So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ex-employee sues Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph

(Reuters) - A Missouri church worker sued the Catholic diocese in Kansas City on Thursday claiming she was wrongfully fired from her salaried position as a pastoral associate after her (pretend) marriage to another woman was mentioned in a local newspaper.
It states that Colleen Simon's same-sex (pseudo-)marital status was known and accepted when she was hired to run a food pantry and oversee other social outreach efforts, but was used as a reason to fire her after it was publicized.
Simon is the mother of two sons and was legally (pretend) married in Iowa (not Missouri) in May 2012 to a female pastor at a Kansas City Lutheran church. (Missouri does not recognize same-sex "marriages" from other jurisdictions.)
Simon said she told diocese officials of her same-sex (pretend) marriage before they hired her and was assured (so she claims) it was not an issue. But on May 14 she was fired and was told (so she claims) it was because of a local newspaper article that mentioned both her food pantry work and her same-sex (pretend) marriage, the lawsuit states.
There was no immediate comment on the lawsuit from the diocese or Bishop Finn.

It is highly unlikely that the complainant did not know the Church's position on same-sex unions prior to applying for the job. Even if a diocesan official hired her knowing her irregular status, that same official did so without full consideration of the implications of Church teaching. Unfortunately, the person or persons who agreed to the hiring and who did so knowing Ms. Simon's irregular status, as Ms. Simon has claimed, have set the Diocese up for a fall. If, contrary to her claim, Ms. Simon's irregular status was not disclosed to her employer at the time she was hired, that would almost certainly change the prospect of her achieving any success in the courts.

Is it reasonable that the Diocese stepped in to correct a possible oversight or misuse of hiring authority when Ms. Simon's irregular status became public knowledge? When Ms. Simon's irregular status was made public, whether by a deliberate and calculated act or by the incidental recording of an off-the-cuff remark, the Diocese had no choice but to address the issue of an employee, an overseer of outreach ministries, who flaunted her irregular status. Of course, the Diocese has yet to make known its reasons for terminating the employ of Ms. Simon.
Diocesan officials hadn't yet seen the lawsuit, but said in a statement, "As a church, we have the right to live and operate according to our faith and church teachings." (Chron.com)
One would think that had Ms. Simon disclosed her status prior to being employed by the Diocese that there might be some record of the information registered with the Diocese for insurance purposes or other personal reasons (e.g., who to notify in the event of an emergency). Ms. Simon, who is also facing a battle with cancer, is likely in a desperate financial situation. Her "partner", the Lutheran pastor, is probably making a typical pastor's salary, which is to say not much. We can only hope this lawsuit is not merely an attempt at a money grab to offset pending hardship.
Simon went to work for the diocese in July 2013 for a $35,000 annual salary and health benefits, which she said were crucial as she has suffered from cancer and needs ongoing medical monitoring. (Reuters)
Because Simon's status is not recognized in Missouri, it is likely she is not covered by her "partner's" health insurance, if indeed her "partner" has any insurance. Might one be overly suspicious to think Ms. Simon and her "partner" could be used as a wedge issue in the same-sex "marriage" war to force approval for same-sex benefits in Missouri? Time will tell. However, given the trend in other states, any person would be well within the bounds of reasonable speculation to suggest that some aspect of the current litigation might be used to further the LGBT agenda.

What probably began as a diocesan official wanting to help out someone in need might likely result in the Diocese getting burned. Our Lord's counsel merits a hearing:
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.—St. Matthew 5:38-42
Go HERE for the full Reuters report.
Chron.com. The Missouri lawsuit was filed Thursday by Colleen Simon, who said she worked as a parish bookkeeper in the diocese before she was hired in 2013 as a food pantry coordinator at St. Francis Xavier Church. In each step of the hiring process, she said she told (so she claims) administrators she had married a woman a year earlier in Iowa, where gay marriage is recognized, and diocesan and parish representatives said  (so she claims) her marital status would not be a problem.
Other Dioceses, facing similar prospects due to misunderstanding or a misapplication of Church teaching, have settled out of court in reasonable ways. Given her illness, it would be cruel to remove Ms. Simon without offering her some measure of support during her transition out of her job, a severance package, if you will. Let us hope and pray for all concerned that a measure of justice may be achieved and the Diocese will benefit from the experiences gained.

Word to the wise: fully vet potential employees so these kinds of things do not happen. After determining acceptability, offer successful applicants a contract that explicitly states that full conformity to Church doctrine is required in order to retain employment and that any public misconduct will be considered grounds for termination of employment. Furthermore, define on the contract in explicit terms activity which constitutes public misconduct.
Dioceses in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Honolulu; Oakland, California, and elsewhere have added morals clauses to their teacher contracts barring public support for gay rights. Other dioceses have asked volunteer educators to sign pledges on upholding church teaching. (Chron.com)
It's one thing for an employee to fall then express remorse. It is quite another thing when an employee, or for that matter anyone, publicly defies Church teaching and demands that the Church change her teaching to conform to some irrational, anti-Catholic position. In the case of the former, a person deserves more than a few chances to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back on the straight and narrow. In the case of the latter, attacks against the Church merit a full defence of the right of the Church to hire people who respect and practice the teaching of the Church.

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