An Indianapolis Catholic school fired a gay gym teacher Sunday, calling it a necessary but “agonizing decision.”
The Cathedral High School fired the teacher, who is publicly in a same-sex marriage, to avoid the Indiana Archdiocese from cutting ties with the school, meaning the loss of church funding.
“Archbishop Thompson made it clear that Cathedral’s continued employment of a teacher in a public same-sex marriage would result in our forfeiting our Catholic identity due to our employment of an individual living in contradiction to Catholic teaching on marriage,” school board chairmen Matt Cohoat and Rob Bridges wrote.
The anti–gay marriage mandate was set in place by Archbishop Charles Thompson in a decree published in June.
The firing came after nearly two years of debate with the city’s archdiocese over the employment of gay faculty members in Catholic schools.
The firing took place just days after a Catholic school nearby, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory, was formally dropped by the church following its decision to keep employing a teacher in a public same-sex marriage.
But for Cathedral high school, there’s more at stake than preserving its Catholic identity.
Staying on the church’s good side is crucial for Cathedral because, unlike Brebeuf, which has never received funds from the Catholic church, Cathedral depends on the archdiocese to financially back the school.
Cathedral claimed that they had more to lose than Brebeuf, “because Brebeuf is a specific ministry of the Jesuits; their canonical and nonprofit status is different than ours.”
Cathedral High School board members acknowledged that not everyone may agree with the school’s choice to fire the gym teacher.
“In today’s climate, we know that being Catholic can be challenging and we hope that this action does not dishearten you, and, most especially, dishearten Cathedral’s young people,” they said in their letter. “We know that some individuals do not agree with every teaching of the Catholic Church and so their conscience struggles between the teaching and what they believe is right.”
The teacher in question was never identified in the letter.
Cathedral High School serves more than 1,100 students, grades nine through 12, in the Marion County area. According to the school’s website, it employs 96 faculty members with an average 18 years of teaching experience.
The timing of the news couldn’t be more awkward since June is dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ pride.
Current and former students took to Instagram to express their outrage.
“Makes me sick I went to this school,” one user commented on a recent post on the school’s official Instagram. “That teacher was one of the kindest men I have ever met. You won’t be getting a dime from my family.”
“Cathedral, you disappoint Our Lady!,” another user commented. “Praying for your leadership.”
Cover: Cathedral High School, Indianapolis, IN (Google Maps)