Catholic Church fires gay minister
By Kevin Payne
On June 7, a federal judge upheld a court ruling against a homosexual man who said he was fired by his church after he announced that he would be marrying another man. The church successfully defended its actions claiming the man was critical of the church's mission.
U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras granted a motion for summary judgment in the case sought by the archdiocese and Holy Family Catholic Community in Inverness.
Colin Collette, former music minister at the church, filed the lawsuit in March of 2016. He was seeking to be reinstated to his former position as well as back pay and damages. The judge ruled that religious organizations have the right to select their own leaders. He said that Collette was a key ministerial employee.
“Collette knew what the house rules of the Catholic Church were before he announced his engagement to his boyfriend in 2014,” said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. “He should not have been surprised when the parish he was working for fired him.”
Francis Cardinal George, then the Archbishop of Chicago, stated at the time that Collette was dismissed for his participation in a form of union that cannot be recognized as a sacrament by the church.
“The ruling flies in such contradiction to the wonderful things that are coming out of Rome,” Collette said. “The Pope is speaking about unity and love, and here we are creating church of fear and division.”
After the Supreme Court imposed gay marriage on the nation, Pope Francis said that “unprecedented changes” were taking place in society. Specifically, he cited the “social, cultural and now sadly judicial effects on the family.”
After the Pope made those comments, social media lit up with headlines such as, “LGBT Catholics alarmed with the Popes remarks about unjust discrimination.”
“The Catholic Church, unlike civil society, sees marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. So has the rest of the world throughout history. Accordingly, the Church has the legal right not to acknowledge gay marriage any more than it is required to accept polygamy,” Donahue said. “Those who believe in diversity should welcome the Catholic Churches’ teachings on marriage and homosexuality.”
Photo: Francis Cardinal George, then the Archbishop of Chicago