Dear Archbishop Schnurr

I felt called to respond to the expanded moral conduct clause in the teacher contract here in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and submitted this letter via their website earlier today.

Dear Archbishop Schnurr,

I am deeply disturbed by the new teacher contract for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and am writing to ask that the moral conduct clause be restated in a more reasonable fashion. The provision prohibiting “public support of or homosexual lifestyle” is especially problematic because it fails to recognize the lived experience of people with same-sex orientation and their families and friends. Its implications will cause tremendous harm.

The church has tried, unsuccessfully in my view, to distinguish between a homosexual orientation and homosexual acts, and the new contract language points to the difficulties underlying this attempted distinction. A person with a gay or lesbian orientation lives his or her lifestyle as a gay or lesbian person. But an orientation is not conduct that a person chooses, it’s inherently who they are. Moving on to consider homosexual acts, applying such criteria is difficult to the point of ludicrous. Are we to inquire whether a person with a gay or lesbian orientation is committing “homosexual acts” to determine if he or she is acceptable? Given the absurd impracticality of this idea, the clause therefore implies that simply having a gay or lesbian orientation is not permissible for a Cincinnati archdiocesan school teacher. Does this clause intend that people with a gay or lesbian orientation are barred from teaching in Cincinnati archdiocesan schools?

From the opposite perspective, how is a Catholic school teacher to relate to friends and family who have a gay or lesbian orientation? For example, what if one’s child is gay, not a practicing Catholic, and married or living with a partner? Is a teacher not permitted to be seen in public with them at a cultural or social event or in a restaurant, or invite them to dinner in his or her home? How can this be enforced? Who would want to?

I am most concerned about the impact on young people of the contract’s exclusionary approach. The ever-tightening circle of who is acceptable to the church can only do harm to children and teens, particularly regarding matters of sexual orientation and identity. What will happen to middle- and high school students of Cincinnati archdiocesan schools who awaken to a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer (LGBTQ) orientation? How are they to feel when their teachers or counselors – typically a potential support network – will be at risk of termination for providing that very support? Who will be there for them? Why would they want to be part of a church that ostracizes them?

An exclusionary approach is the exact opposite of what’s needed. National statistics on the plight of LGBT teens require that the church focus on providing pastoral care and inclusion, not drawing boundaries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a 2009 survey of 7,000 LBGT students age 13-21 showed:
• Eight of ten students had been verbally harassed at school
• Four of ten had been physically harassed at school
• Six of ten felt unsafe at school
• One of five had been the victim of a physical assault at school

An earlier study of adolescents in grades 7-12 found that LGBTQ teens were more than twice as likely as heterosexual students to have attempted suicide. The CDC recommends a number of steps that schools can take to create a safe environment for LGBTQ youth, including:
• Identify “safe spaces,” such as counselors’ offices, designated classrooms, or student organizations, where LGBTQ youth can receive support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff.
• Encourage student-led and student-organized school clubs that promote a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment (e.g., gay-straight alliances, which are school clubs open to youth of all sexual orientations).
• Encourage staff to develop and publicize trainings on how to create safe and supportive school environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and encourage staff to attend these trainings.
• Facilitate access to community-based providers who have experience in providing social and psychological services to LGBTQ youth.

The new teacher contract prohibition on “public support” prevents schools from offering such services to LGBTQ students, making Cincinnati archdiocesan schools distinctly unsafe places for LGBTQ youth. Is this intentional? The church’s harsh position as evidenced in the new contract will only reinforce family rejection of LGBTQ teens, already a tragic phenomenon in this country. Studies suggest that one-quarter to one-half of homeless youth are LGBTQ and they became homeless because of their parents’ reaction to their orientation.

It is understandable that the archdiocese wishes to be clear about its expectations that teachers adhere to church teaching in their behavior, but the new moral conduct clause goes too far in regards to all the designated issues, not just sexual identity. No one lives in a fortress; none of us, including Catholic school teachers and bishops, can withdraw from a society in which many people live together and/or have children outside of marriage, have abortions, utilize medical infertility treatments or surrogate mothers, and have LGBTQ orientations. As already evident from past cases, women are disproportionately and unjustly affected by the requirements regarding pregnancy and sex outside of marriage. Has a male teacher ever been fired for having sex outside of marriage?

The definition of teachers as ministers is clearly a legal strategy to reduce or eliminate federal employment protections for teachers, in no way pastorally or educationally based. The addition of this tactic is especially disheartening after the wounds caused by the church’s litigation-driven approach to the sex abuse crisis. Ultimately, the meaning of “public support of” any of these matters could be determined in the courts, a process that is inherently divisive, and certainly in no way healing, pastoral, or theological.

I urge you and the superintendent of Catholic schools to consider the true needs of our young people, especially those with LGBTQ orientation, and revise the moral conduct clause to encourage loving, caring, inclusive behavior.


Peg Conway

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67 Responses to Dear Archbishop Schnurr

  1. Amy Sullivan says:

    All very well put. Thank you for engaging in conversation regarding this issue. You are a vital voice in the church.

    • Peg Conway says:

      Thank you, Amy! (and for being a sounding board)

      • Steve says:

        Peg (Amy – sorry to “hijack” your post :-), but I didn’t see a way to reply to Peg’s original blog post.) = Peg – do you have a copy of the new Archdiocesan contract, or are you basing your comments and quotes on the article in the Enquirer that you linked in your post? Just curious = I’d like to read the actual contract. I’ve not yet tried to find a copy anywhere else. Thanks.

      • Peg Conway says:

        Steve — I have not seen the contract directly. I wrote my piece based on the quoted text of the contract in the Enquirer article.

  2. Amy says:

    Well stated. As the parent of a gay person who had a very positive experience “coming out” during catholic high school years over a decade ago, this both saddens and concerns me.

  3. kate powers says:

    Brilliant summary of your years of study, experience, and wisdom Without a doubt the most comprehensive and authoritative challenge I have seen Bless you ! K

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Criselda Marquez says:

    I wish this were a petition that I could sign. I think there would be MANY, MANY others that would sign along with you!

  5. Todd K. says:

    Thank you Peg! Your response is thoughtful and touches on many poignant concerns that I also have about this hurtful, exclusionary policy. I can’t help but wonder how Jesus would view this approach by the church. If the woman at the well was a lesbian rather than an adulterous Samaritan would Jesus’ reaction been different? Until the church accepts that sexuality is genetic, they are promoting/endorsing discrimination against children of God.

  6. Bitsy Smyjunas says:

    Peg, I have struggled to organize my thoughts for a letter to the Archbishop. You’ve nailed it. Many thanks! I also liked the comment suggesting this would make a great petition.

  7. greg keer says:

    1. in litigation the religious Minister clause would fall apart. Obviously A non-Catholic wrote this. For your infinite boredom read the following Supreme Court case: St. Cyril Russian Orthodox Church vs. St. Cyril Russian Orthodox Church. For the Catholic and Orthodox Churches canon law and not the Bishop defines a minister.

    I think every Catholic should read the case of sisters v. Pierce. The case facts will appall every Catholic.

    2. Cynically and nastily if the church applied this policy to the priesthood, the result would be what….?

    3. At Xavier in theology class we developed a proof positive of the holy spirit’s existence. Does anyone else have an explanation for the continued existence of the Catholic church?

    4. 30 years ago I read roughly the same “morals clause” as part of the Xavier University standard professor contract.

    5. For 30 years the Catholic Church sought to impose moral rigidity on its members, not Christianity.

    6. Once again The Church rejects science when it interferes with its moral structure. Galileo, de Chardin, and now modern genetics.

  8. Greg Olson says:

    Peg, bless you and your wonderful ability to uncover and illustrate clearly the failures of this “moral conduct clause”. The Archdiocese has taken a divisive position. One that contradicts the words and behaviors of Pope Francis and Jesus; where must first seek “to love”. Thank you for voicing your concerns. Archbishop Schnurr and this current version of the local Catholic hierarchy truly are driving discrimination with their language. Ignoring the genetic / innate tendencies of a material % of the US population, is disgraceful and abhorrent.

  9. Greta says:

    Over the last 40 years or so, those in power in the Catholic Church have failed to teach the actual teachings of the Church even in their own schools. The result is that many no longer know the truth or importance of essential teaching to fight against the onslaught of evil attacking the Church and family. both Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI have tried to correct these grave errors. Those teaching in our Catholic Universites were to have had approval of the local Bishop which they ignored leading many students also into grave error. Xavier is a prime example of this severe problem. I applaud the Bishop for this move. Nothing in this contract goes against the non negotiable teaching of the Catholic Church in any way. There are thousands of secular public schools for parents who are not serious about having their children learn the actual teaching of our amazing church. Now let’s work on cleaning up the Univerities.

    • Peg Conway says:

      Clearly we approach these matters from different perspectives, Greta! As I noted in the post, no one can live in a fortress, removed and “protected” from trends in society, and not only must we care for people where they are, but refrain from exacerbating harm done to them (ie LGBT youth). In addition, the church could uphold its teachings without brandishing them as weapons.

      • Greta says:

        No, living by the teachings of the Church in the world does not mean abandoning your faith to get along with evil we find there. Jesus said we would face persecution for following Him. You assume by your attitude that the Church teaching is in error and thus should be ignored. By what authority do you come by this position? If a young child has a weakness of attraction to the same sex, supporting this weakness by saying it is normal and, if one looks at the secular media, even wonderful, the are supporting gravely disordered lifestyle. Everyone has a thorn in their heel, many of use multiple thorns. We are called to virtue and trying to overcome those thorns. Same sex attraction is simply one of the type of thorns and the church has forever listed it as a grave evil.
        Nothing in the contract should cause Catholics who accept Church teaching which they have been advised are non negotiable is in conflict. In fact, having teachers in dissent of grave sin is by far a grave danger to the faith of our children. If the teacher is a parent of a child facing this gravely disordered thorn, it is best in following church teaching if they try to help them overcome it, not celebrate it or create some special environment. Love the sinner, hate the sin.

      • greg keer says:

        I missed the New Testament citation on homosexuality. Would you please provided?

    • Greta, I don’t remember reading or learning in catechism anything about ferreting out and persecuting anyone, including homosexuals, active sex lives or not. I DO know that we are not to judge others – that is for God alone. Catholics are to practice the faith and for most of us this is a challenge enough. When the Church is sinless then I guess the Church is free to judge and condemn others, but it seems to me this is the ANTITHESIS of Jesus’ teachings, to love others. There is no love in this. NONE and it makes me ashamed of the Church, who could and SHOULD be leaders of tolerance.

      • Greta says:

        Guess you missed the part about homosexual acts being gravely disordered and grave sin. That is current Catholic teaching and has always been. Those bashing the bishop for simply seeking that those we allow to teach our children are not openly dissenting from that teaching. The comment from Pope Francis about not judging was of course proceeded by the fact that those being viewed were not openly and completely out of line with church teaching. pope Francis also supported the removal of a priest in Austrailia who was openly and adamantly gay. Just because you continue to say that the sin is wrong does not mean you are not loving the person. A parent who seeks to prevent their child from drugs loves them more than the parent who says drug use is fine. They can still love the addict, but hate the addiction.

      • greg keer says:

        Does the adultery rule apply to priest?

        I will repeat my very civil question:

        Where in the New Testament does one Gospel verse referred to homosexuality?

        Your failure to answer this question leads me to believe that no Gospel verse refers to homosexuality.

      • Greta says:

        Greg, first of all, suggest you read the letters of St Paul in the New Testament. Romans 1:26-27
        For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

        But from you position Greg, you seem to think only the New Testament applies. And also, Catholic teaching comes from both Scripture and Tradition. Are you Catholic or a protestant sola scriptura proponent of faith? Bottom line is this is a Catholic school and as anyone knows who is reasonably up on Catholic teaching, homosexual acts are gravely disordered and grave sin. Those with same sex addiction are to remain celebate as are those outside of marriage between one man and one woman.

        Here is what Pope Benedict XVI had to say on the issue. Note he clearly uses the term non negotiable…

        As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

        – protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

        – recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

        – the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

        These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have.

      • Greg Keer says:

        We all know St. Paul never met the pre-crucified Christ. I probably lacked clarity. WHEN DID JESUS IN THE FOUR GOSPELS MAKE A STATEMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY? According to the Gospels he tolerated adultery and probably prostitution.

      • Greta says:

        Greg, as with many in open dissent, you keep changing the criteria. I suppose from comment on St. Paul, you do not hold what is written in the testament valid unless it is a quote from Jesus. You also do not seem to take what the Pope says are non negotiable beliefs as essential if it gets in the way of secular trends you favor. Once again, wonder why some dissent on essential teaching and want to not only play at being Catholic, but also to bash the beliefs of those who do hold the teaching as important to pass on to our children in both word and example.

  10. David Leonard says:

    Thank you for the powerful and well-stated message. I agree that crafting a petition from this letter would be a great idea.

  11. Gregg Fraley says:

    Clean up? How about cleaning up the hypocrisy first Greta? How about cleaning up the rampant abuse of children by the religious for many years? The church is still dodging, lying, and avoiding its responsibility to clean that mess up. Could we get that done first before we start picking on teachers? Discriminating against homosexual teachers in Catholic schools is a sad joke. There have always been and will always be homosexuals teaching in Catholic schools. I attended 12 years of Catholic schools in Cincinnati, and I know for a fact that quite a few of my teachers were gay. Some of these teachers were lay people and some were religious. I didn’t know at the time because they were discreet people — who were also great teachers. Peg Conway’s letter points out many of the reasons the new policy is nutty. Not only is it discriminatory it’s unenforceable for the reasons she points out. In my view it’s all about the church wanting to simply hide any aspect of sexuality from view — if it’s hidden it doesn’t exist. If a person doesn’t act gay, it’s okay (it’s a bit like “don’t ask, don’t tell”). The church is good at cover-up’s, so good they want lay people to adopt their lies and hypocrisy. Between 30% and 60% of the priesthood is gay — some of whom are active and not celibate. So, it’s okay for a gay person to administer the sacraments, but not okay for a lay gay person to teach children? I regret to say that the church is so fundamentally corrupt I have a hard time imagining that it could ever be fair or moral. I always thought that “sin” however it is defined and no matter what sin we’re talking about — can be forgiven. So, even a person living an actively gay lifestyle could ask for forgiveness and be forgiven on a daily basis. How do we know? How do we judge? I’m wondering why the church doesn’t also discriminate against un-married heterosexuals with active sex lives. Perhaps a lie detector test is in order for all the single men and women with steady girl/boy friends? Aren’t they sinning as much or more than a gay person? I guess heterosexual sexual sinning is a better example for our children…

    • greg keer says:

      You omitted testing for adultery.

    • Greta says:

      Had those in authority in the Church done their job and eliminated those in the seminary both in teaching positions and those students who had gravely disordered natures, most of the problem would have been avoided. The vast majority of abuse was priest going after post puberty boys commonly called “twinks” in the gay lifestyle community. The Jay report showed this was over 80 percent of all abuse. The Vatican had long advised to eliminate those candidates with this gravely disordered problem and were ignored. In most cases, the same bishops who ignored this directive later were involved in the coverup and were also in open dissent on other teachings as well.
      You worry about the church being corrupt and yet when it seeks to have those in teaching positions solid in those teachings, those complaint run around screaming for open dissent. Priest who are openly gay and advocate that lifestyle should be removed for obvious reasons and teachers also need to be faithful to church teaching. Next we will see those whining about this calling for planned parenthood being given space in our Catholic schools with the blood of 55 million babies on their hands. After all, some so called Catholics are pro abortion.

    • Greta says:

      If a teacher is openly living in adultery, they should not be teaching in a Catholic school or any other school. Are you advocating this style behavior in teachers?

      • Steve says:

        It really saddens me how many people – many of whom are presumably well-meaning Catholics, but many of whom are just Catholic-haters – take such hostile positions against one another. I always ask myself if these people (from both sides of the argument) have truly, earnestly taken their questions to God in prayer to seek His guidance on the issue? It seems many are relying on human thinking to justify positions that are not in keeping with God’s will. And the more un-inspired (from the Latin root of inspire = “spirit filled”) people we can find who agree with our position, the more validated we think our position is.

      • Greta says:

        Steve, it saddens me as well. I am not sure why some people choose to continue to call themselves Catholic who dissent on issues that the Church has declared non negotiable. The simple fact that a Catholic would choose to condemn the Bishop for asking those we entrust with our children at considerable sacrifice to actual teach and represent Catholic non negotiable positions is amazing and says a lot about how far adrift many Catholics have become. Yet, rather than seek a religion that agrees with them, which they seem to think is essential, they would rather hand around to bash the Catholic Church.

      • Steve says:

        Thanks Greta. I like and agree with everything you have said here, including your apparent tone = non-judgmental, not hostile or nasty, but simply stating the position of the Catholic Church and the truths on which her teachings are based.

        Without jumping full-in to a debate about these various positions, there is no question that the Church – a sin-plagued organization due to the human nature of those men AND women who have been entrusted with Her stewardship since Christ established it – has various issues and problems that She needs to deal with (and is.) However at Her core are the truths and teachings handed down by God, which scripture, tradition, and the doctors of the Church have worked so diligently to protect and to propagate. As I said earlier, if we would all take these questions and issues to God in earnest prayer, I believe He would reveal His truths to everyone. God bless you for defending the faith so gracefully.

  12. So according to some here: if a gay man is accused of being a pedophile, you would be the first person to lash out at such ignorant bigotry, yet you accuse the majority of Catholic Priests of being pedophiles because they are some-how pent up gay men, denied by the Church?

  13. carren herring says:

    Thanks for speaking out, especially is such a thorough way. May your voice be the thousandth snowflake.

  14. Greg Keer says:


    Personal attacks signify weak arguments.

    PAST questionable Papal questionable policies: (at the time constituted the magesterium)

    castrating choirboys
    advocating slavery
    tolerating anti-semiticism
    torturing Galileo
    partitioning the New World between Spain and Portugal.

    Study ecclesiology.

    I know priests reassigned to other parishes for breaking the criminal law (for nonsexual acts) public cohabitation, ALL in the past five years. if the archbishop tolerates criminal priests, he should tolerate homosexuals.

    Rape=rape, whether heterosexual or homosexual. I exult at the Jerry Sandusky conviction.
    A jury will decide if Joe Paterno knew of Sandusky’s behavior. If he did the NCAA correctly stripped Penn State of its record.


    • Greta says:

      Don’t see any personal attacks in what was stated by me. Simply making a point that we are dealing with teachers in a Catholic School and asking the teachers to teach by word and example the actual teachings of the Catholic Church seems like a minimum. They have signed a morals clause for a very long time. Now it is more clearly spelled out in view of some of the dissent of our time filtering into Catholic thought. As to your examples of middle ages Catholic bashing examples like the good old Galileo one, it seems like your hatred of anything Catholic is clearly shown.

      As to your return to priest and bishops bashing , are you accusing Archbishop Schnurr of any crimes or cover ups? Why does this issue matter in regard to his move to bring solid Catholic teaching to Catholic schools unless he is part of that abuse issue.

  15. Mary-Cabrini Durkin says:

    Thank you for your reflection, but also for the positive suggestions in your letter. I have many concerns about how the contract provisions are to be enforced. The major ones appear in my letter (sent by snail mail) to Archbishop Schnurr and Dr. Rigg. Here it is:
    Dear Archbishop Schnurr:
    A deep and life-long interest and involvement in the Catholic mission and identity of our schools leads me to write to you. As a former Catholic school president and board member, I’m concerned about aspects of the recent – albeit long-implicit – contract language. Here are the top four.
    1) It is sad to see contractual language seeming to replace dialogue (I would even say pastoral dialogue) between school leaders and staff.
    2) How will the provisions about scandal – not to mention “embarrassment” – and non-adherence to particular Catholic principles be enforced? Who defines the offense? Who observes it? Who reports it? To whom is it reported? Who feels the embarrassment? Is this a one-strike-and-you’re-out provision? Despite the effort to impose legal definitions, this looks to me like a legal nightmare.
    3) Women – the backbone of the Catholic school system throughout its history in this country – are disproportionately affected by some of the specific provisions and in general by enforcement that is potentially draconian.
    4) Provisions related to homosexuality recall the answer that I was compelled in honesty to give to the recent questionnaire in advance of the Synod on the Family: Yes, I understand well the Church’s teachings, but experience has shown me the inadequacy of seeing the lives of gay and lesbian people through these lenses. Much less can the Church be truly pastoral within these strictures, including to the schools’ gay and lesbian students and staff. Here are a few observations grounded in experience and in Scripture:
    a. We now know that God’s creation includes homosexuality. This reality is part of how God has created a significant percentage of human beings. Surely the words of Genesis, “And God saw that it was very good,” extend to all of Creation.
    b. Observing the lives of committed, faithful, loving gay couples, I have been compelled to recognize that “God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him [sic].”
    c. We hold that the call to a celibate vocation requires a particular grace, or charism. Can we honestly expect that God has bestowed this charism as an intrinsic component of the fact of one’s homosexuality?
    d. Why do Church documents and statements repeatedly use the language of “our homosexual brothers and sisters” as though there were no gay people in the Church, or at least none in the clergy and hierarchy?

    My own experience with the challenges of fostering the Catholic identity of our schools is much more related to matters of lived faith: a relationship with Jesus Christ and the implications of the Gospel. These realities – which must, of course, be nourished, not contracted – are much more fundamental.
    Sincerely yours,
    Mary-Cabrini Durkin

    • greg keer says:

      nicely put and well put.

    • Peg Conway says:

      Cabrini, your letter is beautiful and profound and wise. Thank you so, so much for sharing it here. A powerful witness grounded in solid experience with education and ministry.

    • Greta says:

      Mary, I think many of your answers would come from a reading of Pope John Paul II Theology of the Body and Evangelium Vitae which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that these teachings in Evangelium Vitae are infallible in its “Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio Fidei”. If these writings were simply followed in the lives of all Catholics, it would indeed transform our country. Most of the things listed in this contract would be no longer needed. The contract, like the visitation required of many women religious, comes from dissent and the evil spirits where some have grown to close to the evil one prominent in our secular world. What part of the contract is in conflict with these infallible writings? These writings should be mandatory in all Catholic schools so that every Catholic student leaves school with a firm understanding of the beauty of our faith in its fullness spelled out by soon to be saint Pope John Paul II.

      Of course our Catholic schools once had mostly faithful nuns teaching in our schools closely tied to the parish priest. It seems like many of our problems started when women religious decided to abandon their habits and become a force of dissent rather than faithful service. After this, we now deal with secular people filing the roles of teachers of our faith and so it is essential that they be bound by legal contract to try to combat the secular evils that has made the contract imperative. It seems your letter spells out well the need for this contract if one is indeed intent on having Catholic teaching be delivered to those parents making the sacrifice to send their kids to school for that teaching. As Mr. Rigg pointed out, this was the number one thing requested in his visitations to all the parishes. I suspect this would also be true of what they would like to see in our “Catholic” Universities.

      • greg keer says:

        plicarcyzc pled guilty to covering up child abuse scandal. i went back to the renaissance to avoid the hierarchs and clergies’ most recent public scandal. none of us really want to revisit the criminal wrongdoing of our church. do you know part of gate of heaven was sold to pay for those priestly crimes? where was your protest then? do you not know this hurt many of us? it hurt us as badly as the homosexuality issue hurts you.

        i think you receive such a poor reception: you judge us unworthy catholics.

      • Greta says:

        Greg, who said I was not hurt with the scandal of abuse? But I chose to study the issue rather than simply go along with those who hate the Church and use anything possible to bash it. The in depth study shown in the Jay report clearly shows that when the Church started to allow those with same sex attraction in large numbers in the seminaries, the abuse sky rocketed and when they clamped down, the abuse went back to 1950 numbers which is quite low. The abuse was largely homosexual priests going after boys between the ages of 12 and 17. It was over 80% of the abuse. None of this is classic pedophile activity, yet that is how the press and those who hate the church tried to characterize it. The massive increase in abuse started in the late 1960’s, skyrocketed in the 1970’s, started decline in the 1980’s, and went back to very low 1950’s numbers in the 1990’s. Even one case of abuse is bad, but priest are human and thus sinful. However, the abuse in general lay population is far greater than priest abuse is today. In fact, abuse in our public schools is far greater in both numbers and percentage than with priests today.

        Also note that the Pope the left seems to love, Pope Francis, in his weekly aduience took up the issue of gay marriage. During his General Audience speech at St. Peter’s Square on Apr. 2, before a crowd estimated at 45,000, Pope Francis first cited Genesis, saying, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. … Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

        “The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together,” said the Pope. “God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful.”

        “When a man and a woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony, God as it were ‘is mirrored’ in them; He impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love,” said Pope Francis. “Marriage is the icon of God’s love for us.”
        familyHe continued, “Indeed, God is communion too: the three Persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit live eternally in perfect unity. And this is precisely the mystery of matrimony: God makes of the two spouses one single life. The Bible uses a powerful expression and says ‘one flesh,’ so intimate is the union between man and woman in marriage. And this is precisely the mystery of marriage: the love of God which is reflected in the couple that decides to live together.”
        “Therefore a man leaves his home, the home of his parents, and goes to live with his wife and unites himself so strongly to her that the two become — the Bible says — one flesh,” said the Pope.

        In its December 2013 cover story on Pope Francis, The Advocate noted that Pope Francis is the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, which is three times the population of the United States, and thus, “Like it or not, what he says makes a difference.”

      • greg keer says:



        I strongly think your argument on infallibility fails. Below I retrieved to paragraphs from this Encyclopedia.

        An International Work Of Reference On The Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, And History Of The Catholic Church

        WELCOME to the home of the largest, most authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia resource on the web. (1916)

        It should be observed in conclusion that papal infallibility is a personal and incommunicable charisma, which is not shared by any pontifical tribunal. It was promised directly to Peter, and to each of Peter’s successors in the primacy, but not as a prerogative the exercise of which could be delegated to others. Hence doctrinal decisions or instructions issued by the Roman congregations, even when approved by the pope in the ordinary way, have no claim to be considered infallible. TO BE INFALLIBLE THEY MUST BE ISSUED BY THE POPE HIMSELF IN HIS OWN NAME ACCORDING TO THE CONDITIONS ALREADY MENTIONED AS REQUISITE FOR EX CATHEDRA TEACHING.


        A word or two under this head, summarizing what has been already explained in this and in other articles will suffice. (a) As regards matter, only doctrines of faith and morals, and facts so intimately connected with these as to require infallible determination, fall under the scope of infallible ecclesiastical teaching.

        These doctrines or facts need not necessarily be revealed; it is enough if the revealed deposit cannot be adequately and effectively guarded and explained, unless they are infallibly determined. (b) As to the organ of authority by which such doctrines or facts are determined, three possible organs exist. One of these, the magisterium ordinarium, is liable to be somewhat indefinite in its pronouncements and, as a consequence, practically ineffective as an organ. The other two, however, are adequately efficient organs, and when they definitively decide any question of faith or morals that may arise, no believer who pays due attention to Christ’s promises can consistently refuse to assent with absolute and irrevocable certainty to their teaching. (c) But before being bound to give such an assent, the believer has a right to be certain that the teaching in question is definitive (since only definitive teaching is infallible); AND THE MEANS BY WHICH THE DEFINITIVE INTENTION, WHETHER OF A COUNCIL OR OF THE POPE, MAY BE RECOGNIZED HAVE BEEN STATED ABOVE. IT NEED ONLY BE ADDED HERE THAT NOT EVERYTHING IN A CONCILIAR OR PAPAL PRONOUNCEMENT, IN WHICH SOME DOCTRINE IS DEFINED, IS TO BE TREATED AS DEFINITIVE AND INFALLIBLE. For example, in the lengthy Bull of Pius IX defining the Immaculate Conception the strictly definitive and infallible portion is comprised in a sentence or two; and the same is true in many cases in regard to conciliar decisions. The merely argumentative and justificatory statements embodied in definitive judgments, however true and authoritative they may be, are not covered by the guarantee of infallibility which attaches to the strictly definitive sentences—unless, indeed, their infallibility has been previously or subsequently established by an independent decision.

        This post includes a partial copy of the American Catholic Encyclopedia home page for anyone’s interest. I use the 1916 version to avoid arguments concerning Vatican II. None of the documents you claim infallible meet the 1916 tests. Your argument from authority fails. I have not quoted from The Encyclopedia of Theology, edited by Karl Rahner to maintain the focus of the discussion.

        I accept the current scientific position that genetics determines sexuality. Of your litany of complaints I feel most opposed to your homosexual discussions. You reject the current scientific position, I believe. If this accurately summarizes your position no commonality exist for a discussion. Yes, regardless of the churches teachings these people are my brothers and sisters in faith and in society. Their sexuality must be understood as an un-chosen fact. Catholics cannot turn their backs on homosexuals.

        Vatican II brought freedom to the Catholic Church the heterosexuals fled the priesthood and religious orders in droves. I understand the human sexual drive. I have yet to understand the social drive to lave the priesthood and religious orders. I have no position on the percentage of pre-and post Vatican II gender preference. We as Catholics must confront the question of what attracted not homosexuals, but predatory hetero and homosexual men. Predator exist as the operative concept, not homosexuals.

        MY BACK STORY: the name Keer rhymes with queer (I note you failed to post your last name). The prepubescent males I attended grade school with at my local Catholic school enjoyed bullying me with the rhyming until my eighth grade. The same bullying resumed at the local public high school and ended at my junior year. I inherited my name which my illiterate Irish ancestors butchered. After bullying over my last name rhyming with queer I developed an empathy for those who were truly homosexual. Homosexuals populated my world for the last 50 years. I will continue my friendship with gays and support their right to marry their beloved.

        Unquestionably the world wide change in sexual mores baffles me. I would never have believed the change in sexual mores in 50 years. I agree with you that the sexual revolution portends a revolutionary reorganization of the family as the basis of the social order. The Catholic church faces two choices: expel all of these people and stop being a universal church or learn how to adopt Catholic moral teachings to the social change. Many people project the revolution in sexual mores as the collapse of our society. Human beings and human society possess more resilience than that. I observe that Edward Gibbons, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, credited Christianity for the collapse of the Roman empire.

        For those looking for a discussion of a Catholic pro-choice article find it below:,0,2121538.story#axzz2yKzrPWyn

        An International Work Of Reference On The Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, And History Of The Catholic Church

        WELCOME to the home of the largest, most authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia resource on the web.

        The Catholic Encyclopedia (TCE) was published in 15 volumes between 1907 and 1912 by the Robert Appleton Company. In 1913 the publisher, renamed as Encyclopedia Press, Inc., released a new edition. A year later (1914) a comprehensive Index was released as Volume 16.

        This Original Catholic Encyclopedia (OCE) site holds the complete 16 volume set with the original text of all articles (~11,500) faithfully preserved.

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      • Steve says:

        Greta – I really like your posts here. I would like to talk with you to learn more about your background. If you would be interested, please email me at

    • Joe Wessling says:

      Thank you, Cabrini. An eloquent statement from a deeply Christian perspective. Your observation “a” above gets right to the heart of the issue.
      Joe Wessling

      • Steve says:

        Joe – are you (and M-C D) saying that God created homosexuality? If so, are you also saying God created cancer, war, lust, etc.?

        I agree that M-C D’s statement is eloquent. But that doesn’t mean that it is accurate. I take issue with a few of her points – mainly “Yes, I understand well the Church’s teachings, but experience has shown me the inadequacy of seeing the lives of gay and lesbian people through these lenses.” As I said in an earlier post, I don’t think our human experiences – whether that be in first-hand interactions with those involved or collecting the opinions of very intelligent people who agree with our own position are necessarily valid in confirming the truth. I simply ask that everyone take their thoughts and questions earnestly to God in prayer and see what He has to say about them.

        I do agree with one important point that M-C D makes = that dialogue is what is needed. Not point-counterpoint posts on Facebook or a blog. It’s too easy to be misunderstood. I would welcome the opportunity to get together with anyone of any position to discuss the issues and see if we can’t all find the truth that we are (hopefully) honestly seeking and not just some validation of our current position.

  16. Mary Ellen Williams says:

    Peg, This is excellent: cogently and succinctly written. You have touched on so many salient points. When oh when will the Schnurr’s of this world learn that sexual orientation is not chosen (!) any more than is the color of one’s eyes. The contract bespeaks the very type of rigidity from which Pope Francis is trying to free this Church.
    This is the best response I’ve seen. Word is that it’s making the rounds quickly. I just put it on my FB page. Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to write it!
    Mary Ellen Williams

  17. Greg Olson says:

    Peg – I feel your post has been hi-jacked by a few. Thank you to the voices of support for Peg ‘s initial concerns and Mary Cabrini Durkin’s further illustrations.

    I suspect Peg’s remarks were not intended to become a debate over what is in or not in the Testaments or our Catechism, but rather to point out the flaws in the new teacher contract, how it identifies a violation of the code/agreement, how it enforces a violation, how it impacts these youth who discover they are not like the majority of the population, etc. These are “REAL” issues and these are “REAL” youth with no lifetime of experience or wisdom to internally balance their concerns and questions related to a very confusing tendency they are just discovering in themselves. These children need help, direction and love – not a process for isolating and effectively discriminating against them. LGBTQ behavior is “REAL” and innate in of some of God’s children. It is not their choice. We need solutions and direction, not dogma, rules, restrictions and limitations.

    I remember clearly as Jesus mocked the Sadducees and Pharisees for their dogmatic behavior – and all Jesus did was lead with love. Frankly, its not about who is right or wrong here regarding the Teachings of the Catholic Faith – we have real kids, real teachers, real administrators and real parents all “caught in the crosshairs” of a poorly written document.

    Let’s start talking solutions and recommendations.

  18. Mary Ragland says:

    Peg, I love your letter and agree with your well written words. There is a petition on that reflects the spirit of your letter. It was mentioned in today’s Enquirer with Tim Garry’s brave conversation with the Archbishop, speaking for many of us so saddened by these contracts. I am so glad I discovered your blog and look forward to more of your wisdom! Mary Ragland

  19. Natalie Wolf says:

    Expulsion of the Jews of Spain and support of antisemitism is not water under the bridge, even though it happened long ago. All things have repercussions and the church doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Time moves on and things that were once considered to be the norm, are now considered abhorrent. The one thing that remains constant is the rule of Hillel. I agree that teachers in a religious school should adhere to a moral code, but in my mind, that code fluctuates with generations and with advances in science. What bothers me most is that teachers who most need their jobs will be forced to lie in order to keep their paid position. In vitro is a common practice among couples who struggle to become pregnant. It is a modern scientific miracle. Why should a couple feel compelled to lie (and why is it anybody else’s business) about the way in which their child was conceived?

  20. Mary jo Berlon says:

    Peg , What a well written letter! Thank you for being the voice for those who have been silenced by the archdiocese. Our parish is fortunate to have civic and social minded people such as you in our community.

  21. Ruth Rocker says:

    If you want to work for the diocese, then abide by the requirements of the contract. If you can’t or don’t want to then work somewhere else. It is wrong to sign a contract knowing its requirements and then do whatever you want to flaunt the requirements and turn around and try to sue. These cases should be thrown out of court as groundless from the beginning. And wouldn’t it be nice if we could focus on education of the children instead of all this nonsense?

    • Peg Conway says:

      Clearly we come at this matter from different points of view, Ruth! There’s a harsh tone underlying your comment that troubles me. In my letter, I pointed out several real situations where this contract creates problems for people. How should those be addressed?

  22. Kelly says:

    I really appreciated this video, “The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church.”

    It’s 35 minutes long, but I was really glad that I invested my time in watching it.

  23. Pingback: #FaithFeminisms — Questioning | Sense of the Faithful

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