Saturday, April 27, 2013

Picking on gay people—UPDATED

Former PE teacher Carla Hale
It would be easier for everyone if, like Rainbow Sash, we all wore some form of distinctive clothing to signify to the Catholic Church leadership what sins we were committing and not confessing. Then perhaps gay people wouldn’t feel singled out.

Let me tell you what brought that thought into my mind: Recently the Diocese of Columbus fired Carla Hale, a phys-ed teacher at Bishop Watterson High, after learning that she is in a lesbian relationship. Hale has said that she was terminated March 28, two weeks after an investigation spurred by an anonymous Bishop Watterson parent. The parent had sent diocesan officials a copy of Hale’s mother’s obituary, which listed the complainant as “Carla (Julie) Hale of Powell” — “Julie” being her companion’s name, and in parentheses just like other spouses’ names. Hale apparently confirmed that she and her partner consider their relationship a “marriage”.

Naturally, Hale is shocked, shocked! that she could have been fired: “That had nothing to do with my ability to teach and coach. I don’t think I’m immoral; I don’t think I’ve done anything that’s unethical,” she complained in a local television interview. Of course, maintaining false pretenses and contract violation have nothing to do with morality, right?

Hale’s lawyer, Thomas Tootle (oy, the poor man), struck all the expected buzzwords, accusing the diocese of orientation discrimination, demanding her reinstatement and threatening a lawsuit. “The Catholic Church has their own perceptions on immorality, but when you look at the contract, who decides that term, ‘immorality’? That, ultimately, will be decided by an arbitrator,” Tootle declared. Oddly enough, nobody heard an orchestra swell its volume dramatically.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Caricatures of the Catholic Church

Abp. Fulton J. Sheen and his Life Is Worth Living blackboard.
One of the eminently quotable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s most well-known dicta is this: “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.”

Let’s face it: The history, beliefs and culture of the Catholic Church comprises almost 2,000 years of development. To do justice merely to the last hundred years or so would require two or three volumes the size of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is thick enough to make Stephen King pale with fright. Frankly, non-Catholics ought to read Frs. John Trigillio and Kenneth Brighenti’s Catholicism for Dummies® and at least peruse the Catechism before they attempt to comment on matters of the Faith. All too often, though, people hate a caricature of the Church, usually one they learned from similarly ill-informed people, like a person who hates Pres. Obama based on editorial cartoons he’s enjoyed.

Case in point: Before I went on my post-Easter “Internet fast”, I wrote a post for The Impractical Catholic arguing that the “rich Catholic Church” trope was a simplistic and unjustified treatment of Church finances. When I came back online Saturday, I found a reply from “Chester” which was little more than a dismissal. For our purposes, two lines stand out which illustrate this tendency to beat the stuffing out of straw men:

I think you raise some good points about businesses, but the Catholic church claims to be above human law, above mere business dealings.
The Catholic church is claimed to be a charitable organisation, but they actively discriminate against women and gays. If your god is good enough for everyone, so is your time and money.