After flag dispute, U.S. bishop says local Jesuit school no longer Catholic

Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus has informed Nativity School of Worcester that it may no longer identify itself as a Catholic school following months of private and public discussion on the flying of Black Lives Matter and gay pride flags outside the school.

The bishop issued a formal decree June 16 removing support for the Jesuit-run school.

In a June 15 letter to the school community, Nativity School President Thomas McKenney said the school will appeal the decision "through appropriate channels" and will continue to display the flags. He said the school contends the flags are "not an endorsement of any organization or ideology" but that they "fly in support of marginalized people."

On June 10, Bishop McManus signed a decree stating that he was upholding his pastoral responsibilities and in accordance with canon law, declared that Nativity School is prohibited "from identifying itself as a 'Catholic' school" or using "the title 'Catholic' to describe itself," effective immediately.

He also said: "Mass, sacraments and sacramentals are no longer permitted to be celebrated on Nativity School premises or be sponsored by Nativity School in any church building or chapel within the Diocese of Worcester."

The school also will not be allowed to "undertake any fundraising involving diocesan institutions in the Diocese of Worcester and is not permitted to be listed or advertise in the diocesan directory."

Finally, the name of retired Worcester Bishop Daniel P. Reilly must be removed from the list of the school's board of trustees.

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