Massachusetts School Punished for Flying BLM and Pride Flags
Updated: Jun 27, 2022
By Vikrant Sabharwal
A bishop in Worcester, Massachusetts, Robert J. McManus, has asserted in a decree that a middle school in the area, Nativity School, can no longer call itself Catholic because it flies Gay Pride and Black Lives Matter flags in front of their building. The bishop claimed that the school’s support of the movements is inconsistent with Catholic teachings.
Along with not being able to consider themselves Catholic, the bishop is also claiming that the school may not celebrate mass, sacraments, or sacramentals, or be listed in the Diocesan Directory, or fundraise with diocesan institutions. Additionally, the one bishop serving on the school board is no longer able to serve.
McManus cited several reasons for his opposition to the flags. For the Pride flag, he said it represents support for LGBTQ+ marriage and actively living an LGBTQ+ lifestyle, which are contrary to his and the church’s beliefs.
Regarding the BLM flag, McManus claims that while the church stands in support of Black individuals, the BLM movement promotes a platform that goes against the Catholic social teaching of the nuclear family and aims to disrupt the family structure in clear opposition to the Catholic church.
"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," the bishop wrote.
Before claiming that the school can not consider itself Catholic any longer, the bishop gave prior warnings. In March, McManus told the school that if they did not remove the flags by the end of May, the school would no longer be able to have its Catholic status.
The school's president, Thomas McKenney, said in a Wednesday statement that the church’s decision will not change how the Nativity School operates. He said the school will continue to fly the flags "to give visible witness to the school's solidarity with our students, families, and their communities."
"As a multicultural school, the flags represent the inclusion and respect of all people," he went on to say. "These flags simply state that all are welcome at Nativity and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching."