Choosing Public Sin Over Church Employment

Barb Wire

From the Chicago Tribune (Dec. 5):

A music director fired from his job at a northwest suburban Catholic church after he got engaged to his male partner filed a federal discrimination complaint Thursday.

Colin Collette worked at Holy Family Catholic Community in Inverness for 17 years before being terminated from the job in late July after he announced his engagement on Facebook….

‘It is with deep regret that I have had to pursue this course of action,’ Collette said at a press conference Thursday. ‘I have chosen to enter into a marriage, as is my right under Illinois law, and perhaps I can open the door to other men and women who the church has chosen to exclude from the community.’

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Where to start…

Yes, Collette is correct that he can choose to “marry” his male partner under state law. Yet he made the decision knowing full well that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex “marriage.” The archdiocese has a moral right, even duty, to terminate his employment due to his public sin. Marriage is a public statement, after all.

I don’t doubt that the pastor of the parish, along with many of the parishioners, knew he had been living the homosexual lifestyle for quite some time. It was, from what I understand, an open secret, so to speak. But regardless of who said what to whom and when, the fact remains that those who publicly flaunt their sin, whether it’s involving same-sex “marriage” or the support of abortion, should not be employed by the Catholic Church.

I’m sure Collette can find similar employment in one of the many liberal Protestant churches in the Chicago area, so it’s not like he’ll be deprived of working in his profession. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a plum job offer from someone who considers him an LGBT martyr.

I asked Father Richard Perozich, one of the relatively few Catholic clergy willing to speak out against the powerful homosexual lobby, to comment on the story.

“When a person works for an organization, he must conform entirely to that organization’s beliefs and goals in a way that builds up the organization,” said Father Perozich in an email. “If in a private or public situation, he exhibits behavior that thwarts those goals or shows lack cooperation or open defiance, then he has no business affiliating with that organization.

“The Catholic Church is about the salvation of souls from the sin of [homosexual behavior] as well as from all other sin. The gentleman made a choice not for God, but for sin. He has to own it and take the consequences. He is the one who is offending, not his employer.”

On a related note, the following news release appears at the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

On December 3, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule to implement President Obama’s July 21 Executive Order prohibiting federal government contractors from what the Administration deems ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ discrimination. In response, four chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement.

Those chairmen are Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, New York, chairman of the Committee of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

The full statement follows:

The regulations published on December 3 by the U.S. Department of Labor implement the objectionable Executive Order that President Obama issued in July to address what the Administration has described as ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ discrimination in employment by federal contractors. We will study the regulations carefully, but we note the following initially.

Our Church teaches that ‘[e]very sign of unjust discrimination’ against those who experience same-sex attraction ‘should be avoided’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 2358)—but it appears on an initial reading that these regulations would prohibit far more than that ‘unjust discrimination.’

In particular, they appear also to prohibit employers’ religious and moral disapproval of same-sex sexual conduct, which creates a serious threat to freedom of conscience and religious liberty, because ‘[u]nder no circumstances’ may Catholics approve of such conduct (CCC 2357).

Very many other people over a broad spectrum of different religious faiths hold this same conviction. Additionally, the regulations advance the false ideology of ‘gender identity,’ which ignores biological reality and harms the privacy and associational rights of both contractors and their employees.

In justice, the Administration should not exclude contractors from federal contracting simply because they have religious or moral convictions about human sexuality and sexual conduct that differ from the views of the current governmental authorities.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Matt C. Abbott
Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He has been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR and WLS-TV in Chicago, and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.

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