BROKEN HILL, Australia, December 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Catholic bishop in Australia has ordered one of his schools to overturn a decision refusing admission to a girl whose ‘parents’ are in a homosexual relationship, calling the decision “absolutely appalling.”
“[There is] no way in the world that we can persecute a child because of what their parents did,” Bishop Kevin Manning, apostolic administrator for the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes, told The Australian on Wednesday in response to media reports that the girl’s application for 2012 to Sacred Heart Primary School in Broken Hill had been rejected.
“You can’t discriminate against a child on the grounds that the parents are in a homosexual relationship,” he continued. “You are vesting the sins of the parents on the child - it’s quite wrong.”
Though the bishop ordered the school to offer a spot to the girl, the homosexual couple have rejected it.
The incident prompted a member of the New South Wales Green party to call for an end to exemptions for the Church under the country’s “anti-discrimination” laws.
Because of the exemptions, “schools such as Sacred Heart in Broken Hill can turn around and victimise a child because it has two parents who are living in a same-sex relationship,” MP John Kaye told ABC News. “It’s a loophole that is an offence against the society that celebrates diversity.”
The country’s Catholic Education Office in Sydney told The Australian that Catholic schools take a “very inclusive approach to enrollment,” but noted at the same time that “parental support for the ethos of the Catholic school would be critical for any enrollment in a school to be accepted.”
This situation in Australia follows a controversy over the same issue in the U.S. in 2010, when two of the country’s leading Catholic prelates took opposing stances.
While Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston reversed a decision by a local elementary school to refuse admittance to a child from a homosexual household, and then published guidelines condemning such “discrimination,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia (then of Denver) upheld a similar decision by a Denver school.
“Most parents who send their children to Catholic schools want an environment where the Catholic faith is fully taught and practiced,” wrote Archbishop Chaput. “That simply can’t be done if teachers need to worry about wounding the feelings of their students or about alienating students from their parents.”
Since Catholic schools owe Catholic students the full teaching of the truth and children being brought up by homosexual couples could be hurt by the teachings, the archbishop said, allowing them into Catholic schools “isn’t fair to anyone—including the wider school community.”
Bishop Manning said he will be calling on Australia’s bishops to act on the issue. “I will be taking this to the Australian bishops and asking them to make some pretty clear statements,” he told The Australian.