Boston Archdiocese Says School That Denied Admission to Boy with Lesbian Parents ‘Was Not Following Policy’

In response to St. Paul Elementary School's decision to deny admission to a boy whose parents are lesbians, the Archdiocese of Boston said that the Hingham school was not following policy, the Boston Globe reports:

Stpaul  "Spokesman Terry Donilon said the archdiocese has no prohibition against same-sex couples sending their children to Catholic schools.

“We want kids to come to Catholic schools,’’ he said.

St. Paul Elementary School admitted an 8-year-old boy earlier this year but recently withdrew the acceptance after learning that his parents are lesbians, the archdiocese confirmed yesterday. Donilon said the archdiocese would have no further comment until it had finished reviewing the matter and speaking with all parties involved.

The Rev. James Rafferty, pastor of St. Paul parish, and Cynthia Duggan, the school’s principal, did not respond to requests for an interview yesterday afternoon. Lisa Lipsett, an adviser to the school’s PTO Executive Committee, referred all questions to the archdiocese.

The decision incensed state Representative Garrett J. Bradley, a Democrat from Hingham who grew up in St. Paul parish.

'These parents thought enough of St. Paul’s to want to send their child there; St. Paul’s thought enough of their child to admit him. For the school to then discriminate against him and withdraw his acceptance because of his parents’ sexual orientation is not only inappropriate, but mind-blowing,' he said in a phone interview last night. 'Shame on St. Paul’s, and shame on us as a community if we allow it.'"


  1. charlie says

    and they want to put their son in this school because?!? Didn’t the pope just call gay marriage dangerous and insidious? can someone please explain to me why gays and lesbians would want to support and be part of such an instituation?

  2. Eugene says


    “Can someone please explain to me why gays and lesbians would want to support and be part of such an instituation?”

    They’re Christians. When you’re a Christian, “God” and the church are more important to you than people (including yourself).

  3. A.G. says

    It is unfathomable to me that these parents would place their child in the care of these bigots. I might understand it, just a little, if they were in a place that had really bad public schools and this were the ONLY alternative. There are plenty of quality, progressive independent schools in the Boston area that they could choose from.

  4. patrick says


    are you uneducated about Christianity or just bigoted? Either way, STFU thank you very much. Many gay people like me believe in the divinity of Christ. I don’t know if you have no belief structure or if you worship dryer lint. But please, STFU.

  5. patrick says


    I agree with you, though I try to understand how people can say. Andrew Sullivan for one has written a great deal on the topic. I believe I can see some sense in not abandoning your religious beliefs b/c the current administration is at odds with your interpretation of scripture and is out to get you. I felt that way during the Bush years, yet still hold myself out as an American, with American ideals and values. Eugene’s sweeping generalizations, however, are truly offensive. If he substituted the word Muslim or black or foreigner for Christian I doubt Andy would have let the post go through.

  6. TANK says

    Patrick, you’ve proved eugene’s point with that response of yours. You care more about perserving the supernatural hocus pocus than the suffering and lives of people affected by it.

    And you know how they knew that the school wasn’t following policy? The boy wasn’t walking funny. That or the home of the lesbians wasn’t set ablaze, and the lesbians burned at the stake (depending on which policy they’re referring to: boy fucking or homohating).

  7. steve says


    I think you may be over-reacting a bit to Eugene’s comment. Establishment Christianity has since the beginning (and continues to) wholly depend on adherence to the defined precepts and biblical interpretations of mere mortals–the clergy. That makes them “external” God as out there and “doctrine” focused which is what I think Eugene is saying. Good metaphor is the symbolic kissing of the bishop’s ring suggesting fealty and respect to whatever he and his cohorts have to say about what you or I should do or not do.Eastern religions, in contrast, emphasize self-awareness, personal enlightenment and the importance of “other” in the evolution of one’s spiritual life. When greeted in Southeast Asia by any stranger with a hand-clasped bow, it is a recognition of and respect for(cultural and spiritual) the divinity within each of us. That makes it a spiritually “internal” experience, one that emphasizes the importance of the spiritual (and potentially teaching) interrelationship of two people coming together, strangers even with the promise that each could help to inform the other’s spirituality.

    I’m no theologian, but frankly, I think Christ (as teacher) was far more emphatic of internal interpersonal spirituality and morality, but regrettably, Christianity throughout the ages has discouraged personal spiritual enlightenment that does not ultimately lead right back to an external God and prescribed doctrine. That doesn’t make it wrong–just externally focused.

    Ghandi I think said it best: “I like your Christ.I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

  8. TANK says

    steve=my supernaturalist dogma beats yours!

    No, all religions are primarily about preserving the dogmas that inhere in them at the expense of anything else. This is the supernatural dogmas in christianity, and any religion that posits a supernatural ontology. In religion, there is no room for mistaken belief with regard to whatever beliefs any member of those religions holds dear (which can and do differ), so there’s no room for anything other than itself.

  9. steve says

    Tank, you seem to be equating spiritual awareness/life with religion. And while I agree with you that all “religions” have dogma in one form or another, most eastern iterations are more like teaching guides rather than rules.

    Buddhism–and there are lots of variations–is about the least interested “religion” (if you can call it that) in preserving dogma for its own sake. Where dogma exists as an essential construct of religion, I agree, it tends to be wholly limiting to any real spiritual freedom.

    I sense that you don’t acknowledge a spiritual dimension to your being, which is fine. Just saying that not all spiritual journeys need to involve dogma. Some folks are more comfortable with ritual and prescription, others want to flex and find their own personal place.

    Not all spiritual exploration is delusional.

  10. patrick says

    @Tank: You’re missing the point. I believe a man who walked on earth 2 thousand years ago was God. I try to follow his basic teachings, after sifting out the lies and the bullshit. It’s hard enough on my own – I don’t need Eugene or you telling me what I care about. How bold of you!! You don’t know me!! So, please, S.T.F.U.

    You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.

  11. TANK says

    “Tank, you seem to be equating spiritual awareness/life with religion.”

    Well, not really. Religion is more institutional and ritualized. Buddhism is a religion…um…believing in spooky spirits and obscure “energies” and other occult things would be more spiritual. Either way, they are are like in that they both countenance supernatural entities in their ontology, and that’s pretty inexcusable epistemically.

    “And while I agree with you that all “religions” have dogma in one form or another, most eastern iterations are more like teaching guides rather than rules.”

    I hear that a lot, but most eastern religions are religions, and are rightly classified religions even if they don’t posit the existence of a god or gods…it’s still supernaturalism (e.g., wheel of samsara, and all of that crap).

    “Buddhism–and there are lots of variations–is about the least interested “religion” (if you can call it that) in preserving dogma for its own sake.”

    And yet it does by positing supernatural entities, and making empirically baseless claims.

    “Where dogma exists as an essential construct of religion, I agree, it tends to be wholly limiting to any real spiritual freedom.”

    What is this “spirit,” and where does it exist? I don’t believe in spirits that I can’t drink. I’d imagine that you’d explicate it as a “sense of awareness”….oy gavalt.

    “I sense that you don’t acknowledge a spiritual dimension to your being,”

    Right. One that exceeds the physical dimension in my being and cannot be argued for coherently, I don’t acknowledge.

    “which is fine. Just saying that not all spiritual journeys need to involve dogma.”

    I think you’re talking in a very obscurantist manner. Being extremely unclear and practically incoherent assists people who say they aren’t religious, but are “spiritual”…there’s nothing to it, really. And I don’t deny that meditation, and certain rituals are useful. Why? Because they can’t get pinned down on just what they’re saying…and it takes longer to realize that they’re not saying anything.

    “Some folks are more comfortable with ritual and prescription, others want to flex and find their own personal place.”

    They need to discover their own supernatural dogma…LOL! Create their own faith.

    “Not all spiritual exploration is delusional.”

    Most of it is, and depending on what you mean by “spiritual exploration” (enneagrams and ougi boards), that would be, too. But if you mean nothing supernatural or non-empirical by “spiritual exploration” (seriously, that term sounds crunchier than than the michigan womyn’s music festival. Sounds totally hippy), sure thing…

  12. TANK says

    “@Tank: You’re missing the point. I believe a man who walked on earth 2 thousand years ago was God.”

    And I believe that there’s a giant purple marshmellow that lives outside of boulder colorado, that controls the weather with its thoughts. I can see that there will be plenty of reasoning with you, pat. The fact is that you care about that belief more than just anything else…that’s how memes work.

    “I try to follow his basic teachings, after sifting out the lies and the bullshit.”

    By what method? Your own personal ethic…proving that you don’t need his teachings…herro!

    “It’s hard enough on my own – I don’t need Eugene or you telling me what I care about.”

    Oh, you’ll be told! SNAP SNAP!

    “How bold of you!! You don’t know me!! So, please, S.T.F.U.”


    “You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.”

    Now that is bold…

  13. charlie says

    wow it is amazing how off topic this got..the question is why would two gay or lesbian parents want their child in a school that follows the current catholic churches teachings which brand gay marriage insidious and dangerous. that is the question..not whether it is valid to believe in a higher power or not.

  14. TANK says

    and you were povided an answer to that question several times over. If you can’t balance on related topic with another, then perhaps chewing gum should be kept out of reach.

  15. steve says


    Got it. I actually respect your point of view since it’s a place I’ve landed frequently when given the luxury of thinking unobstructed, and most often after reading or listening to Sam Harris–I’ve sent my church-going family the chapter on why god appears to hate amputees since they never seem to catch a miracle break.

    But while I don’t have any deities in my own belief system, I respect those who do because I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have a lock on wisdom or universal truth. I know you dismiss faith as a poor companion to the empirical, but even though I can’t see it or really test it, I know it’s real. I see it in my Mom all the time. I just don’t have it and I’m OK with that.

    Which brings me to my point in this post. I detect just a bit of snide self-righteousness in your utter dismissal of all things supernatural. I don’t mean that to be insulting, it’s just that your judgment in the form of self-confidence in the righteousness of your position seems to be leaking out from every sentence.

    There’s a clear difference between theo-political hegemony by organized religions (which I think everyone on the post abhors and condemns) and someone’s individual search for a full body-mind-spirit identity–including an embrace of the supernatural from the hocus pocus of some religions to believing that spirit can be defined by the laws of physics as energy that can never be destroyed II know that drips of granola, but…).

    I think that tolerance of individual belief systems–including yours–is a good thing. It’s when those belief systems are used to justify condemnation, marginalization, ridicule, exclusion, jihad, or whatever that I lose all patience (and tolerance) since it’s just another form of bullying. But the internal spiritual journey of every individual is something that I think we all need to respect.

    Who knows, there might be something to be learned.

  16. TANK says

    yeah, maybe there’s something to learn by following the baseless unjustifiable beliefs of people who, had they been born elsewhere, would have completely different beliefs. Maybe, if you close your eyes when you drive, you won’t get into an accident…so clearly driving with your eyes closed is to be recommended. Warm tap water, steve. And to call an atheist antisupernaturalist “smug” and a know it all belies ignorance of the arguments.

    God you suck. I hate hippies. Annoying.

  17. STANK says

    “Scientists predict that nearly 40% of all lizard populations and 20% of lizard species could vanish”

    Uh ooooh that is really bad news for you there hebatank buddy – better find a much bigger rock to live under.

  18. says

    Tank, I love you even if you are a cranky ole fart.

    *hugs ya and runs*

    I say, to each his/her own. It seems to me that in this case, the parents were trusting in an apparent ‘policy’ that the school obviously didn’t follow.

    I know here in Milwaukee, parochial schools, especially catholic, have a reputation for being academically superior to public… so a number of parents choose them instead, regardless if they’re members
    of the church or not. And, if these schools accept any kind of ‘voucher’ from the government for their education… they have to follow the laws that accompany them… like non-discrimination and harassment laws.

    When I was a nanny, the mom sent the eldest son to a famous CA catholic HS because of it’s academic reputation and he
    was Jewish. Did fine there and wasn’t required nor pressured into changing his faith.

    The only trepidation I would have, is that now it’s known where the Principle and Parrish Priest stand on this particular student and as was reported, the parents decided to send their child somewhere else.

    It’s like our Marquette University’s controversy going on about the rescinded offer of employment to a Professor who is Lesbian.

    A hell of a lot of students and faculty are up in arms over this… although Father What’s-his-face keeps to his story that it had nothing to do with her orientation but her ‘writings’… which the board doing the hiring already knew about (and her lesbianism) before even offering her the job… and of course he’s not going to say he was ‘pressured’ by ‘grant’ givers or his own bias… that would fly in the face of their OWN by-laws.
    Not only do they have a non-discrimination academic policy that includes sexual orientation… but they already have quite a number of ‘out’ homosexual staff at numerous levels.

    Suffice to say, I don’t think it’s ‘right’ to demonize the parents, just because they made a decision that, beyond their control turned on them. It’s blaming the victim.

    And Tank, love, chill…. I think we’ve all figured out that you are an atheist. And that’s okay. But there are people who do believe in a ‘devine’ or ‘higher’ power, for whatever reason. It doesn’t make them ‘less than’, just hopeful that there is some reasoning to this thing we call ‘life’ beyond just living and than dieing.

    Of course, since we do have ‘separation’ of church and state… those beliefs should never find their ways into law that would effect ‘all’. And no one should ever be penalized, threatened, nor harassed into any belief system… including that of atheism.

  19. TANK says

    atheism can’t be used to threaten or harass anyone. It doesn’t cause behavior as it’s not a normative system–not an ethic, not a philosophy, not a worldview, not a political system, etc. The rest is full of errors. And do I come across like an old man? Christ…I was born eighty.

  20. STANK says

    I personally think hebatank come across as the world’s biggest douche bag who S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y needs his bullying, nasty, mean, know-it-all, smarmy head caved in by a shiny new garden shovel-only $12.95 at the depot.

    The world would be a much better place without him and others like him and my garden could use the organic fertilizer such a shit filled Ahole would provide.

  21. TANK says

    Oh don’t be silly, aleabeth. You aren’t seriously saying that atheism is communism and stalinisn, are you? That’s just ridiculuos. Those who say that don’t know what atheism is. I suggest looking it up. Atheism isn’t religion in the soviet union, nor is it its prohibition. To repeat so you get it: it’s not a worldview, not a political theory, not an ethic, not an economic system….

    I’m probly younger than you.

  22. says

    er… no Tank. Don’t try to put words in my mouth. Atheism is a form of ‘belief’ and it fuels just as any other ‘belief’, which then can prompt action. Your a smart individual, even if you are ‘cranky’… so stop looking for something to fight over.

    My original post was making the comparison of the 2 (belief in ‘a’ god(s) and the absence thereof) trying to dictate to ‘the whole’. In other words, NO theism should win out in the arena of ‘law of the land’.

    As for my own age… I think I’ve mentioned it already a couple times posting. But what’s that got to do with the price of eggs in china? It doesn’t change my view that you ‘sound’ like a ‘cranky ole man’.

    And I still wuv’s ya

  23. Steven says

    @ Aleabeth he is always looking for someone to fight with – he seems to get off on trying to prove how much smarter he is than other posters here. He is an obnoxious bully-period.

    Ultimately though he just proves himself to be a miserable prick with some major issues.

    My guess is he has a micro penis and pretty darn angry about it.

  24. TANK says

    Atheism is the absence of belief in god or gods. It can’t prompt or cause any behavior on its own. Even so-called hard atheism or what some call a belief that god does not exist, cannot prompt any behavior on its own, as it is not a claim about how one should behave. Religions like christianity do prompt behavior because they are beliefs and are instructive and make normative claims. Atheism makes no normative claims as it contains no “should”. So you’re wrong about what atheism is from a dictionary definition.

  25. says

    Steven, yes, I know he looks for debates, he’s just a little confused on the rules (like staying away from personal attacks).

    I do “BELIEVE” that he is an intelligent human being however… and there were a couple times I even laughed at a comment or 2.

    To use a metaphor, Tank is like a dog with a bone that your trying to get away from him. He’s a snappin’ and a snarlin’, but eventually you’ll get that damn bone or just give up.

    And yes Tank, atheism is the ‘belief’ that there is no supernatural entity that oversee’s humanity. Because even atheists have no ‘proof’ that one (or more) doesn’t exist… so therefore, it IS a belief.

    My contention is that those, whether individually or en mass, have tried to push those beliefs on others at some time in humanity’s history, usually employing adverse/inhumane tactics to do so.

    Lastly Tank, I wasn’t singling you out, or at least I didn’t mean to… the post was directed towards all that resort to name calling, i.e., attacking the person instead of the behavior on this blog… which unfortunately I see quite often and it always unsettles me. It’s ineffective at changing anyone’s mind.

    However, if that’s truly what your seeking to do, is to verbally attack people until they literally hate you…

    Well, anyway… this is my last post on the issue. I’m not so competitive that I ‘need’ to win.

  26. TANK says

    OH boy, aleabeth, you don’t know what atheism is. Simple as that. Do you also insist that you know what particle physics is and dictate the beliefs of a particle physicist to them? How about a jew, or a muslim? Do you insist there, too? No? Only atheists? Because it’s just as insulting to be as completely ignorant of what atheism is and yet insist that you know what it is. But you’re an intelligent person, and you don’t know any atheist argument. You’re fresh to the debate, and have absolutely NO understanding of the issue at hand.

  27. TANK says

    Oh, and I may call people names, aleabeth, but usually (like here) there are arguments as well. Just because you don’t have the capacity to detect them and respond to them intelligently doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

  28. Joey Y says

    @Patrick, until your church stops sticking their nose into the civil laws that govern people that aren’t members of their religion, the only ones who need to STFU are people like you, and the church you belong to. I pay taxes, they do not, so I have about 10000x the right to have an opinion and voice it, since they make a lucrative business of destroying lives.

  29. Art says

    Religion is a drug that allows people full of fear and hate to feel good about themselves by villifying others. The speak about the so called christian martyrs and now they are the ones that make Homosexuals into martyrs at the hand of the Christian lions.

    Jesus’s LOVE lives more in a gay bath house than any church. At least they TRY to love one another instead of talking about it while stabbing others in the back.

    Screw all religion. It is all Satanic.

  30. LuckyBlueEyez says

    The point is, gays and lesbians are christians and have a right to send their kids to whatever school they choose. By being denied this right, is called discrimination. That is illegal, it was illegal for banning blacks to enter white establishments and it is also illegal for Gays and lesbians to be denied that right. DUH!

Leave A Reply