The Catholic Church in the United Kingdom has a released a new booklet clarifies Catholic teaching with regard to marriage and sexuality, and its implications for persons hired to teach at Catholic schools. As reported by Pink News, a UK-based news outlet that focuses on homosexuals, "The guidance, sanctioned by the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, says that teachers in Catholic schools should not marry divorcees, marry in registry offices or in other civil ceremonies (such as civil partnerships) that do not meet the Catholic Church’s approval."
"The booklet, Christ at the Centre: Why the Church provides Catholic Schools, says that senior teachers in “a partnership of intimacy with another person, outside a form of marriage approved by the church…can be removed from office.”
According to Pink News, Keith Porteous Wood of the UK National Secular Society reacted, "It is scandalous that the Catholic Church is able to use taxpayers’ money to practice this sort of crude discrimination." He added, “The way a person arranges their private life, so long as it is within the law, should be of no concern to an employer, not even the Catholic Church, particularly if no scandal is caused.”
A spokeswoman for the Church insisted “this isn’t about checking up on people,” but rather guidance for those applying for senior leadership positions.
“It is informing people called to leadership positions in Catholic schools that these are the expectations of someone in a senior role,” the spokeswoman told The Telegraph.
The European Commission is considering whether British laws governing church-affiliated schools conflict with European education laws.
“This is a matter for schools and their governors,” said the Department for Education in regards to the booklet. “Faith schools can consider whether a person’s conduct is in line with their religious values when dismissing teachers. However schools must also comply with employment law.”
In 2007, the Archdiocese of London was advised that it could not dismiss a male homosexual primary school headmaster who had entered into a civil union with another teacher of the same sex from a nearby school.
The Catholic Church of the United Kingdom, along with Christians of other persuasions, is growing considerably concerned about legislative initiatives that would ostensibly have an effect on the conduct of Catholic rituals, conduct, and schools. Earlier this month, more than 1,000 Catholic priests wrote a frantic letter arguing that same-sex marriage laws in Britain would "severely" limit their freedom to promote and practice their faith. "After centuries of persecution, Catholics have, in recent times, been able to be members of the professions and participate fully in the life of this country," they wrote. According to the letter, if enacted, same-sex marriage will restrict "the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools, charitable institutions or places of worship."