The Diocese of Worcester has stripped a school in the Massachusetts city of its affiliation with the Catholic Church because of the flags it has flown in support of Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights.
A decree issued Thursday by Bishop Robert McManus forbids the Nativity School of Worcester from identifying itself as a Catholic school from now on.
Bishop Robert McManus claims the Black Lives Matter and Pride flags contradict Catholic social and moral teaching.
"The flying of these flags in front of a Catholic school sends a mixed, confusing and scandalous message to the public," McManus wrote.
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Diocese spokesperson Raymond Delisle doubled down on McManus' position.
"Bishop was just looking for alternatives to the flags to be able to get the same points across, that Black Lives do matter, that God loves everyone, but does it have to be done with specific logos, if you will, of a particular organization that we have differences with?" he said.
The school says the flags will not be removed.
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"As a multicultural school, the flags represent the inclusion and respect of all people," said President Thomas McKenney of the Nativity School of Worcester in a statement. "These flags simply state that all are welcome at Nativity and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching."
"We are hearing more and more Catholic communities embrace inclusivity, and I think to hear a Bishop try and promote the opposite of that is just absurd," said Nativity alum Guillermo Creamer Jr. "It's very difficult to be an openly gay alumnus and to hear that the Bishop is ripping away a Catholic status for an institution that's truly done nothing but good in our community."
School officials say they will appeal to the Vatican.