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Moorhead, Minn.: Teacher at Catholic school says marriage stance got her fired


A Catholic school in Moorhead terminated a fifth-grade teacher after she told administrators she disagreed with the church’s stance on gay marriage.

Trish Cameron was notified June 1 that she wouldn’t be offered a new contract at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. The decision came after Cameron filled out a self-evaluation form in which she admitted to disagreeing with the church’s stance on some issues but said she never brought those opinions into the classroom, the (Fargo, N.D.) Forum newspaper reported.

“We tend to focus on respect and love for one another and living out our call as servants whenever a ‘political’ topic crops (which it rarely, if ever, does),” Cameron wrote in a letter to families and staff at St. Joseph’s after she was terminated.

Cameron wrote that her disclosure on the self-evaluation form led to a follow-up meeting with school officials in which she specifically voiced disagreement with the church’s opposition to gay marriage. She was then asked to write a brief letter of resignation, she said.

Cameron had taught at the school for 11 years. Catholic schools are not bound by the same employment laws as public institutions and can terminate employees for not properly teaching tenets of the faith, although the law is less clear on whether they can be fired for privately held views not expressed in the classroom. [more]


Pioneer Press



  1. Eric says:

    Why is the discussion thread about masturbation? The teacher was dismissed for her thoughts about same-sex marriage. And geez, you can get fired for what you’re THINKING? Seems like George Orwell’s 1984 is coming true 18 years later.

    • Jim says:

      Make that 28 years, Eric. The difference: the government will not share the values of God’s Church on Earth. Hopefully, schools that call themselves Catholic will.

  2. aly says:

    The Vatican knowingly allowed our little boys to be abused. This hype about masturbation is ridiculous in 2012. It is time for women to be whistleblowers for the Vatican and Penn State, and stop this patriarchy. That is what Jesus would have wanted.

    • Jim says:

      Aly, you are so right — in your own eyes, that is. God is changeless; He didn’t change His position on masturbation in 2012. You should read paragraph 2352 in the Catechism not only to see for yourself the Church’s condemnation of masturbation, but also the history of its condemnation — it has been condemned from earliest times. With regard to the patriarchy of the Church — this is precisely what Jesus intended. Men and women are made by God for different roles — and women clearly were not appointed to teach, in part because the nature of a woman is to think with her heart, and to bend the rules so that people’s feelings aren’t hurt — which has no place in proclaiming dogma. If you want to know more about the crucial importance of patriarchy, read Pius XI’s encyclical Casti Connubii (1930) — men are the head of the family, women are the heart. Cross-cultural research by anthropologists has convincingly demonstrated that, in all societies, including non-Western ones, fathers are critical for families — in part by allowing mothers to do their job better. So, Aly, you need to appreciate the importance and benefits of patriarchy — for your own good, and that of your family (or future family).

      • Tony says:

        Jimm you gotta be kidding about women and teaching. Look at the great works of Catherine of Siena, Theresa of Avila, not sure of spelling Hidergard all great wome who can teach circles around most men. You sound like a male chavenest.

      • Jim says:

        Well, Tony, you sound like a female chauvenist. You consistently knock men and elevate women. Everything I said in my last post is accurate: (1) Casti Connubii notes men are the head and women the heart; (2) non-Christian academic research has confirmed this proclamation of the Church. With regard to the women you mention: indeed, some are doctors of the Church. In fact, many women saints are my favorites: Terese of Liseux and St. Faustina in particular. But, these doctors are not out in front teaching — in fact, you will notice that both Terese and Faustina wrote diaries — as well as Catherine of Siena — that were dictated to them by God. They were simply reporting what God told them, and their saintly reactions to what He told them. That is very different than being in a leadership position, where you must disappoint some people and take tough positions. You’ll note how many of the women posting on this site (and you included) keep talking about dialogue. Dialogue has no place in the Church, except to pose questions that the Magisterium answers. Women want to dialogue; leadership requires taking stands which may be unpopular. And, BTW — my mother (now deceased) was, and my wife is, a woman — I wouldn’t want to be in this world without women. But, God has assigned both men and women roles, and has equipped us with the capabilities consistent with those roles.

  3. soh says:

    Did anyone read the story? “She admitted to disagreeing with the church’s stance on some issues but said she never brought those opinions into the classroom.” It’s horrible she was fired. No indication she did not “profess” something in conflict with magesterial teaching.

    • Jim says:

      So, soh, if a person privately supports Al Quida, but never publicly professes that support, are you going to accept them into the U.S. military? You have to be able to support the school’s mission both publicly and in your heart. I would have fired her too.

  4. Mary says:

    The right decision was made. If you teach in a Catholic school then you have to profess what the church teaches.

  5. Alicia says:

    There is a difference between a teacher and a catechist. I feel that one who is in a Catholic school is a catechist. Thus, you can not teach something that you do not practice. Can you imagine if I tell my students to go to church every Sunday and I myself do not go? Actions speak louder than words.

  6. GREG SMITH says:

    She got fired for private thoughts, probably shared by most Catholics. This kind of thing will needlessly drive Catholics from the Church.

    • Jim says:

      Then let them leave, Greg, becuase they’re not really Catholic anyway — as many posters on this site apparently aren’t Catholic either.

      • Polycarp says:

        And what makes a good Catholic? Someone who thinks every act of masturbation ia s sin?
        Some one who thinks every act of contraception is a sin. Regardless of circumstances?

        • Jim says:

          Polycarp — every act of masturbation is indeed a sin, and objectively each act is a serious matter — a mortal sin. However, the person’s culpability varies with two other conditions: (1) did they know masturbation is a grave matter; (2) was it done with full consent of the will. These two conditions, plus a third (the gravity of the matter — but masturbation done for pleasure — as opposed, for example, at the order of a medical doctor to acquire a sperm sample for medical reasons — always is a grave matter) are relevant for deciding if any sin is a mortal sin, and are discussed in the Catechism. As Father John Harvey has written, even some resistance to the sexual impulse likely means full consent of the will was not given; and, in matters of doubt, presumption is in favor of it not being full consent. However, even if not a mortal sin, one should go to Reconciliation before receiving the Eucharist.

          • Polycarp says:

            I disagree with having to go to confession after every act of masturbation. If it isn’t subjectively a sin people should take Eucharist.

            • Jim says:

              Some priests would agree with you, Polycarp, but I believe they are departing from the teaching of the Church when they do so.

        • Jim says:

          Polycarp — for some reason, the website is not allowing me to respond to the other issue you raised.

        • Jim says:

          But the considerations for that issue would be the same as for masturbation. NFP is a morally- acceptable alternative, and should be used by couples that cannot financially or emotionally handle another child.

          • Polycarp says:

            Yeah but I think the rhythm method gave NFP a bad rapp.
            Even though it’s the new and improved version

  7. Jim says:

    Thanks to the school administrators — they made the correct decision. You can’t fight in the U.S. military when you think Al Quida is justified.


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