In an unseemly echo of last year's story from Boulder, Colorado, where a Catholic school refused to educate the children of two lesbian mothers, a school in Broken Hill, Australia, likewise attempted to refuse admission to the kindergarten class to a child with two moms. The local bishop intervened, instructing the school to reverse its decision - but too late. The damage has been done, and the parents have now refused to enrol the child at a school wish demonstrated homophobia in the first place.
This is how the saga began:
The girl's parents, one of whom was reportedly baptised Catholic, enrolled her into kindergarten at Sacred Heart Primary School in Broken Hill for next year, but their application was rejected.
One of the mothers told the ABC the principal had phoned her and said the women's relationship and living situation was the reason the application had been turned down.
Trevor Rynne, principal of the Sacred Heart school, yesterday confirmed the girl had been rejected because of her parents' relationship but declined to comment further.
Mr Rynne no doubt believed, in common with so many others who use their Catholic or other Christian allegiance as a cloak for their prejudice, that he was protecting the Catholic faith, but Bishop Kevin Manning put him smartly in his place, pointing out that he was misunderstanding the Catholic position.
Bishop Emertitus of Parramatta, Kevin Manning, who has responsibility for the Wilcannia-Forbes district covering Broken Hill, told The Australian this morning there was "no way in the world that we can persecute a child because of what their parents did".
"I've instructed (the school) to offer her the position," Bishop Manning said.
Bishop Manning said he was "absolutely appalled" by the girl's case, and that he had not been aware of it before it was reported in the media yesterday.
He said blaming a child for her parents' "sins" was not the attitude of the Catholic Church.He described the girl's case as "most unusual" and said he would be raising the matter within the Catholic hierarchy.
"I will be taking this to the Australian bishops and asking them to make some pretty clear statements," he said.
He said the move by the school was out of step with Catholic teaching, and that something between the school's principal and priest must have got "twisted up or misinterpreted" for them to reach such a decision.
However, the latest reports are that the parents have turned down the offer of enrolment:
A SAME-SEX couple whose daughter was refused a place at a Catholic school because of their sexuality has turned down a subsequent offer of enrolment after a senior bishop intervened on their behalf.
- Australian Bishop Overturns School’s Exclusion Decision (New Ways Ministry)
- Good On You Kevin (andrewdoohan.wordpress.com)
- The Hill ain't broken, but the Catholics are cracked (thepunch.com.au)
- NSW school ordered to offer girl place (news.smh.com.au)