CDADT (or: The Catholic Church’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy)

February 27th, 2011

Inspired by Chestnut Hill, Pa. Catholic college, fires gay part-time professor (Washington Post 2/27/11).

“What am I supposed to do? Say, ‘Before we go any further, I’m gay?’ Who says that?” – James St. George after being fired from his part-time professorship
“While we welcome diversity, it is expected that all members of our college community, regardless of their personal beliefs, respect and uphold our Roman Catholic mission, character and values both in the classroom and in public statements that identify them with our school. For this reason, we chose not to offer an additional teaching contract to St. George.” – statement by Chestnut Hill College president Carol Jean Vale
“All you have to do is Google him, you can see that he’s openly gay. They can’t claim they didn’t know.” – one of St. George’s students (Jessica Murray) expressing her disgust with the firing


It turns out Catholic have their own version of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,

Which unfortunately isn’t working out that well.

Many priests practice CDADT with their gay parishioners,

Not delving into whether they’re active practitioners.

Many also have clerical colleagues they suspect are gay,

But don’t talk or ask about it anyway.

I guess it’s fair in one way, since priests no sex are permitted,

And it’s in the act, not the thought, that the sin is committed.

(Of course, the list of such things which the Church forbids

Goes horribly wrong when priests have sex with kids.)

In a more recent example of CDAT at a private Catholic school,

A gay professor was fired for breaking this unwritten rule.

He made “public statements about his long-term relationship,

For which the school terminated his professorship.

Rev. James St. George belongs to a branch of Catholicism

With which the Vatican has a gay rights related schism.

His branch does not believe being gay is an abomination

And doesn’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

St. George has taught at the school since 2009,

And until now, everything was fine.

At least some of his students (and probably colleagues) knew he’s gay

And at his firing expressed dismay.

As other tradition-bound hierarchical organizations change,

Isn’t Catholicism’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy increasingly strange?


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