By Megan Card, Forum CommunicationsA fifth-grade teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic School here confirmed Friday she will not return in the fall because she questioned the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage.
MOORHEAD, Minn. — A fifth-grade teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic School here confirmed Friday she will not return in the fall because she questioned the Catholic Church’s stance on gay marriage.
In a letter sent to St. Joseph’s staff and families, Trish Cameron said she was told June 1 she would not be offered a contract for the following school year because of her response to a question on a self-evaluation.
The question concerned whether she supported the Catholic Church’s teachings, she wrote in the letter.
Her response, as quoted in her letter, reads: “I do not agree w/ all Church teachings on a personal level but I do not bring my own opinions into our religion classes. We tend to focus on respect and love for one another and living out our call as servants whenever a ‘political’ topic crops (which it rarely, if ever, does).”
After a later discussion with school administration, Cameron said in the letter that she told them she did not agree with the church’s stance against gay marriage. Because of her dissent, she was asked to write a brief letter of resignation.
Families and staff also received a letter signed by Principal Toby Bierl and Superintendent and church Monsignor Mike Foltz. That letter stated that because of “an unfortunate circumstance” and the school’s “fiduciary responsibility” as a “Catholic-Christian school,” Cameron was asked to resign.
In the letter, the school officials credited Cameron with being instrumental in developing St. Joseph’s drama club and for “her love of teaching and her kind and giving heart.” The situation “leaves the school with an air of sadness,” the letter stated.
Foltz could not be reached for comment.
Cameron, who taught at the school for 11 years, refused to discuss her resignation any further.
“In my honest to goodness heart, I want the interest in this story to build bridges for all the right reasons, not to tear things down,” Cameron said. “I feel like perhaps there is a wave of interest that may need to come and go before I speak about this.”
Cameron also said her hesitation to speak more about the content of her self-evaluation is because of its controversial nature. She said people may not be willing to listen to both sides of the issue concerning the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage.
“I think that would be my higher calling — that is to say — if I am called to speak up with what’s been printed at some point, I want it to be for the right reasons,” Cameron said. “I want to be in an environment where people are listening. I want it all to unfold for all the right reasons.”
Megan Card is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.