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.

  • Bob Taurence

    What isn’t clear in this quote from the article? “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?”

    I think I’m correct that the Church teaches that sex, within marriage – repeat- within marriage, is for the purpose of pro-creation of a child. The sex act (intercourse) must not be performed if it unnaturally does not permit conception to take place. I think this eliminates all sex acts other than between a man and a woman, and without using unnatural methods to prevent conception.

  • Judy Lorms

    Bishop Campbell is our Bishop. We understand that a petition was circulated in the school & many students signed it without realizing what they were signing. This event is just another example of the poorly catechized generations in our church & our Catholic Schools.
    WE support Bishop Campbell for his faithful & coourageous decision to uphold the teachings of Jesus Christ & His Church.

    • Lauren

      Judy. I am one of those students. I have been raised Catholic my entire life and have gone through Catholic education since I was 2, and I am currently a senior in high school. We all know exactly what we are signing for: what is morally right in our minds. We are perfectly capable of forming our own opinions, we would appreciate if you respected them. I respect the Bishop. realize that!

      • Antonio A. Badilla

        “We are perfectly capable of forming our own opinions.”

        Then you don’t need the Catholic Church to guide you through life, since in your arrogance, you think you know better than the Church and her bishops.

      • Slats

        Lauren, what is lamentable is that in all those years of catechesis, no one taught you how to inform your conscience correctly. It’s pretty transparently clear in this situation that Ms. Hale’s actions were morally wrong and the actions of those who dismissed her morally right from a Catholic perspective, and yet you and several of the other students have reached the opposite conclusion. That means that those responsible for your formation let you down and didn’t give you effective information and tools to know and figure out what is truly right and wrong.

        The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the meaning of the Genesis Chapter 3 account of the fall of Adam and Eve indicates that human beings made a choice from the beginning to usurp for themselves the godlike ability to say what was right and wrong in contradiction to what God had put in their hearts and consciences to be right and wrong according to how He had designed them. That’s what “eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil” meant. That’s what original sin is. Right and wrong isn’t “what is morally right in your mind.” It’s how God created it to be. That’s what Catholics here are referring to when they talk about the “natural law.” Every human being (not just Catholics or other Christians), when properly formed, can figure out, through the use of reason, what is right and wrong in the moral realm of human interaction, and asserting a different standard of right and wrong is rebellion against God and against goodness. You and your fellow students’ conclusions are incorrect, and that has moral and spiritual consequences for you all and for many others. I can respect that you have an opinion and a point of view, but certainly don’t have to accept it as correct. Moreover, I have the right to lament the faultiness of the process in reaching those opinions in this case and that those tasked with teaching you how to go through that process very evidently let you all down.

      • Dan

        You support of your instructor is laudable, however, your comment ” We all know exactly what we are signing for: what is morally right in our minds. ” gives pause.
        Certainly, your years of Catholic instruction haven’t taught you that one determines morality for themselves.

  • Jack Bechtold

    I agree that an openly gay educator should not be teaching at a church school. The church continues its’ march to invoke the church teachings. However, it fails to properly state its’ case with regard to those who were born this way, those who did not choose the lifestyle and how to “deal” with it. Up to now the punishment is severe.

  • Dave Davisson

    What a repulsive mish-mash of misrepresentations and slurs. This woman, still listed on the High School website as Department Chair, has been an honored and valued teacher and colleague at the school for nineteen years until a cowardly letter sent after the death of her mother brought this to a head. How dare you equate her life of quiet service, encouragemetn and prayer as a teacher, mentor and mother, with drug dealing and bank robbing? The scandal did not burst forth from a liberal activist group, but from the student body itself, and then upwards through the parents, alumni, local parishes and the community. I have heard words like “hurt,” “bewildered,” and “betrayed” used more than “angry.” The way this was handled, and communicated (or not communicated) afterwards defies common decency and justice, and demonizing the victim and those who speak out against the injustice in this sophomoric way with the word “Catholic” in the mastehead is scandalous.

    • Slats

      Dave, Ms. Hale was not a victim, and if referring to her as such would not be considered to be libel against the school, the diocese, and the bishop in a court of law, it’s still calumny against those persons. She agreed to live according to standards of life conduct in becoming a teacher at the school, and she publicly (when the obituary was published) violated those standards. I stand by Joshua in this matter and view your abusively-toned comments toward him as a scurrilous attack. There is no high horse for you or Ms. Hale to stand on here.

      Once again, the scandal is that students and other people involved with the school are upset with the bishop and other authorities. I certainly hope and literally pray that Ms. Hale is able to find other livelihood in accord with her abilities and expertise, but it should very obviously never again be in a Catholic school.

  • Antonio A. Badilla

    I’m a teacher in a Catholic high school and can’t understand how anyone with such “credentials” may work in any Catholic high school.


      Antonio ~ Here’s a hypothetical: In the supermarket checkout line you run into a valued colleague. As she writes her check for the groceries you note her check says “Susan Jones-Miller, Roxanne Jones-Miller”

      Do you now think she ought to be fired? Do you turn her in? _ Pax, Greg

      • Paul Sadek

        I’m not Antonio, but your hypothetical question was posted publicly, so I’ll give my answer.

        On that EXTREMELY limited basis alone, of course not. The two could be sisters or cousins–or perhaps even mother and daughter–who share a bank account.

      • Joe M

        Greg Smith. Your theoretical scenario does not compare to this story.

        Your scenario includes peering at someones privately held information. The case at hand involves someone whose sexual preferences are a matter of public knowledge.

        • GREG SMITH

          Hi Joe ~ So you’re saying that if she had decided to leave the “(Julie”) out of a little read obit, she should have kept her job, all other things being the same? If nothing else, it seems lie a harsh and cruel punishment. ~ Greg

          • Antonio A. Badilla

            Greg, you are trying to make the bishop the “bad” guy and the teacher the “victim.” It is not cruel to demand standards and the Church is very clear as to what her standards are. I work for a Catholic school as a theology teacher and know the expectations of administrators. Either I accept them, or I find another job, but if I lack integrity, I simply would lie and keep my job and then blame the administrators when they find out my lie. Furthermore, I can do what several folks have already done in these pages, I can claim Jesus would have been a doormat and allowed certain behaviors while the bishops are simply cruel people who just don’t understand Jesus.

      • Antonio A. Badilla

        Greg, as someone pointed out they could be sisters, but I have no sympathy for anyone who claims to be Catholic in practice, comes into a Catholic school under false pretenses, and once he or she is found out plays the victim when the bishop does his job.

        There are expectations of teachers in a Catholic high school and one is expected to live a moral life according to the moral teachings of the Church. No one is asked to be perfect, but we are asked to have integrity and when one lacks integrity, blaming the bishop for doing his job is beyond the pale, especially from folks who claim to have been Catholic all their lives.

  • Lauren

    The “angry mob” that thought itself in the right founded this country.


      Hi Lauren – Actually it was the elected legislatures of the colonies who ratified the Declaration of Independence and thus created the United STATES of America ~ Pax, Greg

    • Antonio A. Badilla

      Wow, so now anti-Americanism has found its way in these comments just because you disagree with fellow Catholics! Amazing!
      Any “proof” for what you just stated?

      • Slats

        Antonio, actually I think she doesn’t mean to attack the Founding Fathers, but to assert that their actions as an “angry mob” were correct and also analogous to the students and others protesting Ms. Hale’s firing, since Joshua referred to them as an “angry mob.” She is saying that Ms. Hale’s allies are the good guys. She’s wrong, of course, but I think that’s her argument here.



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