Friday, August 29, 2014
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So it's official: Father Jim was fired for being gay

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.

So it's official: Father Jim was fired for being gay

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. 

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"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.

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/


Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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