If Catholics were kicked out of the Church because they didn’t personally follow Catholic doctrine, many churches would be much emptier. Catholics in large numbers support the use of birth control, same-sex marriage, and abortion rights. But there’s a difference between holding those beliefs and acting on them.
That’s why Catholic schools will fire you for being in a same-sex marriage, which is what happened this month in Florida when administrators at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School kicked out teacher Jocelyn Morffi (below, left) days after she and her partner had their wedding.
There’s a question of whether the school had the right to fire her or whether they were violating anti-discrimination laws — I think they had the right to fire her, even if it was a heartless and cruel decision — but this isn’t a new story. It’s happened many times before, and the story always plays out the same way. Students are furious that a great teacher was let go. Parents are confused because they don’t seem to understand the bigotry inherent in Catholic beliefs. And administrators come off as bigots who selectively choose which sins are bad enough to warrant a firing.
But in the case of Morffi, there’s a twist in the case we haven’t seen very often. At her wedding this month, four of her school colleagues attended the ceremony. And now those employees have reason to believe the school will fire them as well.
Four teachers attended the wedding, one of them told The Times on Wednesday. She asked not to be named out of fear for her career.
After Ms. Morffi was fired, the teacher said, they were called into a meeting with school officials. She said they were warned that if they wanted to continue working for the school, they could not post pictures or attend events that would be considered supportive of same-sex marriage.The human resources representative at the meeting “didn’t straight out say you’ll be fired if you do, but that’s what she led us to believe,” the teacher said, adding that she was disappointed about how the situation was handled.
This is… unusually strict, to say the least. A bunch of (presumably straight) Catholic teachers may lose their jobs because they showed support for marriage equality by attending their friend’s wedding and celebrating it as anyone else would. I guess they were supposed to stay home on the biggest day of their friend’s life… or attend the wedding with a Westboro Baptist-style protest sign.
By that logic, expressing any criticism of the Church is forbidden because it suggests you know better than what the doctrine states. Does the Church even want decent people teaching at their schools?
Apparently, choosing love and acceptance over bigotry and exclusion is a fireable offense now. I wonder if that applies to birth control and abortion rights. Are teachers allowed to criticize Pope Francis for defending a man who allegedly covered up for child abuse within the Church? Which sins matter more than others? If the Vatican could just provide a ranked list, it would help us all out.
All of this is just more reason for decent teachers to look for jobs outside the Catholic school system, and for decent parents to send their kids to a better public or private school instead of a place that punishes teachers for who they love while ignoring how well they teach. And if those aren’t options, then more students at these Catholic schools need to stage protests and walk out on their bigoted administrators.
The bad P.R. won’t change Catholic doctrine, but at least the students’ communities will know they’re not quietly sitting along in support of this faith-based hate.