Thursday, September 12, 2013

Another gay teacher leaves Totino-Grace High School.

Joan Cusack, Kevin Kline - 'In and Out'.

There is a document that we who work at a Catholic school sign called “Justice In Employment” in which we agree to not publicly act or speak against the Church or its teachings. - Kristen Ostendorf


Kristen Ostendorf came out publicly as a gay woman in a lesbian relationship and resigned, following in the footsteps of former school President Dr. Bill Hudson, who after being 'outed' resigned from the school. 

Ed. Note:  Dr. Hudson resigned, Ms. Ostendorf was terminated, some say 'forced to resign', others consider the act of coming out and proclaiming she was in a relationship with a woman, as an act of voluntary resignation.  Be that as it may, the news report states it this way:
"She was asked to resign the next day.  She didn’t, the school terminated her."

 However, Ostendorf did indeed come out publicly - making an announcement to 120  fellow educators at a workshop is rather public:
Kristen Ostendorf unexpectedly came out to her colleagues at the 47–year-old Catholic school in Fridley on Aug. 21. “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy,” Ostendorf blurted out to a roomful of 120 fellow teachers at a workshop. She was asked to resign the next day. - Source

A couple of quick points.

I've watched the television interviews, read the print interviews, and read local commentary.

Ms. Ostendorf was simply being honest, yet sometimes, honesty is its own reward.  She works for a Catholic institution, teaching in the field of religious education.  Catholic parents, as well as Catholic authorities rightly demand and expect that students receive a solid education in the Catholic faith and moral teaching at Catholic schools.  Oddly enough, they expect teachers at Catholic schools to be in compliance.

Ms. Ostendorf admitted in one interview that she could 'no longer do it' that she could no longer keep silent - that she could no longer live a lie.  Her lifestyle, like it or not, is in direct opposition to Catholic moral teaching on sexuality.  Even if she continued teaching, by her own implication, at some point she would have to acknowledge she didn't agree with Catholic teaching on homosexual behavior and marriage.
I get it. I do. I understand all of it. The fact is, I stood up in a room of 120 people and said, “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy.” Probably I’m never going to work in the Catholic Church again. That ship has probably sailed. I know what the rules are, and I know I broke them by speaking the eight words I shouldn’t have said. The next day, I told them I would not be resigning and they gave me what my lawyer says amounts to a letter of termination. - Kristen Ostendorf   
Statistics appear to suggest that Catholics increasingly support same sex marriage and accept homosexual behavior, and if the 'polls' are correct, many would like to see the Church change her teaching on these issues.  We are told young Catholics especially have changed in their attitudes on this subject. In an effort to better understand how and why these cultural shifts have come about so rapidly, I doubt it would be unreasonable to suggest a connection between Catholic education/educators and how young Catholics have been formed in faith and moral teaching in the last few decades.
"The kids who are gay in Catholic schools always concern me. I worry about what my silence for all these years has said," Kristen said. - Source

Yet elsewhere Ms. Ostendorf stated:
I said to them (those at the meeting where she 'outed' herself), “Most of you know I’m gay."

 All I can say is that the damage appears to have been done - to the students, I mean.


  1. I'm positive you already know what I think about this, so I'll just leave a random factoid:

    She worked there for 18 years before she was fired.

  2. random factoid... she wasn't honest with her employer for 18-years ... and...

    1. Wasn't that fact well-established in the article?

  3. To be fair - it is my understanding she came in like a lamb, got married, then divorced, and evidently realized she was gay and fell in love with a woman - all within the 18 year timeline - possibly before definitive policy was established. Not that it makes any difference however.

    1. That's an interesting point: that she was married and then divorced.

      That scenario actually reinforces what a lot of us have been saying: "sanctity of marriage" campaigns have less to do with marriage than it does about gay people. After all, her divorce did not terminate her position. Coming out did.

    2. It is remarriage, not divorce, that is considered the sin. From the Catholic perspective the divorce did not terminate the Sacrament.

  4. No offense Thom, but don't you think that's a little twisted. The Church condemns divorce but certainly accepts divorced persons - divorced and remarried is a different story - that is a situation in direct opposition to Catholic teaching.

    1. So the "life" bit in "one man, one woman, for life" is negotiable? Or just not as important?

      That's what's disingenuous here. The divorce was fine, but coming out wasn't.

    2. There's nothing sinful in getting divorced if the person you are married to wants the divorce and there's nothing you can do to change their mind. If you get remarried after that, or you are living with someone or whatever, then it's sinful.

  5. You know better than that Thom.

    1. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I really don't.

      That's what happened, so far as I can see.

    2. The "sin" for this woman was not being gay, it was being sexually active. It is the behavior not the orientation that is "sinful". It's very similar to the divorce situation: a remarried person is being sexually active with someone other than his or her sacramental spouse. It is the remarriage and subsequent sexual activity that is "sinful".

  6. I agree with Thom in so far as young people will continue to frown upon Church teaching on homosexual fornication so long as the Church is mostly silent on heterosexual fornication. Young people have always been great at sniffing out hypocrisy, and that's what it smells like to many of them. The sad part is that the Church's teaching on SSA is only very public because the media and activists have forced the issue; otherwise most bishops would be as silent as the grave (as most of their priests already are on all forms of fornication).

    Psalm 11: "For now there is no saint, and truths are decayed in the hearts of men."

  7. There are two errors in your opening paragraph, Terry. First, Kristen didn't come out publicly. She came out during a faculty event at Totino-Grace. Second, she didn't resign, she was fired.



  8. I am off two minds here..of course I think the church's teaching on gay is a relic of the past (and the early church father's and quite a bit of the saints, uh, "odd," relationship with human sexuality..and their own sexuality..) but it is what it is and if you work there you need to understand that; I was offered a position at a Catholic organization and I was thrilled to help them until I understood what it ment, and I respectfully told them no. They were honest with me and I was honest with them, end of story. Now, while this woman was married before I just don't see that it suddenly hit her in the middle of the night that she was gay and "Oh geez, this is a problem, I got this husband and this job .." She had to have know she had leanings...(and I don't mean to be cruel to her...while I don't understand why a gay person would get married I do know that it was to conform to the narrow views of society and that time and the Church now...) and yet she married and got a job in a Catholic school. She lied in both instances.(and yes,I dont know her story so I making HUGE assumptions and judgements.)

    But on the other hand I don't know how many divorced and remarried teachers the Church would out right fire. So yea, it is hypocritical on the Church's part (aint nothing new there folks.)

    Scott I also disagree that the Bishops would be quiet on SSM if not for the "activists," (those pesky people demanding things) and the "media" (the root of all evil for both the right and left.) They are loosing "control," of this situation and the Church leaders hate nothing more then to loose control. The situation is slipping out of their hands as more and more of their own members just shrug their shoulders and ignore them.

  9. Thom - I wasn't trying to be argumentative either. Thanks.

  10. Michael - I considered that rather public, if you disagree, that's fine, her interviews were certainly public.

    I did note her lawyer said the letter from the school was in effect a termination, however, she admitted she pretty much knew she'd be expected to resign or be terminated.

    She definitely has my sympathy, but as an employee she has to meet the policy standards of the employer.

  11. Hi Rick and Rebecca - thanks much for clarifying the divorce issue. God bless!

  12. I should add that is what I meant Thom about knowing better - I assumed you knew Church teaching on divorce. Thanks.

    (For some reason I cannot reply to comments individually - something to do with my security settings.)

  13. +JMJ+

    Here's another damaging policy. The all-girls Catholic school I used to work for has a preference for hiring homosexual male teachers because of all the heterosexual male teachers hired in the past who went on to have affairs with students.

    Here's another damaging policy. All the homosexual female teachers who had affairs with students were ignored. Oh, yes, there were some attempts to discourage inappropriate relationships; but no female teacher was ever fired over it and there was no similar discriminatory policy against hiring homosexuals for the female faculty. I guess it's different when there's no danger of pregnancy?

    But if you ask me (okay, I know you didn't), this isn't a "gay" thing. I'd say it all started when the sisters let their original charism of teaching take a backseat to corporate expansion and started hiring laity to do what they should have been doing themselves. When I was there, the teaching sisters composed about 1% of the faculty.

    I once heard a priest remark that when a religious order abandons its original charism for something else, no matter how virtuous, the Holy Spirit moves out. At the time, I thought it was both harsh and wrong. These days, I think he hit the nail on the head. The Holy Spirit has moved out of the order that runs my old school.

    No comment on anyone else's school.

  14. Enbrethiliel - I agree - when the religious left teaching, the schools lost out.


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