Go away, gay

Matt Westerhold
Jan 20, 2014


The firing of Brian Panetta as the St. Mary Central Catholic High School band and choir director is one sad story, on so many levels.

The saddest part, perhaps, is the school had the courage to hire Panetta nearly five years ago likely knowing from the beginning he was gay. That was a courageous step for a Catholic school, and Panetta thrived as director, doubling the size of the band and giving it back its “Panther Pride.”

From a believer's perspective, one might think God had a lot to do with Panetta getting hired in the first place; he served those students for 4½ years and nobody has even suggested he did not serve them, and their families, well. He, and they, both appear to have prospered from the experience.

Men and women who don't have faith often envy those who do and wish they too could be believers. From a non-believer's perspective, however, the decision to fire Panetta might appear to be a man-made occurrence in defiance of the universe, in defiance of God.

Click here to read related articles and watch interview with Panetta

It wasn't an easy decision for the school and church doctrine appears to mandate that Panetta be cast aside and sent away from the parish he loved and the parish that loved him. Panetta could have stayed as long as he didn't make a “public” statement about who he really was, as long as he agreed to deny his own self-worth in front of the God who created him, and the world.

It's difficult for many to understand that hide the sin-use the sinner hypocrisy. It creates an image of Panetta being cast out in shame from the great institution St. Mary's is, and always has been, despite past difficulties with real sexual misconduct involving priests.

There also likely have been gay parishioners who gave a lifetime of devotion to the church and school, and past staff members at St. Mary's, who, as long as they denied their own sexual identities, were allowed to “sin” and prosper in the faith.

Making good people hide their true selves, for people of faith, must be like forcing them to deny God's perfection in creating them differently than he created others. And it's likely those past people of faith struggled with that every day of their faithful lives.

Understanding God is easier, perhaps, than understanding church doctrine, and the decision to fire Panetta does appear to have come more from outside Sandusky, and even outside the reach of the Toledo Diocese..

Again, these were difficult decisions made in the clash of 2,000-year-old tradition and belief system against the modern enlightenment that every person — regardless of orientation — has the right to love and marry the person they choose, and to love God.

But the battle over words that ensued after Panetta was fired, over the terminology to describe the separation and who made the decision, also seemed disingenuous. It was a speak the lie-hide the truth approach. Panetta was fired. Period. If they agreed to let him return, he likely would be at the school Monday morning.

Initially, school officials seemed to want to make it clear that Brian resigned, and was not fired. But firing someone one day and giving them the chance to resign a week later or remain fired is still a firing. It's sad that the “public face” they hoped to portray is not the “true face.”

There was a similar word game as to where the decision was made, with the Diocese initially suggesting it was a local decision, and local school officials suggesting it was forced by the diocese. In the end, the edict likely comes from Rome, and the men and women involved here appear to have tried their best to do what they felt compelled to do.

And one last time, these were difficult decisions in a changing world involving a religion that cherishes its traditions and beliefs and is slow to change or evolve. Local decision makers and the Diocese missed an opportunity to speak truth and foster a change that many — including Catholics — believe is needed.

Panetta seems to be a person more clear in his convictions who knows who he is, as a man, as a teacher, as a Catholic and as a musician and future spouse to Nathan than most of us do.

And he should know, his presence in Sandusky has changed us and sparked a conversation that might never have happened without him. It is truly a teachable moment, as he suggested, and the lessons for his students, especially, and for the community at large, will be reviewed and considered by many for a long time to come.

Watch the "between the Lines" interview with Panetta




LOL, are we angry? Your whole pattern of thinking makes no sense to me. As if insulting me changes a thing.


Oh well, so you DON'T have any reading comprehension. That would explain everything that's more than 2 sentences going over your head.

I'll be nice and help you out:

You accused me of bullying. However, all I've done is expect YOU to support YOUR assertions. In other words, if you say something, provide some valid reasons we should take it seriously. Thus, expecting people to support THEIR assertions must be your definition of bullying. So I replied:

To Sugar, bullying means expecting people to support their assertions with something other than their feelings.

Which you failed to read with any understanding of the English language, evidenced by your questioning why you should expect me to support your assertions. First you failed to grasp that in English, pronouns are tied to antecedents, in this case, "their" refers to "people" earlier in the sentence. Second, you failed to grasp that the primary meaning of support in regards to assertions is to provide substantiating material, and it does not mean agree in this context. All this is basic 7th grade English. That makes it unsurprising that any rational pattern of thinking doesn't make sense to you.


Yep, I sm a complete brainless twit that's why you spend your time attempting to belittle me. Sorry buddy I would have to have some respect for you to be even the tiniest bit bothered. Keep wasting your time posting to someone you think is beneath you. Ridiculous.


Hey, I gave you a chance to go back and read it again. The fact remains that you completely failed to understand what you read, and you're not even bothering to dispute that. What you don't say speaks louder than what you do say.

It's not a waste of time, there's nowhere I can buy this kind of entertainment.

John Harville

Nemesis... depends on the vernacular of choice.
'Bullying as you comprehend it for your purposes is Teddy Roosevelt's 'bully pulpit' or 'bully for you! Good job!"
But the modern vernacular is figurately beating people over the head with cherry-picked scriptures or emotional outburst, or passive-aggressive posts dealing in personalities.


You're incorrect. The issue here is not the meaning of bullying. It is Sugar's contention that asking Sugar to substantiate or support Sugar's naked assertions is an assault of some sort. Put simply:

Sugar: the moon is made of cream cheese.

Nemesis: what proof do you have?

Sugar: You're being a bully.

As to your "modern vernacular" bullying criteria, you've been the one tossing out isolated verses, and sugar has been the one making emotional outbursts.

You should be embarrassed to have sugar as your cheering section.


What a tool! People like nemesis are (yawn) pathetic.


Translation: Can't understand or respond to what was said, so resort to namecalling.

John Harville

SUGAR... and they employ modern 'bullying' everywhere their points are not automatically accepted - or when they have no facts or positions except cherry-plucked scriptures or quotes.
We know - and usually we are at opposite ends - the difference.


I have watched this behavior and tactic for years, I have confronted it personally, and have been hated by them for doing so. They think it gives them an edge , power over others.


John: Johannes in ipsum mea, quam ut tincidunt relinquere extra Curabitur SR.

John Harville

tha's easy for you to say.

John Harville

Melody Curtis was hired by the SCCS Board of Directors in February 2013 with her contract to begin July 1, 2013.

In February 2013 Melody Curtis was in her first year as Executive Director of Monroe Catholic Elementary School. MCES was a new consolidation of three elementary schools. Melody Curtis takes great pride in her vitae noting that she 'inspired' the consolidation and was its Executive Director after having been a principal at one of the three elementary schools.
February 2013 Melody Curtis completes the interview process and is offered a contract by SCCS.
Even her greatest defenders have to realize she didn't wait until February to apply. It would seem obvious her application would have been in process to leave her 'inspiration school' and go somewhere else.
I hope she has greater loyalty to SCCS and - this being February - not in the process of moving to another assignment.

FURTHER CLARIFICATION: August 2013... a Register story detailed construction of the 'new' SCCS building. SCCS said as a private school they didn't have to give any figures on costs of the renovations on employee salaries. Grandmasgirl asked a simple question about schools such as SCCS being 'private' if they get state funding. She was - sometimes viciously - attacked.
Let me clarify: According to the SCCS website and Foundation, SCCS puts in its BUDGET more than a half million dollars in STATE FUNDS. They also would have needed a zoning permit and building permit which makes this building project PUBLIC.


By that reasoning, I couldn't replace the roof on my house without making my personal finances public.

John Harville

Your own NEMESIS. Actually, if you get a building permit to replace the roof, it does make that portion of your finances public. Just did that a couple years ago.
However, we're talking about an institution dramatically changing the use, configuration, composition or other aspects. Interestingly the Foundation lists all its and the range of their donations - which also, it could be argued, makes that a public record since the site is not restricted.
If you're an SCCS donor, it's public record - just like mine.


I've obtained my share of building permits. The only information one is required to file is what is necessary to determine that the design and execution does not create a public health or safety risk.

Building permits do not make anything but the fact of the permit public record. This was decided by the courts years ago when the Plain Dealer asked the village of Hunting Valley for the blueprints to the new Lerner mansion and the village said no. The Foundation may choose to list donor information, with the consent of the donors, but that doesn't make it public record. There are plenty of charities and organizations that keep donor records confidential.

"If you're an SCCS donor, it's public record"

So, what, do they dust all ths cash in the collection plate for fingerprints?


That statement above and the dates are true...she abruptly stopped performing most of her duties at MCES after February...as in the past she just drops the ball and moves on.....Once people see through her she leaves...

Steve P

You win, you have officially won your own SELF-debate.

John Harville

Thank you.


No one wins a debate, everyone takes a position than offers their opinion/ information on the subject. This has made a lot of people angry and uncomfortable. I am glad the old SM issues have been ripped wide open. I pray there is more light to come,


"No one wins a debate, everyone takes a position than offers their opinion/ information on the subject."

You would think that, since, in your view, a debate is two sides shouting the same thing over and over again, like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck shouting "is not!" and "is too!"

In what grownups call a debate, each side supports their assertions on a rational basis, and the most sound argument does win. Of course, you've utterly failed to demonstrate any understanding of what a sound argument is.


The bottom line here nemesis is that you want NO discussion of what happened, you along with others are angry that it is being brought up at all. You cannot control the situation and your attempts at intimidation won't work in a forum like this. Quit whining.

John Harville

It's interesting when reading the August 13 article in the SR, some of the same vitriolic posters on this thread were attacking Grandmasgirl for simply asking if Catholic and charter, etc. schools which take state funds could legally call themselves private.


You see, sugar, the problem with your latest outburst is that I have absolutely no objection to discussion, and I'm trying to get MORE discussion of the underlying assumptions. If I want "no discussion, then why have I added 10 times as much material to the discussion as you have? Your contributions have essentially been to tell people they're wrong and you can't be bothered reading, let alone responding to anything more than a shouting match.

I've openly invited you and your buddy Harville to say MORE, not less, but you refuse and he avoids. Harville has pretty much advocated that they let Panetta resign quietly at the end of the year and sweep the whole thing under the rug, in which case there would have been the "no discussion" you accuse others of wanting.


You're so full of BS, who the hell would read all the crap you post it's rambling nonsense. My God you could bore someone to death. I can only imagine how much you must like to hear yourself talk. Save it for someone who gives a sh$$.


Typical sugar - accuse me of wanting no discussion, then when I point out I've invited more disussion, you complain that I've said too much. So WHO want's no discussion?

But hey, I get it - logic is hard for some people.

John Harville

Then, by your definition, a position supported by articles, statements, records, posts on public websites, would constitute offering information on the position.
Since that's what I did... and you've offered nothing except more vitriol... which makes me your NEMESIS.


Is sugar's lack of reading comprehension contagious? I was talking about SUGAR. Is your name sugar? Or is this your way of slipping up and revealing that sugar is your sock puppet?

Even though you dodged all my questions, I directly answered your "backatcha" - maybe you should check it out and you might understand what I'm talking about.

I've offered no vitriol-I've asked questions, and pointed out that no answers were given. I've questioned the logic of comments, and I've pointed out about 20% the factual inaccuracies people, including you, have posted. The vitriol and namecalling has come mostly from your sidekick sugar.


If I am such an idiot why waste time posting to me? What a dolt you are.


If I'm such a dolt, why waste time posting to me? Thanks for a good laugh, sugar. You never fail to be entertaining, bless your heart.


interesting that under Cannon law, priests are authorized to "lie" in order to protect the interests of the Catholic Church. I watched that documentary, John. My thoughts: the Diocese of Toledo has NOT been serving Jesus. And as to Catholic priests who don't believe in heaven or hell -- as per the interview in the documentary with Dennis Gray--- all very mindwarping!

John Harville

If only you could read the depositions. And these men were/are teaching our children.

Canon law is not that different from Civil law: police are authorized to lie - and more - to facilitate an arrest.

John Harville

ah yes...


Hoping that the commentators on this thread read the comments I have made ......Fearful that Ms. Curtis will ruin your school as well.....please read