The Case of Mike Moroski[i]
Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati dismissed Mike Moroski, the assistant principal of Purcell-Marian High School (Cincinnati, OH) after he refused to remove a private blog expressing support for same-sex marriages. Here are the words of Mike Moroski describing the situation that has been imposed upon him:
On Monday, February 4th  I was given an ultimatum by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Namely, to take down my post on this site entitled, “Choose Your Battles,” sign a number of documents assuring my silence and keep my job – or, resign.
After much deliberation with my wife, family, trusted clergy, professionals from all walks of life and my own meditative silence, I decided not to take the post down, nor to recant my position that “I unabashedly believe gay people SHOULD be allowed to marry. . . .”
If I take that post down I would not be able to look at the thousands of former students and families with whom I have worked for twelve years in the eye. . . . What would I say to all of them if I were to go against my OWN conscience[ii] so that I could keep my job for four months?
I refused to agree to the Archdiocese’s terms BECAUSE OF my faith formation at Catholic schools and relationship with Catholic family members & clergy – not in spite of it [. . .]
If any of you Cavaliers [students at Purcell-Marian High School] are reading this, please know that I love you and I am in your corner. I hope that someday you may come to understand why I am not in my office to share a laugh, a cry or a story. . . . As I always tried to teach you – NEVER compromise who you are for someone else – and NEVER let anyone make you someone THEY want you to be. Be strong and take care of one another [. . .]
After the dismissal of Mike Moroski and after the Archdiocese was successfully sued in court by a fired teacher for $171,000,[iii] it appears that Archbishop Schnurr met with his lawyers and was advised to include a “morality clause”[iv] in all teacher contracts so as to better protect the interests of the Archdiocese in future court cases.[v] This “morality clause,” would make it perfectly clear that teachers acknowledged certain ways of acting as incompatible with their employment in the Archdiocese.[vi]
The “morality clause” of the new teachers contract for the 2014-2015 school year permits not only for the firing of gay and lesbian school employees, but also for anyone supporting of the “homosexual lifestyle” [which presumably includes same-sex marriage] as grounds for dismissal.
In response to Archbishop Schnurr’s “morality clause,” Dr. Sharon Groves, director of the Human Rights Campaign published the following analysis:
At a time when Pope Francis is talking about support of civil unions, the Cincinnati Archdiocese, in a throwback to past times, is talking about firing gay and lesbian teachers and silencing their straight supporters. This isn’t in keeping with the olive branch Pope Francis has extended to LGBT people around the world, but even more importantly, it’s not in keeping with the living message of God’s love of all people.
The majority of Catholics and people of faith believe LGBT people deserve dignity, respect, and equal protections under the law,[vii] and at the same time leaders of the Cincinnati Archdiocese are determined to weed out supporters of LGBT equality. This must stop.
The new contract also prohibits membership in an LGBT equality organization, such as the Conference of Catholic Lesbians or DignityUSA. Creating a safe space for LGBT young people, by placing a multicolored-rainbow sticker on your car bumper, for example, could [presumably] be grounds for dismissal.[viii]
I had the opportunity to interview some Catholic teachers perplexed by this change in policy. All of them were angry at the heavy-handed coercion involved in the imposition of the “morality clause.” One teacher noted that “signing this new contract effectively meant that we [the teachers] would lose our civil liberties outside the classroom as the price for continuing to teach inside the classroom.” In contrast, Paul Kindt, a high school religion teacher, reported that he proudly signed the contract because he believed that the Catholic Church has “THE TRUTH” about love and marriage and that is precisely what he presents to his students—“no human opinions,” he emphasized, “just God’s point of view.”[ix]
Another teacher I interviewed was much more personally distressed by the “morality clause”:
My own brother has just recently come out that he is homosexual. I personally want to listen to him deeply but also to publicly support him in the changes that this will produce in his life. In signing this contract, I feel that I am endorsing a Catholic education that forces young people to suppress or deny any homosexual leanings because they are indoctrinated from their earliest years that such a condition leads to serious sin and the threat of eternal hell-fire. This was what my brother was saying to our family. That he was scared out of his mind to even admit the truth to himself while he was in Catholic schools.
“So how is this to be resolved?”, I asked. She continued:
I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t. I love teaching and I had made the choice of Catholic schools because they give kids a challenging moral code. But on this issue of homosexual unions, I’m completely at a loss. If I sign, I will feel that I am betraying the best interests of my brother. If I don’t sign, there is no way in hell that I could find a full-time opening in a public school this late in the summer.[x]
My third interview was perhaps the most critical one:
Our pastor gathered us in the rectory and heard some of the grievances surrounding the “morality clause” in the new contract. By way of an action step, he proposed the following:
“I have no investment in policing your private lives or in scrutinizing those causes you are supporting in our society. In fact, I detest the Archbishop’s senseless meddling. I’m more concerned with our ability, as a parish, to welcome with dignity all the diverse sorts of families that we have in our midst. When we celebrated the baptism of the twins adopted by Karl and Adam, I was proud of the diversity of our parish and proud of the way that everyone accepted gay parents with enthusiasm.
“This is the kind of worshiping community that Jesus would have championed had he been present. So, I don’t see any reason to mount a protest in the face of the Archbishop’s senseless meddling—it would only put us in the limelight and give him a reason to begin disrupting the excellent ministries that we already undertaken. Hence, I trust you and our parents trust you with their children.
“I would, accordingly, ask you to sign the contract for this greater good and to let go of your anxieties. Be not afraid. I will stand behind you. How many would be able to live with this?”
Everyone gave a visible sign of relief. Not a single voice opposed the resolution this pastor proposed to his teachers.[xi]
This interview illustrates how a local pastor had compelling reasons to take the side of his teachers and, for grave pastoral reasons, to deliberately subvert the intentionality of Archbishop Schnurr to purge the ranks of the 2,200 teachers employed by the Archdiocese.
Molly Shumate, a first-grade teacher, is directly touched by one of the newly highlighted restrictions because she has a son who’s gay. She’s ending her career teaching at her childhood school rather than agree to the restrictions spelled out in the “morality clause” that she says “could restrict her from publicly supporting her son.”[xii]
“In my heart, I know I need to go. I need to find another avenue because I am going to support my son,” Shumate told CNN. “If in five or ten years he finds a partner and he wants to be with that person, I’m going to be in the front row with the biggest bouquet.” [xiii]
The Cincinnati Chapter of the Voice of the Faithful mounted a campaign in support of teacher rights. They petitioned to be able to discuss this issue with Archbishop Schnurr, but he declined to meet with them or with representatives of the 2,200 teachers.
The situation in the archdiocese of Cincinnati is not unique. Toughening up teacher contracts and getting rid of persons in same-sex unions or persons visibly supporting same-sex unions is growing.[xiv]
Archbishop Schnurr is in a real bind. He believes that his divine mandate is to be a courageous shepherd and “to protect the faith of his flock” in the face of doubters on the inside and critics on the outside. Archbishop Schnurr argues quite correctly that those parents who send their children to Catholic schools do so in the good faith that their teachers themselves affirm that faith in both their hearts and in their conduct. What is in the heart of a believer cannot be seen or judged. The conduct of their lives, however, is very much open to public observation and public judgment. This is why the “morality clause” deals with issues of conduct that is to be expected of exemplary Catholic teachers. “By their fruits, you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16)
So far, so good.
Needless to say, Archbishop Schnurr has not called for workshops designed to persuade his teachers that the Vatican has “the truth and the whole truth” regarding sexual morality. Moreover, notice also that Archbishop Schnurr has not called for open dialogue or for further research or for sensitive listening groups with gays and lesbians present precisely because he takes for granted that it is too late for such “soft measures.” In his mind, these issues have already been investigated and authoritatively settled by virtue of the Cardinal Ratzinger decrees (all approved by John Paul II) that were sent out to all bishops by the Vatican.
This is also the reason why Archbishop Schnurr deliberately avoids meeting with “distressed teachers” or their supporters. As the Archbishop sees it, these distressed teachers have signed on to be “Catholics,” so let them step up to the plate and deliver the goods. If they cannot, perhaps their gift as teachers needs to be used elsewhere.
In this instance Archbishop Schnurr has adopted an authoritarian leadership style. He is committed to purging Catholic schools of teachers unwilling to accept his “morality clause.” But does that go far enough? In the face of any call for open discussions among the parents and maybe even mild protests from among the students, does Archbishop Schnurr expect to play the authoritarian card when dealing with parents and students as well? You can bet he does!
Did Archbishop Schnurr act justly?
While it may be the case that Archbishop Schnurr has the right to hire and fire whomever he wishes, this does not mean that he can act arbitrarily. In other words, he must act justly. Here are some reasons to think that he did not.
Bishops are required to protect homosexuals from unjust discrimination in employment. When Archbishop Schnurr formulated a “morality clause,” he effectively barred the way for any qualified gay or lesbian faculty member from teaching in Catholic schools. Their only crime would be their sexual orientation. And since “sexual orientation” is never a sin; it would be a gross miscarriage of justice to fire someone solely on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Hence, the morality clause is prejudicial and a direct violation of the Vatican ruling that Bishops are required to protect homosexuals from unjust discrimination in employment.
Archbishop Schnurr went even one step further. He fired a teacher solely because he was unwilling to cover up his advocacy of “same-sex marriages.” Yes, I want to make clear that Archbishop Schnurr never met with Mike Moroski to see whether he could change his mind. And why not? Was he too busy to do so? Was he aware that open dialogue on this point had little promise of success? Was he aware that even Pope Francis had argued that “civil marriages” would be of benefit for same-sex couples?
We will never know the answer to these questions. What we do know, however, is that Archbishop Schnurr was clear that if Mike Moroski removed his online post then the Archbishop would allow him to continue as a teacher in good standing. Sad but true. Archbishop Schnurr goal was to silence Mike Moroski. Then Archbishop Schnurr could go back to that person or those persons who originally objected to Mike Moroski’s post and say, “Mike Moroski has withdrawn his statement. I, accordingly, have removed my threat.”
But make no mistake here. Archbishop Schnurr was party to creating a public deception. He was effectively saying to Mike Moroski, “I know and you know that your mind is made up in favor of same-sex marriages. When you remove your online post, this will not change. What it will do, however, is to remove you from being in direct violation of the ‘morality clause’ in your teacher’s contract. Your private views are of no consequence. It is only your public advocacy that is troublesome and punishable.”
Mike Moroski was correct in understanding that “marriage” would help to protect the civil rights afforded “same-sex unions.” Dozens of high-ranking bishops and cardinals have already gone on record to advocate the civil protection of “same-sex unions.” Pope Francis himself has favored for a long time the legalization of “same-sex unions” while reserving the term “marriage” in its traditional meaning.
All in all, Archbishop Schnurr’s decision to dismiss Mike Moroski on this issue alone is a gross violation of justice. The Catholic Church has made it clear . . .
- That no one ought to be coerced to act against their conscience;
- That since the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has already made room for a diversity of views[xv] respecting how the rights of gays and lesbians are to be best protected, it follows that Mike Moroski was entirely justified to express his opinion on this matter;
- That a just punishment must always be measured by the gravity of the crime committed.
Archbishop Schnurr thus acted rashly and unjustly. Instead of honoring Mike Moroski’s rights, he effectively trampled over them. He imposed grave harm on Mike Moroski and on his family. He deprived Purcell-Marian High School of a capable, dedicated teacher and administrator. Even beyond this, Archbishop Schnurr, given the trust that he has due to his office, has given grave scandal by mismanaging the affairs of the Church.
Furthermore, Archbishop Schnurr acted against the interests of gays and lesbians within the Catholic Church by his lashing out at Mike Moroski. Archbishop Schnurr has the obligation to honor and protect gays and lesbians as loved by God and as deserving the pastoral care of his office. Thus, in the case considered, he rashly presents himself as the enemy of gays and lesbians themselves. How so?
Archbishop Schnurr will be seen by some to join himself with those parents who rashly disown their own children when they “come out” as lesbians or gays. These are the children who are forced to live on the streets and who are forced to commit petty thefts and sometimes even to sell their own bodies in order than they might stay alive. These are the children who, despairing of ever being truly understood and loved, are tempted to cut themselves and to commit suicide.
Archbishop Schnurr will be seen by some to join himself with those parents who hate “queers” and insist upon sending their own children to a Catholic school because they mistakenly believe that teachers condemning the lifestyle of “queers” will provide a measure of protection that their own children never turn out to be “queer.” The parents who took notice of Mike Moroski’s website and who reported him to the Archbishop Schnurr might indeed have had this frame of mind. They might even have threatened to withdraw their children if appropriate action was not taken.
If Archbishop Schnurr was himself involved in the personal and spiritual lives of gays and lesbians, do you not think that he might have included in his morality clause for teachers “those who demonstrate by word or action an irrational fear or unchristian prejudice against gays and lesbians.” And how about a teacher who writes on his online blog that he would “immediately disown any child of mine who admitted that he was gay”? Would Archbishop Schnurr want to welcome teachers such as this into the diocesan schools? I would hope not. In that case, should not the Catholic teachers of Cincinnati expect Archbishop Schnurr to provide them with a much more balanced “morality clause” in their future employment contracts?
No Effective Learning is Possible when Teaching Is Reduced to Indoctrination
No learning can take place if the experiences and the thoughts of students cannot be acknowledged and explored. Authoritarianism may succeed in forcing teachers to toe the line, but any successful teacher knows that authoritarianism in learning only leads to indoctrination, intimidation, and quiet conformity. As soon as students are free of the school atmosphere, they say what they really think among their chums and, in many cases, they also discuss their “doubts” with their parents as well.
If parents blindly enforce the authority of the Archbishop, then these parents effectively “bully” their own children by “setting them straight” and, wittingly or unwittingly, collude with the Archbishop who demands submission of mind and heart. This, of course, has limited results because it sets children on the road to rebellion and prepares them to throw off everything that has been “crammed down their throats” the moment that they leave home.
But let’s face it. When Archbishop Schnurr plays his authoritarian card, he effectively treats his own teachers much like the authoritarian parents that unwittingly alienate their children and set them on the road to rebellion. If children need acceptance, trust, and openness to their grievances, then, with an even more urgent care, even an archbishop needs to do the same when it comes to teachers. Vatican II makes this abundantly clear:
It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth. However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore, the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature (Declaration on Religious Freedom = Dignitatis Humanae, §2).
When the Vatican mandated a hostile takeover of the LCWR (Leadership Council of Women Religious) because these Sisters were not sufficiently compliant relative to Vatican norms regarding homosexual unions, ordination of women, and the use of contraceptives, the Sisters refused to cave in and stood their ground. Dialogue, yes; submission, no. Sister Sandra Schneiders, Superior of the IHM Sisters, set the pace for this dialogue: “There is no avoiding the challenge and the obligation of discernment; ‘blind obedience,’ i.e., uncritical submission to power, is neither discernment nor obedience.”[xvi] The end result is that the Sisters gained the respect of the authoritarian investigators by standing their ground.[xvii]
Archbishop Schnurr’s authoritarian tactics are bound to fail, both in the short term and in the long term. He may achieve some immediate outward compliance, but he risks reaping what he has sown. His time will be fritted away in dowsing brush fires. His credibility as an advocate for gays and lesbians will tumble in a freefall. He may receive letters of congratulations from nervous parents who want their children to grow up in an atmosphere that stubbornly maintains their hard line “intolerance” of gays and lesbians and their same-sex unions. These parents (and some teachers as well) are normally accustomed to indoctrinating their children at home (“for their own good”) and, in turn, they expect the Archbishop to weed out any teachers who would hesitate to maintain this indoctrination at school. Often, they expect that this coordinated indoctrination will, by the grace of God, inoculate their children with a perpetual immunity[xviii] from all “homosexual inclinations.”
What’s wrong with this picture?
Woe to those Catholic households where, despite the best-laid plans for coordinated indoctrination, a child confesses having “homosexual inclinations.” A mother known to me, let us call her Gloria, had a son of seventeen who confessed to such inclinations. Upon hearing this, Gloria passed through many stages of grief.
First, angry denials: “No child of mine could possibly be gay!” And threats: “Remember your teaching, son. Sexual sins are always mortal. Repent and confess them to a priest or, God forbid, you will go straight to hell.”
Second, there comes bargaining with God: “God, how could you have permitted this? I have been a faithful believer and have supported your true Church all my life. What must I do to get this unwanted sickness in my child’s life reversed?”
Thirdly, some months down the line after Gloria’s ceaseless prayers and novenas did not get the miracle she wanted, self-doubt emerges: “Where did I go wrong? Or my husband? Or his teachers?”
Then, her son leaves home and travels over a thousand miles away: “For the first time, I can breathe freely without my mother continually hounding me and prying into every aspect of my private life.”
With her son’s absence, Gloria becomes emotionally fragile. She breaks down in tears multiple times every day and, invariably, whenever anyone asks about her son. She seeks therapy.
Then she unexpectedly finds great solace in a support group of parents of LGBT children. For the first time, she hears from parents who have arrived at the point where they accept the sexual orientation of her children. She is horrified initially, but then she comes to realize that this acceptance enables parents to return to a supportive relationship with their children after a horrible period filled with harsh judgments and estrangement.
As a result of this realization, she begins to avoid her parish priest entirely because she no longer wants to hear “any judgments he might have regarding the conduct of her son.”[xix] Gloria gradually stops going to her parish church entirely because she cannot tolerate the “self-righteous pity” expressed by certain “busy-bodies who are praying for Tony’s (not his real name) conversion and return to the Church.”
Tony writes a letter of a few pages each month. At the end of three years, he writes a long letter describing how he first met “a courageous and sensitive young man” and how, over the course of time, they gradually became good friends. Then they gradually became lovers and “have pledged their undying love to each other.” So, for the first time in years, Tony acknowledges that he sorely misses his mother and, “if and only if she would agree to accept him as gay and to bless the love he has for his partner,” then both of them would want to explore how they might visit for a few days right after Christmas.
Gloria is ecstatic!
At this point, Gloria is ready to accept her son “just as God created him, no more and no less.” This readiness came from her association with members of her parents support group. As she became more and more at ease with their positive assessment of homosexuality, she at the same time became resentful of how the teachings of the Catholic Church had pitted her against her own son.
“Even before his leaving,” she said, “I should have been blessing him every day and assuring him that I will be there for him in whatever path God calls him—whether as a gay or as a straight.” To this very day, she cannot understand how “bishops and priests teach us that loving our Creator and loving our neighbor are the heart of Jesus’ message and then, turn around, and teach my son that his deepest desires for intimacy are ‘disordered’ and that he must condemn love-making between same-sex partners because it is always[xx] a mortal sin.” In fact, she tells those who hear her whole story that “those parents [in her support group] who seldom went to church taught me more about the depth of God’s love than those Catholics who went to church weekly and firmly believed that God hated gays.”
Pope Francis speaks on homosexuality
Pope Francis has again and again pressed bishops to embrace “open dialogue” as the essential dimension in all moral decision making. This was most evident in the changes that Pope Francis brought to the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family. When opening this Synod Pope Francis made it absolutely clear that, under his watch, no one was going to be rewarded by following the party line or by repeating the words of past or present popes.[xxi] Thus, Pope Francis insisted that “free and open dialogue” must be embraced as the required methodology whereby the bishops provided fresh collegial resolutions for the knotty pastoral problems that were being addressed in ways that denied the compassion of God and tore the Church into factions.
[i] Mike Moroski served at Moeller High School for 10 years as a teacher, service learning coordinator, and House Dean. Concurrently, he ran a nonprofit, Choices Cafe, that bridged the gap between those with means and those without. Mike finished his time in secondary education as the Assistant Principal at Purcell Marian. He was terminated from his post at Purcell Marian by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for his public support of marriage equality. Mike earned his B.A. & M.A. in English from Xavier University, and an M.B.A. in nonprofit administration from the University of Notre Dame (M.N.A.). Currently, in addition to his role as executive director of UpSpring (working to keep children experiencing homelessness connected to their education), Mike is a trustee on the Southwestern Ohio Workforce Investment Board, a member of Cincinnati’s Human Services Advisory Committee, and a member of Mayor John Cranley’s Hand Up Steering Committee. (https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/16655) For an interview with Mike Moroski, see http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/assistant-principal-fired-over-gay-marriage-blog-18482240.
[ii] The appeal to “conscience” takes priority over all other sources for discerning “what is truly right and just by God’s standards” as opposed to following “a political ideology.” Archbishop Schnurr clarifies this point as follows:
The answer is to consult our conscience, which is a judgment of reason about the good to be done and the evil to be avoided in a concrete situation (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1778). (Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 17). A conscience must be well-formed by using reason to discover the natural law and faith to understand Sacred Scripture and official Church teaching. We then submit our judgment to God in prayer, striving to discern His will. By humbly committing ourselves to the life-long journey of developing our consciences, we more clearly distinguish the Truth of God in a complex, sometimes manipulative world, and make choices that promote the life and the dignity of all.
In effect, therefore, both Archbishop Schnurr and Mike Moroski both appeal to “conscience” by way of justifying how they acted. Archbishop Schnurr delivered his ultimatum because he was responsible for insuring that teachers in his Catholic schools both teach and live according to the norms published by the Vatican. Mike Moroski refused to capitulate because, according to his informed conscience, the Vatican had arrived at a defective judgment when it came to same-sex unions. When such differences arise, the expectation might be that open dialogue must begin and to continue until they can work out some middle ground between them. Both are Catholic pastors; yet, due to the authoritarian modality preferred by the Archbishop, he decided against any dialogue. He moved directly to have Mike Moroski removed from his office by a police escort.
[iii] “Jury awards Christa Dias $171K in suit against Archdiocese of Cincinnati,” Associated Press 03 June 2013 (http://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/jury-awards-christa-dias-120k-in-suit-against-archdiocese-of-cincinnati).
[iv] The term “morality clause” has been used by newspaper and television reporters and is not the language of the contract itself. The “morality clause” is on page 6 of the contract. A complete contract can be found here: http://votfcincinnati.org/
[v] If interested, see news video here: http://www.wlwt.com/news/archdiocese-of-cincinnati-expands-moral-clause-in-teacher-contracts/24846662
[vi] Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco has initiated a course of action that is quite similar to that of Archbishop Schnurr. The teachers and their supporters in San Francisco, however, were much more pro-active in confronting Archbishop Cordileone on his presumed “orthodoxy” in representing Catholicism. Jim McGarry, a retired educator who taught Catholic theology for twenty years at San Francisco’s St. Ignatius College Preparatory, a Jesuit Catholic high school in San Francisco that his children attend, supported student protestors saying:
“[The archbishop] is not in compliance with Catholic teaching,” McGarry said. “He is very selectively choosing a small number of doctrines and putting them forward in a selective way and, I think, distorting the tradition … in a way that first of all endangers the health and well-being of our children.” McGarry argued that Cordileone’s hardline stance on homosexuality, which would permit the firing of teachers who wed same-sex partners, directly contradicts a line in the Catholic Catechism that reads, “Every sign of unjust discrimination [against homosexuals] should be avoided.” He also noted that Catholic teaching is well-known for guaranteeing freedom of conscience, allowing Catholics to disobey their government — or each other — when they feel that their morals have been violated.
For details, see http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/03/10/3631727/san-francisco-catholics-fighting-lgbt-rights-testing-limits-pope-francis-rhetoric/ & https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/teachers-protest-as-san-francisco-archbishop-insists-schools-uphold-catholic-teaching-on-marriage
[vii] Recent polling found that 86 percent of Christians believed the very tenets of their faith compelled them to support protections for LGBT people under the law and 59 percent of lay Catholics support marriage equality.
[viii] Archbishop John Nienstedt refused Communion to about twenty people wearing rainbow buttons and ribbons at a mass at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN, in 2010. See Madeleine Baran , “Archdiocese: Communion too sacred to be used as protest,” MPRNews, 06 Oct 2010 (http://www.mprnews.org/story/2010/10/06/denied-communion).
[ix] Paul Kindt, “I’m Signing the Contract — in Sharpie,” The Catholic Beat, 30 April 2014 (http://thecatholicbeat.sacredheartradio.com/2014/04/im-signing-the-contract-in-sharpie/).
[x] The teacher interviewed wished to remain anamous.
[xi] The teacher interviewed wished to remain anamous.
[xii] Notice how this mother is being torn by her love for teaching and her determination to support her son. The 1986 statement to parents in “Always Our Children” makes the point that parents have a primary role in walking with their children as they explore their sexual identity. See Appendix 1 for details.
[xiii] Source for this paragraph is Susan Candiotti and Chris Welch, CNN, “A litany of ‘thou shalt nots’: Catholic teachers challenge morality clause,” 31 May 2014 (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/30/living/catholic-teachers-morality/).
[xiv] A survey of firings and “morality clauses” can be found here: http://www.hrc.org/press-releases/entry/hrc-delivers-letter-to-vatican-addressing-growing-concern-on-anti-lgbt-stan
[xv] See Appendix 3: Cardinals, Bishops, and Other Catholic Church Leaders Who Made Positive Statements about Civil Unions and Same-Gender Marriages
[xvi] Sandra Schneiders was clearly the person who orientated the theological stance of the Sisters vis-à-vis their Vatican appointed investigators. See “What Jesus taught us about his prophetic ministry,” NCR Online (http://bonsecoursvocations.org/
[xvii] In Grade School, I learned that once you give in to the bullying tactics of would-be schoolyard tyrants, there inevitably follows a never-ending series of subsequent humiliations at their hands. Hence, you have to risk everything by standing your ground at their first threat of hostilities.
The Sisters, I would say, understood this well, and, as a result, they pushed back against the official investigators. In so doing, they understood themselves as acting in harmony with Jesus himself (See the last footnote.) They insisted that, to censure them justly, the bishops would first have to learn how to listen to them and to discover what they were doing and why. They made it clear that a hostile takeover of the LCWR would result in the Sisters leaving that organization to create another one that would be free of the authoritarian meddling of the bishops. Once the bishops realized that the Sisters were not going to cave in to their demands, they adjusted their tactics and a hesitant two-way dialogue began to take place. This strategy, after three years of struggle, eventually won the day.
ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF STANDING ONE’S GROUND AND FORCING DIALOG (OR SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT):
I went to public school. And I’m trying to think of my . . . earliest form of religious rebellion. And I would think it was that as a public school kid (and we went to catechism class for Communion after school), we would have to run the gauntlet of Catholic kids who would throw snowballs at us and fight and things like that. And I remember a boy throwing a snowball at me and hitting me in the face because they felt perfectly able to abuse the public school kids because they [public school kids] weren’t as Catholic as them. And it was really something that the institutional church, meaning the priests and nuns, didn’t look at until it really became an issue. And I remember when that boy hit me, I just dropped my books, there was just something that happened, and I said, “I’m not going to put up with this abuse anymore. This is it.” And I remember grabbing him by his lapels and putting his face in the snow bank and all the other public school kids behind me getting in a big fight with the other Catholic school kids because we weren’t going to put up with getting hit with snowballs anymore on the way to catechism class. And I remember we were all stood up in the classroom because anyone who fought or was in any way disobedient was punished. And I remember staring down at my dirty shoes and my ripped knee socks and this puddle that I was standing in, and just feeling miserable. But also feeling good that I just wasn’t going to go along with things as they were anymore. And things changed. Because after that, the nuns put a stop to anymore abuse of public school kids by Catholic school kids. And what was interesting is that after we had that explosion, we started to interact more with the Catholic school kids and we started to break down the barriers between what it meant to be a Catholic in public school and what it meant to be a Catholic in parochial school. So it was interesting, out of that whole snowball fight there was a, I don’t want to say an integration, but bridges were built. (http://www.lgbtran.org/Exhibits/OralHistory/Doherty/
[xviii] Homosexuality is not a contagious disease that gets transmitted like small pox or the flu. Hence, parents who expect that their children will be immune to homosexual inclinations because they are in an atmosphere where such inclinations are officially denigrated are bound to be disappointed. Furthermore, should such inclinations emerge, their children will be hell-bent upon denying them. Finally, after years of suppression, these same children will hate themselves, fall into despair, and be very prone to seek suicide or flight rather than to admit to their parents who they truly are. What advantage their parents might have imagined by virtue of raising their children in their misinformed and homophobic atmosphere will quickly be discovered to render their children as supremely disadvantaged.
[xix] At this point, Gloria completely distanced herself from the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuals. In fact, she deeply resents the fact that her parish priest had set her against her son’s homosexuality and against any same-sex union that he might try to make for himself.
[xx] While some moral theologians sometimes say that sins against the sixth and ninth commandments deal with “serious matter” and, accordingly, infractions result in a mortal sin. Even in classical moral theology, however, the conditions for committing a mortal sin always require, subjectively, that the person “recognizes the seriousness of the matter and then goes ahead and does it anyway.” In the case of homosexual acts, however, even Cardinal Ratzinger acknowledges that those naturally inclined to such sex acts are less culpable than those who are heterosexuals who do the same thing while they are emotionally repulsed by the act.
Furthermore, when two women use sex to express and celebrate their mutual love, they frequently do not see this as sinful at all. In fact, they often engage in sex because they judge what they are doing as “love-making” and experience their mutual sex as a “source of grace.” Cardinal Ratzinger would intervene here saying that, due to the fact that the procreative aspect of sexuality is missing, there must always be a degree of moral guilt. Such a judgment, however, would follow from Ratzinger’s essentialist thinking and his attempt to take a rule used to evaluate heterosexual acts and to apply it indiscriminately to homosexual acts. Furthermore, even in the case of a venial sin, one must judge the action as a minor deviation from what God expects. Something which is regarded as a “virtuous deed” cannot subjectively be “a sin” at all. Here again Ratzinger’s disordered thoughts on homosexuality bring him to conclusions which conflict with classical moral theology.
[xxi] For full details here, see http://datinggod.org/2014/10/06/pope-franciss-opening-remarks-at-synod-full-text/