In late February, parents of children attending the St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, Kansas were informed that a child of a same-sex couple was unable to enroll because of their parental situation. Now, over 1,000 Catholic parents and members of the parish have signed a petition to grant the child enrollment.
The contention began on February 27th, when St. Ann’s pastor Rev. Craig J. Maxim sent a letter to parents outlining the situation. In the letter, Maxim said he sought the advice of the Archdiocese of Kansas City.
“To summarize,” Maxim wrote, “the Archdiocese states that since same sex unions are not in the conformance with the Church’s teaching on sacramental marriage and these unions have no current ability to bring their relationship into conformity, the parents cannot model behaviors and attitudes consistent with the Church’s teachings.”
The petition, written by another couple within the community, rebuts the Archdiocese’s reasoning, stating that the school has previously accepted non-Catholic students. Furthermore, the Archdiocese isn’t taking other forms of “modern marriages” that may be “inconsistent with the Church’s teaching” into consideration, such as children with divorced parents, remarriages without annulments, or families that have undergone vasectomies and fertility treatments.
On Wednesday, March 6th, school Superintendent Kathy O’Hara responded to the petition via a statement to The Star. She wrote that the “Church’s teaching on marriage is clear and is not altered by the laws of civil society,” adding that Catholic doctrine sees marriage “as a sacrament entered into between a man and woman.”
“The Church teaches that individuals with same sex attraction should be treated with dignity,” the statement continues. “However, the challenge regarding same sex couples and our Catholic schools is that same sex parents cannot model behaviors and attitudes regarding marriage and sexual morality consistent with essential components of the Church’s teachings.”
O’Hara concluded that it would be unfair to place a child of a same-sex couple in a schooling situation where the “values of the parents and the core principles of the school conflict.”
While it seems as though St. Ann’s will not bend on this regressive ruling for now, we’re glad that so many members of the community took a stand and spoke up on behalf of a same-sex couple. Change on these issues is often slow—and not always linear—but it takes people speaking up to make it happen.