(LifeSiteNews) — A federal court ruled last week that a Catholic school in Indiana rightfully fired a guidance counselor who violated her contract by living a homosexual lifestyle contrary to Catholic teaching.
Shelly Fitzgerald shared about her same-sex “marriage” months after she had been hired by Roncalli Catholic High School. The school then dismissed her on the grounds that she was violating her contract, which retains the right to fire employees if the Catholic faith is not lived out in personal lives. Fitzgerald proceeded to file a discrimination lawsuit against the school and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
“Fitzgerald’s employment agreement and Roncalli’s description of Fitzgerald’s expected duties are, alone, sufficient to resolve this case because those documents make clear that Roncalli entrusted Fitzgerald to teach the Catholic faith and carry out Roncalli’s religious mission,” the court ruling stated.
The document continues to say that the former guidance counselor had agreed to fulfill a “teaching ministry contract,” the duties of which include “assisting the students in strengthening their Christian development” and “fostering the spiritual growth of the children entrusted in [her] care.” Fitzgerald’s role as a counselor had further expectations to be a role model and to be “leading students toward Christian maturity and with teaching the Word of God.”
Kim Zember was actively engaged in the LGBTQ lifestyle, but then dedicated her life to Christ and now proudly points young people to "Jesus, the One who loves each person with a radical love that no one else can offer," through her ministry, Overcome Ministries.
However, Kim's opportunity to speak about chastity, traditional marriage, and true happiness has been suddenly cancelled in the most cowardly way possible — all by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
In a cowardly development, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis is now appealing to an incomplete approval process, claiming that Kim's scheduled appearance at St. Luke Catholic Church is pending review.
This is a ridiculous reason to silence a traditional persepctive about relationships, healthy living, and the power of faith. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis' appeal to process is a scandal to the Catholic Church and no champion of truth should be cancelled from a Catholic institution for such a weak and transparently insufficient reason.
*** SIGN NOW: Demand accountability from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to immediately approve Kim Zember her ability to speak and inspire attendees at St. Luke Catholic Church! ***
Bishop Chatard released a painfully weak statement, amidst the fallout, having first helped support the event at St. Luke Catholic Church.
The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is using obvious formalities to delay or prevent what the parishioners MUST hear: the truth about the LGBTQ movement and what truly brings happiness.
SIGN: Demand accountability! Kim Zember must immediately be granted approval to speak at St. Luke Catholic Church!
“All this indicates Roncalli entrusted guidance counselors like Fitzgerald to convey the Church’s message in addition to their secular duties,” the ruling stated. “Fitzgerald’s non-performance of these entrusted duties make her ‘an underperforming minister’ who may be removed.”
“The Supreme Court has repeatedly protected the freedom of religious groups to choose who will carry out their religious mission,” Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who represented the school and the archdiocese as lead counsel, told LifeSiteNews in a statement. “If ‘separation of church and state’ means anything, it means the state doesn’t get to tell the church who is going to help pass on the faith to the next generation.”
LifeSite contacted the Archdiocese of Indianapolis for comment but has not yet received a response.
According to a September 30 press release from the Becket Fund, which has defended the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in other cases, Fitzgerald was hired as the co-director of guidance at Roncalli. In 2018, she admitted to having been “married” to another woman. “The school then declined to renew her contract for the following year.”
“Ms. Fitzgerald sued the school and the Archdiocese, alleging that its desire to uphold the Catholic faith is a form of discrimination.” The release also stated that the ruling “is the latest in a string of court victories protecting religious institutions from government interference in internal religious matters.”
In 2019, the law firm represented the Archdiocese of Indianapolis in a case against a teacher at Cathedral Catholic High School. According to the case summary, the teacher “entered a same-sex civil union in violation of his employment agreement and centuries of Catholic teaching” in 2017. After two years, the Archdiocese decided that the school could not be affiliated with the Catholic Church unless it put an end to hiring employees who “lived in defiance of Church teaching.”
The teacher was fired and filed a lawsuit, which was eventually won by the Archdiocese and the school.