Worcester, Mass., April 11, 2022 / 6:00 p.m. (CNA).
College of the Holy Cross students, staff and alumni are asking the administration not to invite Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester to attend this year’s graduation ceremony because they say his asks a local Catholic school to stop flying gay pride and Black Lives Matter flags are “contrary to the ideals, values and mission” of the college.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Worcester, Ray Delisle, told CNA that Archbishop McManus had informed the school’s president, Vincent Rougeau, that he would not be attending back-to-school this year.
Delisle did not respond to CNA’s request to know if the bishop’s decision not to attend was in response to the petition. McManus turned down invitations to attend the start of Holy Cross in 2018 and 2019 according to the Telegram & Gazette. McManus also did not participate in 2020 or 2021.
Delisle told CNA that McManus was not open to interviews on the matter because after communicating to Rougeau that he would not be attending, McManus “wanted to leave it at that.”
The petition reads: ‘Contrary to our values, the Bishop insisted that the School of the Nativity remove the Black Lives Matter and Pride flags from their campus or face the consequence of losing the school’s Catholic identity. . Unfortunately, the Bishop’s statements demonstrate ignorant and bigoted sentiments that do not align with the long-standing values that guide our community. »
The petition continues, “As a community that welcomes members of all genders, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations, we find it inappropriate for Bishop McManus to be present at this year’s graduation ceremony for the Class of 2022 and ask so that he is disinvited from attendance.”
When asked if the college agreed with the student-led petition to disinvite McManus from graduation, Holy Cross said, “Bishop McManus has let President Rougeau know that he will not would not participate in the start of the school year. More importantly, the President wishes to emphasize that the School of the Nativity and its students remain at the heart of this story.
“The histories of our two institutions are enduringly linked, and we are both proud to serve the people, the city and the Diocese of Worcester. As Catholic Jesuit institutions, we also share similar values – a founding commitment to the needs and dignity of the less fortunate; and a belief in the worth of every person created in the image and likeness of God.
“Our work of racial healing and seeking justice for the marginalized in our communities is centered on these values – which are themselves at the heart of the gospel.”
The executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, CJ Doyle, told CNA that the petition “opens up a whole new dimension in the concept of chutzpah.”
“People in leadership positions in a Catholic institution – while openly opposing Catholic beliefs – in fact believe themselves authorized to publicly reprimand the local bishop for asserting what Catholics have always believed,” he said. -he declares. “The audacity is amazing.”
“This petition makes it clear that many of those who work, teach or study at Holy Cross are post-Christian, bourgeois cultural conformists, subject to elite secular opinion, who believe that Catholicism should be marginalized in a nominally Catholic institution. In other words, they are stubborn heretics,” he added.
The Nativity School in Worcester, a Jesuit-run college with 61 boys in attendance, has been flying gay pride and Black Lives Matter flags under the American flag for more than a year.
When McManus, the local ordinary, heard about it in March, he asked the school to stop flying them, which they refused.
Delisle told CNA last week that the Nativity could lose its Catholic designation if it ignores the bishop’s call to stop waving the flags.
In an April 3 statement, McManus expressed concern that the flags could confuse the Catholic Church’s teaching on civil authority and same-sex marriage.
While noting that “symbols can mean different things to different people,” McManus said that “as bishop of this diocese, I must teach that it is imperative that a Catholic school use images and symbols which reflect the values and principles of this school in order to be clear with young people who are spiritually and morally formed for the future.
“While our role in a school is not to convert those who are not Catholic, neither is it our role to deny our Catholic identity,” he added.
“As the Catholic Church joins our nation in teaching that all lives are equal before God and the law and that all lives demand our respect regardless of race, gender or ethnicity, the flag with the he Black Lives Matter emblem has at times been co-opted by certain factions which also instill widespread distrust of the police and those charged with enforcing our laws.
“We don’t teach that in our schools,” McManus said.
“And, while we teach that everyone is created in the image and likeness of God, gay pride flags are often used to oppose consistent Catholic teaching that sacramental marriage is between a man and a woman,” the bishop continued.
“Does the school engage in ideologies contrary to Catholic teaching? If so, is it still a Catholic school?
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