RC Archdiocese was within rights to fire gay music minister, judge rules

Jun 10, 2017 by

by Lisa Bourne, LifeSite:

A federal judge ruled in favor of the Archdiocese of Chicago and one of its parishes in a lawsuit filed by a former employee claiming discrimination for being fired after publicly announcing his same-sex “engagement” in 2014.

Colin Collette was fired from Holy Family parish in Inverness in July 2014 after he had worked there for 17 years as music director and director of worship. He refused a request by his pastor to resign after his “engagement” with his male partner was made known on social media. The late Cardinal Francis George was archbishop at the time.

The archdiocese said when Collette was fired that those working in Church ministries, including worship ministers, are expected to conform their lives publicly with the teachings of the Church, and that “This is a matter of personal integrity on their part.”

Citing the ministerial exception, U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras granted the motion for summary judgment sought in the case by the archdiocese and the parish. He ruled that the Supreme Court has “recognized the right of religious organizations to control their internal affairs,” the Chicago Tribune reported, and that non-ordained employees can be considered ministerial if they are responsible for conveying a church’s message, teaching the faith, and carrying out the church’s mission.

As the Catholic Church faces increasing pushback throughout the country for acting to uphold Catholic principles in its employment practices, the case is a religious liberty victory for the Church. It also is of interest given the rise of apparent affirmation for the LGBT culture and its behaviors by Church leadership in various dioceses throughout the country. The affirmation has stepped up in the wake of last year’s release of Pope Francis’ controversial document Amoris Laetitia.

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