An Open Letter to Sister Patricia McCarron

Subject: An Open Letter to Sister Patricia McCarron
From: Andrea Handscomb, Class of 1995
Date: 20 Jan 2014

An Open Letter to Sister Patricia McCarron
January 20, 2014

Sister Patricia McCarron, SSND, Ph.D.
Notre Dame Preparatory School Headmistress

Sr. Patricia McCarron:

I recently read The Baltimore Sun article “Notre Dame Prep Rejects Alumna's Same-Sex Wedding Announcement” regarding the omission of Mrs. Sarah Rupert-Sullivan’s wedding announcement. I would like to offer my assistance in helping the school edit their publication policy so it may be aligned with Catholic doctrine.

Although same-sex marriage is a very charged topic, we are fortunate that our Catholic beliefs provide us with a path that can guide us to a course of action that is right and just. The catechism of the Catholic Church unequivocally indicates that marriage is between a man and woman. In 2003 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops cautioned that “popular culture, media and entertainment often undermine or ignore the essential role of marriage and promote equivalence between marriage and homosexual relationships.” They also stated that the “Church's teaching about the dignity of homosexual persons is clear. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Our respect for them means we condemn all forms of unjust discrimination, harassment or abuse.” During a press conference on 07-29-13, Pope Francis further echoed the importance of treating homosexual individuals justly: "Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can't marginalize these people…You have to distinguish between the fact of a person being gay, and the fact of a [gay] lobby. The problem isn’t having this orientation. The problem is making a lobby.”

The Church Hierarchy states candidly that same-sex marriages and institutions that rally for these marriages cannot be supported. It is equally clear that individuals who are homosexual must be treated with dignity and not prejudice. The omission of the same-sex marriage announcement and failure to contact Mrs. Rupert-Sullivan could be perceived to be a form of discrimination and marginalization. It is important for Notre Dame to have a well-developed publication policy that respects the Church Hierarchy’s doctrine on marriage and promotes the dignity of all persons, which is ultimately the foundation of our Catholic faith.

Again, I would like to volunteer my assistance to help the school edit their publication policy. I would encourage my fellow alumnae to contact you to offer their support as well. Sr. Patricia, I know this is a difficult situation, and I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Yours truly,

Andrea Handscomb
Class of 1995