Benet Academy abbot says he's 'deeply troubled' by school decision to hire gay lacrosse coach

  • Amanda Kammes

    Amanda Kammes

 
 
Updated 9/28/2021 4:38 PM

The drama surrounding Benet Academy's hiring of a girls lacrosse head coach who is in a same-sex marriage may not be over.

In a statement on Tuesday, the school's chancellor, Abbot Austin Murphy of St. Procopius Abbey, said he was "deeply troubled by the school's decision which calls into question its adherence to the doctrines of the Catholic faith."

 

St. Procopius Abbey founded and helps run the Lisle-based Catholic high school.

The controversy started shortly after Benet hired Amanda Kammes, a Benet alum and girls lacrosse coach at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, but rescinded the offer when her paperwork included her wife's name as her emergency contact.

After a Sept. 20 rally at the school and an outcry on social media, the school, led by the school board, reversed course and offered Kammes the job, which she accepted.

In a statement issued after accepting the position, Kammes said she was proud to be a Benet alumna and pledged allegiance to the LGBTQ+ community.

"It's been 20 years since I walked the hallways of Benet Academy and yet never in my life have I been prouder to be a Redwing. The past week provided a chance for Benet to rally together in the name of community, sportsmanship and social change, and I'm beyond grateful that Benet reconsidered their decision," she said.

Murphy said in the statement, which was posted on the abbey's website, the hiring decision raises the question of whether the public lives of Catholic school employees should follow the church's moral teaching.

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"In turn, I want to let everyone know that I am taking this matter to prayer and discerning how to proceed," Murphy said in the statement.

He added, "Disagreements about the morality of homosexual acts should not be construed as hate."

"If we give in to the voices that say that disagreement equals hate, then we allow civil discourse to perish," Murphy said.

Benet officials have declined to comment.

Kammes was named the head coach of Montini's varsity girls lacrosse team in February. She also serves as a partner and chief operating officer for Lakeshore Lacrosse, a female-run organization dedicated to female athletes.

She began her coaching career as a high school assistant in Pennsylvania before moving to the University of California, Davis, where she served as first assistant and recruiting coordinator for the women's lacrosse team. She later returned to Pennsylvania was the head coach at two high schools and a club team.

Kammes has a master's degree in nursing from Benedictine University. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a point guard on the basketball team. She was an assistant basketball coach for her alma mater after serving as an assistant coach at American University.

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