How Extraordinary!

I’m curious. Aren’t you?

What will be the official Catholic position when our own discrimination/unlawful termination/they-hate-me suits come before the SCOTUS? Like the one decided last week.

Will lay Catholics be promoted from “extraordinary” status to full-fledged ministers? Will lawyers for the plaintiffs have access to this document and then present their case? Non-ordained Catholic employees are collaborators, not ministers!

Catholic Justice Samuel Alito seems to have a problem with this view:

(The definition of minister) should apply to any ’employee’ who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals, or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith.

Messengers or teachers? Heck, that could apply to practically every active Catholic. Doesn’t sound so extraordinary to me.

Regardless of the result, I’m sure that churches all over will continue to struggle with the very obvious challenge. The American judiciary may let them off the hook, but mistreatment of employees–even the perception of it–comes with a cost. Money handed out in settlements may be saved today. But grasshoppers in the clergy might consider that a little bit of harder work, a little more consideration in the moment might save many headaches in the future.

Churches get an exemption from good behavior. How the heck does that look? The employers who should be the best-behaved get to run HR-considerations like the dance line at a high school sock hop. Juvenile behavior, even if legal, always has consequences. Or so my mother told me.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Church News, Commentary, Ministry, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Extraordinary!

  1. David D. says:

    In a truly ecumenical gesture, the USCCB submitted its amicus brief jointly with the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

  2. FrMichael says:

    NB I am not a lawyer!

    The Administration’s brief and position in this case were so extreme, I don’t think that the case serves as useful a precedent as others. In the oral arguments, even Justice Kagan couldn’t get the Administration to walk back from the plank on which it so gleefully walked. There are plenty of other more mainstream cases and situations in the works– especially in reference to same-sex unions– that this issue is hardly closed.

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