Brebeuf takes case to Rome after archbishop’s decree results in split with Catholic Church

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Brebeuf Jesuit will take its appeal to Rome after the Indianapolis Archdiocese issued a decree stripping the school of its Catholic identity in a dispute involving a teacher in a same-sex marriage.

Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School hopes to be recognized by the Catholic Church once again. In June, Archbishop Charles Thompson said the school would no longer be identified or recognized as Catholic.

The decree came after leaders at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School refused to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage. The school already asked the archbishop to reconsider his decision; Thompson declined to do so.

The next step for the school is to appeal to the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome. The school hopes the appeals process results in the temporary suspension of the decree. Ultimately, school leaders hope the decree is overturned.

While the archbishop has agreed to allow the school to celebrate daily Mass in the school chapel each day before classes, Thompson declined to grant his permission for various other Masses.

Brebeuf President the Rev. Bill Verbryke sent a letter to the community on the matter:

We are disappointed and saddened by the Archbishop’s decision; however, our appeal includes our request for the ability to have school Masses on campus once again. We earnestly hope to be able to celebrate the Eucharist as an entire school community again in the near future. However, we must, and do, acknowledge the authority of the Archbishop with respect to the celebration of Mass within the Archdiocese. In lieu of celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit as a traditional opening-of-the-school-year Mass on Thursday, August 15, our Brebeuf Jesuit community will call upon the blessings of the Holy Spirit in our school community for this academic year by holding a school-wide prayer service during the school day.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis issued the following statement on the matter:

In the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, every archdiocesan Catholic school and private Catholic school has been instructed to clearly state in its contracts and ministerial job descriptions that all administrators, teachers and guidance counselors must convey and be supportive of all teachings of the Catholic Church. Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School freely chose not to implement these practices and therefore decided to no longer be recognized as a Catholic institution in the Archdiocese. Out of pastoral concern and charity, Archbishop Charles C. Thompson has given permission for Mass to be celebrated every day in the school chapel before the start of school.

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