— Jon Axell (@JonAxell) December 22, 2013
This is big, it seems to me. Notice that the school is private, not archdiocesan; it’s interesting to think of how the archdiocese would have handled the situation. Still, the school identifies itself as Catholic, and it’s a big deal that protests by students, parents, and alumni drove the principal to resign. She probably did the right thing, inasmuch as she had apparently lost the ability to lead. This is an unambiguous victory for gay-rights supporters among Catholics. Catholic schools nationwide are going to be seeing a lot more of this. There has been a lot of “don’t ask, don’t tell” related to gay teachers and administrators in Catholic schools (hypocrisy is the necessary lubricant for much social life), but the legalization of same-sex marriage forces the issue.
So we now have two resignations – the chair of the board and the president. Mary Elizabeth Williams chimes in:
Sister Mary Tracy’s decision to leave may yet indicate the stirrings of true change in the church. And her choice to leave the school may have stemmed from more than just bad publicity. There may have been an element of conscience. Earlier this month, she told the school’s openly gay freelance drama instructor Stephanie Merrow that Merrow’s work status wasn’t an issue, and that’s she was “welcome” to stay on at the school. And most tellingly, she let her own students share a statement she gave to them, in which she told them, “I look forward to the day where no individual loses their job because they married a person of the same sex.”
Things are coming to a head sooner than anyone expected. I suspect Pope Francis understands this. Which makes this year’s Synod on the family and marriage a potential watershed of sorts.