Perceptions of Catholic School Superintendents on Same-Sex Issues in Catholic Schools: A National Study

Collins Andrew Adutwum, Fordham University


Media reports have shown same-sex issues in Catholics schools emerge in three ways: (1) same-sex parents who have children in a Catholic school, (2) same-sex students, and (3) same-sex teachers. These issues present a threat to Catholic school identity. Catholic school leaders are left in a quandary as to the right pastoral approach to dealing with the issues. From a national sample of 59 Catholic school superintendents, I examined their perceptions of the impact of same-sex issues on Catholic school identity. This study used repeated measures ANCOVA to examine the extent to which same-sex issues as they relate to parents, students, and teachers influence Catholic school identity as perceived by Catholic school superintendents, while controlling for attitudes towards persons with same-sex attraction. I framed the findings within sensemaking theory, which attributes the process of making sense of issues to the individual’s prior knowledge, the situational context, and how the issue was handled in other settings. The findings showed that a same-sex issue related to a teacher negatively influenced Catholic school identity statistically significantly more in comparison to a same-sex issue related to a parent. However, no other comparisons were statistically significant. I concluded with a discussion on the importance of building relationships with same-sex individuals, making policies, and offering professional development for teachers on same-sex issues.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|LGBTQ studies|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Adutwum, Collins Andrew, "Perceptions of Catholic School Superintendents on Same-Sex Issues in Catholic Schools: A National Study" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27830286.