A bishop in Worcester, Mass., says a college in the area can no longer call itself Catholic because it displayed pride and Black Lives Matter flags on its campus after being ordered to remove them . In an executive order, Bishop Robert J. McManus said the School of the Nativity supported movements “incompatible with Catholic teaching.”
McManus wrote that “the ‘Gay Pride’ flag represents support for gay marriage and actively living an LGBTQ+ lifestyle.”
As for the Black Lives Matter flag, he said that while the church “stands unequivocally behind the phrase ‘black lives matter’ and firmly affirms that all lives matter,” the BLM movement “has co-opted the phrase and 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 the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
“The waving of these flags in front of a Catholic school sends a mixed, confusing and outrageous message to the public about the Church’s position on these important moral and social issues,” the Bishop wrote.
Not only can the school no longer identify itself as Catholic, but it also cannot celebrate Mass, sacraments or sacramentals, be listed in the diocesan directory or raise funds from diocesan institutions, McManus said. A bishop serving on the school board is to be removed.
The school began flying the flags in January 2021, saying students were calling for a “more fair and inclusive” community.
In March this year, McManus and the Diocese of Worcester told the school to remove the flags,. In late May, McManus warned leaders at the School of the Nativity that if the flags were not removed, it would no longer be able to identify itself as a Catholic school, the school said.
McManus officially signed an executive order making this the case and spoke about the issue Thursday in the Catholic Free Press.
“While we all share the desire of all of our students, especially our inner city black and brown students, to feel safe and welcome, we must uphold the moral axiom that ‘the end does not justify the means. ‘” McManus said. .
School president Thomas McKenney said in a statement Wednesday that the diocese’s decision will not change how the School of the Nativity operates.
However, McKenney said the school would appeal McManus’ decision. He also said the school would continue to fly the flags “as a visible sign of the school’s solidarity with our students, our families and their communities.”
“As a multicultural school, the flags represent inclusion and respect for all,” he said. “These flags simply indicate that all are welcome at the Nativity and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching.”
The School of the Nativity is independently funded and receives no money from the diocese.