Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston has made his first comments on the scandal surrounding a Catholic school in Hingham that barred the son of a lesbian couple from enrolling.
In his blog, the cardinal he said that the Church does not exclude categories of children from its schools. He also said that he once urged the daughter of a prostitute to attend a Catholic school.
“Catholic schools exist for the good of the children and our admission standards must reflect that,” reads his blog.
He also said that the reporting of the case in Hingham was too harsh on Father Rafferty who he believes, thought, he was acting in the best interest of the child.
“One of the very unfortunate results of the public reporting on the issue was undue criticism of Father James Rafferty who is pastor at St. Paul Parish, and who I consider one of our finest pastors,” he said.
He explained that in Boston and elsewhere they are formulating policies and practices to deal with these complex matters. What is at the head of all these issues is what is in the best interest of the child.
“With that in mind, the essence of what we are looking at is the question of how do we make Catholic schools available to children who come from diverse, often unconventional households, while ensuring the moral theology and teachings of the Church are not compromised? It is true that we welcome people from all walks of life," he blogged.
"But we recognize that, regardless of the circumstances involved, we maintain our responsibility to teach the truths of our faith, including those concerning sexual morality and marriage. We need to present the Church’s teachings courageously and yet in a way that is compassionate and persuasive.”
At the same time, he also highlighted that the Archdiocese of Denver has formulated a policy that calls the “appropriateness of admitting the children of same-sex couples” into Catholic schools.
“It is clear that all of their school policies are intended to foster the welfare of the children and fidelity to the mission of the Church. Their positions and rationale must be seriously considered,”said the cardinal.
The blog stated that going forward the Church will be consulting on these issues with a wide range of people including the Presbyteral Council and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.