"Should Catholic Schools Be Allowed to Discriminate?" (an article)


This issue has taken importance in the last several years in the U.S. as teachers at Catholic schools in the U.S. enter gay marriages or otherwise go against Catholic morality publicly, then sue the school for firing them. The most recent and on-going case involves Seattle’s Eastside Catholic high school, where a vice-principal was fired over his gay marriage, and where now another teacher intends entering a gay marriage, students and others in the area holding demonstrations against this school for firing the vice-principal…
see www.strangenotions.com/should-catholic-schools-be-allowed-to-discriminate/


Catholic schools discriminate all the time. They tend to favor hiring qualified Catholic teachers over non-Catholic teachers. Nobody has ever complained about that. A married gay person teacher or administrator in a Catholic school is living an openly sinful lifestyle and proud of it. Such people have no “right” to act as teachers or role models for young Catholics.

George Washington (not a Catholic) drummed a homosexual officer out of his army. Only in the modern world have we bcome so morally vacuous as to fear following his example.


My understanding is that Catholic Schools, at least in some jurisdictions, are permitted to discriminate in hiring. One would have thought that if that is so, they would be entitled to part with employees on grounds such as this.


Discriminate, no. Be allow to fire people for not complying the Church’s teaching and living in a state of continuous sin, yes.

They key is that they must be consistent. I know of a Catholic School who fired two teachers for have a baby together, outside of wedlock (and they moved in together).

I believe the school gave them the opportunity to get married, but when they informed the school that they would not be getting married and moved in together, they were fired. They were fired for the scandal. It was bad enough that everyone knew the teach was having a baby outside of marriage. But, when they were going to move in together without getting married, that put the two teachers in a continuous state of sin.

Catholic schools have the right to fire anyone who cannot receive communion due to canonical issues: married outside Church without dispensation, gay marriage, “living in sin,” getting ordained when female, divorced and remarried without annulment, publicly preaching heresy, etc.

There is another Catholic school here in the Philly area, where a gay teacher was fired for marrying his boyfriend. Everyone knew he was gay and everyone knew he had a gay boyfriend. That mortal sin is not enough to get excommunicated by itself (yes, you can’t receive communion unless you give an honest and good confession and try to continue that sin – but different subject). However, getting married outside the church, gay marriage, re-married without annulment, etc are things that will excommunicate you until you “undo” or “fix” you situation.

But the key is that the school must be consistent and fire everyone who is excommunicated. If a teacher is automatically excommunicated, they should not be allowed to teach in the Catholic School…. It’s as simple as that.

But if schools are not consistent, then they will get into trouble for “discrimination.” Consistency will be required if they are to have a leg to stand on.

God Bless.


I don’t think they can ask “are you gay or straight?”.

But they sure can provide a “code of ethics” or “code of behavior” and require everyone to comply.

God Bless


Well, fair enough, but I assume they put it to the applicant that they will be expected “to model Catholic values and beliefs, and ceasing to do that in a serious way [further qualified as appropriate] would make it impossible to continue your employment”.


I would hope that’s the case. And if it’s not, they need to start right away.


Anytime one of our local Catholic schools advertises a position the add specifies that the applicant must be practicing Catholics.


Other Religions do the same , our Jewish/Moslem Schools only allow practising Jewish/Moslems take up posts at the school. Rightly so, also for Catholic Schools, one has to lead by example, a woman teacher heavily pregnant and wont get married, well that is her right, but it is also the right of the School to fire her for not setting an example of what the Church teaches, otherwise it would look like , do what I say, but not as I do.

Shame on her. Shame with the homosexual also.


The sad thing is the USCCB might need to define “practicing Catholic” for the law. :frowning:


Catholic schools are not funded by the taxpayers, therefore the matter of hiring and firing belongs to their discrimination. In this they are protected by the First Amendment, which does not allow the state to interfere with the discretionary practices of the various churches.


I assume the “fatal” step was the extra-marital sex, rather than the decision not to marry after the event?


That may be the case in the US, but in other jurisdictions the State contributes some funding. The schools submit themselves to the curriculum authority of the State, and save the State considerable cost. The Schools’ requirement to have some control over hiring and firing on religious/moral criteria do not seem unreasonable in the circumstances.


A little off topic, but I would just note that every employer discriminates in hiring, and that’s a good thing. If they didn’t discriminate one prospect from another, they would be obligated to hire everyone who applied, or at least hire the first person who applied. Hiring officials are expected to hire the best possible applicants. To do that, they must discriminate. There are only a few discriminants (race, religion, etc.) which are prohibited. And with Catholic schools, the practice of Catholic religion can be a valid discriminant.


Agreed. I would have no problem with Jewish schools discriminating In favour of Jewish teachers. I could not object to a State school firing a principal who rejected a teacher application solely on the grounds that the teacher was a practicing gay.


Exactly, and there are morality agreements in some positions as well. If executives make fools of themselves drinking and sleeping around, a board of directors may well decide that person is no longer an appropriate representative of the company.

My sons go to Catholic school, and assume that at some point they will be taught about what a marriage should be. If there were teachers in the school who obviously contradicted that standard, that would be undermining the authority of the Catechism- kids can see what is right in front of them, and will ask questions.


I really could write an epistle on this subject. As a former Catholic School teacher (25 yrs), I encountered a variety of situations: where a gay teacher was able to keep her job, non-catholic teacher disparaged our practice of praying to Mary/saints. In one parish, it was common knowledge that the pastor had a girlfriend.
On the reverse side , my position was
“eliminated” because I complained because non-catholic students were permitted to receive Holy Communion at school Masses on a regular basis.
I believe social media has brought many of these current issues to the forefront. It has always been a requirement that one adheres to Catholic doctrine. When non-catholics are hired, they are never hired to teach Religion and it is expected that they not speak against Catholic teachings. These items are generally spelled out in your contract.
God bless all our Catholic School teachers who work so hard.:thumbsup:


We never really had this problem when nuns in habits were the teachers.:shrug:


Laws by their very nature discriminate. You discriminate when you choose to buy one brand over the other. :yup:

Discrimination is not always a bad thing, and government-mandated equal results is the polar opposite of freedom.

Time for the politically correct obsessed to dump the emotional arguments and admit it. :thumbsup:


Some very good responses to the question.

When I attended Catholic Schools, many of my teachers were Religious Orders (Franciscan). No problems with sexual issues that came to the public forum then. There are “Mission” statements in most organizations, as well as, handbooks that detail behavior, or should. One can only wonder at the conclusions people draw from this story? Teacher is teaching in a school that educates its students in the fine arts, sciences, and literature, and a moral code of behavior, then declares he or she is engaged in sexual sin or afflicted with a sexual identity disorder, which should make them automatically ineligible to remain on staff!! Gee, there is something amiss here and … it must be the schools fault. A commentary on our modern society where everybody is their own authority and no accountability for bad behavior.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.