INDIANAPOLIS — The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is holding a press conference Thursday afternoon to address the recent firing of a Cathedral High School teacher for his same-sex marriage and the decision to no longer recognize Brebeuf Jesuit as a Catholic school after they refused to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage.
The key points being addressed at the media conference on Thursday are below.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Archbishop Charles C. Thompson as its shepherd have the duty of upholding the mission of the Catholic Church and exercising vigilance to preserve the integrity of faith and Church teachings. Archbishop Thompson does not have the authority to change Church teachings.
The Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis uphold the dignity of all people, regardless of their orientation. All are welcome in the Church. God created each of us with equal dignity. The dignity of the human person, rooted in his or her creation in the image and likeness of God, is a fundamental principle of Catholic teaching.
We also uphold the dignity of marriage. The Catholic Church believes marriage to be between a man and a woman. Anyone in a marriage not recognized by the Church is called to be chaste as part of their call to Holiness.
In our Catholic schools, all teachers, school leaders and guidance counselors are ministers and witnesses of the faith whose ultimate responsibility is to educate and form students. Those who act as ministers of the Catholic Church must uphold the teachings of the Church in their daily lives, both in and out of school. We expect all who sign a ministerial contract to do so in good faith.
Four years ago, under Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the Archdiocese implemented the ministerial job description and revisions to the contracts in our archdiocesan schools. For more than two years, we have been working directly with all private Catholic schools in our archdiocese to establish ministerial job descriptions and practices to assure school leaders, guidance counselors, teachers and other ministers of the faith serve as role models of our faith and live lives consistent with the Church's teaching, inside and outside of the classroom.
When a minister is living a life not in accordance with Catholic teaching, we try to accompany them, hopefully to reconciliation with Church teachings. If an employee chooses to walk this path of accompaniment and no additional scandal is to be created, we do so with them. If they do not seek reconciliation with the church — which is usually available to them — we regrettably must part ways in regard to employment. But we continue to pray for and welcome that individual to be part of our faith family.
At no time has the Archdiocese sought out marriage licenses or details about the lifestyles of employees. In fact, we presume good faith on the part of our employees. Once a situation is brought to our attention, we have a responsibility to address it. Even then, with love and compassion, we first seek a path of accompaniment toward reconciling the individual's circumstances with Church teaching.
Religious liberty, which is a hallmark of the U.S. Constitution and has been tested in the U.S. Supreme Court, (and a value of the Catholic Church as described in the Second Vatican Council document Dignitatis humanae), acknowledges that religious organizations may define what conduct is not acceptable and contrary to the teachings of its religion, for its school leaders, guidance counselors, teachers and other ministers of the faith. For the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and all other Catholic institutions within its territory, the Archbishop is the one appointed by the Holy Father to make those determinations in keeping with the doctrine and pastoral practice of the Catholic Church.