- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2016

A Catholic high school in New Jersey is under fire for refusing to admit a transgender female student as a boy.

Mason Catrambone, 14, who formerly went by the name Madelyn, was admitted to Camden Catholic High School in February, but began to identify as the opposite sex over the summer, reported Philly.com.

The school said it is “open to all students who want to learn in a Catholic environment” and sought to accommodate Mason in a pair of meetings with the teen’s parents in August.

Mason agreed to use the restroom and change clothes in the nurse’s office, but wanted permission to wear a boy’s uniform and be treated by the school as a boy in other respects.

Pointing to Pope Francis’s recent reiteration of church teaching in Amoris Laetitia, the school said it “could not provide the accommodations, as they would contradict Catholic teaching on gender identity.”

“By choosing a Catholic school, students and their parents must understand that this means the school environment is shaped by religious beliefs and behavior is governed accordingly,” Camden said in a statement. “We understand that not everyone will accept or agree with our beliefs, and some will choose another learning environment.”

Mason plans to attend a public high school in New Jersey next year, according to Philly.com, adding that he did not want to attend a school where he is seen “as a problem.”

“I didn’t lose Camden Catholic,” Mason said. “Camden Catholic lost me.”

A Change.org petition was started earlier this week by someone who identified as a “Concerned Camden Catholic Student.”

The petition says Camden “refused to accept” Mason “for who he is” and calls for “students, faculty, alumni and anyone else who doesn’t support Camden Catholic’s decision” to sign the petition “and show that you stand with Mason.” It has received nearly 2,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

The Diocese of Camden said the high school “took great care to meet with the family and discuss the requests for accommodations.”

“The requests were such that a diocesan Catholic school could not accommodate them without compromising some of the basic tenets of the faith,” the Diocese said in a statement. “The Diocese believes that the school made the right decision and fully supports that decision.”

Francis upset the LGBT community when he addressed the “ideology of gender” in Amoris Laetitia, a major document regarding the family released in April.

“Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift,” the document says. “At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created.”

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