An Open Letter To CHS Leadership
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On June 23rd, Cathedral High School announced via a letter sent to the Cathedral community that it will “separate” from an LGBTQ+ teacher, based on “direct guidance that it received from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis headed by Archbishop Charles Thompson. Cathedral stated that this discussion between the Archdiocese and the school has been ongoing for 22 months, and culminated in the Archbishop claiming that the “continued employment of a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting [Cathedral High School’s] Catholic identity."
This decision is simply not acceptable, and we, as members of the larger Cathedral community, need to stand against it. Below is a letter written by members of the Cathedral community who felt strongly about this issue and wanted to make our anger shown. If you are opposed to this policy and wish to stand with the LGBTQ+ community at Cathedral High School, please read the letter below and sign your name to the petition. Please share your affiliation with Cathedral (by graduation year, or parent/teacher/community member, etc.). Please also note if you will withhold all financial support from Cathedral until a time that the Leadership of Cathedral reverses this decision. The withholding of funds could be refusing to donate, pulling your kids out of school, taking back already promised funds, or any other way you believe appropriate.
Chairman of the Board Matt Cohoat, Members of the Board, President Rob Bridges, and Principal Dave Worland,
The Board of Directors and the administration of Cathedral High School has decided to terminate or no longer renew contracts with faculty or staff based on an employee’s marital status, specifically if the employee is in an open same-sex marriage. We, as members of the Cathedral community, write to inform the Leadership of Cathedral High School of our disapproval and objection to this policy decision.
As the Leadership should know, Cathedral High School with its reunification with the Brothers of Holy Cross, has officially embraced several core values including integrity, family, and inclusiveness and diversity. Cathedral prided itself on its diversity— even going so far as to inscribe this value in its mission. Yet when faced with this demand from Archbishop Charles Thompson and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Cathedral has not lived up to its promise. Therefore, we, the undersigned community, insist Cathedral live up to this mission and support a diverse environment that is welcoming and inclusive to all, but especially LGBTQ+ people, that enter the hill. To discriminate against a teacher or staff member based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status sends a clear message: that Cathedral does not foster a welcoming or accepting environment. Please consider how your decision will be received by the young LGBTQ+ students entrusted to your care. In choosing to terminate or not renew contracts with LGBTQ+ employees, the Leadership of Cathedral High School tells each of these students that they are not welcome. This message we firmly reject.
The decision to follow this demand from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is neither a Catholic nor a Christian one, but instead is an act of unjust discrimination and exclusion, not in keeping with the Catholic call to acceptance, defined by respect, compassion, and sensitivity. This policy decision comes at a time when the global Church, exemplified by the papacy of Pope Francis, has embraced a more inclusive stance and pastoral tone toward the LGBTQ+ community. In 2013, Pope Francis made headlines saying, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” He went on to say, “The catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says they should not be marginalized because of this [orientation] but that they must be integrated into society." As each graduate knows, Cathedral wholeheartedly embraces the Holy Cross value of family. In keeping with this value, we hope that the Leadership of Cathedral take note of the advice Pope Francis gave to parents of gay children on his flight to Ireland in August of 2018: “Don’t condemn. Dialogue. Understand…. This child has the right to a family. And the family not throwing him out.” At a time when Pope Francis has called us as people of faith to go to the margins, to more fully welcome the other, Cathedral has chosen to follow the Archdiocese's move to further segregate, separate, and discriminate, as has been seen in incidents at both Roncalli High School and Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.
The actions taken by the Leadership of Cathedral High School, whether informed by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis or not, stand opposed to the Holy Cross values Cathedral has instilled in generations of students. Many of the undersigned write to you today as graduates committed to the Holy Cross values of integrity, family, and inclusiveness and diversity, formed in us by Cathedral High School. From our four years in the hallways of Cathedral, we have developed, in the words of Blessed Basil Moreau, "the competency to see and the courage to act." Therefore, as servant leaders, role models, and citizens of the world we feel the need to speak against this decision of the Leadership of Cathedral who have been entrusted to oversee its care.
To embrace a policy which leads to the termination of competent, hardworking, and dedicated faculty and staff is a failure on the part of both the Leadership of Cathedral High School and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to respect the God-given dignity and a violation of the rights of its employees and workers.
The undersigned names are comprised of current students, alumni, current and former teachers and staff, current and former parents/guardians, and general community members who affirm this letter. We do not support the decision of the Leadership of Cathedral High School to embrace a policy which requires terminating or no longer renewing contracts with faculty or staff based on an employee’s open same-sex marital status. We stand together to remind Cathedral’s leaders of what it means to be a Christian, especially in the Holy Cross tradition, and to lead a life like Jesus Christ, as the school officials turn their backs on His teachings. We vow to make our objection to this policy known and heard until the Leadership of Cathedral High School formally and officially retracts this policy and embrace one of non-discrimination.
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