Who is Principal Emily Kent? Massachusetts nativity school excommunicated over LGBTQ+, BLM support

Bishop Robert J McManus has said that the school which is run by Principal Emily Kent cannot continue to call itself 'Catholic'


                            Who is Principal Emily Kent? Massachusetts nativity school excommunicated over LGBTQ+, BLM support
Bishop Robert Joseph McManus (R) has excommunicated the Nativity School of Worcester run by Emily Kent (L) (Nativity School of Worcester and Diocese of Worcester)
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The Nativity School of Worcester, which is a Catholic private school in Massachusetts, has reportedly been excommunicated by a local bishop after it refused to remove Pride and BLM flags. The school has been sanctioned by Robert J McManus, the Bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, for not obeying orders to take down the flags.

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McManus has reportedly said that the school, which is the only tuition-free private school in the region run by Principal Emily Kent, cannot continue to call itself Catholic while refusing to abide by church teachings. The middle school serves about 60 students.

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Who is Principal Emily Kent?

According to Emily Kent's LinkedIn profile, she was a 'Middle School Academic Support Coordinator and 7th Grade English Teacher' at Bancroft School before starting to work with Nativity. She has previously worked with The Hanover Insurance Group as a Community Relations Specialist. Her bio reads, "Experienced administrator and teacher with a demonstrated history of success in varied roles as a middle grade educator."

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Nativity School of Worcester says on its website, "After graduating from St Anselm College in New Hampshire, Kent began her career in education at Nativity School of Worcester as a Fellow in 2009, where she taught Language Arts, Reading, and Renaissance classes.  Following her successful completion of the Fellowship, Kent was hired to continue at Nativity Worcester as the Lead Teacher for both grades 7 and 8.  In 2012, Kent was promoted to the role of Assistant Principal, while still being the 7th Grade Lead Teacher."

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The school is the only tuition-free private school in the region (Nativity School of Worcester/Facebook)

"During her three years in the role, she continued her teaching responsibilities in Language Arts, Reading, and Math, while also developing a teacher mentorship program and starting a home visit program with families.  She also shepherded the school’s Jesuit Sponsorship Review process in 2014.   Kent then spent two years at Hanover Insurance Group as a Community Relations Specialist assisting with the management of major external non-profit community partnerships before returning to education at Bancroft School in 2017," the website adds.

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Kent has a Bachelor's degree in English from Saint Anselm College. She also received a Master's in the Art of Teaching from Clark University in 2011, as well as a Master's in Educational Leadership from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College in 2014.

What is Robert J McManus saying?

Bishop Robert J McManus issued a decree on Nativity School, which was published online in The Catholic Free Press, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Worcester. "The school claims to be a “Catholic” school affiliated with the Roman Catholic/Jesuit tradition. The administration of the school has permitted the flying of “Black Lives Matter” and “Gay Pride” flags in front of the school for a period of time," the Bishop reportedly said. "I publicly stated in an open letter dated, May 4, 2022, that “these symbols (flags) embody specific agendas or ideologies (that) contradict Catholic social and moral teaching.” It is my contention that the “Gay Pride” flag represents support of gay marriage and actively living a LGBTQ+ lifestyle," he stated.

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McManus added, "This is also true of “Black Lives Matter.” The Catholic Church teaches that all life is sacred and the Church certainly stands unequivocally behind the phrase “black lives matter” and strongly affirms that all lives matter. However, the “Black Lives Matter” movement has co-opted the phrase and promotes a platform that directly contradicts Catholic social teaching on the importance and role of the nuclear family and seeks to disrupt the family structure in clear opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

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McManus added that the flags placed in front of a Catholic school "sends a mixed, confusing and scandalous message to the public about the Church’s stance on these important moral and social issues." He further went on to say that despite his orders, the school refused to remove the flags. This, he insisted, prompted him to take "canonical action". 

McManus listed several prohibitions the school would face, including the fact that it can no longer identify itself as a “Catholic” school. The following is the list was published upon McManus' order:

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"1)The Nativity School of Worcester is prohibited from this time forward from identifying itself as a “Catholic” school and may no longer use the title “Catholic” to describe itself.

2) Mass, sacraments and sacramentals are no longer permitted to be celebrated on Nativity School premises or be sponsored by Nativity School in any church building or chapel within the Diocese of Worcester.

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3) The Nativity School is not allowed to undertake any fundraising involving diocesan institutions in the Diocese of Worcester and is not permitted to be listed or advertise in the Diocesan Directory.

4) The name of Bishop Emeritus Daniel P Reilly must be removed from the list of the Board of Trustees of Nativity School."

Meanwhile, Thomas McKenney, President of Nativity School of Worcester, said that the school would appeal the decision. "After meaningful deliberation and discernment by its Board, leadership team, faculty, and partners, Nativity will continue to display the flags in question to give visible witness to the school’s solidarity with our students, families, and their communities," McKenney wrote in a letter to students. "Commitment to our mission, grounded and animated by Gospel values, Catholic Social Teaching, and our Jesuit heritage compels us to do so."

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