INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — For the first time since the controversy surrounding teachers in same-sex marriages at two Catholic schools, the Archbishop of Indianapolis and the Superintendent of Catholic Schools spoke publicly about the issues. The archdiocese told Cathedral High School, after two years of communication, they had to part ways with a teacher in a same-sex marriage if they wanted to remain an archdiocesan school.
The archbishop said the communication over the two years pertained to trying to get the teacher to reconcile and line up his personal life with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The archdiocese also told Brebeuf Jesuit to fire a teacher in a same sex marriage. Brebeuf did not, and instead, broke with the archdiocese.
"We engaged in a rather long relationship trying to accompany the schools toward reconciliation with these principles," Archbishop Charles Thompson said.
Thompson said they aren’t looking for teachers in same-sex marriages, but if something like this is brought to their attention, they have to address it.
"First and foremost, it is my responsibility as archbishop to oversee Catholic identity through the archdiocese," Thompson explained.
CBS4 obtained a copy of the teaching ministry contract on Thursday. It states a teacher is in violation of the contract if they have relationships contrary to the Catholic faith. The Catholic church believes marriage is between a man and a woman.
The archbishop told reporters it is not the orientation that is the issue; it is the union.
"It's not about orientation. It’s about the situation in contrast or in line with the church's teachings," Thompson said.
"Of course we recognize that two people can love one another," Superintendent of Catholic Schools Gina Fleming said. " But as a church we do not recognize the civil union as a marriage that is recognized as a marriage in the church.”
The church's leadership said this is not just about same-sex relationships, but anything against the Catholic teachings. Hours after the news conference, people against Cathedral's decision to fire the teacher gathered.
"Our family's broken right now," Casey Hayes, an alum, said. "We as alumni have a responsibility to our students to let them know that we're not happy with this. We don't accept this as the proper and right choice, and we're here behind you. We're going to stand behind you and help guide you through this time."
The archdiocese said these policies are not for students. They said they welcome all students, regardless of background and sexual orientation, but they do try to lead them in the Catholic beliefs.