Another staffer at a Catholic school has been told to resign after officials learned she was in a same-sex marriage.
Even though Roncalli High School (Indianapolis) counselor Shelly Fitzgerald has been with her partner for more than two decades, she wrote in a Facebook post that someone alerted school officials about it by getting her marriage certificate from the county, then presenting it to Chief Administrator Joe Hollowell, who then alerted the Archbishop of Indianapolis, the superintendent, and Principal Chuck Weisenbach.
When she met with the administrator and principal, they told her she had to resign, leave after the year ended (provided there was no public drama), or — wait for it — “dissolve” the marriage.
Because what’s better than a same-sex marriage in the eyes of the Catholic Church?
I let them know I have no intention of divorcing, no intention of quitting, and no intention of not telling anyone why I have to leave the job I’ve loved so much.
I ask that you pray for my family, for change in the world, and know I have absolutely loved my job for the past 15 years.
As usual, the school has every right to fire her. She signed a contract that included obeying Catholic rules, including the ones banning same-sex marriage, and she broke them. What the Church is doing to Fitzgerald is awful… but it’s also totally predictable.
What did everyone expect?
The bigger issue here is that the Church only ever seems to go after teachers and staffers in same-sex relationships, not those who break other rules. All sins are equal, but some are more equal than others.
Earlier today, some graduates placed school shirts outside the front of the building — essentially turning them back in out of shame for their alma mater.
Happening right now: a group of Roncalli HS alumni are taking their t-shirts and placing them in front of the school. It comes as they are trying to show support for guidance counselor Ms. Fitzgerald. @rtv6 pic.twitter.com/j7wlPJhHZi
— Nicole Griffin-RTV6 (@NicoleGriffinTV) August 13, 2018
I’m not surprised that many students and alums and community members are appalled by Fitzgerald’s firing. After all, she did nothing wrong. But when parents pay to send their kids to a private Catholic school, this is the kind of bigotry they’re supporting. What else do Fitzgerald’s supporters expect? Administrators who care about how effective and caring and kind their staff is? This is a Catholic school. You pay for them to ignore those things… at least if the staffer in question is in a same-sex relationship.
Fitzgerald hasn’t been fired yet. By exposing what the school did, however, it’s put them on the defensive. That explains this Facebook post from late last night:
Catholic schools are ministries of the Catholic Church, and teachers, school guidance counselors and administrators are vital ministers in sharing the mission of the Church. They are expected to be role models and are expressly charged with leading students toward Christian maturity and with teaching the Word of God. As role models for students, the personal conduct of every teacher, guidance counselor and administrator and staff member, both at school and away from school, must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church. These teachings include, but are not limited to: honoring the dignity of each human life from conception to natural death, care for God’s creation, and the belief that all persons are called to respect human sexuality and its expression in the Sacrament of Marriage between a man and a woman as a sign of God’s love and fidelity to His Church. A thorough description of Catholic teaching can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
These expectations are clearly defined in school employee contracts and ministerial job descriptions so every employee can make an informed decision regarding their employment prior to the start of each program year and before signing the annual contract. When the expectations of a contract are not being met, the employee and the school will attempt to reach a resolution so that the contractual requirements are fulfilled.
Again, don’t get mad at the school for being run by bigots. Blame the Church for its rules and blame the parents for sending their kids here. Hell, blame Fitzgerald for taking a job with them when she should’ve known this day would come.
Not everyone seems to understand that, though. A group in support of Fitzgerald has more than 2,200 people already. The goal? To “affect change for Archdiocesan contracts…save Ms. Fitzgerald!”
That’s not going to happen. With any luck, however, Fitzgerald will be able to find work as a counselor at a decent school where staffers are judged by their quality of work, not the intolerant whims of Catholic leaders.