Catholic teacher fired for same-sex marriage; colleagues warned to stay away from such weddings

It’s about time that the Pope has a revelation, and gives some pronouncement ex cathedra, that people can marry others of the same sex.  People happen to fall in love with others of their sex, and there’s no good reason, save an antiquated and fictitious book, to keep them from formalizing their relationship.  I don’t know how, given their history, that Catholics will eventually stop demonizing gays, but if they don’t they’ll lose adherents. Even if the Vatican isn’t moved by the moral suasion, they might be moved by Catholics voting with their feet. You don’t have to eat fish on Friday any more, so clearly the Church can change its tune.

The New York Times (click below) recounts the story of how a great teacher—one beloved by her first-grade students at a Catholic school in Miami—was fired because she married what she called “the love of my life.” That very phrase makes me tear up, and to think that she’d lose her job because of that is shameful. But go ahead, read the story:

Jocelyn Morffi (left above) was fired three days after marrying her girlfriend of two years, Natasha Hass.  The Archdiocese of Miami explained in an email that Morffi was fired “because she violated a contract stipulating that teachers must abide by Catholic teachings and traditions.” By all accounts, Morffi was a “faithful Catholic”. Her “sin” was falling in love with another woman.

The Church wouldn’t clarify what the violation was, but we all know, and so did Ms. Morffi on her Instagram account:

As if that’s not bad enough, the NYT reports that other teachers were put on notice (my emphasis):

Four teachers attended the wedding, one of them told The Times on Wednesday. She asked not to be named out of fear for her career.

After Ms. Morffi was fired, the teacher said, they were called into a meeting with school officials. She said they were warned that if they wanted to continue working for the school, they could not post pictures or attend events that would be considered supportive of same-sex marriage.

The human resources representative at the meeting “didn’t straight out say you’ll be fired if you do, but that’s what she led us to believe,” the teacher said, adding that she was disappointed about how the situation was handled.

“We pick and choose what is considered wrong and what we’re going to enforce, and I think it’s like a joke,” she said.

The teachers were also asked to read a memo written in 2015 by Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, after Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage was lifted.

The memo cited a statement from the Catholic Bishops of Florida that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and said that if employees did not lead lives that were consistent with Catholic teachings it could lead to firing, even if the behavior in question occurs outside of work.

Although Dade County, where Morffi worked, has legal protections for gay people, they don’t apply to religious organizations. Morffi’s former students are confused and upset, and the school, out of a screwed-up adherence to outdated morality, has lost a fantastic teacher:

Ms. Morffi was an exemplary teacher, several parents said, and one friend described her as a faithful Catholic.

She encouraged students to distribute food throughout Miami’s poor neighborhoods through a nonprofit she created called Teach Hope. She volunteered as a basketball coach. And Ms. Mills recalled that every morning, as Ms. Morffi’s students filed into class, she played feel-good songs, like Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Well, it’s their loss, and I hope somebody snaps up Morffi soon. Best of luck to her with that, and with her new partner.  And the Church can just bugger off.

(From NYT): Ms. Morffi, left, and Ms. Hass. Credit Katerina Reyes-Gutierrez

46 Comments

  1. BobTerrace
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Let the Catholic school fester in its own discrimination and hatred. The teacher should get a job at a real school and the other teachers should all go look for better jobs.

    Unfortunately, the students get hurt but maybe they learn a lesson and turn away from the festering stench of the Catholic Church.

    • eric
      Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I think the festering will only occur for about the next 20 years or so. After that, it’ll be change or die. Once today’s teens start looking around for where to send their kids, intolerant private schools aren’t going to be as popular as they are today.

      Oh sure, there will always be some people who pick them *because* they are intolerant, but that group will grow smaller and smaller over time. Meanwhile the more mainstream folk who choose private schools mainly for the quality, rather than ideology, will desert them.

      • dabertini
        Posted February 19, 2018 at 6:10 am | Permalink

        Fantastic!! I may still be around to witness this.

  2. Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Don’t we want the Catholic Church to lose adherents? Regardless of the changes they might make, they will still be dispensing religion. Perhaps gay Catholics need to reconsider their allegiances.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    The Roman Catholic Church is an organised, international criminal enterprise. A smart gov. lawyer should RICO the bastards. End of.

  4. Serendipitydawg
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I am curious who the celebrant is in the centre of the picture… that outfit looks distinctly clerical.

    • Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I was too. Wondering if there were any consequences to him. Maybe he’s Episcopal, they are just renegade Catholics anyway and they aren’t as crazy on this stuff.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        In that case, the marriage wouldn’t’ve been recognized by the Church anyway (and I don’t see how it would’ve been any of its business).

    • Rita
      Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Unitarians have been performing same-sex marriage ceremonies since 1996.

  5. Andy Lowry
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Homosexuality: Baaaaaad.
    Pedophilia: Don’t worry, we’ll protect you from the local laws.

    • Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Natural homosexuality between citizens/civilians: BAD.
      Homosexuality between clergymen/clergyman and commoner: looking the other way… -if they don´t leave the Church and/or don´t plan to marry.
      CIVIL marriage of gays: BAD, worse than plain homosexuality!
      Pedophilia: the real problem is that you hate catholics!

  6. GBJames
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The irony is that this Catholic school has probably just provide many of the pupils with what they will later remember as the reason they became atheist.

    • Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      We can only hope.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Amen to that.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Maybe just a few of the students will take a look at what they are doing at this school. Ask mom and dad about it. Watch the manure fly…Your very popular teacher just decided to go to hell.

  8. steve oberski
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    The actual blame for this is not the criminal orginization known as the Catholic church but Catholics who provide moral and financial support to this organization and who must be held complicit and accountable for the crimes committed by this organization.

    No free pass because of “deeply held religious beliefs”, they are just as guilty as that aging gang of lost boys gone feral living in castles full of stolen art treasures who engage in paedophila, genocide, misogyny and homophobia.

  9. Bruce Thiel
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    This is not the first time – this happens all over the country in countless catholic dioceses. I know of several instances where employees lost their jobs in schools, parishes, catholic hospitals and in one instance, being denied burial in a catholic cemetery, for not “agreeing” to uphold what conservative male bishops deem “catholic beliefs.” Something that has never happened to the worst of the deceased priest pedophiles who are all buried on “hallowed ground.”

  10. Bruce Thiel
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Please add this to my comment, if you would be so kind. Here are two examples that happened in Chicago. – Thanks

    https://womensenews.org/2010/05/two-female-priests-buried-church-outsiders/

  11. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    This is disgusting. How the Catholic Church can look themselves in the mirror amazes me.

    They have yet to apologize for helping all those Catholic Nazis to escape trial while at the same time excommunicating women who left husbands that beat them.

    In medieval times if a married man decided to become a monk, his marriage was considered to be over, but his wife was never allowed to marry again as long as he was still alive. It was not unknown for wives/children to die of starvation in those circumstances.

    • Posted February 18, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Priorities, amirite?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        Yeah. :-/

  12. Mark R.
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    It can’t be restated enough: Religion Poisons Everything.

  13. Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Their crime? Love. 🤔🤔🤔

  14. George
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I have little sympathy for those mistreated by the catholic church. What did they expect? I had 12 years of “catholic education” which I usually describe as 14 years too many. The catholic church is a corrupt, venal institution. Those who expect it to be something else are deluded.

    I have a hard time taking Andrew Sullivan seriously. He is adamant that he is catholic. The fact that he is a gay man and a large number (perhaps even a majority) of catholic priests are gay may give him some hope. But the institution is and has been inherently hostile to his very existence. I do not think that will change anytime soon.

    Ross Douthat is even worse. The NY Times gives him valuable space on its editorial page. He is a seeker turned catholic convert. His catholicism infects everything he writes. The Times should put a disclaimer at the top of every one of his columns.

    • BJ
      Posted February 18, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Most people are not skeptical, or rational, or think much about their beliefs. Even very intelligent people I know are Catholics because they were raised that way and don’t know how to believe in something else, and I understand that. Even for intelligent, more rational people, thinking about and then discarding the entire worldview of the religion in which they were raised from day one is too daunting and complicated a process.

      Most of the Catholics I know don’t think highly of the Church, but do think highly of their local church and the community surrounding it. It’s easier to be part of a religion with a corrupt organization at the top, far removed from a person’s day-to-day life, than you seem to think. There’s no reason not to have sympathy for them, especially those who wish it would change but still can’t bring themselves to leave.

    • eric
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I have little sympathy for those mistreated by the catholic church. What did they expect?

      I’m not at all surprised in this case that they fired the teacher, and I hope that she was self-aware enough to expect they might do something like that. I think she’d have had to be somewhat naive (or deceived by the school’s staff) to think that wouldn’t happen.

      However it is somewhat surprising of me that the school would tell its other employees, basically, ‘if we find pictures of this wedding on your private web pages, we’ll fire you too.” That level of non-contact seems more like something the Scientologists would do than the Catholics.

      • Jose
        Posted February 19, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        ‘However it is somewhat surprising of me that the school would tell its other employees, basically, ‘if we find pictures of this wedding on your private web pages, we’ll fire you too.”’

        Oh yes! I wanted to point this too and I forget. Well, actually It seems the were told not that directly, but impliying it. For some reason, it irritates me even more than the firing of the the gay teacher. In any case, it’s some very ugly mob-like threat.

      • Posted February 19, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        There was another case where the choir/music director was beloved by everybody, excellent at his job, and was fired immediately when he posted his engagement. He was there for 17 years.

        https://tinyurl.com/l27bae9

        He sued. He lost.

  15. BJ
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Of course, the Pope and Church will never change their stance. Maybe many years from now, when there’s a new Pope and opinions in the second and third world have changed sufficiently. But it’s very unlikely to happen any time soon or under this Pope.

    Popey don’t play that.

    • eric
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Don’t say never! It only took them 359 years to admit they were wrong about Galileo. So I expect this nice woman will get an apology and a rehire offer in 2377.

  16. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Normal behaviour for the Catholic Church. One day they’ll disappear. But they’ll go bankrupt first, and the lawsuits and loss of income from pupils leaving because of things like this will be some of the “thousand cuts” that lead to it’s collapse.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s about time that the Pope has a revelation, and gives some pronouncement ex cathedra, that people can marry others of the same sex.

    I’d be satisfied if the Pontiff just spoke doctrinally, or even just as a matter of personal conscience. Since the Church created the doctrine of “papal infallibility” out of whole cloth at Vatican I in the 19th century, popes have made just one ex cathedra pronouncement, in 1950 concerning the Assumption of Mary.

    From the looks of that picture, a priest presided over the nuptials. I admire the stones on him. and wonder whether he’ll be disciplined for it.

  18. Jose
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    My agreement in advance with al the criticisms written here to the catholic church. And sorry if the following offends someone.

    But about the teacher… What did she expect? If she recognized herself as Gay before she took the job, she took it with a blind eye. I she did after, probable should have left the job at that moment. Yes, possibly she had no other employment option. I don’t know the laws regarding employment in Florida and the USA, but I can only think she made her move like that hoping to win some lawsuit against the school.

    But the thing is, now se should apostatize, if not for consistency, for her former students. what is she teaching them if she continues to be a catholic, and some of them are gay? be gay but continue belonging to a church which hates you and will make you suffer for what you are?

    I don’t have any sympaties nor I will I have them for gays who insist on embracing catholicism or cristianism for that matter. Here, Spain is a very catholic country (not far, if not at the same level than Ireland and Italy) and I am constantly baffled by people who does that.

    Even if there was to be a doctrinal change, the Old Testament and its hatred of gays is still there. A real change is almost impossible. And even if it were not why would insist someone to be where he is hated?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 18, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      That makes almost no sense at all. Agree with the criticism and then throw all the people under the bus. Maybe you could be the next Pope…

      • Christopher
        Posted February 18, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        No, I think his point is that it makes no sense for a gay person to embrace the catholic faith or work in a catholic school knowing full well that the church despises their existence and will fire them if they act on their love. I agree. I am quite sympathetic towards her but what the hell did she expect? The church is openly homophobic! There are other schools to work for where your sexuality not only doesn’t matter, but is protected by law. An LGBT person working for the Catholic Church makes as much sense as a vegetarian working at a BBQ restaurant. However, the blame still rests on the vile, hateful, antiquated, and homophobic Catholic Church.

      • Posted February 19, 2018 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        Exactly, why would someone want to identify as Catholic if the church is antithetic to their nature? I can understand how some people might continue in their belief of a deity or the supposed teachings of JC but as there are so many Christian sects, why persist with one whose doctrine you don’t accept?

        • GBJames
          Posted February 19, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

          That is one of the Universe’s remaining Great Mysteries.

  19. Christopher
    Posted February 18, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Just think, if she had been molesting the children, then, instead of being fired, she would have only been sent to a different school, or promoted!

  20. Posted February 18, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    While I understand the outrage, the fact is that she worked for a private school, and as many private schools do, there was a behavior clause involved. Is it fair? No. But I also don’t believe that a religion has to cater to everyone, because that dilutes the purpose of a specific religion. It’s one of the reasons I walked away from the Catholic Church and never looked back.

  21. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 19, 2018 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Ironic final sentence given that “bugger” has meant gay man, and the earliest meaning of “bugger” is heretic.

    There actually is a lot of subliminally gay imagery in Catholic iconography, as gay Catholic author Mark Jordan has written about extensively.

  22. Posted February 19, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Let me first say I think all marriage should be banned altogether!

    Secondly, what sort of contract could possibly be binding that tried to dictate what you do in your private life? I am sure that would not be legal in the UK… would it? Fascist bastards…

    • dabertini
      Posted February 19, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Well we should at least protect gays from marriage.

  23. Posted February 19, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43057841
    So it happened once!

  24. Posted February 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Reminder to all Ontario-ians. Your *tax dollars* support this sort of bigotry too! (This also applies in a few other provinces, too.)


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