Chris Wilson has had his day in court. Thankfully, he lost. An appeals court has sided with the Diocese of Venice in a “discrimination” suit filed by Mr. Wilson who was fired from his job as a religion teacher at a diocesan high school after he claimed that Fr. Cory Mayer said inappropriate things to teenage girls in the confessional. According to the diocese, Father Mayer was merely leading students through an examination of conscience about the Ten Commandments. It is likely similar to the one I use myself, found here.
Have I committed masturbation or otherwise sinned impurely with myself?
Have I harbored lustful desires for anyone?
Have I indulged in other impure thoughts?
As a mother of teenagers, both boys and girls, I would expect questions like this to be asked in the confessional, for the sake of their souls. Wilson apparently believes Fr. Mayer was doing something inappropriate by asking questions like this, but reality is that this is basic practice. Just Google “examination of conscience ten commandments” and this is what you’ll find in the search results. This one is even more explicit.
When Wilson was subsequently fired by the diocese for claiming that this is inappropriate, he filed a discrimination lawsuit. He’s now lost that case, thanks be to God. Read about it at News-Press.com. Read the statement from the Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida here.
As a religion teacher, Wilson was rightly considered to be in “ministry” in the Church. The court ruled on the basis of “ministerial exception” that the diocese did not need to offer any reason for firing Wilson.
Wilson’s initial lawsuit, filed in the 20th Judicial Circuit, was dismissed on the basis of “ministerial exception,” a little-known legal concept.The concept was upheld for the first time in January by the U.S. Supreme Court. It says, in effect, a religious institution can fire whomever it wants if an employee’s work is considered to be ministerial. The judicial system’s discrimination laws do not apply because they would infringe on the freedom of religion. However, the court did not provide a strict formula for deciding when an employee qualifies as a minister, leaving that to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Experts called it one of the most significant rulings on religious freedom by the high court in decades.
Wilson never had any basis for making a complaint because these questions are par for the course in the confessional, AND he never had any basis for bringing a discrimination case since, as a religion teacher, he’s in a ministry position. It will be a sad day in America if ever a Catholic diocese isn’t allowed to decide who is teaching religion in diocesan schools. Thanks be to God that justice prevailed in this case.
Pray for Father Cory Mayer and for all of our priests and bishops.
Also, before you go into the confessional, be sure to go over the examination of conscience thoroughly so that you will know exactly what to confess before you enter. If you’re confused, be prepared for the priest to help clear up your confusion. He is looking out for your eternal soul.