Chalk it up to turning the other cheek, or perhaps a blind eye, but the superintendent of parochial schools in Hingham, MA says she'll help the 3rd grader who who was banned from attending St. Paul Elementary School because of having lesbian parents find another Catholic school to attend .
The Associated Press reports that superintendent Mary Grassa O'Neill said in a statement discordant with the school's actions, "We believe that every parent who wishes to send their child to a Catholic school should have the opportunity to pursue that dream." That dream? Of sending their child to Catholic school? People dream about sending their kids to Harvard, sure. But sending your kid to Catholic school shouldn't be something you have to dream about. It should be an easily achieved reality. The Church finally accepting homosexuality as natural and not a disease or sin - now that's a dream.
The family at the heart of the controversy has remained anonymous, but the parent O'Neill spoke with said "she was uncertain she would enroll her son in another Catholic school because she needed to learn more about their educational programs." It seems odd to me that a parent wouldn't understand religious education is a major component of attending Catholic school, a point O'Neill drove home. She said, "The schools expect parents to understand that the teachings of the Church are an important component of the curriculum and are part of the students' educational experience," but also stressed that the Boston Archdiocese "doesn't bar children of same-sex parents from attending Catholic schools, and that it will develop a policy in the coming weeks to make that clear."
The Boston Globe reports that "the Family Equality Council, a rights group for gay and lesbian families, called the exclusion of the student indefensible." Executive director Jennifer Chrisler said Thursday, "If the parents of the child want their son's admission reinstated, the school should welcome him back immediately." Right. It doesn't make sense that the Boston Archdiocese has the autonomy to suggest they wouldn't deny the child of gay people access to education, yet the individual schools have the same freedom to reject a student with gay parents. If the Archdiocese is willing to allow the boy to attend a Catholic school, why not St. Paul's?
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