Should a Catholic School fire a teacher who has an artificial insemination?

Expert Answers

Want to remove ads?

Get ad-free questions with an eNotes 48-hour free trial.

Try It Free No Thanks
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This question seems to allude to the case of Christa Dias, who was fired from teaching at a Catholic school the archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio. Dias, an unmarried and non-Catholic woman who was terminated because she violated her teaching contract since she did not “comply with and act consistently in accordance with the stated philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church." 

Dias has been awarded $171,000 in back wages after suing the Archdiocese. So, the legal system of Cincinnati and Ohio ruled that what the diocese did was illegal. However, the Archdiocese is appealing the case on the grounds that Dias violated her contract, invoking the "ministerial exception" of private, religious schools. Dias's contract involved her agreement to teach religion and lead students in prayer. Attorney Brigette Dunlap declares,

The ministerial exception is problematic, but justifiable insofar as individuals have reason to know they are considered ministers and have consented to religious control. 

In the Supreme Court decision of Hosanna-Tabor Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan ruled that the ministerial exception

...should apply to any ‘employee’ who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals, or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith.

It would seem, then, that Dias was, indeed, involved in religious services, and was a "messenger" of the Catholic faith as a teacher of Catholic children. Certainly, allowing Dias to continue as a teacher sends a conflicting message to the youth who are being instructed in their faith.