BISHOP MCMANUS ACTED TO
PRESERVE CATHOLIC IDENTITY
OF JESUIT SCHOOL
by CATHOLIC ACTION LEAGUE OF MASSACHUSETTS
The Bishop of Worcester, the Most Reverend Robert J. McManus, is being defamed and demonized in the Massachusetts media for trying to ensure the Catholic identity and religious integrity of a Jesuit middle school in his diocese.
On April 3rd, the Bishop issued a public statement warning that Nativity School of Worcester, a tuition free middle school affiliated with the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus, was imperiling its Catholic identity by displaying a homosexual Pride flag and a Black Lives Matter banner on a flagpole in front of the school.
The Bishop asked “Is school committing itself to ideologies which are contrary to Catholic teaching? If so, is it still a Catholic school? As the Bishop of this diocese, I must teach that it is imperative that a Catholic School use imagery and symbols which are reflective of that school’s values and principles so as to be clear with young people who are being spiritually and morally formed for the future.”
For raising this obvious issue with a modest, reasonable, and rather low key statement, McManus was called “the epitome of heartlessness and cruelty” in The Boston Globe, “a coward” on WGBH TV, and was subject to hostile media stories in the Worcester Telegram, and MassLive, and on WHDH TV, and WBZ 4 CBS Boston.
On April 6th, Brian Fraga, a staff reporter for the National Catholic Reporter, requested a comment from the Catholic Action League. Executive Director C.J. Doyle issued the following statement:
“While Catholic schools should welcome anyone who is willing to respect the mission and the identity of the school, Pride flags symbolize, explicitly and unambiguously, the rejection of Catholic moral teaching.”
“Bishop McManus—who as Ordinary of Worcester, is charged by Canon Law with protecting the identity of Catholic schools, both diocesan and religious, in his diocese—would have been derelict in his responsibilities, had he failed to act on this issue.”
“The Bishop’s authority in this matter was just confirmed by the Instruction of the Congregation for Catholic Education on ‘The identity of the Catholic School for a culture of dialogue,‘ issued by the Holy See on March 29th. This instruction reaffirms that a diocesan bishop exercises the right of vigilance and the right of visitation over Catholic schools in his diocese.”
“The document goes on to say that a bishop must ‘intervene whenever he deems it appropriate, and must do so whenever [there are] serious transgressions of the Catholic identity of a school located in his diocese,’ even in schools ‘founded or directed’ by religious orders.”
“Finally, with respect to the concept of diversity, that must include the right of the Catholic community to authentically Catholic schools, and the right of Catholic parents to an authentically Catholic education for their children.”