A Jesuit-sponsored high school in Indiana has asked the Vatican to overturn Indianapolis Archbishop Charles Thompson’s decision to revoke the school’s Catholic identity, and announced that a scheduled Mass for the opening of the academic year is not permitted at the school.
Fr. William Verbryke, SJ, president of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, announced this week that the Jesuits have begun the process of appealing a June decree from Thompson, which said that the Archdiocese of Indianapolis will no longer recognize the school as Catholic.
“The appeal process is being led by Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J., the Provincial of the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), and his staff, in conjunction with input and support from our school leadership,” Verbryke wrote in an Aug. 4 letter.
“The first stage of the appeal involved formally requesting that the Archbishop reconsider and rescind his decree. He declined to do that. We are now in the second stage of the appeal, in which Fr. Paulson, on behalf of Brebeuf Jesuit, has asked the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome to consider and address the issues at hand and, hopefully, suspend the effects of the decree during the appeal process.”
Thompson’s June 21 decree was issued after a disagreement about the school’s employment of a teacher who attempted to contract a same-sex marriage.
“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 ministers must convey and be supportive of all teachings of the Catholic Church,” the archdiocese said in a June 20 statement.
Teachers, the archdiocese said in June, are classified as ‘ministers’ because “it is their duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. To effectively bear witness to Christ, whether they teach religion or not, all ministers in their professional and private lives must convey and be supportive of Catholic Church teaching.”
“Regrettably, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School has freely chosen not to enter into such agreements that protect the important ministry of communicating the fullness of Catholic teaching to students. Therefore, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School will no longer be recognized as a Catholic institution by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.”
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