INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana  — A Jesuit high school that the Indianapolis Archdiocese no longer recognizes as Catholic because it refused to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage says it’s appealing that decision to the Vatican.

Brebeuf Preparatory School President Father Bill Verbryke sent a letter to the school community Sunday saying the head of the Jesuits’ Midwest Province has asked the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome to overrule a decree issued by Archbishop Charles Thompson in June saying the school “will no longer be identified or recognized” as Catholic.

“In the end, we hope that the decree is overruled; if that does not occur, we have asked for additional clarity as to the legitimate effects of the Archbishop’s decree on the sacramental life of Brebeuf Jesuit,” the letter said. “We do not have a timeline for how long the appeal process will take, but please be assured that we are making every effort to resolve our disagreement with the Archbishop and resume the strong relationship we have enjoyed with the Archdiocese for the past 57 years.”

Verbryke also says Thompson will allow himself and another Brebeuf priest to celebrate daily Mass in the school chapel before classes start but won’t permit other Masses during the upcoming school year.

“We are disappointed and saddened by the Archbishop’s decision; however, our appeal includes our request for the ability to have school Masses on campus once again.  We earnestly hope to be able to celebrate the Eucharist as an entire school community again in the near future.  However, we must, and do, acknowledge the authority of the Archbishop with respect to the celebration of Mass within the Archdiocese. In lieu of celebrating the Mass of the Holy Spirit as a traditional opening-of-the-school-year Mass on Thursday, August 15, our Brebeuf Jesuit community will call upon the blessings of the Holy Spirit in our school community for this academic year by holding a school-wide prayer service during the school day,” Verbryke wrote.

Archdiocesan spokesman Greg Otolski confirmed the decision on Brebeuf’s Masses.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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