‘Deeply Troubled': Chancellor Questions Benet Academy's Decision to Hire Gay Coach

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The chancellor of Benet Academy said he is "deeply troubled" by the suburban school's decision to hire a lacrosse coach in a same-sex marriage, a statement that could mean the controversial hiring debate is not yet over.

"I want to let everyone know that I am taking this matter to prayer and discerning how to proceed," Abbot Austin G. Murphy of St. Procopius Abbey said.

Though he noted that Pope Francis "has been clear that our love and respect for all persons is not in contradiction with Church doctrine on the sacrament of matrimony and teachings on sexuality," Murphy said "the matter raises the question of what a Catholic high school should require from those who work with and form its students."

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

The Lisle school initially rescinded a job offer for lacrosse coaching candidate Amanda Kammes when she listed her wife as an emergency contact.

The school's board of directors then announced last week that the academy "extended an offer" and Kammes and she accepted it.

The board noted that the Catholic school had previously "deferred its employment discussions with Ms. Kammes upon learning that she is in a same-sex marriage."

Supporters of Kammes, who graduated from Benet Academy in 2001, said she is more than qualified to be the private school’s varsity girls lacrosse coach.

But the head of the school said in a recent message to the Benet community that the school follows the teachings of the Church and will always listen to viewpoints regarding matters that affect students.

"One of our chief concerns is for the LGBT students who currently study at Benet, who, through this action by their administration, get the message that they are not valuable and not respected by their school, and we want to tell them that we as the broader Benet community feel very differently and we support them,” said Tim Jacklich, a 2016 graduate of Benet Academy.

A rally was held in the Chicago suburb Monday and more than 2,000 people signed a letter demanding the school reverse its decision.

The school’s board, which met Monday, said it determined Kammes' "background and experience made her the right candidate for the position."

“The Board has heard from members of the Benet community on all sides of this issue over the past several days," the Board of Directors for Benet Academy said in a statement. "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. For now, we hope that this is the first step in healing the Benet community.”

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