Lesbian Teacher Suing Diocese for Being Catholic

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a Catholic High School fired a physical education teacher last month after it became public knowledge that she is a lesbian who lives with her partner, in direct violation of Church teachings. Sadly, the teacher, Carla Hale, reacted by suing the Diocese of Columbus under the city’s anti-discrimination law, which does not provide an exemption for religious organizations and carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail. There is a very real possibility then that Bishop Campbell could be sent to jail for upholding the Catholic faith.

There is also the possibility that this case could end up in the Supreme Court, as the unanimous decision in the Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case specifically leaves open the possibility of subsequent litigation for breach of contract. However, one has to wonder whether a contract based on a 19-year lie could still be valid. The Dispatch article does not state whether the school knew Hale was a lesbian and perhaps had some informal agreement with her provided she kept it quiet, but if so, the concealment on Hale’s part would only be more damning. Neither the school nor the diocese should be punished for trying to right the situation.

Bishop Campbell (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Bishop Campbell’s diocese is being sued for upholding Catholic teaching. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

An analogous scenario would be a bank manager discovering that one of her employees has been robbing banks, or a police chief discovering that one of his officers has been dealing drugs on the side for the past 20 years. Carla Hale clearly opposes Catholic teaching, so how can she possibly be a Catholic teacher? The Catholic Church is often accused of hypocrisy, but what could be more hypocritical than allowing a teacher to publicly contradict the Catholic faith?

Catholic schools entrust their teachers with a special responsibility to provide spiritual formation and act as role models for their impressionable charges. Not so long ago, most if not all teachers at Catholic schools were consecrated religious. Carla Hale is not even Catholic, but is a practicing Methodist. There is nothing wrong with ecumenism, but faithful Catholic parents have every right to expect that teachers at a Catholic school should be faithful ministers of the Gospel and witnesses to Christ in both their public and private lives.

Nevertheless, Hale has found a deep well of vocal support from partisans on the left. At time of writing, an online petition for her reinstatement had over 10,000 signatures. In times of persecution, there is always an angry mob that thinks it is in the right. Popular opinion claims to be loudly and fiercely opposed to any form of intolerance as a matter of principle, but this apparently does not include intolerance of faithful Catholics.

The more we are persecuted, the more we must pray that Bishop Campbell, and indeed all of us will have the strength to bear the cross. As the motto of the Carthusian order reminds us, “Stat crux dum volvitur orbis.” The Cross is steady while the world is turning. We must hold fast to the cross, because the world around us is not going to stop. We must remember as the cross grows heavier, it is because we still believe we are standing on solid ground, when in truth, the cross is all that is solid and eternal.

  • Joanne

    Another analogous situation would be a science teacher who publicly denounces the theory of evolution.

  • Cheri

    The Catholic Church had every right to fire her. She worked at a private Catholic school where the whole idea is to teach Catholicism. Setting a good moral example, especially in public, is key to Catholic teaching; otherwise it is hypocrisy. It’s the same thing with politicians who support abortion. In both cases, the perpetrator is setting the example that it’s OK to live in opposition to what you believe, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Nobody is saying that the Church doesn’t tolerate sinners; we are all sinners. But there’s a difference between sinning in the heat of the moment and then repenting; and on the other hand, sinning and trying to rationalize it away – even to the point of trying to make it a “right” or at least acceptable, just so one can continue in one’s sin. That lesbian woman should have known what she was about if she was going to teach in a Catholic school. If she disagreed with the Church’s stance on homosexuality, then she shouldn’t have agreed to work there. It makes no sense to work in a place if you don’t agree with what they promote or believe in. And she is suing the Church?? It should be the other way around, maybe…

  • Zachary

    What if the catholic dogma is wrong or needs to be changed. After all up until Vatican II women had to wear head scarfs and the priest didn’t face the congregation. Oh and the only real mass was done in latin? So if you continue with your argument, I challenge you that I could deduce that no mass in the past 50 years has been ordained and millions of “Catholics” have never truly received the Eucharist.

    • Slats

      Zachary, those are matters of discipline (outward practice) and not dogma (faith and morals). The Catholic Church is founded on the idea that its doctrine was received from Christ and clarified over time by the Holy Spirit. The Catholic Church has always and everywhere, for 2,000 years, taught that genital acts outside of marriage are gravely wrong and that same-gendered genital acts are even more heinous because they are unnatural. If the dogma were to change in terms of contemporary outward Church teaching, the Church, in changing a doctrine always and everywhere taught, might as well take out a billboard in every city worldwide saying that it never, ever was the Church that Jesus founded. Of course, you are within your rights to believe that’s already the case, but don’t be surprised if devout Catholics disagree with you, and if they also don’t want to see their Church nuke herself from the face of the earth by changing doctrines that cannot change if the Church is the Church Christ founded.

  • Thomas

    Way to make the Catholic Church look horrible. This is why people hate us.

    • Slats

      They hate us because they consider what is evil to be good, and what is good to be evil.

  • William Wheeler

    Bishop Campbell is truly devoted to the faith, despite the crazy future! I respect him !

  • Daniel Francis

    Speaking as a Catholic and a resident of the nearby area, I can honestly say this article very judgmental. I would definitely consider myself a conservative, yet firing someone purely on the basis of their sexual orientation is extremely discriminatory. The analogy of a bank employee robbing banks or a cop dealing drugs is wrong on an extremely obvious level. These practices are detrimental to others, while the teachers sexual practices affect no one other than her and her partner and others ignorant enough to think it affects them. I know plenty of religious Christians that don’t believe being gay is considered contradicting the faith. Also, the last time I checked, being a Methodist is still being a Christian. I would hope that most people would see past this “sin” since so many others have sins of their own. As Christ once said “let he without sin cast the first stone”.

    • Slats

      She isn’t being fired for her “orientation,” but for her actions of cohabiting with a woman in such a way that outside observers would very reasonably presume that the relationship involves genital acts which her employer considers grave matter and which Ms. Hale agreed not to engage in.



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