A Catholic school in Miami fired a first grade teacher for breaking her contract by marrying her lesbian partner, an act the Catholic Church considers heresy.
Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School fired Jocelyn Morffi Thursday, the day after she returned from her wedding in the Florida Keys, to the surprise and chagrin of many parents, according to The Associated Press. The school sent letters home to parents of students announcing that Morffi had been fired, but did not explain why, though officials of the Archdiocese of Miami told the Miami Herald that Morffi had been fired for breaking her contract.
“This weekend I married the love of my life and unfortunately I was terminated from my job as a result,” Morffi said on social media, according to the outlet. “In their eyes I’m not the right kind of Catholic for my choice in partner.”
Several parents expressed outrage over Morffi’s firing, as they held her in high esteem as a quality teacher. Some of the parents of children in Morffi’s class also took issue with the manner and said that they did not care that she was gay, according to local mother Cintia Cini.
“We were extremely livid. They treated her like a criminal, they didn’t even let her get her things out of her classroom,” Cini said. “Our only concern was the way she was with our children, the way she taught our children and this woman by far was one of the best teachers out there.”
Diocesan officials, however, stood by their decision to fire Morffi, and said that it was a matter of policy and church teaching that was well-known and long upheld and that Morffi’s actions left the school with no choice.
“As a teacher in a Catholic school their responsibility is partly for the spiritual growth of the children,” Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said. “One has to understand that in any corporation, institution or organization there are policies and procedures and teachings and traditions that are adhered to. If something along the way does not continue to stay within that contract, then we have no other choice.”
Katerina Reyes-Gutierrez, a friend of Morffi, told the Miami Herald that the principal called Morffi into the office on Wednesday and asked her to resign. Morffi refused and school officials fired her the following day.
Morffi worked at the school for seven years and started and ran a volunteer program called #teachHope70x7, where students distribute meals to the homeless on weekends.
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