The ministerial exemption, he wrote, “does not allow religious employers to discriminate on the basis of other protected characteristics, such as sexual orientation.”
Goodrich on Tuesday said that the religious conduct policy is a necessary part of the mission of churches and religious institutions.
“Catholic schools exist to uphold the dignity of all persons, including those who experience same-sex attraction, and to teach the Catholic faith to the next generation,” he said. “To accomplish this religious mission, Catholic schools ask their educators to uphold the Catholic faith by word and deed.”
“If a school’s educators oppose core aspects of the Catholic faith, it undermines the school’s ability to accomplish its mission,” he said.
Kelley Fisher, a social worker who was contracted by Roncalli through Catholic Charities, publicly defended Fitzgerald and lost her job at the school. She filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Roncalli and the archdiocese.
The archdiocese stated to CNA in 2019 that “[i]f a school’s leaders reject core aspects of the Catholic faith, it undermines the school’s ability to accomplish its mission.”
Families “rely on the Archdiocese to uphold the fullness of Catholic teaching throughout its schools, and the Constitution fully protects the Church’s efforts to do so,” the archdiocese stated.
Another case involving the archdiocese is currently before the Supreme Court.
In the case of Layton Payne-Elliot, a math teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit High School, the archdiocese asked that his contract not be renewed once the school became aware of his same-sex marriage to Joshua Payne-Elliot, a teacher at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.
After Brebeuf refused the instruction, Archbishop Charles Thompson revoked the school’s Catholic status. The school then appealed to the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education. In 2019, the Vatican suspended Archbishop Thompson’s decree while investigating the matter.
Cathedral High School, meanwhile, did not renew the contract of Joshua Payne-Elliot, at the behest of the archdiocese. That case is currently before the Indiana supreme court, as Payne-Elliot sued the archdiocese.
(Story continues below)
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