The Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education has temporarily suspended a decree from the Archbishop of Indianapolis that revoked the Catholic identity of a Jesuit high school. The suspension will have effect while the congregation considers an appeal of the decree.
The June 21 decree from Archbishop Charles Thompson said the archdiocese would no longer recognize Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as Catholic, after a disagreement about the school’s employment of a teacher who attempted to contract a same-sex marriage.
Fr. Brian Paulson, SJ, head of the Jesuits’ Midwest Province, has led the appeal of the archbishop’s decree. After Thompson declined to rescind the decree, Paulson turned to the Congregation for Catholic Education to consider the matter.
The president of Brebeuf, Fr. Bill Verbryke, SJ, said Sept. 23 that the congregation “has decided to suspend the Archbishop’s decree on an interim basis, pending its final resolution of our appeal.”
Verbryke added that “It is very important to understand, however, what this temporary suspension of the Archbishop’s decree does NOT mean. It does not mean that the matter has been resolved, or that any permanent decision has been made. It also does not mean that anyone should infer that the Congregation for Catholic Education is leaning one way or the other on any of the issues at hand.”
“The Congregation has simply granted a temporary suspension of the Archbishop’s decree until it makes a final decision,” Verbryke explained in a message to the school community.
Verbryke noted that Thompson had “very kindly informed me that, as a result of this temporary suspension of his decree, Brebeuf is free to resume our normal sacramental celebrations of the Eucharist.”
The archbishop had already granted permission for daily Masses to be said at the school’s chapel, but had denied permission for Masses offered on particular occasions, such as an Aug. 15 “Mass of the Holy Spirit as a traditional opening-of-the-school-year- Mass.”
The school’s president said it is unknown how long the appeal process will last, “but please be assured that we are sincere in our desire to resolve our disagreement with the Archbishop and resume the strong relationship we had always enjoyed with the Archdiocese since our founding in 1962.”
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