In response to Dominic Conover’s commentary in the Advocate entitled “I Won’t Let the Catholic Church Silence Any More LGBTQ Students,” DignityUSA has sent the following letter to the Archbishop of Indianapolis. We urge those who agree to send a letter of their own.
August 2, 2019
Archbishop Charles Thompson
Archdiocese of Indianapolis
1400 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Dear Archbishop Thompson,
Earlier this week, Dominic Conover published a commentary in The Advocate entitled “I Won’t Let the Catholic Church Silence any More LGBTQ Students.” In my more than 36 years of ministry with and advocacy for LGBTQI Catholics, little has saddened and angered me to the extent that this essay did. I am enclosing a copy in case you have not yet read it.
The behavior of the school officials described in this essay is shameful. The pressure and isolation which Dominic experienced simply for standing up for his convictions belies the goal of building a united, supportive Body of Christ. It is inexcusable for Superintendent Fleming and Principal Weisenbach to have threatened Dominic with withholding of his diploma, effectively threatening his college career and undermining what remained of his senior year. This is a reprehensible abuse of power, and totally inconsistent with what Catholic educators should be modeling. I strongly believe that both individuals, along with Roncalli President Hollowell, should be fired immediately.
I have had the privilege of consulting with the leaders of Shelly’s Voice on occasion, and have been in contact with some of their parents, with families impacted by the terminations at Roncalli, and with members of the Catholic community in Indianapolis who have been deeply troubled by the actions taken against gay and lesbian married members of high school staff, and, in at least one instance, a family member. I have found each of the people I have encountered to be deeply committed to their faith, and profoundly wounded by what has transpired in the Archdiocese. It is long past time to reverse course, and end the attacks on LGBTQI people, our family members, and others who believe our Church should welcome all.
If the Archdiocese of Indianapolis wants to continue attracting students and families to its schools, it must create a climate of welcome, respect, and integrity. Bullying students who disagree with official policy must end, and those who do so have no place in leadership.