I was taking a quick break from digging through emails and paperwork and decided to check out the New York Times. My eye caught an article titled, “After Firings and Controversy, the Wedding Will Go On.” I took a look and saw that it was about a gay couple, long partnered, long open about it, life-long faithful Roman Catholics, one of whom was a teacher in a private Catholic high school in St. Louis. He and his partner had decided to go to NYC on their 20th anniversary together and marry there, where same-sex marriage is legal.
Again, there had never been secrecy about the partnership, before or after he began to work at that school.
However, the day after he announced their plans to his delighted colleagues, he learned that his employment at the school had been terminated. Here is the stated reason: “When he publicly demonstrated a life inconsistent with Catholic teaching, Al Fischer was relieved of his duties as part-time choir director at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Parish and as music teacher at St. Ann Parish School.”Now, if I read this correctly, as long as Mr. Fischer and his partner did their dastardly deeds in secret, a secret that was no secret at all, either to friends, students or employers, the diocesan authorities had no problems with it. But by choosing to make a long-time covenant relationship public and more fully responsible to each other, the ax must fall.
I understand consistency. I understand standards. I also understand hypocrisy. As long as it is kept under wraps, so that the surface looks like it complies, there is no concern about what is really happening. I suppose that is why it is OK to keep pedophile and predatory priests around as long as all looks well on the surface even when everyone around them knows the truth.
I also ask: have they checked to make sure all their more conventionally married teachers aren’t practicing artificial birth control and are at all times faithful to one another? Have they checked to make sure all their non-partnered teachers are 100% sexually chaste? Have they checked to see how many of their priests are abusing alcohol or indulging in pornography? Or is any behavior OK as long as it stays hidden?
And we wonder why religious institutions look ridiculous in the public eye.