The Kids Are Alright
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver December 20, 2013 - 9:30pm
From my hometown diocese, another gay Catholic school employee (this time an administrator) fired for marrying. And, as in other cases, students have responded by protesting:
Eastside Catholic president Sister Mary Tracy said she discussed Zmuda’s case in person with Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain within the last two weeks and they had what she described as a collaborative conversation. Sartain didn’t give her an explicit order to fire Zmuda, Tracy said. Rather, “We were directed to comply with the teachings of the church.”
“The Archdiocese works through me as the head of the school,” Tracy said. “It was clear that this is the teaching of the church. I know what we need to do.” Patterson said he and Tracy met with Zmuda in a cordial meeting on Tuesday and everyone understood that Zmuda could no longer work at Eastside Catholic.
“It was just one of those situations where he knew ... that he needed to comport with the [teachings] of the church, and his same-sex marriage was not comporting with that,” Patterson [a lawyer for the archdiocese] said. Patterson said Zmuda’s same-sex marriage, not the fact that he is gay, is the reason he cannot work for the school. “He’s a great administrator,” Patterson said. "We fully support him. We’re going to give him glowing reference letters, all that sort of thing. But Eastside Catholic doesn’t have the power to change that law,” Patterson said, referring to church teachings.“The students were pretty upset about that so we all came together and rebelled against it,” he said. “Once one person found out it went on Twitter and then everyone found out. He and others started rounding up students for a sit-in at the school commons area around 9 a.m.
He said the students then hiked outside to the turnoff for the street that winds up a hill to the campus to show their support for Zmuda to the media gathered there. “We did not know he was gay before today,” Leider [a student at Eastisde Catholic] said. “He’s always looking out for the best in everyone and he always wants everyone to do their best.” Sophia Cerino, a freshman at Eastside Catholic, said most students support the rights of gays to marry. “Just because I’m Catholic doesn’t mean I need to believe every rule the church has,” Cerino said. “We think the rule over gay marriage is totally unfair. Everyone seems to think the same thing — that we should all be treated equal.”
I have to wonder what effect this kind of thing is having on the younger generation of Catholics and their relationship to the Church.
[UPDATE: I've modified the post a bit to identify some of the speakers and provide the context. Go read the whole story, though.]
About the Author
Eduardo Moisés Peñalver is the Allan R. Tessler Dean of the Cornell Law School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subjects of property and land use law.