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Bishop bans Catholic school from calling itself “Catholic” after it flew rainbow & BLM flags

One flag pole flying an American flag and a rainbow flag.
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A middle school in Massachusetts can no longer call itself Catholic after flying LGBTQ Pride and Black Lives Matter flags, according to the bishop of the Diocese of Worcester.

“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 J. McManus wrote in an open letter.

Related: Dear President Biden: I created the trans flag. Please tell our embassies to fly it.

The Jesuit-run Nativity School of Worcester is now prohibited from calling itself a Catholic school, and mass and other sacraments can no longer be performed on campus.

The school has been flying the flags since January 2021 at the request of students, according to The Boston Globe. McManus first objected to the flags in March, questioning whether the tuition-free private school, which serves low-income Black and brown boys in grades five through eight, was “committing itself to ideologies which are contrary to Catholic teaching.”

At the time, McManus objected to the Pride flag on the grounds that it contradicts Catholic teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman. He also argued that the Black Lives Matter banner had been co-opted by “factions which also instill broad-brush distrust of police and those entrusted with enforcing our laws.”

McManus later revised his opposition to the BLM flag, writing in May that while the Catholic Church is “100% behind the phrase ‘black lives matter’” on the grounds that “every human life is sacred,” he objects to elements of the movement for racial justice are queer- and trans-affirming.

In a statement, Nativity’s president Thomas McKenney said, “The flags simply state that all are welcome at Nativity and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching. 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, which has seen an outpouring of support from the community, will appeal the bishop’s decision while continuing to fly the flags.

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