Bishop Ostracizes School Flying BLM, Pride Flags

Jesuit school in Massachusetts says displays merely indicate everyone is welcome
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2022 4:45 PM CDT
Bishop Ostracizes School Flying BLM, Pride Flags
Bishop Robert McManus, shown in 2012, said a school refused to take down Black Lives Matter and Pride flags.   (AP Photo/The Telegram & Gazette, Rick Cinclair)

(Newser) – A Roman Catholic bishop in Massachusetts has told a school that displays Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ flags that it can no longer consider itself Catholic. Nor can school grounds host Mass or the sacraments, according to the decree issued Thursday by Bishop Robert McManus of the Diocese of Worcester, ABC News reports. "The flying of these flags in front of a Catholic school sends a mixed, confusing and scandalous message to the public about the Church’s stance on these important moral and social issues," McManus wrote. He added that the middle school had ignored his instruction to remove the flags, per the Washington Post.

The flags went up in January 2021, Nativity School of Worcester officials said, at the request of students. "As a multicultural school, the flags represent the inclusion and respect of all people," a statement said. "These flags simply state that all are welcome at Nativity and this value of inclusion is rooted in Catholic teaching." As of Thursday, the diocese's list of Catholic schools in the area did not include the Jesuit-run Nativity. The school said it will appeal the bishop's decision but will not remove the flags.

McManus wrote in an open warning letter in May that the diocese is "100% behind the phrase 'black lives matter'" but said the term has been co-opted by "a specific movement with a wider agenda." The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has supported the concept of racial justice, per the Post, but not necessarily the BLM term. Yes, such symbols can be co-opted, but "flying our flags is not an endorsement of any organization or ideology," said the school's president in a statement. "(T)hey fly in support of marginalized people." (Read more Catholic school stories.)

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