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12-Jul-2018 10:41

"All of this is taken very seriously by the people in charge of the school and in charge of the students.They're not closed-minded to all the concerns being brought forward."Strammiello said the Catholic schools must look to the church for decisions."Until there's such time of significant policy movement, we're in a place that all the stakeholders are familiar with," Strammiello said."Leaving open the possibility that it's not a moral choice, it's natural, is different than saying the rules no longer apply.The way these two things have been squared in most Catholic circles is if it's a fact that you're attracted to members of the same sex, the norms of sexual behavior still apply, so if you're gay, you've got to be celibate."In general, church teachings say impulses themselves are not sins but acting on those impulses is a sin.Attridge said the Catholic Church and its schools are in a complex position.Pope Francis' emphasis on openness and inclusion have appealed to young people, but traditional policies remain, he said."Catholic schools would find themselves in a difficult position if they said anything goes, or same-sex couples are fine," Attridge said."We've brought this issue to light, waiting for a response, and the 'why' hasn't been answered."Scott came out as a lesbian after high school.

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In a statement March 7 in response to media questions, Mc Carthy, who was the school's principal for years before becoming its president in 2012, said in "adhering to the teachings of the Church," the school requires its students to attend the prom "alone or in the company of a friend or friends of their choosing" but that "the expectation has been that a Mercy student's date be male."Mostly, the school expects that male date to be a student from Xavier High School, the all-boys Catholic high school in Middletown."Our mission is to see that every student is challenged to grow academically, emotionally, socially, aesthetically and spiritually and encouraged to recognize the abilities and strengths that will enable her to achieve her potential.

Importantly, this mission is guided by the overarching tenets and teachings of the Catholic faith.

Victoria Scott, a 2013 Mercy graduate from Oxford attending a university in upstate New York, was among former students who weighed in on the Mercy senior's request.

She and others started a website around the social media hashtag #we PROMise and are awaiting a response from Mercy, the Norwich Diocese, the Hartford Diocese and the Vatican, which have all received the petition."I would like to know what the issues are that would take so long to make a decision," Scott said.Traditional Catholic policies remain, but Pope Francis is setting an agenda of greater flexibility and understanding, and though the issue is over for this prom season at Mercy, some alumni are pushing the school to change.

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