When Chestnut Hill College fired Father Jim St. George from a teaching gig, no one at the school would tell him why his services were no longer needed. You can read my column about it here.
Late last night, college President Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, finally offered an explanation. Father Jim was fired for being gay. Here's the statement she released to the public:
"As president of Chestnut Hill College, a private Catholic institution, it is imperative that I clarify the conditions of our College's decision not to issue a new part-time teaching contract to Jim St. George.
"St. George served as adjunct instructor in our School of Continuing and Professional Studies from January 2010 to February of this year teaching a variety of courses in religion and scripture.
"At the time St. George joined our faculty, he presented himself as Father St. George and openly wore a traditional Catholic priest's collar. While St. George appears to be an ordained pastor-he leads St. Miriam, an independent and self-described reformed Antioch-rite Catholic house of worship located in Blue Bell, Pa.--his church allows priests the option to engage in same-sex partnerships.
"This is contrary to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. It was with great disappointment when we learned through St. George's public statements of his involvement in a gay relationship with another man for the past 15 years.It is important to note that this information came to our attention only after St. George chose to make his private life public information on his blog.
"While we welcome diversity, it is expected that all members of our College community, regardless of their personal beliefs, respect and uphold our Roman Catholic mission, character and values both in the classroom and in public statements that identify them with our school. For this reason, we chose not to offer an additional teaching contract to St. George."
So here's a question: Will Vale fire all staff members whose lives, in any way, reflect aspects that are "contrary to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church"?
Are other gay staffers going to get canned? What about staffers who use birth control? Who have had or support abortion? Who are divorced? Who, ahem, masturbate (an act of which the Vatican said Pope said is "a grave moral disorder" and "intrinsically and seriously disordered act")?
Meantime, below is a news piece about the controversy, which aired last night on Fox-TV.