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Catholic school teacher, fired over IVF, sues diocese

Catholic World News - April 26, 2012

Emily Herx, an Indiana Catholic school teacher who was fired for undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments, has filed a federal civil rights suit against the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has already ruled on Herx’s behalf.

“The claims made against the Diocese in the lawsuit allege matters of sex, pregnancy and disability discrimination,” the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend responded. “The Diocese denies any such discrimination occurred. Rather, the Diocese views the core issue raised in this lawsuit as a challenge to the Diocese’s right, as a religious employer, to make religious based decisions consistent with its religious standards on an impartial basis.”

“The Catholic Church has a deep pastoral concern for husbands and wives struggling with infertility,” the statement added. “The Church promotes treatment of infertility through means that respect the right to life, the unity of marriage, and procreation brought about as the fruit of the conjugal act. There are other infertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization, which are not morally licit according to Catholic teaching.”

The statement continued:

The Diocese has clear policies requiring that teachers in its schools must, as a condition of employment, have a knowledge of and respect for the Catholic faith, and abide by the tenets of the Catholic Church as those tenets apply to that person …Those requirements, and others, are expressly incorporated into Diocesan teacher contracts.

[T]he Diocese understands its obligation to uphold Church teaching and defends its freedom to do so. Bishop [Kevin] Rhoades asks the Faithful to join with him in prayer for the swift and just resolution of this matter--one that affirms the Diocese’s ability to exercise its lawful rights consistent with Church teachings.

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  • Posted by: ColmCille - Apr. 26, 2012 8:21 PM ET USA

    Didn't a federal court recently rule in a similar case that religious institutions have the right to hire and fire based on their own religious teachings?

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Apr. 26, 2012 7:47 AM ET USA

    The last time Bishop Rhoades committed an orthodox act of charity, I added him to the list of clergy in my daily prayers. It's a shame that the courageous clergy have to suffer for the misdeeds of the corrupt and the lax.

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