The Black Lives Matter movement is a threat to Roman Catholic values, a US bishop said as he stripped a school of its status for flying a BLM and a Gay Pride flag.
The bishop ordered a middle school to remove both flags from its campus after students, the majority of whom are people of colour, requested for them to be flown to express support for inclusivity.
Bishop Robert McManus told the Nativity School in Worcester, Massachusetts, that the flags sent a “confusing and scandalous message” and sought to “disrupt the family structure”.
“The Gay Pride flag represents support of gay marriage and actively living a LGBTQ+ lifestyle,” he said. “This is also true of BLM.” After raising the flags in 2021, the school resisted demands by the diocese to remove them, despite warnings it would be banned from identifying as a Roman Catholic school.
In a decree issued last week, Bishop McManus said he had “no option” but to follow through on his threat.
The decree also prohibits the school from performing mass or sacraments on its premises or any within its diocese.
The school is further banned from any fundraising involving institutions linked to the Diocese of Worcester. The school has said it will appeal.
At the same time, its president Thomas McKenney, said the school, which caters to children aged 10 to 14 from deprived backgrounds, had decided to continue flying the flags outside its building “to give visible witness to the school’s solidarity with our students, families, and their communities”.
Mr McKenney noted that Pope Francis had “praised the outreach and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people” while the US Conference of Catholic Bishops had supported the BLM movement.
In his decree, Bishop McManus stated that the church “stands unequivocally behind the phrase ‘black lives matter’ itself.” However, he said the BLM movement threatened Catholic teachings on the nuclear family.
In a now-deleted section of its website, BLM said it sought to “disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure by supporting each other as extended families that collectively care for one another, especially our children”.
The diocese’s ruling has been criticised by the school’s parents and staff.
Telegraph Media Group Limited