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Benet Academy’s chancellor ‘deeply troubled’ by high school’s decision to hire lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage

But it was unclear whether the chancellor, Abbot Austin Murphy of St. Procopius Abbey, has the authority to override last week’s decision.

Benet Academy located at 2200 Maple Ave. in Lisle, Ill.
Benet Academy located at 2200 Maple Ave. in Lisle, Ill.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The chancellor of Benet Academy released a statement Tuesday saying he is “deeply troubled” by the school’s decision to hire a girls lacrosse coach who’s in a same-sex marriage and “is discerning how to proceed.”

It was unclear whether the chancellor, Abbot Austin Murphy of St. Procopius Abbey, has the authority to override last week’s decision. The abbey founded the Lisle high school, and Murphy serves in a leadership role with a seat on the board of directors.

The school said it would have no comment on the statement.

Benet decided to offer Amanda Kammes the head coaching job following a board of directors meeting on Sept. 20. The board had met in response to a public outcry after Kammes was initially denied the job when she listed her wife as an emergency contact.

After the meeting, the school acknowledged it had rescinded the job offer “upon learning that she is in a same-sex marriage” but had since “determined that Ms. Kammes’ background and experience made her the right candidate for the position.”

Kammes is a veteran lacrosse coach and a Benet alum.

Students and parents had organized protests in support of Kammes, handing out rainbow masks outside of the school and creating an online petition calling for her reinstatement and decrying the school’s “narrow interpretation of Christian morality.”

In his statement, Murphy said the school’s hiring of Kammes “calls into question its adherence to the doctrines of the Catholic faith.”

“The matter raises the question of what a Catholic high school should require from those who work with and form its students,” he said. “In particular, is it necessary that the witness of their public lives not be in opposition to Catholic moral teaching? I believe this requirement is necessary.”

Murphy said he was “taking this matter to prayer” and would “communicate further information as the matter develops.”

This is not the first time the abbey has clashed with its educational institutions. In 2015, St. Procopius Abbey sued Benedictine University, claiming it had not been allowed to properly oversee decisions made by the university, which the abbey also founded.

Murphy also served as chancellor of the university and sat on its board of trustees.

The outcome of the lawsuit was not known, but Murphy was quoted at the time as saying, “If you take the monks of St. Procopius Abbey out of the picture, you are taking away an important contributing factor to the Catholic nature of Benedictine University.”