Should non-Catholics be fired for violating Catholic teaching?

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend fired a non-Catholic teacher at a Catholic school for attempting to use IVF to become pregnant. I agree that she should have been fired, because she agreed, as an employee, to abide by certain standards of conduct, which she then violated. And the violation was grave, since it involves the deaths of innocent prenatals.


I predict that this custom of firing non-Catholics working for the Church, because they have violated Catholic teaching, will eventually become so widespread that even Catholics who violate Church teaching will be fired.

It is somewhat hypocritical for dioceses to fire non-Catholics who refuse to abide by Catholic teaching, when many dioceses (perhaps even ALL dioceses) continue to ’employ’ priests, religious, paid employees, and unpaid volunteers, in many different positions in parishes and dioceses, even though many of these persons do not abide by definitive Catholic teaching on important matters of faith or morals.

Shouldn’t we start by cleaning our own house?

IVF results in the direct killing of innocent prenatals. But so does the continual use of abortifacient contraception. Does any diocese fire all employees who use abortifacient contraception? (If so, please inform me, so I can move there. I would love to live in a diocese where the Bishop fires anyone who rejects, by word or by deed, definitive Catholic teaching.)

Does any diocese fire all employees who are living in sin in a heterosexual or a homosexual relationship? Cardinal Schönborn just recently approved of the election, to a parish council, of a homosexual living in a civil union with his male lover. Why hasn’t that parish council member been fired? For that matter, why hasn’t Cardinal Schönborn been fired?

What percentage of parish employees and volunteers use contraception regularly and/or reject Church teaching on that subject? What percentage reject the teaching of the Church that direct abortion is always immoral, even in cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother? What percentage reject Catholic teaching on homosexuality and same-sex marriage?

If it were up to me, I’d require all Church employees to sign a written profession of faith…. but the Church already requires that, and it does no good! They sign, and continue sinning.

I don’t think the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will win this lawsuit, because the lawyer can ask whether the Bishop has fired every employee who violates Church teaching, especially on the subject of abortion and abortifacient contraception, which has much the same gravity, for much the same reason, as IVF. I think that the answer, very likely, is “No”, he does not fire Catholics who use abortifacient contraception. And if he is asked whether, from now on, he will do so, I think the answer will again be “No.” Unfortunately.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic moral theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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4 Responses to Should non-Catholics be fired for violating Catholic teaching?

  1. John Platts says:

    I actually agree with the decision made in this case to fire a Catholic school teacher for choosing to use IVF. There have been other cases where teachers have been fired from Catholic schools for choosing to have in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, premarital sex, adultery, or sexual relationship with a student. Catholic schools should and can actually prohibit all of its teachers from using artificial procreation, engaging in sexual acts outside of marriage, or getting an abortion, since these acts are intrinsically evil and the laws prohibiting these acts are binding on all persons.

    On the other hand, a Catholic school should not fire a teacher who is raped by another person and gets pregnant as a result of that rape. I believe that there are some Catholic schools that might wrongfully fire a unmarried Catholic school teacher who gets pregnant as a result of a rape by another person. How can Catholic schools ensure that teachers who get pregnant as a result of rape by another person are not wrongfully terminated, while allowing the termination of teachers who get pregnant as a result of sexual acts outside of marriage or acts of artificial procreation?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Rape is gravely immoral, but being a victim of any gravely immoral act is not a sin. In the practical case, the school must be certain that they are only firing persons guilty of grave sin, and not victims of the sins of other persons. Prudence, and a careful ascertaining of all facts is needed.

  2. richardedwardcraig says:

    It’s sad that this woman’s desire to bring new life into the earth has ended in such a way. Is not all human life precious to God? God tells us that “I knew you before you were born”. That must surly mean that any child that comes into the world was predestined to do so, even if it came by IVF.But back to the point in hand. I don’t think we have a right to require peoples of other faiths to conform to our beliefs. Rather we should show compassion and try to win them over into the arms of the Catholic church.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Predestination incorporates free will. And so it is not simply the case that if something happens, God willed it. God permits us to exercise free will, even to the extent of sinning gravely. God creates the soul of new human life, even if he or she was conceived by the grave sin of someone else.

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