Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

Teaching with Blood

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 09, 2010

Yesterday’s news story about the decision of a Denver Catholic school not to accept a child being raised by two lesbians makes me nervous (Denver Catholic school: Lesbian couple’s child may not re-enroll). The decision was both correct and well-explained, as it makes no sense for the child’s guardians to place him in a school which must teach that his family situation is fundamentally disordered, that his “family” is built on a lie.

But it makes me nervous because it is only a matter of time before somebody tests a situation like this in the courts. It is a very good thing that parochial schools typically don’t operate with Federal grants or undertake Federal and State contracts, or Catholic schools would almost certainly end up very quickly in the same situation as Catholic adoption agencies. Even so, there is not a lot of prejudicial legal distance between the two. If Catholic institutions must treat same-sex couples the same as others in the matter of child placement, might they not soon be required to do the same in the matter of child education? Might they not only have to accept such “families” as part of the school community but also adjust the curriculum accordingly?

This is why I have had serious misgivings about the decision of some Catholic agencies to avoid violating Catholic moral principles by simply getting out of the adoption business. The Church, after all, cannot get out of the education business without ceasing to be herself. Sooner or later we will have to go to court ourselves to challenge government authority in such matters. Failing success there, government authority will have to be either ignored or, if necessary, resisted.

Meanwhile, there will apparently never be a shortage of ill-formed “Catholics” already enrolled in such schools to take the secularist side, feeling sorry for the “persecution” of gay and lesbian “families” rather than understanding and defending authentic marriage and the culture of life. Those who follow the links in the Denver story will see that the press is already hot on the heels of some in the school community who are “hurt” by the school’s decision. Talk about your Trojan horse.

Battles, of course, have to be picked carefully, but some carefully-selected battles now might postpone or, God willing, eliminate the day when all our backs are to the wall. Even if bad precedents are already established in the matter of adoption, no adverse precedent must be set in the matter of Catholic schools. When the battle is joined, if the Catholic school cannot win, it must not voluntarily abandon the field, even in the face of a “legal” decision. It is necessary instead to make the government actually resort to force.

I’m sorry, but this is the Catholic way: If the Church cannot teach with words, she must teach through suffering. If necessary, she must teach even with blood.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Jeff Mirus - Mar. 11, 2010 10:31 AM ET USA

    Both wdhuber6181 and hartwood noticed the ambiguity of my concluding sentence and emphasized its proper interpretation. Martyrdom was exactly my point, and I appreciate the added emphasis.

  • Posted by: wdhuber6181 - Mar. 10, 2010 8:42 PM ET USA

    Great article, but I fear that the concluding phrase, "teach even with blood", is liable to be deliberately misinterpreted by the enemies of the Church in an attempt to portray the Church as the aggressor against it's supposed victims, and not as a community of martyrs who will offer their own blood for the sake of truth.

  • Posted by: - Mar. 10, 2010 8:35 PM ET USA

    There is a great moral to this article. In all my years, I lived my life thinking that the days of martyrs were over, but when you look around, you realize it could happen right here in America. The evil that surrounds us in this country could very well end up in bloodshed of martyrs. The evil will take the Catholic Church to court, and then when the Church fights back, the fight will end up in Madison Square Garden, or what will be known as the old Coliseum of Rome.

  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Mar. 10, 2010 11:31 AM ET USA

    We need to begin speaking up about the kind of child abuse that makes them mere tools for political agendas. One reason the pew-sitters agree with the secular media is because this is all that they hear, repeated over and over. We need to repeat our message as often and as insistantly.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Mar. 10, 2010 10:29 AM ET USA

    You are absolutely right. This is like dealing with a school-yard bully: A strong battle now could prevent worse losses later; ducking and hiding is only postponing the inevitable. And yes, even if the Church faces a loss by “legal” decision, it should make the government resort to force. Much can be taught through civil disobedience and noble suffering.

  • Posted by: rfwilliams2938 - Mar. 10, 2010 7:56 AM ET USA

    Why punish the child for the sins of the ah...mothers? Why can't the school just say, "ok, your child can come to our school, but you realize, of course, that we will be teaching him/her that homosexuality is a sin?". Then let the chips fall...

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Mar. 10, 2010 12:26 AM ET USA

    In the great World Wars of the past, they dug trenches to stake out positions and moved by eliminating enough enemies to re-dig their trenches a few feet closer to the enemy. In these situations, the war is not fought with mustard gas and machine guns. It is fought with ideas. Where do we then dig our trenches? In our hearts. We are on this precipice. Why can't the United States government adhere to the spirit of the First Amendment and allow Catholic social organs to operate within Catholic boundaries? Do we force Muslims and Jews to eat pork in jail because that is all we have? Of course not! That would be intolerant, wouldn't it?! Why can't we show Catholics in the US the same respect?

  • Posted by: humblesoldier4christ - Mar. 10, 2010 12:21 AM ET USA

    For many 'Catholics', realistically speaking, where they stand during those times is easily predictable. Matthew 26:75: "Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: 'Before the cock crows you will deny me three times'." Serious Catholics need to pray that they will not be among those who will deny Mother Church.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Mar. 09, 2010 10:49 PM ET USA

    And let there be no mistake, the blood will be ours, not the people we disagree with. "The blood of martyrs...."

  • Posted by: Universal - Mar. 09, 2010 10:09 PM ET USA

    Cor unum! Semper ubi ignis!

  • Posted by: - Mar. 09, 2010 7:53 PM ET USA

    Oh, that the school board (and parish, if appropriate) would have the backbone to stand up. However, with something like 65 to 75% of Catholics not attending Mass on a regular basis and a large number of those who do not having a clue about moral law, the likelihood of finding enough backbone is not a proposition one wants to dwell on. Relativism is alive and well in the pew sitters and in those who can't be bothered to show up regularly.

  • Posted by: Defender - Mar. 09, 2010 7:53 PM ET USA

    There is also another, parallel, problem to contend with: there is a mounting predisposition to close Catholic schools by pastors and dioceses. They cost too much to operate, etc, etc, but there is no concurrent discussions concerning the closure of Catholic universities—however nominally Catholic they are. The Catholicity of K-8 classrooms far outweighs the others because the basis of our Faith is established during these years.

  • Posted by: jtuturic3013 - Mar. 09, 2010 7:29 PM ET USA

    Amen! Thank you Dr. Mirus for allowing God to use you to encourage the faithful to make a stand for truth. I know it is not easy. Many of us do not want to make waves. But, if we do not make a stand when called to, then who will?

  • Posted by: adamah - Mar. 09, 2010 4:32 PM ET USA

    Amen! Amen!