Changing America

Benedictine monks separate from Catholic school after it hires lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage

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Story at a glance

  • A group of monks have decided to cut ties with a Catholic high school in Illinois after the school hired a lacrosse coach in a same-sex marriage.
  • The school, Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., had originally rescinded the coach’s job offer when she listed her wife as her emergency contact. She was extended another offer following backlash.
  • Benet’s chancellor said in a statement in September that he was “deeply troubled” by the school’s decision to hire someone in a same-sex marriage.

A group of Benedictine monks have said they are separating from an Illinois Catholic high school after the school hired an openly gay woman in a same-sex marriage.

Abbot Austin Murphy, the Chancellor of Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., wrote Tuesday in a letter that the Benedictine monastery St. Procopius Abbey would be cutting ties with Benet “after much deliberation.”

“Events in recent months have been an occasion for the Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey to examine their future relationship with Benet Academy. After much deliberation, the monks as a community have discerned that they no longer have the resources needed for the governance and oversight of the Academy,” the letter, also signed by school board Chairman Dennis Flynn, reads.

St. Procopius Abbey is one of Benet’s largest donors, giving at least $50,000 to the school during the 2019-20 academic year alone, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.


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“Alternatives for the Academy’s governance are being studied,” Murphy and Flynn wrote in the letter. “In the meantime, the Abbey will continue its role in the governance of the high school. The goal is that Benet Academy will continue to operate with an emphasis on academic excellence and Catholic identity within the Benedictine tradition.”

St. Procopius Abbey’s decision comes five months after Benet Academy made headlines when it rescinded a lacrosse coaching job offer that had been given to Amanda Kammes — a Benet alumni — who listed her wife as her emergency contact.

Following protests led by current and former students demanding the school reverse its decision, Benet’s board of directors said it extended another offer to Kammes, which she accepted.

Murphy in a statement in September said he was “deeply troubled” by the school’s decision to hire someone in a same-sex marriage.

“I want to let everyone know that I am taking this matter to prayer and discerning how to proceed,” he said at the time.

“If we give in to the voices that say that disagreement equals hate, then we allow civil discourse to perish,” he added. “We will communicate further information as the matter develops.”


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