Why Do Liberals Love to Hate Catholic Schools?

A former Catholic school teacher, Christa Dias, is suing the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for firing her after she artificially inseminated herself to conceive a child out of wedlock, which is a violation of the teachings of the Church and of her employment contract. Meanwhile, Carla Hale continues her battle against the Diocese of Columbus after being dismissed for her making her lesbian “spousal” relationship public knowledge. In both cases, the question must be asked, why have these cases attracted so much furor on the Left? The answer may have something to do with the dreadful state of public education in our inner cities.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Hale had a divorce and now cohabits with her lesbian partner leaving her children with a “blended” (i.e., broken) family of mom, dad, and two step-moms–or perhaps a step-aunt? The study of genealogy is notably silent on the terminology for such creative arrangements. Apparently the extended Hale family lives by the apocryphal African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO has vowed to join in the public intimidation of the Catholic Church, undoubtedly with their usual thuggish tactics.

These liberal forces that are attacking the Church are biting the hand that feeds the people they claim to represent. Catholic schools provide an indispensible service, especially to inner city families that cannot afford secular private schools. After decades of neglect and mismanagement under one-party rule, inner city public schools are so bad that even by the third grade, urban students are already far behind their suburban peers. Catholic schools, on the other hand, are consistently awarded for their high standards while at the same time providing tuition assistance to underprivileged youths as part of the Church’s mission of Christian charity.

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery by Alessandro Turchi, c. 1600

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery by Alessandro Turchi, c. 1600

Charity does not mean that the Catholic Church must abandon its most sacred and central mission, which is the salvation of mankind. Contrary to the blabbering of dissidents who claim the Catholic Church is in need of liberal reforms, the Church has always been most concerned with the repentance and forgiveness of sin from the beginning when Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon the disciples in the upper room. However, the confession of sin must arise from a contrite heart. Jesus tells us to “go and sin no more.” He does not tell us, “do whatever makes you feel happy.” Grace alone is not enough. We must also do good works.

There is no question whatsoever that both women violated Church teachings or their contractual obligations. They certainly are not living according to the commandment of Jesus that the sacred matrimonial bond between one man and woman which is consummated in the act of procreation–the literal and figurative union of two into one flesh–must never be broken. Furthermore, the case of Christa Dias puts paid to the absurd argument offered by Carla Hale’s defenders that the Catholic Church would never fire a straight teacher for immoral conduct. Man or woman, gay or straight, sex outside of marriage is always immoral. It doesn’t matter who is doing what to whom.

However, instead of leaving this as an internal disciplinary matter, liberals are obsessed with enforcing secular values on the Catholic Church because Catholic institutions provide essential public services that threaten their power–especially in the inner city where liberals are accustomed to wielding absolute and unchallenged control. True charity given freely undermines the social engineering through coercive force which is the centerpiece of modern liberalism. Liberals believe what they say about diversity and inclusion, but they reserve a special enmity towards the Catholic Church precisely because its insistence on good works and subsidiarity is a glorious and brilliant inconvenience to the entire liberal project.

  • Kevin

    I’m a liberal, and I teach theology in a Catholic school. I have found my vocation, and I love my kids and my calling.

    • Slats

      What does “liberal” mean? If you’re talking about helping the poor and immigration reform, that’s probably fine. If you are teaching your students to dissent from Church teaching on significant moral issues like abortion, contraception, 6th and 9th commandment matters, or same-gender attraction, or even suggesting that “faithful dissent” on such matters is possible, then your pastor and/or principal ought to know about it and do something to address the problem. For them to fail to do so would be a form of child abuse.

    • Jenny

      The political categories of the US govt whether liberal, conservative, democrat, or republican should be avoided as adjectives modifying what kind of Catholic a person is.

      People are just Catholic. That’s it. Our beliefs can’t fit within the above categories.

      This article explains it well. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2013/05/catholic-nuff-said.html

  • Danielle

    I am a Catholic school teacher. When I was hired, I signed a contract that I would do nothing to publicly dissent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. These women broke their contract. It’s that simple. We can’t teach kids morality if their teachers are not trying to be moral.

    • Larry

      I find it amusing that Carla Hale wasn’t fired for being gay but rather for exposing that she was gay. If being gay is immoral and against Catholic teachings, why wasn’t she fired for being gay? Rather, she was fired for being honest. I guess being honest is one of the Catholic Church’s hidden commandments. Very weird.

      • Slats

        Larry, your comment here is disingenuous on two levels. First of all, to say that she “was fired for being honest” rather than another reason is rhetorical baloney sandwiching. Of course, using logic and common sense, had Ms. Hale not revealed (not to the school, but in a wider public setting) her situation, that fire-able situation would still exist. There’s no evidence that the school was dynamically choosing to look the other way until its hand was forced. You are presenting this story of her standing next to the chopped-down cherry tree, saying “I cannot tell a lie,” when the fact is that she carelessly let the information slip in a wider forum. She wasn’t exhibiting some form of virtue for which she was being punished. Saying she was fired for honesty is just silly, and furthermore, I believe that you know it’s silly.

        Furthermore, most people would read “fired for being gay (as I’ve said elsewhere, a word faithful Catholics often refuse to consent to or use)” as meaning, “fired for being same-gender attracted.” There’s a distinction between being same-gender attracted on the one hand and engaging in same-gender genital behavior and genital relationships on the other. The school would probably not (and almost certainly shouldn’t) fire her for the former and did in fact fire her for the latter, which means that you are unintentionally right – she was not fired for “being gay.”

      • mominvermont

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but Carla Hale was not fired for exposing her gayness, but for having an unchaste relationship with a woman and publicizing that fact. The Church teaches the world to treat homosexuals with dignity and respect. It is not Hale’s sexual orientation that is a problem here, it is her actions. There is a difference.

      • JAH

        No, how wrong you are. She wasn’t fired because she was gay, she was fired because she broke her contract. Read the post again to which you are replying.

  • jgbech

    You paint with a broad brush, Joshua. “Liberal”. I believe that most who “hate” Catholic Schools are other Christians who a jealous of the apparent success, I feel that as the teaching Nuns disappear that quality will also diminish.

  • Larry

    A majority of Americans believe that gay individuals have a right to be married. A majority of Americans believe women have the right to determine when and if they will give birth. This is not a conspiracy against the Catholic Church. I don’t know what you get out of believing otherwise other than to pretend you’re a victim of those nasty “liberals.”

    • Jacque

      Why put “liberals” in quotes? Liberals are liberals. Let’s not dismiss the label because you do not like it.

      As for liberal hating Catholic schools – from my experience liberals, at least in the city, are rather kneejerk about anything that deals with Christianity unless it deals with vague “God loves everyone so we should let everyone be” type of philosophy.

  • Slats

    Joshua, I would disagree with your point insofar as I believe the world/the American left was fine with Catholic schools, especially inner-city ones, when they were run by dissident pastors and religious sisters in the ’70s, 80s, and 90s. However, the Church has been getting increasingly serious about passing along the faith to our young people, in terms of the abortion question as well as sexual morality (which includes issues of same-gender attraction). I believe that this, and not anything about a challenge to public schools, is the issue. Compare these developments to the hell-bent hatred of Catholic and non-denominational Christian homeschooling by the left: “How dare you form your children to believe that good is good and evil is evil instead of the exact opposite like we do!” Our president and friends *hate* that the Catholic Church teaches that good is good and evil is evil, and I believe they hate it even more when Catholic laypeople receive and pass on that teaching of capital-T Truth. They hate us for the thoughts in our head, and they will make us *suffer* for them until those loathsome (to them) thoughts are crushed right out. I would prognosticate that physical torture of Christians by governments over this stuff in Western Europe and the States is chronologically closer to coming about than we might think. They’re that serious about it. “You will NOT believe the Truth!”

    • SLCMLC

      I dunno, I really just think liberals don’t like the idea that someone got fired because of her sexual orientation (especially since the teacher seems to have kept it relatively quiet, it was kind of a weird even that led to her being “outed”). Of course I understand the desire of the Catholic schools to be able to have the freedom to teach what is Good, etc. But it just rubs a lot of people, even conservative Catholics, the wrong way to see someone get fired because she’s gay or tried to get pregnant via non-traditional means. Look, I get it, I attended a prominent Catholic University. I just wish this article attempted to understand what the other side is thinking from a positive angle instead of just making accusations and assuming the worst about their motivations.

      • Larry

        Great points SLCMLC. The reason “liberals” are put into such a bad light is so those that disagree with them can pretend that they have this powerful evil force to contend with. That allows them to not only suffer but to also claim that they are fighting a super power so they can feel better about themselves. It’s how they build themselves up. It’s also called “drama queen.” Much of the writings in the Bible were written by “drama queens.” Generally good people without much going on in their lives.

        • SLCMLC

          Thanks for the post Larry although I think it goes too far…I’m not going to call the authors of the Bible “drama queens” and the behavior you describe is simply human nature, anyone can fall into that trap.

          The point is nobody should interpret these questions about a Catholic school firing a gay teacher as an “attack” or some kind of horrific liberal agenda. Most people are just understandably unnerved when someone who is good at her job is fired for her sexual orientation which she kept generally private.

          It’s a complex subject of course. Both sides should treat each other with respect in this debate. The author of this article didn’t come close to doing that and I found that disappointing. He took a complicated and nuanced subject into an attack on a large group of people. Not sure how that advances the debate at all.

          • Larry

            SLCMLC, thanks for your response. Personally, I have never met anyone who hates Catholic schools. Perhaps Joshua has. There are those who react strongly when someone is fired for being gay but that doesn’t mean that they hate Catholic schools. Also, I think it’s important to note that Carla Hale was not fired for being gay. She was fired for being honest. Don’t you find that odd? Regarding drama queens, I didn’t mean it to sound as negative as it actually did. For that I appologize. However, stating that “liberals” hate Catholic schools is a very big dramatization of actual facts. Joshua perhaps views “liberals” as some sort of evil creation when in fact it’s simply people who don’t agree with him.

          • Slats

            Larry, it’s not just “people who disagree with Joshua,” but rather people who disagree with Catholic integrity. Respectfully and honestly, that absolutely includes you, as I have read posts by you fussing about how “the Church (i.e., Church teaching) oppresses women.” That since you said that with reference to Church teaching, I hope you would see why it would be legitimate to conclude that you hate it when then Church acts according to its internal integrity as well.

        • Slats

          No pretending is necessary.

          • Larry

            Slats, I’m responding to your response to me. The Church can uphold whatever it wishes to uphold. I hope you would offer me the opportunity to disagree. I’m not sure how you turn my disagreement into hatred when my disagreement is with Church doctrine or dogma. In my opinion, Church dogma does suppress women. Also, in my opinion, I don’t believe that’s its the intent of the Church to do so. I believe that the Church deos not understand the true nature of human rights in some areas.

          • Slats

            Larry, thank you for your even-toned, civil response. With regard to what you said about “turning your disagreement into hatred,” perhaps that does not apply to you, but my personal experience has taught me that there are plenty of people in the world who have a seething animus against people for believing what the Church teaches about human sexuality, reproduction, abortion, and same-gender attraction. Church teaching is not some esoteric academic or philosophic matter, but belief that enters into a person and shapes who they are. It is part of “the Word that dwells in their hearts.” I congratulate the haters for the insight that this is who these people are, but I certainly believe I am justified in lamenting that they hate people for seeing the world and trying to live, not just according to the integrity of a personal perspective or conscience, but according to what is really true about the human person.

            I appreciate your candor about your opinions and Church doctrines, and your magnanimity in attributing goodwill to the Church in those matters. Your language actually proves my point in an idea I have shared with others, which I will explain…

            You said you believe the Church “does not understand the true nature of human rights in some areas.” Where do human rights come from? They either come from a basically unchanging, always-and-everywhere true human nature, or they come from collective consensus (or at least majority rule) in acceptance of the claims of groups of individuals. The former presumes a universal human ontology, or nature, the existence of a “natural law,” and usually also presumes the existence of a God who made human nature in a certain way. The latter presumes that rights are changing and provisional, since they depend on the opinions of the majority in a society at a given time. It is linked to the philosophies of relativism and Sartrian atheist existentialism (i.e. the project of human self-creation). The thing is, in a conversation about rights, if one is arguing for a change in rights, it’s disadvantageous to argue from the second understanding of rights, or more specifically to admit that one is arguing from that standpoint. It has to do with the very nature of rights arguments. Arguing from the second standpoint hurts one’s argument because 1) paradoxically, what makes arguments for the acceptance of new human rights attractive to others is coming to the agreement that this is how human beings ought to rightly treat one another, that in a sense they are made that way, i.e. the rights are inherent and inalienable (if you missed it, that’s how the first rights perspective would see things), and 2) if one admits that rights are provisional and depend on consensual or majority agreement, they can just as easily be lost if the majority opinion changes.

            Thus, we have seen a shift from the left, liberals, “the world,” however one would like to identify them, in shifting in their rhetoric – and really, I believe, for many of them in their interior beliefs – to an ontological argument about the foundations of human rights. They (you all) are arguing that there is a natural law which is contrary to and diametrically opposed to the natural law that the Catholic Church and various other thinkers proposed for centuries. The argument is that the Catholic Church, et al.are wrong and always have been wrong about human nature, and thus about rights. These folks are proposing an alternative natural law.

            However, if there is a human nature, where did it come from, if not God? Do human rights come from human dignity, love, responsibilities toward one another, and relationship, or do they come from a radical individualism and the freedom to do whatever the heck one pleases? From the perspective of a Catholic who understands and believes in the existence of true natural law, the assertions of our opponents are insidious and alarming to say the least. They are the basis for a totalitarianism of falsehood, a common human existence based on a Big Lie. There may or may not be a “big liberal conspiracy,” but there is indeed a hostile and genuinely threatening growing consensus that threatens the ability of Catholics and other adherents of the true natural law to live according to their beliefs.

            With all due respect, I believe that the Church’s magisterium understands the rights arguments in the areas to which you refer, has measured them against true natural law, reason, and love, and has rejected those arguments. I don’t think it’s a matter of not understanding, but disagreement, and the Church’s adherence to the real “true nature of human rights” instead of a new, alternative assertion. Larry, I applaud you for believing that there is a true nature of human rights. However, respectfully, I believe that it’s not that the Church does not understand the true nature of human rights in some areas, but that you are diametrically incorrect about what the true nature of human rights in those areas is.



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