INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Archbishop of Indianapolis spoke publicly for the first time Thursday regarding the controversy surrounding teachers in same-sex marriages at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and Cathedral High School.
Archbishop Charles Thompson expressed that his order for Cathedral to fire a gay staff member was not about sexual orientation, but was about upholding church teachings on same-sex marriage. In that case, he said it must be addressed.
The school says they’ve been discussing the issue with the Archdiocese for 22 months after the ministerial language in contracts was changed four years ago.
“This language was intended for two purposes, one was to first affirm the roles as vital ministers on the faith and to ensure there was a common or shared language around our roles and responsibilities,” said Gina Fleming, Superintendent of Catholic Schools.
Fleming went on to explain that Brebeuf and Cathedral high schools both expressed concern with the new language. At that time, officials were already notified about established relationships that did not align with the church.
“The first thing is how do we accompany them, how do we work with the situation to accompany them with teachings of the church.”
Even if that means dissolving the union of same-sex marriage. The two clarify this would happen in any situation where practices are contrary to church teachings.
However, Superintendent Fleming says the language is strictly for personnel who serve as mentors to students.
“They are not employees of the church. So it’s our job to educate and inform them as young people still developing holistically, spiritually, academically, socially and emotionally,” said Fleming.
This is something some Cathedral alumni don’t agree with, which was expressed at a prayer vigil at the Catholic Center, Thursday evening.
“The truth of the matter is the message they sent to the students is as much as the church says we love and we welcome LGBT students they have made a statement that says that may be true but you cannot love like a heterosexual couple can,” said Dr. Casey Hayes, Cathedral class of 1989 alum.
Students also disagree with the decision.
“I feel a lot of the disappointment is at the Archdiocese because they forced our school into making this action,” said Camilla Whipple, senior at Cathedral High School.
Whipple adds that she grew up in a Catholic household with parents who did not identify sexual orientation as a sin.
Archbishop Thompson says they were hoping for different resolutions, but stands firmly by the decision to separate, while praying for those involved.
“I pray for everyone. I pray for people who are sharing their disappointment with me I pray for them. The people writing to encourage and support me I pray for them,” said Archbishop Thompson.
He believes the pope would back him up, but Pope Francis has not weighed in.