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Catholic girls school to publicize alums' same-sex marriages

Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School says all of its graduates are children of God worthy of respect — even if the Vatican does not recognize gay marriage.
Credit: Patrick Semansky, AP
Sister Mary Berchmans, center, shown Sept. 23, 2015, with other sisters of the Visitation, decided in May 2018 to allow lesbian graduates of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in the District of Columbia to announce their weddings in the school's alumnae publication.

WASHINGTON — A 220-year-old Catholic girls' school now will allow news about same-sex unions in its alumnae magazine.    

The president emerita of Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, Sister Mary Berchmans, announced the change this month, news outlets reported. She was asked to reflect on what it means to "Live Jesus" when it comes to LGBTQ alumnae, and the new policy change from the nun who has been at Visitation for 67 years follows "the Gospel commandment of love," she said.    

 “The church is clear in its teaching on same-sex marriages. But it is equally clear in its teaching that we are all children of God, that we each have dignity and are worthy of respect and love," Berchmans said.

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The issue gained steam in April when several graduates learned that an alumna was told a few years ago that she could not put her wedding announcement in the magazine because she had married another woman.

"At a time when a U.S. bishop says "transgenderism (sic) is rooted in insupportable science" and a Tanzanian bishop equates homosexuality with "witchcraft," it's good to see a message of acceptance for LBGT people," The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest in New York City, said in a Facebook post.  

An Archdiocese of Washington statement expresses disappointment that the school didn't consult the diocese on a matter involving Catholic identity. But it also said the church's stance on marriage doesn't conflict with the Gospel message of love.