Carla Hale, P.E. teacher Watterson High School
The Children's Hour.
It's not a funny story at all, but...
This is the second incident concerning a Lesbian and her mom's funeral to make headlines in the Catholic Blogosphere in a year or so. The first involved a priest refusing a Lesbian Holy Communion at her mom's funeral. This time around, a Lesbian included her partner's name with her own in her mom's obituary.
Carla Hale was fired for a spousal relationship - not her sexual orientation.
Ms. Hale's mom died, she included her partner's name in the obit - at her brother's urging - obviously the family accepted her 'relationship'. Someone at the Catholic school where she taught and coached for 20 years read the obit and informed the chancery and Carla was fired when she returned from funeral leave, because her relationship is immoral. What the Church teaches and requires of those who work for the Church, is to lead moral lives in conformity to Church teaching - even if you happen to be Methodist, as is Ms. Hale. Now it appears lawsuits are pending.
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:Sad - for some - but true.
Personnel matters remain confidential by policy of the Diocese of Columbus and thus cannot be discussed in specific terms by diocesan staff, even cases that are working their way through grievance procedures and/or have gained significant publicity. However, what can be said in general terms is that all Catholic school personnel at the outset of their employment agree that they will abide by the rules, regulations, and policies of the Catholic Diocese, including respecting the moral values advanced by the teachings of Christ. The Catholic Church respects the fundamental dignity of all persons but also must insist that those in its employ respect the tenets of the Church. Personnel who choose to publicly espouse relationships or principles that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot, ultimately, remain in the employ of the Church. - Source
I can imagine Ms. Hale feels deeply hurt, betrayed and angry. I had trouble when I first heard the story myself. She's worked at the school 20 years - I'm sure students and teacher alike 'knew' or suspected she had a 'private' life. Ms. Hale certainly would have known Church teaching - perhaps she even brought up the subject of job security in the past? Or at least had a concern about it once or twice. Maybe she was even told her situation was just fine? Maybe she and her 'partner' lived together chastely, as close friends, companions, in a platonic relationship? Who knows?
A Private Catholic School.
Nevertheless, the Archdiocese is in the right. Her private life became public and turned into a source of scandal. Her lifestyle now public, contradicts Church teaching. She works in a Catholic school, which exists to form children in accord with Catholic teaching. It is an unfortunate situation.
People who work for the Church need to abide by Church teaching and avoid giving scandal to 'little ones'. It is a private, Catholic school, and there are rules.
However, I seriously doubt Ms. Hale had an agenda, since no one seemed to complain before this. I suspect she was simply doing her job.
So is the Archdiocese.
Once again I'll repeat my advice to ssa/gay people.
To Catholics who identify as ssa or gay. Be faithful to Church teaching, live chastely. Pray very much. Don't look for approval.
Be faithful and do good works, remaining hidden - not out of fear, but out of love for God.
A similar case involving a religion teacher, Nicholas Coppola, is back in the news again as well. That story here.
If you insist on identifying as gay or are ssa and/or share a house with some one, do not seek employment from the Church, avoid involvement in Church groups, councils, committees, and so on - that is if you want to avoid being kicked off or fired. If you think you have a vocation - think again.