“Compassion and Persuasion”

Cardinal Seán O’Malley addresses the issue (you know: The Life Issue Bigger Than Torture) on his blog.

Catholic schools exist for the good of the children and our admission standards must reflect that. We have never had categories of people who were excluded.

The Archbishop of Boston makes for a masterful diplomat, praising the pastor who, with the school principal, bounced that same-sex household student. Denver archdiocesan policy (if there is even such a thing) cannot be summarily dismissed, either, it seems. Of course, not all commentariats are completely happy, not here or here.

Yet it’s still interesting that as of 8AM this morning, I could find only three references among the usual suspects in the Catholic blogosphere. (Other than the cardinal’s own.) Two from the more progressive half of internet Catholics. Pewsitter picked up the feed, too, but they didn’t want to get stained by a direct link to his blog. They hitched me up to Boston.com … where the “reporter” cut and pasted the cardinal’s whole blog post.

The dissenters, for the time being, are dismissed with the first two words:

Going forward, we will be consulting on these issues with a wide-range of people …

I attended Catholic schools for seven years. I was on staff at parishes with schools for another fourteen. Sometimes protesters have the best interests of their children in mind. Sometimes it’s just petty self-interest and has nothing to do with the kids.

This will be a tough swallow, any way it goes. Sure, children are involved. But at the root, the prime consideration is Christ, not the sensitivity of the kids. The truth is that these Catholic school kids all have the option to slide off to the public school tomorrow and see if the grass is greener there. The education they receive will probably not be altered significantly for their future prospects as college students or job holders. So what is the distinctiveness of the Catholic school, and what will or should that mean for the comfort level of parents? Why should the challenges of the Gospel be reserved for “obvious” sinners? Because you know the kids themselves–until they reach age ten or eleven or so–are largely unconcerned with the parents of their peers. In my experience, the first thing you start noticing is who has rich parents and who doesn’t. Not even high school kids have much interest in what goes on behind closed bedroom doors.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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