Caroline Lozano/ Assistant Opinion Director
Controversy brewed recently at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School after a first-grade teacher, who had previously worked at the institution for seven years, was fired for marrying her same-sex partner.
The teacher, Jocelyn Morffi, took to social media shortly after to share her thoughts on the situation, stating that she was fired for “not being the right kind of Catholic” because of her decision to marry another woman, according to The Washington Examiner.
Some parents were outraged by the decision. Some were considered withdrawing their children from the school and others calling Morffi “the Mother Teresa of teachers,” according to CBS News.
When I first heard about this story, I thought about how unfortunate the entire situation was, considering it’s a no-win scenario on both sides.
On one side, you have a beloved teacher who lost her job. On the opposite side, you have a religiously affiliated institution that is exerting their church’s position on marriage.
While I understand the frustration that the teacher and parents feel over the dismissal, I firmly believe that the institution made the right decision in firing Morffi.
A religiously affiliated school, whether it be Catholic, Protestant or any other religion, has the right to enforce their religion’s teachings and practices onto their curriculum and policies.
They also have the right to select workers who will act in accordance with their religion’s values.
If you send your child to a Catholic school, it shouldn’t be shocking to find the Catholic Church’s teachings incorporated into classroom activities or lessons.
Likewise, it shouldn’t be surprising when a Catholic school expects teachers and other workers to follow the church’s teachings and values, in order to avoid contradicting what their students are being taught in the classroom.
It wouldn’t make sense for a teacher at a Catholic school to be openly against a belief or tradition of the Church and still continue to teach at a school where students are being given a Catholic education that contradicts these personal beliefs.
In Morffi’s case, she, like all other teachers employed at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School, was required to sign a contract every year, which states “the policies, procedures, teaching[s] and the traditions of the Catholic Church,” according to WTSP.
Because she signed the contract — and had been signing it for the last seven years, she was likely well aware of the rules and policies of her workplace and deliberately chose to break them in a public manner.
Violation of the established rules is enough to justify job termination.
She would have faced similar consequences had she openly supported controversial issues like abortion or euthanasia — both of which the Church is against — or if she had been a vocal atheist.
The Catholic Church has always voiced and reaffirmed its stances on gay marriage, abortion and other controversial issues, either through public speeches by Pope Francis or through the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Whether you agree or disagree on the Catholic Church’s stances on social issues or their interpretation of the Bible is entirely unrelated to the issue at hand. The Church teaches and practices what it does now and shouldn’t be forced to conform to societal demands.
Therefore, if you don’t like or agree with the teachings or beliefs of a religion, don’t work for institutions they are affiliated with or expect to be a beneficiary when you do.
It’s as simple as that.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Photo by Jan Tielens on Unsplash.