To help Catholic schools protect their Catholic identity while compassionately addressing issues of human sexuality — including the sometimes thorny issues of same-sex attraction and gender identity — The Cardinal Newman Society has released a new resource with valuable guidance on forming policies in these areas. Fully consistent with Church teaching, the guide can help schools prevent confusion and even litigation while strengthening their important work of evangelization.
“Human Sexuality Policies for Catholic Schools” was developed by Dr. Denise Donohue and Dr. Dan Guernsey, deputy director and director (respectively) of K-12 programs for the Newman Society. Their work draws partly upon the counsel and policy recommendations of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian organization of top legal experts on religious freedom, and the teaching documents of several popes, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and key Vatican congregations.
“Human sexuality policies should, to the degree possible, not single out any particular group or behavior,” the authors write, “but be placed in the larger context of assisting all members of the school community in virtue formation, furthering of the common good, and the Catholic evangelical mission of the school.”
Even so, Catholic educators today have an urgent need for policies that help them teach and uphold truth while avoiding lawsuits by students or employees, as well as violations of religious freedom by local, state and federal agencies. Fueled by social media and an unsympathetic press, Catholic schools face intense pressure to compromise their teaching and mission rather than be charged with discrimination based on “gender identity,” “gender expression” or “sexual orientation.”read more