An online petition to support a 14-year-old who was initially accepted to Camden Catholic High School - and then rejected once officials there learned he is transgender - has collected more than 800 signatures.

"Madelyn Catrambone was accepted to Camden Catholic High School last February, but when Camden Catholic learned that since then Catrambone goes by Mason and identifies as male, the school refused to accept him for who he is," the petition on says.

"I ask that students, faculty, alumni, and anyone else who doesn't support Camden Catholic's decision, sign this and show that you stand with Mason."

The petition's creator is identified only as "Concerned Camden Catholic Student."

Inquirer columnist Kevin Riordan featured Catrambone's story on Sunday. Initially Madelyn Catrambone, Mason had been accepted in February for September admission to the school.

He would have been the first openly transgender student at the school, where 750 students are enrolled.

Michael Walsh, spokesman at the Diocese of Camden, said that school officials were aware of the petition Monday, and that the diocese supports the school's decision.

"In the last several years, the topic of gender identity has been pushed to the forefront of the national consciousness," Walsh said. "It is a subject the church has wrestled with, as we have strived to remain open and welcoming to all, even though the philosophy of gender change sits opposite to Catholic teaching."

Walsh added: "Our administrators took great care to meet with the family and discuss their requests for accommodations. Adhering to its Catholic principles, the school concluded that it could not accommodate the family's requests without compromising some of the basic tenets of our faith."

Last week, principal Heather Crisci cited the school's "Catholic identity" as a reason for rejecting Mason.

The Rev. Joseph Capella, director of Catholic identity at the school, also said last week: "The school environment is shaped by religious beliefs, and behavior is governed accordingly."

"Our bodies, and every aspect of our humanity, are a gift we have been asked to steward and protect. We are not the creators. We are the created," he said.

"We understand that not everyone will accept or agree with our beliefs, and some will choose another learning environment," he said.

In the petition, Mason Catrambone wrote that he was grateful for the support.

"Because I cannot express how grateful and amazed I am at the person who started this petition and everyone signing it," he wrote, "thank you all so much and it makes me feel so happy when I see the effect my story has on people."

Others who signed the petition said the school is out of line.

"I'm signing this because Jesus would never turn his back on Mason or other transgender people that were also created in his image and likeness," one supporter wrote.

"I'm signing because the denial of someone seeking an education solely based on their gender identity is wrong," another wrote. "Period."

856-779-3829 @borenmc