It seems to all come down to whether a Catholic employer can control an employee's personal life; or at least that's how it seems. Christa Dias was a technology coordinator at Holy Family and St. Lawrence Catholic schools in Cincinnati, Ohio. She claims that she was wrongfully terminated because she became pregnant through the utilization of artificial insemination. Fired
The schools position has been less than consistent. Initially, the school reportedly fired Dias for being pregnant while single. They later apparently changed their reason to being pregnant from artificial insemination. Ironically, both reasons are contrary to Catholic teaching as well as her employment contract. But one would have to question how the schools would address the immaculate conception of Mary had she been an employee. (Edit comment)Dias responded by suing the schools for discrimination. While it is not clear whether her attorneys will argue inconsistencies in theology, perhaps they should. The outcome of the case will likely hinge upon a similar case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Case on hold. In the interim, what does the contract say?
In sum, it requires the teacher to "comply with and act consistently in accordance with the stated philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the policies and directives of the School and the Archdiocese."
This becomes problematic when you consider Section 2376 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which reads:
"The gift of a child"
"Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple – donation of a sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus – are gravely immoral. These techniques – heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization – infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ ‘right to become a father and a mother only through each other.' "
Defendant schools claim Dias' dismissal was not discriminatory; they contend it is simply because she violated a legal contract. Dias' attorneys; however, argue that the same standards are not enforced on male sperm donors. Furthermore, given that 90% of Catholics have used birth control of one sort or another, one may assume there are teachers that have used birth control. Were such teachers also fired for violating Catholic policy? (Don't even get us started on Priest who bend the rules when it comes to young alter boys...)
The Telegraph claims that Jennifer Cox was fired from Atomic Weapons Establishment in Britain for missing work due to pregnancy. Cox's case will be decided after the new year. Women argue that they want the same freedom that men take for granted. They want the ability to make choices in their personal lives without the risk of being singled out or fired in the work place. On the other hand the employers argue nondiscriminatory reasons for their personnel decisions. In the mean time, Catholic employers might be best suited to make decisions based upon old school theology. After all, wasn't Mary a single woman who became pregnant by unconventional means? Would the board advocate firing the mother of God based on a contractual violation?
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