Abbot Austin G. Murphy of St. Procopius Abbey shared a message on the abbey’s website saying “we will communicate further information as the matter develops.” Murphy’s statement reads, in part, “the matter raises the question of what a Catholic high school should require from those who work with and form its students. In particular, is it necessary that the witness of their public lives not be in opposition to Catholic moral teaching?”
St. Procopius Abbey founded Benet Academy and helps run the school. It is also one of the school’s top donors, according to Benet’s most recent annual report.
Murphy’s remarks come on the heels of Benet Academy announcing last week that it had reversed its decision and extended the job offer again to Amanda Kammes. The school leadership came under fire around that time for initially rescinding the hiring of Kammes after learning she is in a same-sex marriage. In fact, a protest was staged outside Benet Academy.
The Board of Directors met and reversed course, releasing a statement that said in part, ““We had an honest and heartfelt discussion on this very complex issue at our meeting. Going forward we will look for opportunities for dialogue in our community about how we remain true to our Catholic mission while meeting people where they are in their personal journey through life.” Kammes reportedly accepted the job offer that was extended by Benet Academy the second time around.
Following Church Teachings
Murphy contends that following the moral teachings of the church is essential for a Catholic school. “I believe this requirement is necessary and, therefore am deeply troubled by the school’s decision which calls into question its adherence to the doctrines of the Catholic faith,” he said in the statement. “In turn, I want to let everyone know that I am taking this matter to prayer and discerning how to proceed.”
It remains unclear what authority Murphy holds over the hiring decision.
A spokesperson for Benet Academy declined to comment on the statement released by Murphy, saying the school had nothing more to add.
The statement from Murphy is drawing criticism from some in the community. Kim Gannon, who formerly attended Benet Academy, said she sees no self-reflection or message encouraging anyone to come to the table in the statement. “We are being accused of not being civil in our dialogue because we’ve spoken loudly. It’s an allusion to a trope that associates young people with cancel culture, which halts all possibility of civil dialogue,” Gannon said.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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