St. Thomas More Catholic School admonishes fellow Catholic schools for LGBTQ support

A Catholic school in Centennial has disinvited two metro-area Catholic high schools from an upcoming admissions event, saying in a letter to parents that the schools have faculty members supportive of LGBTQ individuals and present a “general antagonism” toward Catholic leaders.

St. Thomas More Catholic School, which teaches preschool through middle school, told Aurora-based Regis Jesuit High School and Englewood’s St. Mary’s Academy that the Catholic high schools are not welcome at an annual admissions event Friday for families seeking high school options, according to letters to the schools’ communities that parents provided to The Denver Post.

In its communication to families last week, St. Thomas More’s pastor, Father Randy Dollins, and Principal Gretchen DeWolfe wrote: “Over the past months, many questions have arisen concerning the current Catholic formation provided at both of those high schools. Because of this, we cannot in good conscience endorse their presence at our school.”

According to the St. Thomas More letter, the allegations against both schools include:

  • Some faculty members “explicitly endorse positions on same-sex attraction and gender that are inconsistent with the teachings of the church”
  • Some faculty members 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
  • The schools have an inclination “to adopt the ideological errors of our age, rather than standing for the truths of our faith”

Officials at St. Thomas More could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Leaders at St. Mary’s Academy directed a Post reporter to the letter they sent to parents rebutting St. Thomas More’s claims. That 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 Archdiocese of Denver.

“We model respect and understanding of others’ ways of thinking, beliefs, human longings, sorrows and joys,” the letter said. “This teaching allows for a deeper understanding of others and one’s convictions in an increasingly complex, multicultural and multireligious world.”

The letter confirms St. Mary’s was not invited to the event, which the school had attended in past years.

“Sadly, (St. Thomas More Catholic School) made erroneous statements concerning our Catholic formation without any dialogue with St. Mary’s Academy,” the letter said.

Officials at Regis Jesuit High School declined to discuss the matter, but their communication to 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.”

Regis Jesuit’s letter said the allegations made against their school were “outrageous,” untrue and “the continuation of a false, often politically-motivated, narrative being promulgated by a relatively small group of people who question or outright oppose the direction of our school.”

The letter said Regis Jesuit was disappointed to be given no opportunity to discuss the matter with St. Thomas More beforehand.

“In fact, they went so far as to tell us that no amount of ‘detail’ in responding to their allegations of ‘un-Catholic’ practices would change their minds,” the letter said.

Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Denver confirmed a plan to review the theology curriculum, hiring practices and “Catholic identity” of the high schools under its purview following the retraction of a student publication and the firing of two teachers at Regis Jesuit High School last year,

Two Regis Jesuit teachers were fired in December after administrators removed the winter edition of the school’s student publication from the internet because it featured a student opinion column arguing abortion should remain legal.

The teachers’ firings were followed by an admonishing letter from Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila to the Regis Jesuit community. That letter, dated one day after the firing, called the publication of the student’s column a “failure” and said faculty and staff of Catholic schools must be against abortion.

According to documents obtained by The Post, the archdiocese planned to increase intervention in the region’s Catholic high schools, from providing “a new prompt” for theology teacher applicants during the schools’ hiring processes to asking schools to submit their theology curriculum to the archdiocese. The documents said the archdiocese was creating a process for accreditation to assess the schools’ Catholic identities.

Regis Jesuit and St. Mary’s said they will continue to welcome student candidates from St. Thomas More.

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