Ousted gay band director continues fight

Former St. Mary Central Catholic employee Brian Panetta wants a sitdown with Pope Francis
Alissa Widman Neese
May 30, 2014

widman@sanduskyregister.com

St. Mary Central Catholic High School's fired band director hopes to secure a conversation with the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

Brian Panetta, who lost his job in January after announcing plans for a gay wedding, is one of nine U.S. teachers who signed a letter to Pope Francis, requesting a Papal audience to discuss homosexuality.

Click HERE for past stories about the fired band director

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights advocacy group for LGBT individuals, delivered the petition to the Vatican on Tuesday.

"We respectfully submit that it is time for our Church to reflect on how it treats lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and the family members who embrace them," the letter reads. "Love thy neighbor as thyself is at the foundation of the gospel and the Church's social teaching, and yet we are not treated as neighbors."

The letter addresses the growing number of gay teacher firings at Catholic schools across the nation, as well as the feelings of alienation that follow.

All teachers who signed the letter identify as Catholic.

"While Catholics are among the most welcoming and embracing of all people of faith, the hierarchy is doing an incredible amount of damage by emotionlessly wielding discriminatory policies against faithful Catholics," it reads. 

Those joining forces with Panetta include five gay teachers from across the U.S. whose schools fired them for marriage plans. 

Its three other signatures belong to a trio of Cincinnati-area teachers who resigned in protest of a new employment contract, which for the first time detailed specific practices the Catholic school employees couldn't publicly support, including "gay lifestyles."

At Sandusky Central Catholic School, Panetta signed a similar contract, which school officials and representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Toledo cited following his departure.

It's ultimately unclear who fired Panetta, who was in his fifth year of employment. School officials attributed the decision to mandates from the diocese, but its representatives claimed the decision was a local choice.

After word spread of Panetta's firing, he was later allowed to forcibly resign, he told the Register. 

Soon after, the story attracted national attention.

A copy of the Human Rights Campaign's letter is available below

Watch a January interview with Brian Panetta in the player below

Comments

Tsu Dho Nimh

If he doesn't agree with the doctrine of the Catholic church, then find another church that shares his values.

Dcfred20036

Tsu, I would be inclined to agree with you if I thought that the church actually followed its own doctrine. Take the Diocese of Toledo, the very same that backed Brian's termination had no problem protecting and moving around predator priests for years. Heck, they even protected a killer priest, the one that killed that nun in a Satanic ritual on an Easter Saturday in a chapel. think about this for a minute and how absurd and twisted the whole thing is: gay teacher who has done nothing wrong gets fired, but sexual predators of children protected. EVIL.

DGMutley

Dcfred20036,

Your argument isn't valid: you can't equate LGBT with sexual predators.

Don Lee

Read Dcfred20036's last sentence again.

DGMutley

Ok.

deertracker

I don't think he was trying to equate them just point out hypocrisy!

I Agree!

DGMutley

I believe that you are correct but he's lumped the gay issue in with criminal wrongdoing and these are two separate issues.

He's trying to show hypocrisy but here is no hypocrisy because bending the rules in an attempt to minimize damage to church's public image has nothing to do with the church's doctrine.

Nemesis

So, because an institution failed to fulfill its stated principles in one area, it should abandon all its principles in another? That's like saying because of the VA hospital scandal, the USA should repeal all laws regulating agriculture.

deertracker

We are talking rape of kids and murder AND then a cover up.

What principles?

From the Grave

WHO was talking about rape and murder?!?!

deertracker

DcFred and he is right.

Having sex with young boys and girls is rape!

From the Grave

But that's not what this story is about AT ALL.

Nemesis

You need to work on your reading comprehension.

Are you prepared to cite where the crimes you mention are called for or even allowed in the official doctrine of the institution?
I didn't think so - therefore, those acts constitute a failure of the institution to conform to its principles. Such a failure does not constitute a valid reason for abandoning its principles in another area.

Babo

Not to mention that children have a far greater chance of being raped by law enforcement officers or public school teachers and people in general of being murdered by a government employee than by a priest.

From the Grave

He MUST have known that he'd lose his job if he got married or even announced his engagement. If he REALLY loves teaching, like ALL teachers SHOULD, then he would have either found a new job first, or just gone on like he was so he could keep his job. Accept the consequences and MOVE ON.

LookingDown

He did, he didn't fight for his job! He is trying to educate you simple minded ppl!

From the Grave

Hey, I'm all for people being who they are. But you can't change an employer's rules to just because you want things to be different. He knew what would happen, so just move on to another job.

holysee

Would be interesting to have some insight into the closets of the Catholics that actually belong to St. Mary...........

thinkagain

Cue the Christaphobic, godless heathen…

coasterfan

You say godless like it's a bad thing. I find it impossible to be phobic towards something I don't believe in.

Contango

Re: "I find it impossible to be phobic towards something I don't believe in."

A mental contradiction.

Then why rail against it?

deertracker

Doesn't coaster still get an opinion? Explain "rail".

Contango

http://dictionary.reference.com/...

Reading improves one's vocabulary. You should try it.

deertracker

I fail to se where he was railing against anything.

Just stating his thoughts. I saw no force!

Rusty of Sandusky

"I find it impossible to be phobic towards something I don't believe in."

Yet someone who "doesn't believe in" homosexuality is automatically branded as being homophobic. ;-)

coasterfan

Let's clarify: I don't think God or gods exist. I think we all agree that homosexuality exists, so your comparison is invalid.

In your example, the phrase "doesn't believe in" has a different meaning: "something you don't approve of".

thinkagain

As you can see from coasterfan’s reply, logic eludes the liberal mind.

From the Grave

I have no interest in any God, Savior, or religion that doesn't accept every person as they are.

grumpy

Re: "I have no interest in any God, Savior, or religion that doesn't accept every person as they are."

Including rapists, murderers, pedophiles, thieves, traitors and politicians? Says more about you than about religion.

Contango

Remember:

Jesus told the adulterous woman NOT to do it again as a condition of His forgiveness.

"Judge not" isn't a heavenly "if it feels good, do it" stamp of approval.

FYI: A late friend had a brother who went away to seminary several decades ago.

He told a story of how the officials had caught two young men engaging in 'relations' and kicked 'em out.

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