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The Ethical "Hard Case"

The newest controversy, among many others, popping up around the nation is whether Catholic schools should be required to admit the children of homosexual couples. The Chicago Tribune compiles the latest details in the brewing controversy.

I understand the parents' concerns that the presence of the twin boys at the California school may lead other students to think that homosexuality is just another "lifestyle choice." However, the idea that these two little kids will be mouthpieces for the gay agenda seems far-fetched and neurotic. More and more, people want laws and rules to shield them from taking the responsibility of raising their kids. Good parenting and education should safely "insulate" your children from entertaining the validity of homosexuality.

It seems to me a simple matter of justice to let these kids attend the Catholic school. It is not as though they had the choice to be adopted by gays who wanted to play "parents." If we are really concerned about their well-being, the Christian thing to do would be to welcome them (and their parents) into an inviting Christian environment and effectively communicate the truth of the Gospel. There may be a breakdown on two levels: parents who don't want to do the heavy lifting of forming the moral fabric of their child's conscience and schools that don't want to teach Catholic morality for fear of having to offend anyone. If Catholic schools confidently asserted truth, then there would be no controversy over admitting these boys.

While I think various Catholic schools should have their own policies over whom they get to admit (parishioners only, Catholics only, everyone and their brother, etc), I don't like lawsuits by various folks being filed to compel the Catholic schools to admit certain folks. It would be sort of ironic that gay couples would sue to enforce acceptance of their morals and lifestyle on a community that vocally disapproves. But that of course, is today's liberal version of tolerance.

Once again, it all goes back to the abandonment of responsibility (across the ideological spectrum). Let's go after fast food, cigarette companies, and impose insular, narrow-minded policies that allow me to abdicate the hard-work of parenting, and having to live by, or assert, uncomfortable moral truths.

I would love to get some comments on this question, as the solution is not clear cut by any means.


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Comments (1)


I agree in principle that if Catholic schools just strongly asserted the truth, there would be no real issue. However, I wonder if that is the wisest path from an institutional point of view. It seems that in the good old days Catholic schools, especially in urban and suburban areas, taught the faith without shame and many, many Protestant or even secular parents sent their children there for the academics and/or discipline. But what became of those schools? Most today are compromised by secularism, and one could argue that what caused this secularization was, at least in part, the infiltration of secular families with secular values. Certainly the 60s and 70s were not a golden age for catechesis, but did the pure faith become a base alloy by a carefree intermixing of secular students?

There is a certain Christian private school in Bloomington that is as committed to its clear mission as it is uncommitted to the concept of a just wage. Perhaps you are familiar with it. The militancy of that school’s adherence to its first principles (the living wage is not among them) is remarkable, but even such a fiercely committed and independent group as that has seen undeniable slippage. Why? Because they began to attract secular families and then had to expend more and more psychic energy addressing the concerns of the families. But they had difficulty turning away secular families because they wanted to grow.

This is how I ended up with a Protestant kid in my Catholic Doctrine course. His parents were informed that the Catholic Doctrine class was designed…well…for Catholics. But the parents were basically secular Lutherans and their precious and precocious little boy had expressed an interest in learning about the debased Catholics, so they wanted him to get his way. Much debate ensued internally. Is CD a survey course? Isn’t it a tenant of Tradition that the Reformation was a Bad Thing? What assumptions are made about a 9th grader’s knowledge of the faith that would not be there for a kid not raised Catholic? Would the teacher have to do a little occasional tutoring? Would he get paid extra for it? (Answer: No.) One would think the school could simply route the little guy to the ironically named “Protestant Doctrine” course, but it became a big deal and there I was with a bright and inquisitive Lutheran front and center in my Catholic Doctrine class.

This was nothing compared to the wackiness that ensued when the secular Muslim boy was admitted to the 10th grade. It was like working on a sit-com set. Does he have to stand when the students pray? Can he be exempted from the hygiene since short cropped hair is considered effeminate in Jordan? Will a certain Dean of Boys of Chicago/Italian decent be able to stand it without going postal? Ha-ha, I’m gonna bust a gut. But wait. He turned out to be so secularized that he learned the prayers through osmosis and then habitually said them aloud with everyone else. Hmmm…there’s “fitting in” and then there’s…well, it turned out to be a non-issue because his father found out he was reciting Christian prayers and went ballistic. So he withdrew, but the damage was done. No one got a raise.

I think it’s very hard to hold tight to the narrow path as an institution. It would be unjust to deny the children of homosexuals admittance out of hand, but the school that is dealing with this ought to do some serious soul searching. Thanks to the alleged faith formation of the previous generation, there is enough dissent and distraction among people claiming to be Catholic for these schools just in teaching about chastity, about the indissolubility of marriage and of course respect for life. A school should never say that children of homosexuals are not welcome because they are not valued as human beings, but a school ought to feel free to say that children of homosexuals would undermine the mission of the school and do harm to the greater good.

But, as you mentioned, that question is academic. As even rich public schools tank academically and socially, liberals will sue for admittance to Catholic schools and they will win. What they don’t realize is that they have already won by infiltrating for a generation or more. The values and prejudice that they bring will have to be reckoned with because they are locusts of the soul and they will surely destroy Catholic schools as they did public schools.

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