Article 25

‘Love One Another’ Has Limits

In Uncategorized on 02/19/2013 at 9:13 am

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Michael Moroski, former assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School. Photo by Paul Davis.

Catholics fire administrator for backing marriage equality

By Gregory Flannery

Michael Moroski is a newlywed, an activist in support of homeless people and until recently a Catholic educator. He also believes that homosexual couples should have the right to marry – which is why he is no longer a Catholic educator.

Moroski did not voice his beliefs in the classroom. On Jan. 27 he wrote on his personal blog (mikemoroski.com), “I unabashedly believe that gay people should be allowed to marry.” Fifteen days later the Archdiocese of Cincinnati fired him from his job as assistant principal of Purcell Marian High School.

The Roman Catholic Church holds that homosexual activity is a mortal sin and opposes same-sex marriage as a violation of natural law.

Tammy Peadon Reasoner, spokesperson for Purcell Marian, did not return a reporter’s call. Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, declined to comment.

“We really can’t talk about it because it’s a personnel matter,” he said.

Asked whether the high school or the archdiocese had fired Moroski, Andriacco said they are one and the same.

“His discharge paper was signed by the principal of Purcell Marian High School,” he said. “There isn’t a separation. We own the school.”

‘Not shamed’

Moroski was the co-founder of Choices Café, a now-defunct non-profit coffee shop in Over-the-Rhine that hosted Narcotics Anonymous meetings and a program to help ex-offenders get back into the workforce. (See “The Choices We Make,” issue of May 1, 2012).

He taught for 10 years at Moeller High School, also a Catholic school, and was assistant principal at Purcell Marian for 18 months prior to his termination. Judging by student protests and petitions protesting his dismissal, he was a popular administrator at Purcell Marian.

The archdiocese gave him an ultimatum, Moroski says: renounce his statement of support for marriage equality or lose his job.

“On Monday, Feb. 4, I was given an ultimatum by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Namely, to take down my post on this site entitled, ‘Choose Your Battles,’ sign a number of documents assuring my silence and keep my job – or resign,” he wrote in a subsequent blog post. “After much deliberation with my wife, family, trusted clergy, professionals from all walks of life and my own meditative silence, I decided not to take the post down, nor to recant my position that ‘I unabashedly believe gay people should be allowed to marry. … If I take that post down, I would not be able to look at the thousands of former students and families with whom I have worked for 12 years in the eye.”

Michael Boberg, a Purcell Marian graduate, sent a letter to the archdiocese, expressing his disgust with its treatment of Moroski.

“I am a graduate of Purcell-Marian (’86),” Boberg wrote. “I am also a gay man who has been in a committed relationship with my partner for almost 20 years. My coming-out story is central to my high school experience at Purcell-Marian. I often felt the root of my education there allowed me to question my faith openly and gave me the opportunity to explore my personal belief system in a safe setting. … (Moroski’s) support of gay marriage should be viewed as an opportunity for further dialogue and increasing understanding, not shamed ‘pushing out the door’ or ‘sweeping under the rug.’ Hasn’t this very approach resulted in more than a few troubles for the Catholic Church in the past few decades?”

‘Welcome him back’

For Moroski, support for marriage equality is not a contradiction of Catholic teaching but rather the result of what he learned in Catholic schools.

“I spend a lot of my life trying to live as a Christian example of love for others, and my formation at Catholic grade school, high school, three Catholic universities and employment at two Catholic high schools has informed my conscience to believe that gay marriage is NOT something of which to be afraid,” he wrote in the blog post that got him fired.

Moroski was a guest Feb. 11 on a talk show on WLW (700 AM) with his attorney, Randy Freking. Reminded that Moroski had signed an employment contract that includes restrictions on social-media activity, Freking said the contract doesn’t address personal blog posts.

“It really deals with school computers,” he said.

Freking said the archdiocese had acted unjustly, punishing Moroski for activity unrelated to his work at the school.

“He should be allowed to post things on his personal blog without risking his employment,” Freking said.

He also predicted Moroski would be re-hired.

“I think they’re gonna welcome him back home because he’s got too much support,” Freking said.

Within hours of the broadcast, the archdiocese informed Moroski that he was no longer employed.

The loss of his job does not change Moroski’s commitment to the Catholic Church, he said during the broadcast.

“I remain in the church and the institutions that belong to the church because I believe in the message,” he said. “I very much don’t feel that I’m backing away from the Catholic Church. While I very much respect the church hierarchy, I feel that there is a disconnect. We in the pews and on the streets, like the homeless, have wisdom, too.”

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  1. It’s a cliche, but I say without hesitation: “Some of my best friends are gay.” Among the closest are those I met through PMHS, decades ago. Back then, we had AIDS and Madonna. Today, more like witch hunts and fringe politics. Interesting times, both.

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