Remember that innkeeper who told Mary and Joseph they might as well sleep in the stable because there was no room at the inn? That’s what came to mind as I read about Sean Houlihan and Natalie Ferland.
Both were teachers at Lawrence Catholic Academy in Massachusetts, a school describing itself on its website as “a community of believers who strive to permeate the school with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.” Houlihan and Ferland were friends and colleagues for years before they began dating last spring. When Ferland discovered in October that she was pregnant, the pair made plans to marry.
When the school’s principal and the affiliated priest became aware of the situation, however, Lawrence Catholic Academy fired both Ferland and Houlihan for violating their employment contracts, which require them “to adhere to the teachings and principles of the Catholic Church.” Out-of-wedlock pregnancies, even with the sincere intention of marriage, go against Church teachings.