Two Catholic high schools in Denver have held firm to their LGBTQ-supportive policies after being disinvited from one middle school’s high school admissions fair over that support.
St. Thomas More Catholic School, which serves pre-K to 8th grade, disinvited Regis Jesuit High School and St. Mary’s Academy from its annual high school admissions event, which helps families find a Denver-area Catholic high school.
The Denver Post reported that a letter written by St. Thomas More’s pastor, Fr. Randy Dollins, and principal, Gretchen DeWolfe, to school families stated, in part:
“Over the past months, many questions have arisen concerning the current Catholic formation provided at both of those high schools. Because of this, we can not in good conscience endorse their presence at our school.”
Dollins and DeWolfe included multiple allegations against both high schools, claiming that some of their faculty members:
“explicitly endorse positions on same-sex attraction and gender that are inconsistent with the teachings of the church… , (and) are antagonistic toward church leaders and institutions that hold firm to traditional Christian morality and doctrine. . .
“Leaders at the two schools have been reluctant to offer correction or guidance that shows a desire to cooperate with the archbishop’s leadership.”
In response to these remarks, St. Mary’s Academy, which is affiliated with the Sisters of Loretto, wrote their own letter to parents rebutting St. Thomas More’s claims. The Denver Post reported:
“[The] letter states St. Mary’s Academy embraces students of all faiths who form their school community and join prayer services, masses, and theological studies approved by the Archdioceses of Denver. In their letter, St. Mary’s Academy wrote: ‘We model respect and understanding of others’ way of thinking, beliefs, human longings, sorrows, and joys… this teaching allows for a deeper understanding of others and one’s convictions in an increasingly complex, multicultural, and multireligious world.'”
Despite having been present at St. Thomas More’s admissions event in the past, St. Mary’s Academy’s letter confirms they were uninvited from participating this year. Their letter concluded by stating their disheartenment for St. Thomas More’s “erroneous statements concerning our (their) Catholic formation without any dialogue” with them.
The Denver Post also reported:
“Regis Jesuit parents called St. Thomas More’s letter ‘shockingly defamatory’, adding that the school was ‘completely blindsided by this attempt to impugn the integrity of Regis Jesuit.'”
In an attempt to mediate future conflicts among Catholic schools in the greater Denver area, the Denver Post explained:
“The archdiocese has planned to increase intervention in the region’s Catholic high schools, from providing a new prompt for theology applicants during the schools’ hiring processes to asking schools to submit their theology curriculum to the archdiocese.”
Despite St. Thomas More disinviting St. Mary’s Academy and Regis Jesuit, both high schools have agreed to accept students graduating from St. Thomas More into their communities.
—Anushah Sajwani (she/her), New Ways Ministry, September 29, 2022