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CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled on Thursday that Catholic high school in Indianapolis was within its rights to fire a guidance counselor in a same-sex union.

Roncalli High School let Michelle Fitzgerald go in 2018 because of her same-sex union. The school also fired another guidance counselor who was also in a same-sex relationship; it has already won that case. Same-sex sexual relationships are a contradiction of Catholic doctrine.

The high school proved that Fitzgerald acted as a “minister,” which satisfied the “ministerial exception” that provides religious schools with more freedom to hire and fire employees.

For example, she provided feedback on school liturgies and as a guidance counselor said she used her faith to inform her work.

“I consistently use spiritual life and resources in my counseling conversations as well as sharing my own spiritual experiences.…I am faithful and have no problems sharing my beliefs and my love of God,” she wrote in a self-evaluation. “In a faith-based school, I feel this definitely is a strength when working with young people who are seeking direction,” she wrote.

“These statements confirm that Fitzgerald was conveying religious teachings in her work,” the judges wrote.

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The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the high school, praised the ruling.

“Religious schools exist to pass on the faith to the next generation, and to do that, they need the freedom to choose leaders who are fully committed to their religious mission,” Joseph Davis, an attorney with Becket, stated in a news release. “The precedent keeps piling up: Catholic schools can ask Catholic school teachers and administrators to be fully supportive of Catholic teaching.”

“Today’s ruling is common-sense: decisions about who conveys the Catholic faith to Catholic school children are for the Church, not the government,” Davis added. “Many parents entrust their children to religious schools precisely because those schools help to pass on the faith, and this victory ensures they remain free to do so.”

The federal court ruling follows a state supreme court ruling that affirmed the rights of two other Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to hire and fire individuals who were in same-sex relationships.

Following a directive from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Cathedral High School fired Joshua Payne-Elliott in 2019 to remain in good standing with the Church and to continue calling itself Catholic. Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, on the other hand, lost permission to call itself Catholic after it refused to follow the archdiocese’s orders to fire Payne-Elliot’s “husband.”

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The court ruled against Payne-Elliott, who tried to argue that the archdiocese improperly interfered with his relationship with Cathedral High School. The court ruled that the archdiocese properly allowed the high school to decide to either use the Catholic designation and fire the openly dissident teacher, or it could retain the teacher and forfeit its right to refer to itself as Catholic, as LifeSiteNews previously reported.

The Catholic Church affirms that marriage is between one man and one woman. “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states.

People who struggle with same-sex attractions are called to a life of chastity. “Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life,” the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote in its 1986 “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Person. “As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God’s personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord’s grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way,” then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote.