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Archdiocese To Cut Ties With Brebeuf Over Teacher In Same-Sex Marriage

A Catholic priest conducts Communion.

(Pixabay)

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis will end its relationship with Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School because the school would not fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage, school leaders say.

The private northwest Indianapolis school will no longer be recognized as a Catholic school by the Archdiocese. The decision is expected to be published Friday in the local Catholic newspaper The Criterion.

Brebeuf leaders say the Archdiocese took an “unprecedented” action by insisting during the past two years to dismiss a “highly capable and qualified teacher” because they are married to a same-sex partner.

The Archdiocese, in a statement, said all teachers, guidance counselors and administrators are recognizes as ministers -- and ministers in their professional and private lives must follow Catholic Church teachings.

"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 statement read.

In an open letter to the Brebeuf community, Father William Verbryke, the school’s president, and others, called the issue a “sincere and significant disagreement.”

“After long and prayerful consideration, we determined that following the Archdiocese’s directive would not only violate our informed conscience on this particular matter, but also set a concerning precedent for future interference in the school’s operations and other governance matters that Brebeuf Jesuit leadership has historically had the sole right and privilege to address and decide,” Verbryke and others wrote in the letter.

Brian G. Paulson, provincial for the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, called the decree a "disappointing development" in the ongoing fight, according to a statement posted to the group's website.

Paulson says Archdiocese will allow Jesuit priests to serve in leadership at Brebeuf Jesuit and retain their ability to celebrate Mass on campus. Despite the decree, Paulson says, “Brebeuf Jesuit still affirms its identity and mission as a Catholic Jesuit school and the Midwest Jesuits still regard it as a sponsored work.”

Brebeuf was founded in 1962. It is rated A for academics by the state education department. This past school year it enrolled nearly 800 students in grade grades 9-12, with a faculty and staff of 132.

Last year, Brebeuf received $375,583 in state funds from school vouchers, which allows some parents to apply public school dollars toward private school tuition.

The Archdiocese’s decision comes more than a year after another one of its schools, Roncalli High School, did not renew a counselor’s contract because of her marriage to a woman. A second Roncalli counselor has since said she also lost her job because of her same-sex relationship.

This story has been updated.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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