendent Kathy O’Hara, reads in part, “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.”
Many parents say they learned of the decision to exclude children based on the sexual orientation of their parents from an email sent by St. Ann pastor, Father Craig Maxim, to school families.
Maxim said he “sought the advice of the archdiocese since as a parochial school we are subject to the guidance of the archdiocese on the application of church doctrine. … The archdiocese advised against admission.”
“The archdiocese advised against admission,” Father Maxim told parents.
The school’s superintendent Kathy O’Hara said in a statement, “Church’s teaching on marriage is clear and is not altered by the laws of civil society.” Her statement clearly implies being gay is a “choice.”
The Kansas City Star Editorial Board published a lengthy rebuke of the Archdiocese’s decision, noting that while legally they have every right to deny the student, it appears they are “playing favorites among sinners.”
It asks, “Does the school admit the children of parents who aren’t Catholic? Check. What about those who may have had vasectomies, undergone in vitro fertilization, or divorced and remarried without church annulment? Check, check and check.”
“It’s also just reality that some heterosexual relationships that may appear ‘traditional’ on the surface can be anything but,” the editors wrote. “Who knows whether this male-female couple has an agreement that girl- or boyfriends on the side are A-OK? Or if those couples entered into marriages of convenience for reasons of inheritance, citizenship or social status? The school might see parents’ genders, but it can’t look inside their hearts — or their home lives.”
The family that is being discriminated against wishes to remain anonymous and have not responded in public.