(NCR Online) Officials from the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, have encountered criticism as they try to balance Pope Francis’ call to welcome those in “irregular” family situations with upholding traditional church teaching on gender, sexuality and marriage.
In early May, the diocese presented guidelines for working with LGBT students and “non-traditional families” in Catholic schools to gatherings of diocesan priests and principals.
Bishop John Gaydos approved the document, “A Pastoral Process of Accompaniment and Dialogue: Addressing Children and Youth in Response to Gender Concerns and Non-Traditional Families,” which was developed by a committee of eight priests, sisters and laypeople.
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The guidelines state that “wherever possible, enrollment is the goal,” yet make it clear that enrollment is only possible if the parents agree to sign and uphold a “Covenant of Trust” in which they pledge to “support the moral and social doctrine of the Catholic Church.”
The guidelines also include instructions for talking to people in various “scenarios,” such as an unmarried heterosexual couple wishing to enroll their child, a same-sex couple estranged from the church, or a current student coming out as transgender. [More]