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Forced by archbishop, Indianapolis Catholic school fires gay teacher

Cathedral High School's decision comes days after the archdiocese cut ties with another school, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, over its refusal to fire a gay teacher.

Just days after the Archdiocese of Indianapolis cut ties with one Catholic high school over its refusal to fire a gay teacher, another school in the archdiocese is firing one of its educators to avoid the same fate.

The Indianapolis Star reports that Cathedral High School, on the northeast side of Indianapolis, says it is terminating a gay teacher in order to avoid a split with the archdiocese.

Another Catholic high school in Indianapolis, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, rebuffed the archdiocese and refused to fire one of its teachers who is gay. The archdiocese announced last week that it has cut ties with Brebeuf.

Cathedral's board Chairman Matt Cohoat and President Rob Bridges posted a letter on the school's website announcing the decision to "separate" from a teacher in a public same-sex marriage. The letter is addressed to the "Cathedral family."

The archdiocese made it clear, the letter said, that keeping the teacher employed “would result in forfeiting our Catholic identity due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage.”

Cathedral administrators said it was “an agonizing decision,” but said it was a necessary one. Cathedral, like Brebeuf, had been in talks with the archdiocese about this issue for nearly two years.

Neither Cathedral nor Brebeuf have identified the teachers involved. 

The relationship between the two schools and the archdiocese is different. Brebeuf is run by the Jesuit order of priests and receives no financial support from the archdiocese.

Cathedral is affiliated with The Brothers of the Holy Cross, and relies more heavily on the archdiocese. According to the letter, the school would lose its ability to offer sacrament and could not continue to have diocesan priests serve in the school.

"We know that some individuals do not agree with every teaching of the Catholic Church and so their conscience struggles between the teaching and what they believe is right," Cohoat and Bridges said in their letter. "We want you to know that we respect an individual's conflict between teaching and their conscience."

The letter said Cathedral would also lose its not-for-profit status if the archdiocese ejected it.

Cathedral does not receive financial support from the archdiocese, but its affiliation with The Brothers of the Holy Cross does not come with the same structure and resources as the relationship between the Jesuits and Brebeuf, which will operate largely unchanged. 

Cathedral is one of 68 Catholic schools recognized by the archdiocese and serves about 1,100 students in grades 9-12.

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