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Unjust Discrimination? (UPDATED)

The obituary for the mother of a (Methodist) female gym teacher at a Catholic high school in Ohio mentions said gym teacher's female partner. Gym teacher is promptly fired. Maybe Cardinal Dolan should get Bishop Campbell on the horn and explain to him that Catholics are supposed to "try our darndest to make sure we're not anti-anybody." (HT Balloon Juice)UPDATE: Here's a link to the obit. It's just sad. And, to be honest, I'm sick of this stuff happening in my name as a Catholic. At some point, doesn't toothless dissent become complicity?UPDATE II: Here's a very moving interview with the teacher. I wonder what impact this firing will have on the young students' relationship with their church. I don't even know this woman and it's testing mine.

And here's Bryan Fischer, defending the termination. My mom has always said you can tell a lot about someone by who their friends are.

 

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Abe:Christ established His Church to teach, admonish, inspire, brace up, and be our Rock in this earthly life. The guy who fired the woman did exactly what he was supposed to do. We all have our sinful tendencies; mine are alcohol and drugs. But I'm not going to whine and snivel about getting fired for being under the influence (actually I'm retired). I never did because I control my tendencies; it's all any of us can do. This isn't rocket science, it's just common sense.Of course, this woman is a Methodist, and the Methodist Church caved a long time ago, and survives as a hollowed out shell, devoid of anything but the cheap emotional values of the libertine glitterati.

Thanks for the response, Bob. I find your views to be highly informative and appealing; is there a newsletter I could subscribe to? BTW, what kinds of drugs are you into? GHB?

"Therefore sexual orentation alone is not a Christian basis for employment termination."I agree."Those who then go on to speculate on so called lifestyle and the individual sexual practices that other people *may possibly have* engaged in, without very specific evidence of such acts, have their minds in the gutter."It's possible she was interviewed by the boss, or even that there was something like a formal hearing, in which she was asked about her situation, and she answered truthfully. But I don't think we know these specifics. (Nor am I sure that we have a right to know them).

"On its face, its like a parody of draconian lack of compassion"Yes, as a parent of a school age child, I think the firing of a teacher for this particular reason sets a terrible example and sends an awful message to children. But I'm trying to think through parents' rights in these situations, which I haven't seen discussed above. And as someone with children of my own, this is kind of important to me.I think parents have a right and duty to educate their children according to their own values. And I know there are all kinds of limitations to that thinking (some parents have really bad values). I'm sure there are people in this country, for example, who do not think it is a good thing that I am educating my own children in a parochial school. But, fortunately,what those people think doesn't matter I get to decide for myself how to educate my children. ;I guess I would like to know how the parents of the children in the school feel about it this firing, because I think the views of the parents should be given great weight.

" It means were not asking a prior question, which is what kind of human being finds out about something like this from an obituary and then fires the deceased persons daughter in less that two months? On its face, its like a parody of draconian lack of compassion. Why not take this up at the end of the school year?"Here is what I think is a big part of the disconnect: folks who don't think that what the teacher did (live with a partner, even in violation of the school's standards for its teachers) was particularly wrong, find this an astonishingly un-compassionate act on the part of the school.Let me suggest this thought experiment: suppose that, instead of having a partner, her offence was that she had embezzled $100,000 from the school. Someone reports her to the authorities. She is called on the carpet. She doesn't deny the facts, but pleads, "For pity sake, my mother just died - we just buried her. Please, can't you let me stay on until the end of the school year?" Should a principal be swayed by this plea for compassion?I expect that criminal court judges here these sorts of extenuating pleas at sentencing hearings, all the time.Of course, embezzling money isn't a very similar offence to what this poor woman did. So let me suggest this alternative: suppose that her offence is that, in addition to teaching at the school, she also runs a side business as a madam for a ring of prostitutes. She is reported to school authorities, and is called on the carpet. She pleads, "I'm a good teacher; my students and colleagues love me; my evaluations are excellent. What I am doing on the side has no bearing on my ability to teach. What I do in my own time is my own business, and as it happens, nobody is hurt by these extracurricular activities. And besides, my mother just died." It is possible that everything she says here is true, and yet I'd think that a lot of people would still believe that the principal would be justified in firing her immediately.(I think the reports indicate that the firing wasn't immediate; there was something like a two month period before she was terminated, and those two months may be important in understanding this situation; but let's set that aside for now.)I can imagine that a reader who is plowing through this comment is rolling her eyes at these crude comparisons of what this teacher did - after all, living with a partner seems pretty benign, whereas embezzlement and organized prostitution are pretty serious crimes. But that is the point: living with a partner in a homosexual relationship is not benign, as the church weighs these things: it's a pretty serious offence.

From what I have read, this teacher never discussed her relationship or homosexuality with her charges and conducted herself in her job in firm accordance with Catholic teaching. Truly a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" sort of scenario. We do not even know whether she was given a choice about having her partner's name associated with hers in the obituary. I speak from first-hand experience: I was very moved when, without my ever asking or saying, my older brother chose to write my father's obituary so that it listed my partner as my spouse.Here's an interesting question: are any concerned parents trawling the obituaries and ensuring that teachers who married a divorcee are driven out of teaching when their spouse's obituary is published and it becomes clear the deceased spouse was formerly married? Why are there no such stories? I guess single mothers and gays are the worst of the worst, and other adulterers get a pass?

"Its possible she was interviewed by the boss, or even that there was something like a formal hearing, in which she was asked about her situation, and she answered truthfully."It's also possible she was interviewed, answered truthfully, and was told it wasn't a big deal. Then suddenly it is. Has the principal violated a morality clause by doing this? And would a concerned parent not have the right to know it?Are you suggesting a double-standard here, Jim? And if so, is that itself a termination offense? Not that we have any right to know ...

Jim P-- My point was just that even most people who might applaud firing the woman will feel distaste at a story that includes the words "found out about it in her mother's obituary and immediately* fired her". Absent some evidence of danger to her students (and, remember, it's not like she's been out campaigning for marriage equality -- they had to find out from her mother's obituary), compassion dictates waiting a couple of months until the summer, whatever it may dictate beyond that.* I've taken the word "immediately" from your description above, but "quickly", "soon", etc. would be fine. It seems to have been < 2 months, with < 2 more months left until the end of the school year.

Jim P: Since we wrote at the same time and I did not see your 9:26 am post, let me post my question directly to you: is marriage to a divorcee a serious offense? is gluttony a serious offense? Is greed a serious offense? If I run for political office and my published tax returns indicate that I'm not charitable at all and I press for unjust tax regimes that arbitrarily punish the poor and benefit the rich because I am a proud promoter of Rand-ian values, is that a serious enough offense to warrant my dismissal?

But that is the point: living with a partner in a homosexual relationship is not benign, as the church weighs these things: its a pretty serious offence.Jim Pauwels,Why is it more serious than being in a second marriage when the first was valid "in the eyes of God" and only a civil divorce was obtained? A huge percentage of "married" people in the United States are in second (third, fourth, etc.) marriages. Why is a heterosexual adulterous relationship less serious than a same-sex relationship?

"Why is it more serious than being in a second marriage when the first was valid in the eyes of God and only a civil divorce was obtained?"David - right. There was a pretty similar discussion about these things a year or two ago on dotCom, when a little girl was not allowed to register for the new school year at the Catholic school she had attended the previous year, because her mom is living with a partner, and it became known to the principal or the bishop. This situation raises many of the same questions.FWIW, yes, in the hypothetical situation in which a heterosexual Catholic school teacher is divorced but does not not pursue an annulment, and then remarries - that seems to me to be a case of roughly the same magnitude of offence (to the extent it's possible to judge these things). But of course, the church provides a different remedy to that hypothetical situation: go get the marriage regularized. If that teacher were to refuse to do that, and if this principal or whoever it is that is setting and enforcing these moral standards in Ohio wants to be consistent, s/he would apply the same harsh remedy to that teacher. Not that my judgment counts for anything on these matters except as it pertains to myself.

"compassion dictates waiting a couple of months until the summer, whatever it may dictate beyond that."Mark, I don't say you're wrong. (FWIW, I wouldn't have fired her at all, which possibly would make me a bad choice to be a Catholic school principal).How long is long enough to be compassionate? I dunno. I'd like to understand more of the timeline and more of the circumstances, although it feels really intrusive to inquire about this poor woman's life in this depth. As a couple of points of comparison on the compassion scale, I think the expectation in corporate America is that, when a parent dies, an employee should be allowed to have some time off - maybe as much as a week or even a little more. Not that we would look to corporate America for any sort of standard of Christian compassion.There was a case in the Rockford, IL diocese about ten years ago in which a parish choir director was fired for having a partner. In his case, he was called on the carpet, he told the truth, and he was fired on the spot. I was outraged, as I had met him and liked him, and besides was an admirer of the work he was doing in the parish (he was *really* good). I.e I had all the same reactions that this woman's students are having now. Here is a link to one account of that case in Rockford. http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=3262... is why I think this two month timeframe (or less than two months - do we know how long it was?) could be important: I'm speculating that she was called on the carpet, she told the truth, and they gave her some time, at least a little time, to think about her choices. If that's the way it played out, then I think we give the school at least a better grade than the Rockford Diocese did with Bill Stein - although that's setting the compassion bar about as low as it can go, so it may not be saying much.

" let me post my question directly to you: is marriage to a divorcee a serious offense?"I assume your scenario is short-hand for the one that David Nickol presented. My reply to him, a couple of comments above this one, contains my views on it.

I am writing to the Bishop to voice my objection to his scandalous treatment. All of like minds might do the same -just to say we did something in the face of such blatant un-Christ action and real discrimination.Or maybe just throw in theh towel...?

Fire all the sinners. Only Jesus should be allowed to receive money in exchange for labor.

Watch the video.Fired immediately at the end of the day on Holy Thursday after having been shown the anonymous letter some weeks before. No comments or conversation in-between.The cowards.

The whole incident stinks to high heaven. We all know well there is one rule for the bishops and connected clergy, and another for the laity. They might have followed "their rules" but the bishop demonstrated a complete unawareness of Jesus's example.

FWIW, yes, in the hypothetical situation in which a heterosexual Catholic school teacher is divorced but does not not pursue an annulment, and then remarries that seems to me to be a case of roughly the same magnitude of offence . . . Jim,I am not talking about people already on the job who divorce and then remarry. I am talking about people who come to the job after perhaps years of being in a second marriage. Are we to believe that all non-Catholc employees of Catholic elementary and high schools must be in their first marriage? I don't know, but I find this extremely unlikely. Also, I find it extremely unlikely that Catholic Charities expects non-Catholic employees who apply for jobs to be in their first marriage. Many branches of Catholic Charities advertise themselves as Equal Opportunity Employers. Employers aren't even allowed to ask those applying for jobs if they are married, let alone ask them if they are in their second (third, fourth, . . . ) marriage.It seems very much to me that Catholic organizations who simply cannot discriminate against people in second, adulterous non-marriages nevertheless reserve the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. Now, of course, any employee of a religious organization that is considered "ministerial" can be hired and fired for religious reasons, but I don't think Methodists working as gym teachers in Catholic schools are "ministerial."

Another contender for the award for the person who best exemplifies the old saw, "the meanest man I ever saw/was always just within the law."And for those of you posing the question Why is it more serious than being in a second marriage when the first was valid in the eyes of God and only a civil divorce was obtained? the answer is simple, even if it makes your decision to stay within the church uncomfortable: The church can make divorce right if the parties seek the church's intervention. The church has no way to make "living as a normal gay person" right within its current doctrinal framework.

It is unfortunate that this case has already received so much publicity. Otherwise, Bishop Campbell could follow tried and true procedure and move Ms. Hale to another high school in the diocese without telling anyone in the new place anything about her. But I don't know, maybe that option is only available for those who transgress with children.

...evidence of danger to her students...The simple argument is that knowledge of her living arrangement is dangerous to her students' moral upbringing. And all the comparisons to other sinful living arrangements does nothing to justify hers.

Simple arguments are easy and fun to make. Mine is that knowing a respected and effective teacher is in a committed relationship with another person of the same sex will help students to avoid an ugly and hateful stereotype and thereby advance their moral upbringing.Bonus simple argument: Seeing her fired will increase students' hunger and thirst for justice.

And knowledge of the principal/bishop's lack of effective compassion is dangerous to their moral upbringing as well. The principal and bishop are not "going to the margins" but circling the wagons.

The church can make divorce right if the parties seek the churchs intervention. The church has no way to make living as a normal gay person right within its current doctrinal framework.Barbara,This from you???No, the Church may be able to grant an annulment or otherwise regularize the situation of those who divorce and remarry, but not every marriage can be annulled, and we know it is the position of Rome that annulments are far too easy to obtain in the United States. And of course if people don't seek annulments, they can't get them. So if a divorced and remarried couple is in a "regularizable" situation, but they don't choose to do anything about it. They are still living in adultery in the eyes of the Church. Just because their situation might be able to be "fixed" doesn't mean it's okay. Also, not everyone is a Catholic. This woman was a Methodist working for a Catholic school for the past 19 years. Does the Catholic Church verify that all of its non-Catholic employees are not divorced and remarried? I don't think so!As for same-sex couples, they can make their situation right within the Church by not having sex with one another. I wonder if anyone from the Church asked the teacher in this situation if she and her partner have sex! There is no Church rule that I know of that says two lesbians or two gay men can't live together in a partnership. What is prohibited is sexual behavior.

Abe:You're almost as funny as a dead fish on a slab of ice.

David, the church isn't going to change the way it treats gay men and women. I don't understand why others seem so intent on denying this reality.

"the church isnt going to change the way it treats gay men and women"Why assume that? The church has changed its stance on other things, like slavery, the death penalty, religious liberty. Can you imagine abolitionists saying, "the church will never change so why even try".

Write to the bishop, folks... and maybe your own bishop as well denouncing this.

a respected and effective teacher is in a committed relationship with another person of the same sexThat is the problem; I could not have said it better myself.

Bruce: if they're not having sex, then it's like St Gregory and St Basil. Barbara: among the teenagers who form my catechism class, I have the impression that not a single one is against gay marriage. That's their generation's attitude. Once we're all dead and they are the church, why would they not change the way it treats gays?

I don't know if Bob Schwartz is intentionally provocative, tongue in cheek, or actually believes what he wrote about this being "another lash of the whip" if the school did nothing to a teacher with a 19 year tenure whose lifestyle had been at least implicitly tolerated and whose teaching was apparently successful with no student complaints. Whatever, it is impossible for me for one to really dialogue with you, Bob, when you use imagery like that and/or have that kind of causality. I will not post again here, so you can have another word, if you wish, but enough on this for me ....

Jim Pauwels, modified: "That her mother died is sad. Many persons mothers have died, and thus its something that elicits powerful emotions of sympathy in a great many people. That the death also caused an obituary revealing her Jewish identity to be published that in turn led to her dismissal is a mildly interesting causal chain. But the general aura of sadness around the story doesnt really have any bearing on this schools employment standards for teachers."

Bob Schwartz modified; "To accept this womans Jewish identity and lifestyle as normal and valid, and to allow her to continue teaching in a Catholic school would indicate that the Catholic authorities at said school do not really believe in the Catholic faith, and that being Jewish and participating in Jewish ritual activities is just fine, thank you very much. To cave on this issue would be another betrayal of our Lord, another lash of the whip, another nail through His hands. Just saying"

Holy moly, intelligence lacking pervasive compassion is not intelligence at all. It is little more then arrogance in the service of ignorance. Rules in a vacuum at not rules at all. They are merely purely scientific observations. The earth goes round the sun. How one feels about that or its consequences on human emotions does not matter. None at all. It simply is.The notions we propose when turned into absolutes that affect our ability to live our lives are another matter altogether. There is no such thing as the perfect human being and, consequently, no such thing as the perfect human notion. As for the final, unequivocal interpretation of a religious text, I strongly suggest leaving that responsiblity to God. Why in God's name would you or anyone else want that level of responsiblity?

"Watch the video."Ouch. I hadn't realized that picture of the teacher in the Columbus Dispatch story landing page was actually a video link. Her explanation pretty much trashes my sunny hopes that she had been treated with some compassion, or that there was some due process involved in he termination. This is just wrong.Barbara wrote: the church isnt going to change the way it treats gay men and women. I would reply that the church isn't going to change its doctrines on marriage and homosexuality. But it has an urgent imperative to treat all persons, including persons with a homosexual inclination, and including its employees, with compassion and to avoid all instances of unjust discrimination. It's hard to conclude here that the church didn't fail.Rita's comment up above is on point. There are many people who are homosexual who work for the church, and they are treated as decently as other church employees. The church didn't need to fire - should not have fired - this woman as harshly as it did.

"Jim Pauwels, modified: That her mother died is sad. Many persons mothers have died, and thus its something that elicits powerful emotions of sympathy in a great many people. That the death also caused an obituary revealing her Jewish identity to be published that in turn led to her dismissal is a mildly interesting causal chain. But the general aura of sadness around the story doesnt really have any bearing on this schools employment standards for teachers."Fr. O'Leary, I take it this is your point: "If this woman is Jewish, it's okay to fire her because Jews can't work for the church, but if her mother has just died, then all bets are off."I don't agree, but thanks for illustrating the perennial nature of Godwin's Law.

"Bruce: if theyre not having sex, then its like St Gregory and St Basil."Or Holmes and Watson, i.e. roommates who are dear friends. "Partner" connotes something different than a Holmes/Watson relationship.

I dont agree, but thanks for illustrating the perennial nature of Godwins Law.Jim,Godwin's Law states: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." I will leave the question as to whether Fr. O'Leary is being fair to you open, but he did not mention the Nazis or Hitler.I would like you or someone else to explain to me what threat is present with an extremely discreet Methodist lesbian gym teacher with a record of 19 years causing no problems that is not present with a Jewish gym teacher who does not hide her Jewishness. The lesbian either does not agree with (or simply ignores) the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality. Students who come to know and respect the teacher are apparently in some kind of danger because (I suppose) knowing and respecting someone who does not hold to "orthodox" views might influence a student to question what he or she is being taught.Now, suppose the teacher is a Jew. Jews do not accept the most basic premise of Catholicism or any other Christian denominationthat Jesus was the (their) Messiah (whom they rejected and continue to reject), God incarnate, and the Second Person of the Trinity. There are various opinions on sexual morality among Christians, but the identity of Jesus is so fundamental that all Christians agree on it. Why would not the presence of a kind, intelligent Jewish teacher be considered a more significant danger to Catholic students than a lesbian Methodist? If you look back over two thousand years of Christian history, you will see that Jews were considered a threat. The 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia goes to some length to justify this:

It was for the laudable reason of protecting social morality and securing the maintenance of the Christian Faith, that canonical decrees were framed and repeatedly enforced against free and constant intercourse between Christians and Jews, against, for instance, bathing, living, etc., with Jews. To some extent, likewise, these were the reasons for the institution of the Ghetto or confinement of the Jews to a special quarter, for the prohibition of the Jews from exercising medicine, or other professions. The inhibition of intermarriage between Jews and Christians, which is yet in vigour, is clearly justified by reason of the obvious danger for the faith of the Christian party and for the spiritual welfare of the children born of such alliances.

I think comparing Judaism and homosexuality is at least somewhat fair. And it seems to me students are much more likely to consider converting to Judaism because they respect and admire a Jewish teacher than they are to convert to homosexuality because they like their gym teacher!

For those who see this termination strictly in terms of the mean old church with outmoded, unjust, and insensitive views, just how would you propose the leaders of the church go about changing its long held conviction about sexual morality?The same way they employed a United Methodist without changing its long held conviction about papal primacy and teh Real Presence.

"I would like you or someone else to explain to me what threat is present with an extremely discreet Methodist lesbian gym teacher with a record of 19 years causing no problems that is not present with a Jewish gym teacher who does not hide her Jewishness ... And it seems to me students are much more likely to consider converting to Judaism because they respect and admire a Jewish teacher than they are to convert to homosexuality because they like their gym teacher!"Being a Jew is no threat to anyone or anything that I know of. Being a homosexual is no threat to anyone or anything that I know of. And in my view, and I'd like to think, in the view of the church, a homosexual person who abides by reasonable ethical standards should be able to teach at a Catholic school, or at least should receive the same opportunity and consideration to teach at a Catholic school as anyone else.Your point about "converting" someone to homosexuality is why O'Leary's comment doesn't really work.So here's my attempt at an explanation: when a Catholic school teacher lives in a sinful, quasi-marital arrangement, it can't help but communicate the message to students - impressionable kids whose moral views and understandings are still being formed - that sinful, quasi-marital arrangements are just fine and perfectly acceptable alternatives to actual marriage. And in the larger, diverse culture in which the church is situated, perhaps the culture comes to decide that those sinful arrangements really are perfectly acceptable alternatives, or perhaps whatever problems these arrangements pose to the culture are not so grave that the society needs to formally restrict or ban them. But a Catholic school sustains and preaches a different (and, by its lights, better) set of values than that of the surrounding culture. The Catholic church tries to carve out a bit of space for itself amid the surrounding culture where its members can actually abide by the values it believes in and preaches.Catholic schools recognize that marriages, and quasi-marriages, are moral arrangements with moral implications, and they are also public arrangements with public implications. By those Catholic lights, her happiness and satisfaction in her arrangement, and her discretion in shielding it from the view of her students (at least for a time), don't override the fact that it is sinful and is sending the wrong message.Ultimately, that she is stricken with grief at the loss of her mother doesn't override the key fact, either.None of this is to say that she shouldn't be treated with respect and compassion. She should. I think the school, or whoever it was that terminated her, should be criticized for how it handled this.Now, could the school decide that, even though her public arrangement is problematic, it can be tolerated? In my view, yes. I don't think that schools have to insist on moral perfection on that part of its employees.But I also don't think Catholic schools are wrong to hold their employees to certain standards of ethical conduct. According to the standards of this particular school, her living arrangement is unethical. She violated an ethical expectation of her job. And as I stated in one of the first comments, I'd be surprised to learn that she wasn't aware of this already.

BRB, gone to get baptized. That's just how moved I am by this school's witness to truth.

Jim,Why do we respect the woman's right to be a Methodist teaching at a Catholic school. Does that imply that it is acceptable for Catholic school students to consider switching to another Christian denomination? Why do we not treat Jews the way the Church did for nearly two-thousand yearsas people who deny Christ? Why is it now acceptable to disagree on the most fundamental of doctrinal questions and embrace people of non-Christian religions, but it is forbidden to treat people who do not agree on Catholic moral principles as individuals who have a right to their own moral views?It seems to me the Catholic Church's disagreement with a Methodist whose conscience tells her a lesbian relationship is acceptable is much less profound than the Catholic Church's disagreement with a heterosexually married Jew who denies the divinity of Christ. Which is closer to the heart of common Christian beliefthe forbidden nature of homosexuality or the divinity of Christ? It seems to me it's a no-brainer.We have "evolved" to the point that the Catholic Church now finds acceptable that others who disagree with it on matters of faith may be tolerated, but that children must be protected from those who disagree on matters of morals. Of course, "conversion" is an issue. I am quite sure that many people out there concerned about lesbian teachers have in the back of their minds that if their daughters like and respect a lesbian teacher, they are at some risk of engaging in lesbian sex and becoming lesbians. It is totally wacky, but the belief that gays and lesbians "recruit" in ways both subtle and direct is widely believed by the kind of people who would unceremoniously fire a lesbian gym teacher after 19 years on the job.

In addition to exhibiting a grievous lack of compassion and basic due process, this is a failure on Catholic moral grounds, in two senses:1. First, the Church has no qualms about people of the same sex (or opposite sex, for that matter,) living together. None. If it did, there would be no houses of religious. (And for opposite sex couples, it would not be recognized that sometimes those remarried without benefit of clergy should continue to live together for the benefit of the kids.) The issue is entirely about whether such couples or groups are sexually active. Unless there was solid grounds for believing that this woman is sexually active--at least by asking her--then the firing is unjust. Her sexual orientation is actually immaterial here--if she is unmarried and living with another person, the question under Catholic moral teaching is about sex, not about living arrangements.2. And it is unjust in another way as well. Does the school routinely quiz all faculty about their sex lives? For example, are straight couples asked about their practice of contraception? Does the school routinely quiz the faculty (including the priests, if any,) about their practice of masturbation? If not, it seems that this woman has been subject to "special" treatment because she lives with a woman. You might say "masturbation is a private matter, and does not set a bad example for the kids." Well, this woman's sex life is also a private matter, isn't it? Again, her living arrangements are not prima facie problematic. You might say "we don't know whether couples are practicing contraception or NFP, or if they're infertile or subfertile." Right. But the possibly sexually illicit practices of straights are not investigated, are they? Meanwhile this poor woman is presumed to be living in sin. If they want to enforce Catholic sexual norms, they should do so in a fair manner rather than persecuting gay people. Isn't this phenomenon, at least possibly, the reason Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery? The gross bias of the accusation? Here too. Gross bias of the kind condemned by Catholic teaching.

In his three years of teaching, Christ spoke incessantly of justice, compassion, and mercy, and of treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves. In all that time, he seems to have cautioned his hearers not at all about the "horror" of men living with men and women with women. Who shall we say then, in this current case, has departed further from the words of Christ?Are we seeing yet another ill consequence of the child abuse scandal, people now so fearful of appearing lax that they will resort to acts of uncharity and plain cruelty to shield themselves from the charge?

Christ established His Church to teach, admonish, inspire, brace up, and be our Rock in this earthly life.Isn't something missing in this list? I forgetremind me again: what's this Sunday's gospel about? Abe alludes to it...

"The principal of Bishop Watterson High School has released a letter that states: Documents support termination. You were not terminated for being gay but for the spousal relationship publicized in the newspaper which is against church teachings. "This gives a new meaning to the old idea of Publishing the Ban(n)s.

Barbara: can you live with this?" ... the church isnt going to change the way it treats women. I dont understand why others seem so intent on denying this reality."

The quote that Jim McCrea quotes a couple of comments above this one can be found in this news story:http://www.myfox28columbus.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/... includes this statement by the diocese:"Personnel matters remain confidential by policy of the Diocese of Columbus, and thus cannot be discussed in specific terms by diocesan staff, even cases that are working their way through grievance procedures and/or have gained significant publicity. "However, what can be said in general terms is that all Catholic school personnel at the outset of their employment agree that they will abide by the rules, regulations, and policies of the Catholic Diocese, including respecting the moral values advanced by the teachings of Christ. "The Catholic Church respects the fundamental dignity of all persons, but also must insist that those in its employ respect the tenets of the Church. Personnel who choose to publicly espouse relationships or principles that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot, ultimately, remain in the employ of the Church."

"In his three years of teaching, Christ spoke incessantly of justice, compassion, and mercy, and of treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves. "He also spoke some very challenging words about marriage. He also spoke some hard things about discipleship. We're called to be much more than compassionate - we're called to be disciples.

Were called to be much more than compassionate were called to be disciples.And how will people know that we are Christ's disciples?If we have love for one another.

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About the Author

Eduardo Moisés Peñalver is the John P. Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subjects of property and land use law.