Benedictine monks cut ties with school that hired lesbian teacher

Benet Academy. Photo from Facebook

The Benedictine order that operates Benet Academy in Lisle announced Monday that they were breaking their connection to the school.

In September, the parochial school offered, then rescinded, then offered again a job to Amanda Kammes. Kammes, a Benet alum, had been hired by the school until she listed her wife as an emergency contact. The offer was withdrawn then reoffered after a petition and protests by alumni, students and parents at the school. Kammes works as the girls’ lacrosse coach.

The school had originally said that they “employ individuals whose lives manifest the essential teachings of the Church in order to provide the education and faith formation of the young people entrusted to our care.” After the offer was restored, the school said that background and experience made the right candidate for the position.

In a letter that was released by the monks of St. Procopius Abbey and the school, the monks said that after events in recent months, they examined their relationship with the school. They decided that they no longer have the resources to devote to running the school. They will continue to run the school until alternatives are found.

The monks and the school did say that the school would remain a Catholic constitution.

“Contrary to some reports circulating in the media earlier today, know of our steadfast commitment to ensuring that the Academy will maintain its Catholic identity, in the Benedictine tradition, for years to come,” said Stephen Marth, the head of Benet Academy, in a statement. “It is expected that a committee composed of representatives from the Diocese of Joliet, the American Cassinese Congregation of Benedictines, the Benet Board of Directors, and the school administration will collaborate on the successful completion of this important process.”

Catholic schools in Illinois and neighboring states have come under fire for treatment of LGBTQ employees. The church also maintains a large network of schools and universities that are often considered an alternative to public schools.

In August, a woman said that she had a job offer from Springfield’s Sacred Heart-Griffin High School rescinded when they found out she was gay. The school told the State Journal-Register that they were bound by the Roman Catholic Church directives about marriage equality and that’s why the job offer was revoked.

A teacher who was fired from his job at the Cathedral High School in Indianapolis for marrying a man is continuing to fight for the right to sue the diocese. His husband, a teacher at another Catholic school in Indianapolis, wasn’t fired. However, that school is now fighting to remain recognized as a Catholic institution.