SAMMAMISH, Wash. (RNS) A lifelong Roman Catholic, Mark Zmuda took a job as a teacher at Eastside Catholic School in part because he believed he could be a good Catholic role model.

Mark Zmuda took a job as a teacher at Eastside Catholic School in part because he believed he could be a good Catholic role model. Two months ago, he was fired precisely because he did not measure up as a Catholic model: He married his male partner. Photo by Catherine O'Donnell

Mark Zmuda took a job as a teacher at Eastside Catholic School in part because he believed he could be a good Catholic role model. Two months ago, he was dismissed precisely because he did not measure up as a Catholic model: He married his male partner. Photo by Catherine O’Donnell


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He was dismissed in December from his job as a vice principal and swim coach, precisely because he did not measure up as a Catholic model: Zmuda, who is gay, married his male partner.

“I do model Catholic teaching, and my religion is very important to me,” Zmuda said. “I don’t believe I did anything wrong.”

The 38-year-old schoolteacher has never been involved in gay advocacy; neither did he want to call attention to same-sex marriage. He wed for the most obvious of reasons:

“I got married,” he said, “to give my heart to the person I love.”

But of course, the matter isn’t that simple.

Zmuda’s story is one in a series of firings and forced resignations of gay and lesbian teachers and administrators in Catholic schools around the country. There have been close to a dozen such sackings in the past two years.

The dismissals have been wrenching for dioceses and Catholic schools, and most especially for the men and women who have lost their jobs.

In Zmuda’s case it has forced him into the limelight and into the kind of activism that he has always eschewed.

Zmuda has launched “Stand with Mr. Z,” a foundation to fight discrimination. Friday, (Jan. 31) the foundation launched its first event: “Z Day.” Students and friends who support Zmuda and equality for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people were encouraged to wear orange and tweet “I Stand With Mr. Z” with the hashtag #Zday.

Born in Virginia, the eldest of four children, Zmuda moved around with his family because his father was in the Navy. But Sunday Mass and religion classes were required no matter where the family lived.

He said he wanted to be a teacher from an early age.

“I come from a family of teachers — an aunt, my grandparents — and I enjoy helping people,” said Zmuda. “Teachers have always made differences in my life, and I want to make differences in students’ lives.”

He also envisioned himself marrying, especially since his own parents’ love for each other was such an inspiration.

“I thought when I got married, the person standing next to me would be a woman,” Zmuda said. “It wasn’t until I was in college that I discovered I’m gay.”

Zmuda received a bachelor’s degree in math education from Virginia Tech and a master’s in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington.

He taught at several schools before landing a job at Cardinal Gibbons, a Catholic high school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In 2010, mutual friends introduced him to Dana Jergens, now 32.

In Florida, the two eventually registered as domestic partners, later moving to the Seattle area to be closer to family. The couple moved into a tidy condominium and lined the walls with photographs of themselves, their family and friends.

Zmuda began his job at Eastside Catholic; Jergens worked as a physician’s assistant.

Eastside’s 74 faculty members are required to sign an agreement in the employee handbook saying their public behavior must be consistent with Catholic teaching. The church does not recognize same-sex marriage.

When Zmuda signed the handbook in 2012, Referendum 74, which allows same-sex couples to marry, had not passed, he said.

The possibility that getting married would result in his dismissal wasn’t on his radar, Zmuda explained, adding that he regards his personal life separate from his professional one. The State of Washington allowed him to marry and he took advantage of it.

Zmuda and Jergens married in a civil ceremony at a golf club in Newcastle, Wash., seven months after voters passed Referendum 74.

They didn’t invite any Eastside faculty to their wedding: “I didn’t want to put any of them in an uncomfortable position, even though I was close to a number,” Zmuda said.

After word got out that Zmuda had married and the president of Eastside Catholic forced him out, hundreds of students walked out and staged a sit-in. They subsequently circulated petitions seeking Zmuda’s reinstatement that garnered signatures from around the world. One with at least 21,000 signatures was presented to the office of Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain.

“I have nothing but good things to say about Mark Zmuda,” said Wendy Woodward, who has a sixth- and a ninth-grader at Eastside Catholic, and was president of the Middle School Parent Teacher Fellowship in 2013. She added that her daughter was on the swim team Zmuda coached, “and he was fabulous.”

Arlene Naganawa, who teaches humanities in the middle school, noticed Zmuda’s dedication to his job. She recalled that on a Friday this past fall, one student wrote something highly objectionable to another. Zmuda worked with the parties through the weekend, then brought them together on Monday, eventually effecting solutions acceptable to all.

Soon after Zmuda’s dismissal, Eastside President Sister Mary Tracy and Board of Trustees Chairman Gene Colin both resigned.

These days, Zmuda is looking for a new job in either a public or private school.

Would he go back to Eastside? “Absolutely, if they were willing to hire me back,” he said.

While school officials speak of Zmuda as “a popular teacher,” the Eastside Catholic board issued a statement to parents making clear that will not happen.

YS/AMB END O’DONNELL

64 Comments

  1. One look at thsi statement to realize he has no idea what he is talking about. The school did the only thing possible. He is not even repentant. Sad.

    ““I do model Catholic teaching, and my religion is very important to me,” Zmuda. “I don’t believe I did anything wrong.””

    • Frank: you are mistaken on Catholic teaching, confusing it with schoolyard homophobia. Mr. Z’s marriage isn’t recognized by the church, that’s true. My justice of the peace marriage isn’t recognized either, but they don’t fire folks like me. Don’t confuse Catholic teaching with the political rhetoric of the American hierarchy. The Catholic Catechism is very sympathetic to Mr. Z. when it states:
      2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.
      2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity.
      2358 [Homosexuals] must be ACCEPTED with RESPECT, COMPASSION, and SENSITIVITY. EVERY SIGN of UNJUST DISCRIMINATION in their regard SHOULD BE AVOIDED. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives.
      2392 “Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (FC 11).

      It seems like the school board was in violation of Catholic teaching when they fired Mr. Z by acting to promote unjust discrimination, insensitivity and a lack of respect. They acted wholly without the compassion specifically required of all Catholics in this instance.

      • Marco, you conveniently omit pertinent sections of the paragraphs of the Catechism you cite:

        2358 [cont.]: These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

        2359: Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

        It is interesting that you put the onus on the Catholic school for not adhering to your narrow definitions of not showing compassion, etc., and of unjustly discriminating, while Zmuda is let off the hook for ignoring his duty to strive to live a life of chastity.

        Firing a teacher for entering a state in which he would reasonably continue to exemplify a role contrary to the Church’s teaching on marriage is not unjust discrimination. There is a difference between condoning the sin and loving the sinner: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11) By marrying his lover, he is showing that he has no intention of sinning no more, which is exactly what Frank’s point is. It being the case that he in the meantime continued to function in a position as a role model to youth, the school had the moral obligation to let him go lest the school play a part in facilitating scandal. The Catechism’s words on scandal speak directly to this case:

        2285: Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” [Mark 9:42] Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.

        • Instead of quoting ancient scripture as if it represented the latest knowledge in science, history, sociology, psychology, and our legal system, it would be better to avoid that and confront the realities of human knowledge about the human condition today.

      • After giving it some thought, I thought I might also comment on your comparison “justice of the peace marriage” to Zmuda’s homosexual “marriage”. Your marriage is considered to be an actual marriage by the Catholic Church. It is recognized as a natural marriage if you and your wife were unbaptized, or if only one of you were baptized. If you were both baptized and got the just of peace marriage, it’s considered to be a sacramental marriage, just not according to “form”. The pope recently baptized the baby of a couple in such a situation.

        But, regardless of whether neither you or your wife, or only one, or both you and your wife were baptized at the time of marriage, from the Church’s perspective, there is no marriage taking place at all between two people of the same sex. That is why it makes no sense for you to compare your “justice of the peace” marriage to Zmuda’s.

        • Mark Zmuda’s and Dana Jergen’s marriage is not a “homosexual marriage,” it is simply a marriage, a legal marriage recognized in the state of New Jersey. As Mark describes it, it was an official ceremony in which he gave his heart to the person he loved. That’s what marriage is presumed to be no matter the sexual orientation of the parties. It was even the case in uncountable instances in the past when closeted homosexuals felt forced by straight custom, in order to avoid suspicion and its ugly consequences, to enter hypocritical marriages.

        • Marriages entered into by a Catholic are not considered legitimate unless the marriage was previously approved by church officials and presided over by a legitimate church cleric.

          • So, what happened to the “realities of human knowledge and the human condition today”? The word “legitimate” is scarcely used anymore as a descriptor for sacramental marriages. The distinction made is usually that between a marriage’s being “natural” or “sacramental”. If you attempt to purport that the Catholic Church teaches that a marriage does not exist at all unless it’s “legitimate” according to the criteria you mention, you’re wrong. The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, Canon 1055, defines natural marriage, and then adds that if such a marriage is between two baptized people, it becomes a sacrament. Jesus himself refers to the marriage of Adam and Eve in Matthew 19:4-6 as a model of the marriage covenant and reminder that marriage is between a man and a woman. And, Adam and Eve weren’t baptized. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that the Catholic Church bases its teaching on divorce on Jesus’ own teaching, and Jesus used a model for his teaching Adam’s and Eve’s natural marriage: even the natural marriage possesses that bond which Jesus exhorts no one may put asunder.

    • What’s to be repentant about? Being the person God made you? As for Mark Zmuda’s firing being the only thing possible for the school, that is absolutely irrational. The Diocese of Seattle and Zmuda’s school could have practiced the justice and charity for which Jesus died–for which they claim to follow him.

      There are blind sheep who only follow the “maddening crowd,” and there are people with intelligence who practice justice and charity and respect the rights of others. Jesus did not lead blind sheep.

    • Mr. Z you need to grow up. You had a homosexual experience in college, you do know that 98% of people have had a homosexual experience in their lives and the other 2%… well they’re the liars. haha. But on a more serious note discrimination is mentioned in this article. You were fired because you “could” have a “bad” influence on young impressionable lives NOT because of your condition as I see it. This article also mentions parts of the Catechism of GODs’ church so check out 2257 through 2259. Good Luck with your condition my friend. Gay is a state of mind/being NOT a sexual preference. You know…, don we now our gay apparel. I really don’t believe JESUS was homosexual, my friend, do you? Peace in Love, Chris AKA Yo

      • Chris Duncan, learn how to read. Mark Zmuda did not say he had “a” homosexual experience in college. He said he came to realize he was homosexual while he was in college. On what facts do you base your absolute knowledge about the 98% of those who have had homosexual experiences–and infer the other 2% are liars?

        You sadly seem to be a heterosexual who cannot comprehend that not all people of your gender are like you. You sadly write as a heterosexual who is convinced that any orientation different than your own is odd, is strange, or, as Benedict XVI put it when he was Cardinal Ratzinger running John Paul II’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an “intrinsic evil.”

    • What’s to be repentant about, being what “God” made you? Oops, sorry, God, you made a big mistake! Like there aren’t enough babies in the world. Like we provide such excellent living standards for all those who people this earth.

  2. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Why is this story featured news??? And why is this person allowed to get away with being treated like a hero for being ignorant of the Catholic morals the school operates by.???? And why is the article so totally slanted in one direction???? This isn’t a news story– it reads like gay activist propaganda attacking those Catholics endeavoring to uphold the traditional moral ethos of the Church and the Bible.

      • Where’s the peace or the love? How can love exist in any atmosphere that lacks peace? How can peace or love exist without knowledge and acceptance? How can peace, love, or acceptance exist in an atmosphere in which everything is done “my way or the highway?”

    • Mark Zmuda is not at all “ignorant of the Catholic morals the school operates by.” He knew what he was doing. He realized what the consequences might be. He is not being treated as a hero–though he is. He is being defended for his right to be honest about who he is, just as you have a right to be open and honest about who you are.

      The article cannot be called “slanted” unless you read with prejudice. It merely states the facts of the case surrounding the outrageous denial of the human rights of Mark Zmuda.

      Be careful about defending the “traditional moral ethos of the church and the bible.” Both have histories that are loaded with evil. Have you studied your church history? How about the ongoing scandal of sexual abuse of minors by celibate Catholic clergy and the cover-up of those crimes by their bishops?Have you read your bible? Numerous stories should make you tremble.

      There’s much more to religion and church than listening to the preaching of priests on Sundays.

  3. Even the Catholic National Reporter says that these recent firings are pure hypocrisy- that the schools are not enforcing the employment contract consistently: many of the sins that undermine “scared marriage” are simply ignored. In the Brian Panetta case– the gay band director fired in Ohio in early January–both the Toledo Blade and the Sandusky Register touched on the issue of hypocrisy: The Diocese of Toledo has a terrible past record when it comes to dealing with real sexual wrongdoing by priests. Secrecy is the cancer eating at the Church!

    • Yeah, but the National Catholic Reporter has recently closed off all comments to it’s stories. While pretending to be independent of episcopal control, they are acting “more Catholic than the popes” in their refusal to allow others to react to the positions of their reporters or the positions held by those about whom their reporters write.

      Such one-sided preaching is right next to the super-secrecy in which the Vatican operates. And we’ve all learned from the clerical sex scandal exactly why the church maintains stricter secrecy than the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States or its counterparts in Russia and other less than democratic countries.

  4. So, the Catholic clergy are like 80% gays and they want to fire good teachers because they’re openly gay? “Mr. Z” should have stayed in the closet with the priests & cardinals if he wanted to keep his job… Oh, but I guess that would make him a hypocrite…. If the reason for the dismissal is that homosexuality is against the teachings of the church then why aren’t the gay clergy run out of the organization too? God will judge ALL of them.

    • Absolutely NO! Mr. Z or any other people should never be obligated to live in closets in order to be who they truly are. That would be more persecution. It is going to take the courageous fighting of Mark Zmuda and those who support him, within the Catholic Church and throughout society, to end this ignorant and awful persecution of the rights of people to be their true selves. The church be damned in the meantime! It is not the first persecution of which the Catholic Church has been guilty by any means.

    • Give the statistical resources, Fmr Cath. The clergy is certainly not 80% gay. Even if that high a number had same sex attraction yet followed the church teaching by remaining chaste then there would be no sin. The only place sin enters is acting upon a disordered desire – fornication and adultery included there. Please refrain from making inflammatory statements and stick to facts that the rest of us can substantiate by your references.

      • How do you know that the percentage of gay Catholic clergy is not 80%? You ask for statistical resources as proof of that claim while you provide none for any other claim.

    • You’re being misled away from the faith by Lucifer, be careful in what you take to heart, fmr cath, if in fact you are a former Catholic at all and not someone who is against Christians in general. We’re all sinners right? Peace, Yo

      • Don’t write about “Lucifer,” write about the facts of religion, its origins, its history, and the other immense knowledge that has been acquired since religion began and was codified. Write about science. Write about history, including the history of religion and the church. Write about sociology. Write about psychology. “Lucifer” is a figure from ancient mythology. Interpret what meaning that figure might yet hold today.

    • Isn’t it amazing that when given the opportunity to post a comment some people, such as yourself, will post a comment that is so insipidly inaccurate that it is nothing but a joke. It would help, but in your case, not really that much, if you would site the source for the claim of 80% that you are making. Or, is that just some random number that your new former Catholic self grabbed out of midair. You seem to enjoy wearing your hatred for the Catholic Church as a badge of honor. Sad to say though your badge is very tanted.

  5. To compound the school’s violation of the Catholic Catechism in their firing of Mr. Z, [see 1/31 @ 10:19pm] the school is in blatant breach of their own written employment policies! No wonder Sr. Tracy quit; she could see the huge lawsuit the school board bought for her school.

    Eastside Prep’s employment non-discrimination policy – directly from the schools website: Eastside Catholic School does not discriminate on the basis of an employee’s or applicant’s race, religion, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, MARITAL STATUS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION or any other status or condition protected by local, state or federal law. Discrimination or harassment on the basis of any status or condition protected by local, state or federal law is STRICTLY PROHIBITED and will not be tolerated at Eastside Catholic School.

    The question then becomes why did the school act against both Catholic doctrine and its own legal policy to fire Mr. Z? Is it just bigotry, a lack of knowledge, or is Archbishop Sartain pulling the strings to advance his political climb up the hierarchy?

    • Marco,
      There will be some exemption in the law for a religious organization – there always seems to be.
      Whether or not you are right about the Catholic Catechism – you have been challenged on it elsewhere – the fact is that the school should be subject to the law, just like everyone else.

      • Eastside Prepshould simply drop the words “sexual orientation” from its policy. Period. Make it clear to everbody that Eastside is a Catholic school. Make it clear to teachers that their teaching and their living has to abide by the Catechism, because the kids are watching and learning both aspects.

        Mark Zmuda’s teaching career is far from over. It just needs to be done in the public schools where anything goes.

        • They would also have to drop “or any other status or condition protected by local, state or federal law”. Heck, why not drop the whole thing so they don’t have to worry about any possible discrimination?

        • Never forget that Eastside Prep is under the control of Archbishop Sartain, and he is a leftover from the repressive regimes of John Paul II and Benedict. We don’t know yet how the Vatican under Francis is going to end up functioning. One thing is clear, the church is too big, and that is a guarantee of failure.

          Lay people must have a say in all church function at all church levels, parish, diocesan, and national. Beyond the national level, it should be absolute and voluntary collegiality. John Paul II and Benedict totally ignored collegiality. Even Paul VI gave it little attention. That all proves that a super-bishop, a pope, does not work, is not effective.

      • glebealyth, Yes, religious organizations are exempt from the nondiscrimination laws, but they are NOT exempt from contract law. Eastside Catholic published its nondiscrimination policy and employees have a legal right to rely upon that published policy. It is an implied contract that is legally enforceable.

    • There was no convenience to what Marco cited or ignored. Everyone, not only does, but has a human right, even an obligation to study, learn, think, and formulate one’s own creed. Whether we admit it or not, in spite of any creeds or catechisms, individuals do form their own beliefs, even Catholics. It is the most ecumenical aspect of religion.

      Let’s do away with creeds. They are only words formulated by others, but interpreted and believed individually and differently. It has always been that way. The so-called Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, all of them. They are one person’s or one group’s words, but they are interpreted differently by all who recite them. And many recite them with no thought whatsoever.

      The same cans be said for catechisms, whether they are the rote and rather meaningless theological statements of the Baltimore Catechisms or those promulgated in more detail by John Paul II and Josef Ratzinger, before he succeeded John Paul, arrogantly presuming they even had the right to define the beliefs of others.. No one can dictate the beliefs of another. No one has the right to try. And no one succeeds.

    • All this madness by Archbishop Sartain, the Diocese of Seattle, and the “enforcers” of such mad employment agreements are religious McCarthyites. Of course, though he was a hypocritical Catholic, Joe McCarthy deduced a lot of his extreme “red baiting” from his Catholic background. MeCarthy was the embodiment of a very shallow knowledge of religion, history, and Soviet communism. Popes John Paul II and Benedict were the same. The gulags created by those popes and their bishops as a result of clerical sexual abuse continue to spill over in the work of Sartain and all bishops like him who were autocratically installed in dioceses worldwide by John Paul and Benedict. Those two popes were guilty of non-stop efforts to reform the reforms of Vatican II and drag the church kicking and screaming back to the dark ages.

    • No so concerning the school breaching its employment policies, wrong as they are. They do require agreement on the part of employees, especially teachers they consider are impressing the young people with whom they work, with the basic and public positions of the church regarding faith and morals. Lots of powerful arguments can be waged about such contracts, even against many articles of faith and morals, but that’s how the super-conservative, dictatorial Catholic Church works yet. It was worse under John Paul II and Josef Ratzinger while the latter was John Paul’s dictator at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and continued while the latter was Benedict. It has not yet been lightened by Francis.

  6. I wish people would wake up. Nobody needs religion.

    Love, Kindness and Compassion are self-explanatory without god!

    You can see from the above story that religion only ruins all of those wonderful things by giving everyone a reason to HATE the Gay guy.
    The world doesn’t need God.

    It needs compassion, kindness and Love.
    Religion is shameful and inhuman.

    • I am beginning to think the world does not need religion, but the problem with the world and religion is they are trying to tell God how to do his job. When we get to heaven Mr. Z will probably have a better seat than the hypocrites that lead the Catholic Church and other denominations. God says he will decide who goes to heaven and no one else. God says do not judge. I guess this is one of those hypocritical statements the legalistic Christians often make we love the sinner, but not the sin. I love you judgmental hypocrites but not your sin.

    • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

      Love, Kindness, and Compassion can be learned from the 20th Century’s most famous atheists???? From Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.?? and from all their followers and supporters whose favorite sport was hating and killing people of any and all religions. But which much of the media ignores. lies about, or pretends never happened (per George Orwell’s memory holes in 1984.)

    • Whether or not anyone needs religion depends on how each person defines religion. Your sense and urging for “compassion, kindness, and love” rather matches what Jesus proclaimed as important virtues, “faith, hope, and charity.” He ended that basic declaration of his belief with the claim that “charity” was the greatest of the three.

  7. In reaction to the horrible sociological, psychological, and scientific illiteracy of the leaders of the Catholic Church, and in reaction to their abuse of minds and consciences of members, every self-respecting Catholic ought to walk out the doors of its churches and never return. There are other honorable, sacred options.

    There is no hope for a church that continues to revisit its history of vicious and criminal inquisitions. There is no hope for a church run by bishops who for centuries hid what they preached to others, who hid the illicit practices of their celibate priests and themselves. In the cases of pedophilia and ephebophilia, it was crime. In the case of the continuing cover-up, it is an obstruction of justice. That continues. Those are crimes.

    Mark Zmuda, Dana Jergens and other respectful gay members of the church deserve canonization compared to those sinful and criminal bishops and priests, including many popes. They shouldn’t even be compared. They are honest and good men. The church violates its own declaration regarding the sacredness of conscience proclaimed by Vatican II.

    Archbishop Sartain was the leader chosen by Pope Benedict to run the gestapo triumvirate “investigating” U.S. nuns for following Jesus better than the Vatiican or its bishops do. In short, that means imitate us, don’t imitate Jesus! The hierarchy of the Catholic Church leaves just as much to be desired in the imitation of Jesus as does its sexually abusive clergy..

    Sartain is using Zmuda and Jergens as scapegoats to distract attention from the crimes of the clergy. In so doing, he adds sin to sins, crime to crimes. It is imperative that the Catholic Church stop acting as if it is an independent civil government.

    The only ones who can make that happen are the lay people. They must stop sitting back, warming the pews, and filling the baskets with their money. They must stop standing by while their children are violated by the clergy and honesty and sacred love like that of Mark Zmuda and Dana Jergens are desecrated by the hierarchy. They can force it by not returning to those churches, by choosing a different, honorable church.

    All the money bishops pay to silence victims or awards ordered by courts, comes from the people in the pews. All the cost of accountants and lawyers to try to hide funds and crimes comes from the people in the pews. The church has no money but the money that comes from the people in the pews. So the people in the pews are paying for the crimes against their own kids.

    What would Jesus have to say about that? We know the story that claims he said, “Let the little ones come to me.” Consider the whole context. We can be positive it was not to abuse them sexually.

    The bishops hid the sex crimes of the clergy, and now they desecrate the honest and sacred love of Mark Zmuda and Dana Jergens–and numerous others.

    Remember Ratzinger-Benedict’s castigation of homosexuality as an “intrinsic disorder,” “an objective disorder.” The trouble with Ratzinger-Benedict was that he knew lots of theology, but he plainly showed he knew very little sociology, psychology, or science. Worst of all, Ratzinger-Benedict allowed ancient and distorted theology to blind him to all other knowledge and thought.

    Also, consider how Ratzinger convinced John Paul II to let him handle all clerical sexual abuse cases at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, did little about it, and had even less to say about it as pope. It is long past the time when we allow all knowledge and good thinking to impact theology.

    • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

      Read some real history. Gregor Mendel–a monk-discovered the principles of genetics and is considered the “father” of that field of scientific research.
      A Jesuit priest first broached the “Big Bang” theory that is now scientific dogma He had a hard time getting across his research to many in the scientific world because bigoted atheists there didn’t want to have anything to do with a priest-scientist.

      • You conveniently left out the need to read the story of Galileo who was life-imprisoned in his home by church leaders for daring to proclaim science even more pertinent and real than genetics or the big bang. You cannot seek truth without being wide open to repeatedly provable facts as were Galileo and Mendel. Mendel’s discoveries were not so theologically challenging as was Galileo’s. And by the time of the scientific work of many scientists that led to the “big bang” THEORY, no single researcher, the church had grown up somewhat in science, especially among Francis’ Jesuits. Francis himself was a scientist.

      • You conveniently left out the 20th century persecution by the church of French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. The assault goes on as theologians continue to presume they are above all other studies, all replicable, provable, scientific research.

  8. Let’s focus on the relevant issue. There is nothing that REQUIRES a Catholic school to insist that all its teachers follow ALL of the teachings of the Catholic Church in their personal lives. Canon Law only requires that religion teachers be held to this high personal standard. There are many Catholic schools that have hired Jewish, Protestant and other non-Catholic teachers. The relevant issue for Catholic schools is its curriculum, not the private lives of their teachers!

    • Your comment only highlights the hangup of celibate Catholic clergy who publicly hold to official church beliefs and canons while forming private, contradictory consciences. Bishops like Sartain of Seattle, Dolan of New York, and his former “liberty” henchman, William Lori of Baltimore, selected by Dolan when he was the Benedict-appointed president of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, have hopefully lost favor under Francis. The church needs to face the reality that belief cannot be dictated, that justice and charity should be paramount among followers of Jesus, and it needs to allow theology to be informed and evolve with the realities of science, history, sociology, and psychology.

        • If Catholicism retained such credibility, please explain how its clergy can be so broadly guilty of horrific sexual abuse of youngsters and the bishops so guilty of hiding those crimes and avoiding court awards in the relatively few cases that survive that far.

          Please explain the continuing reduction in the numbers of men who are choosing its celibate priesthood. Please explain why the numbers of regular church goers is dropping so vastly that parishes are being closed faster than they used to be organized. The pews are emptying. Those who occupy those pews are much older and grayer.

          It has always been the case that most lay people have been less literate about religion than any other pursuits. Anymore, they just walk and don’t return.

          • You can obviously ask those very same questions to the protestants as their own churches have a higher percentage of abuse (check out a web site title…”stopbaptistpredators.org”). So why aren’t you asking the protestants?

    • Also, the action of the Archdiocese of Seattle and its Eastside Catholic School totally contradict your claim and wish for relevance. John Paul, Benedict, and Sartain steadily tried to control the lives of church members. And all three have shown awful ignorance–or hypocrisy–when it comes to gender orientation. Remember, homosexuality and homosexuals are “intrinsically evil” according to the theology of Ratsinger-Benedict. That ridiculous proclamation exposed his ignorance when it came to science, history, sociology, and psychology.

      • So you are pitting your intelligence against that of the former and current Popes? My you must think very highly of yourself. You make an insipid claim such as the one you made but you do not support it with any facts.

    • All the way to the top–officially, from the determinations of Benedict, John Paul II, and many of their hypocritical and/or ignorant predecessors. But all this shows the madness of one person determining the beliefs of others. Even parents should not raise their children so narrowly. It is plainly abusive of the human mind and human rights.

    • No one can be sure of how high or how broadly any official church tenets of faith and morals are held. The clergy are not really candid about their beliefs. That’s not new. That’s as old as the church, at least since it was taken over by the non-Christian Constantine at his Council of Nicaea. That’s when the church started on the road to monarchy, and that’s when the church left the road walked by Jesus of Nazareth.

  9. So based on the fact that the state of Washington recognized gay marriages he thought that the Catholic Church would? No offence but isn’t that somewhat of a lame thought? States do not determine what the Catholic Church or any church for that matter holds as truth. He knew the rules of the game when he started the entire marriage process.

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