Massachusetts school can no longer identify as ‘Catholic’ on Black Lives Matter and gay pride flags, Bishop says
A college in Massachusetts is no longer allowed to describe itself as Catholic after refusing to remove the Black Lives Matter and gay pride flags, the Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester has said.
Bishop Robert J. McManus issued an official decree removing support for Worcester’s Nativity School after saying it was sending ‘mixed, confusing and outrageous’ messages about the church’s stance on moral and social issues .
The bishop said Thursday that the flags – which fly outside the school under the American flag – “embody specific agendas or ideologies” that contradict Catholic teaching.
“I support the ‘Gay Pride’ flag as representing support for same-sex marriage and the active living of an LGBTQ+ lifestyle,” McManus said.
“This is also true of ‘Black Lives Matter’. The Catholic Church teaches that all life is sacred and the Church unequivocally supports the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ and strongly affirms that all lives matter,” said he declared.
The Bishop went on to say that the Black Lives Matter movement promotes “a platform that directly contradicts Catholic social teaching on the importance and role of the nuclear family and seeks to disrupt family structure in clear opposition to teachings of the Catholic Church”.
McManus said there had been months of discussion about alternatives to flying the flags, but the school refused to take them down.
School president Thomas McKenney said they started flying the flags in January 2021 after students, the majority of whom are people of color, called on the school to be more inclusive.
“These flags simply indicate that all are welcome at the Nativity and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching,” McKenney said in a statement. statement Wednesday. “While any symbol or flag may be co-opted by political groups or organizations, flying our flags is not an endorsement of any organization or ideology, they are flown in support of marginalized people.”
The school said the bishop asked them to remove the flags in March. When the flags remained raised, the school was told it would be “prohibited from identifying itself as a Catholic school,” McKenney said.
He said the school plans to appeal the bishop’s decision and will not be removing the flags at this time.
School officials and McManus could not be immediately reached on Saturday.
In addition to not being allowed to use the Catholic title, the school is prohibited from holding masses and sacraments on school grounds as well as other repercussions.
The Nativity School in Worcester, located about 50 miles from Boston, was founded in 2003 and describes itself as an independent Catholic Jesuit college. It provides free education for boys in grades five through eight.
It was the only tuition-free Catholic school in the Diocese of Worcester and the only school in central Massachusetts that only educates economically challenged students, according to McKenney.