A middle school in Massachusetts has been banned from calling itself Catholic for insisting to fly gay pride and Black Lives Matter (BLM) flags, which church leaders say embody an agenda that contradicts Catholic values.
Nativity School in Worcester is no longer allowed to identify as a Catholic school, according to a decree issued by the bishop of the Diocese of Worcester. The school is also prohibited from hosting Mass and sacraments on its campus or sponsoring these activities in any church building within the diocese.
“The flying of these flags in front of a Catholic school sends a mixed, confusing, and scandalous message to the public about the Church’s stance on these important moral and social issues,” Bishop Robert McManus of the Diocese of Worcester wrote in the order.
“It is my contention that the ‘Gay Pride’ flag represents support of gay marriage and actively living a LGBTQ+ lifestyle,” McManus said. “This is also true of ‘Black Lives Matter.’ The Catholic Church teaches that all life is sacred and the Church certainly stands unequivocally behind the phrase ‘black lives matter’ and strongly affirms that all lives matter.”
The bishop also noted that the Black Lives Matter organization “seeks to disrupt the family structure, in clear opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
The BLM activist group, whose co-founders have described themselves as “trained Marxists,” initially declared on its website that it wants to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” The dismantling of traditional family structure remains a key tenet of Marxism.
Nativity has been displaying gay pride and BLM flags since early 2021, and continued to fly them after McManus was made aware of them in March and demanded their removal.
McManus wrote that as a diocesan bishop, he has the authority to determine whether a school claiming to be Catholic is acting in a way that is contrary to Catholic teachings, and that Nativity’s defiance leaves him “no other option but to take canonical action.”
In response to the decision, Nativity claims that flying the flags is meant to show support for “marginalized people,” which aligns with Catholic values.
“The flags simply state that all are welcome at Nativity, and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching,” Nativity School President Thomas McKenney said in a statement. “Though any symbol or flag can be co-opted by political groups or organizations, flying our flags is not an endorsement of any organization or ideology, they fly in support of marginalized people.”
The school said it has no plan to take down the flags and may appeal the decree through “appropriate channels.”