A Jesuit school for underprivileged boys in Worcester, Massachusetts, can no longer call itself Catholic after flying the Pride and Black Lives Matter flags, according to the local bishop.
“The waving of these flags in front of a Catholic school sends a mixed, confusing and outrageous message to the public about the church’s position on these important moral and social issues,” Bishop Robert J. McManus said in an executive order banning the school. of the Nativity. to call themselves Catholic.
McManus, who is a traditionalist who has been both arrested for drunk driving and accused of cover up allegations of clerical sexual abusewent on to say that the waving flags that support these movements are “inconsistent with Catholic teaching” despite Pope Francis’ desire to open the door to gay Catholics.
On Tuesday, Francis, a Jesuit, stressed his wish for a more inclusive church and said mainstream Catholics, especially in the United States, were “gaging” attempts to modernize the church. “The number of groups of ‘restorers’ – for example, in the United States there are many – is significant,” Francis told the editors of the Jesuit newspaper. La Civilta Cattolica. “Restorationism has come to gag the council.”
McManus first opposed the Pride and Black Lives Matter movements in a open letter on the diocese’s website in early May, when he urged the School of the Nativity to remove the symbols it had displayed since January 2021. It is unclear why McManus acted days before the June 19 national holiday and in the middle of pride month.
“These symbols that embody specific agendas or ideologies contradict Catholic social and moral teaching,” he wrote. “Gay pride flags not only represent support for gay marriage, but also encourage an active LGBTQ+ lifestyle. Others in society may say that is fine. These people can do wonderful humanitarian work. But an institution that calls itself Catholic cannot condone this behavior, even though the Catholic Church will “go to the mat” teaching that we must love those with whom we disagree.”
The Bishop also strongly opposes the Black Lives Matter movement, which he says is against the traditional family. “The BLM movement also contradicts Catholic social teaching on the role of the family,” he wrote. “The BLM movement, in its own words, is ‘committed to disrupting the Western-mandated nuclear family structure requirement,’ which is another clear example of an ideological tenet that conflicts with Catholic teaching. .”
McManus had previously criticized the BLM, saying the movement had been “co-opted by factions that also instill widespread distrust of the police and those charged with enforcing our laws.” In his May statement, he instead said the BLM movement was “affirming queer” and “affirming trans.”
The school’s website says 46% of its students are black, 33% are Hispanic or Latino, and 2% are white.
The School of the Nativity can no longer celebrate Mass or the sacraments, and it will be removed from the diocesan repertoire and banned from raising funds from Catholic institutions, which have been essential to the school’s service to underprivileged boys. “While we all share the desire of all of our students, especially our inner city black and brown students, to feel safe and welcome, we must uphold the moral axiom that ‘the end does not justify the means. “, McManus written in the formal decree published on June 16.
Nativity speaker Thomas McKenney condemned McManus’ action, which he said he was appealing, and vowed he would not change the way the school was run, including in the calling it a Jesuit school. He said the school would also continue to fly both flags “as a visible sign of the school’s solidarity with our students, our families and their communities.”
McKenny added that the school is independently funded and does not receive money directly from the diocese. “As a multicultural school, the flags represent inclusion and respect for all,” he said in a statement. “These flags simply indicate that all are welcome at the Nativity and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching. Commitment to our mission, grounded in and driven by Gospel values, Catholic social teaching and our heritage Jesuit compels us to do so.