Vatican Suspends Archbishop’s Decree to Split from Brebeuf

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(WISH-TV File Photo) (WISH-TV File Photo)
INDIANAPOLIS -

A Vatican office has suspended the decree from the Indianapolis archbishop to no longer recognize Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as a Catholic institution because a teacher was in a same-sex marriage.

The announcement came from the president of the school, the Rev. Bill Verbryke. The Indianapolis archdiocese called the decision “a common, temporary measure that does not affect a final determination.”

Verbryke’s statement on the school’s website said in part, “We have just learned that the Congregation for Catholic Education has decided to suspend the Archbishop’s decree on an interim basis, pending its final resolution of our appeal.”

The statement continued, “The Archbishop very kindly informed me that, as a result of this temporary suspension of his decree, Brebeuf is free to resume our normal sacramental celebrations of the Eucharist. Most happily, this means that we will be able to celebrate the Mass for the Feast Day of St. Jean de Brebeuf on October 24.

“It is very important to understand, however, what this temporary suspension of the Archbishop’s decree does NOT mean. It does not mean that the matter has been resolved, or that any permanent decision has been made. It also does not mean that anyone should infer that the Congregation for Catholic Education is leaning one way or the other on any of the issues at hand. The Congregation has simply granted a temporary suspension of the Archbishop’s decree until it makes a final decision.”

No timetable is set for a final decision from the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome.

In June, after 57 years of partnership, the school and the archbishop announced the separation after a disagreement over personnel at the school. The disagreement occurred when the school refused to adhere to a directive from Archbishop Charles Thompson to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage.

Brebeuf is sponsored by the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus, which allowed the school to keep its Catholic identity and sponsorship even without the archdiocese’s support.

Thompson also forced Cathedral High School to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage to preserve the school’s “Catholic identity,” administrators said in June. He said in June his orders for two Catholic high schools in the city to fire gay teachers or lose their connections to the archdiocese was about upholding church teaching on marriage and not about sexual orientation.

Thompson has previously said he didn’t seek out information about the marriages involving the teachers but had to respond to what he called a “public situation” of Catholic school employees not following church doctrine.

Greg Otolski with the Indianapolis Archdiocese issued this statement about the decision: “Following standard canon-law procedures, the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome has temporarily suspended the effects of a decree by the Archdiocese derecognizing Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as a Catholic institution. This is a common, temporary measure that does not affect a final determination. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis awaits a final determination by the Congregation for Catholic Education.”

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