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Seattle: Catholic school administrator dismissed following same-sex marriage; protests at 2 schools

Catholic World News - December 20, 2013

Over 400 students at a Seattle-area Catholic school took part in a protest following the dismissal of a vice principal whose summer same-sex wedding had become known, according to local media reports.

Mark Zmuda’s same-sex marriage “violated his employment contract” with Eastside Catholic School, according to a letter the school sent to parents. “As a Catholic school, Eastside Catholic abides by the official teachings of the Catholic Church, and as such, the decision to discontinue his employment was determined by the Catholic Church.”

“We became aware of his same-sex marriage through some other employees at the school who indicated that he had related that to them,” said Mark Patterson, the school’s spokesman and attorney. The Seattle Times reported that the dismissal followed a conversation between Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and the school’s president.

“He’s a great administrator,” Patterson added. “We fully support him. We’re going to give him glowing reference letters, all that sort of thing. But Eastside Catholic doesn’t have the power to change that law” – a reference to Catholic teaching on same-sex marriage.

“The fact that you guys are all here for me means the world,” Zmuda told the student protestors, according to KIRO-TV. “I just wanted you to know that I love each and every one of you. I appreciate the love and concern."

“I just want to make one brief statement and that is to tell you that yes, I am gay,” he continued. “Yes, I did get married this past summer and I know it is against the Catholic teaching. I think a lot of you guys are raised in a generation that is more open and acceptable to things that are legal now in the State of Washington … I hope that no matter what happens to me and to the school, that all of you guys will seek a career and work very hard, find the love of your life, hopefully one day get married as well.”

“He told us he had gotten fired because he is gay and married,” a student told The Seattle Times. “He was crying and told us what we were doing meant a lot to him.”

Students at Seattle Preparatory School, a local Jesuit school, also held a sit-in to protest Zmuda’s dismissal.

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Show 7 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: gfdsmith9280 - Dec. 21, 2013 9:18 AM ET USA

    Sounds like most Jesuit schools in Washington are approving SSM. Not for the first time I request the suppression of the Society of Jesus in North America, and not for the first time in that Order's history, either. The Jesuits used to be faithful to Catholic teaching, but not any more. They are now well past their use-by date.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Dec. 21, 2013 12:05 AM ET USA

    My son attended another Seattle Catholic HS thru' 1998, and while he received a very good education otherwise, we were aware that the school's theology department was Christian, but not particularly Catholic. Last I heard, this was the state of affairs at all the Seattle Catholic HS's, and of course Seattle U is another rampantly liberal Jesuit institution, which produces a large number of the religion teachers employed in the local Catholic schools. At least Eastside did the right thing.

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Dec. 20, 2013 7:23 PM ET USA

    I am not sure that I would be comfortable with a secular school's personnel being in homosexual unions, being openly homosexual, or even profligate in heterosexual activities

  • Posted by: ZIP5DO@aol.com - Dec. 20, 2013 6:41 PM ET USA

    The protests by the students should be a bigger eye opener than a vice-principal getting into a same sex marriage. It is clear we are not explaining the faith and doctrines clearly to our young. I know Washington is a very liberal state but we need to explain the doctrines better as well as the bible and that there are consequences. Mr. Zmuda knew what he was doing and that it was wrong within the Church. He did not care. What did he expect?

  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 20, 2013 1:00 PM ET USA

    Unfortunately there are many Catholic teachers who find no problems with SSM, etc, too. This is even more insidious and undermines Church teachings. The 400 students haven't been catechized well at all - in high school, social action is the main component. Between the schools and the parents, who also often agree, many students will be lost to the feel-good churches or gone completely.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Dec. 20, 2013 9:33 AM ET USA

    Multiple news stories this week along the same lines. The Church and her allies will continue to be targeted as incorrigible opponents of progress. The prevailing wisdom among a "more open" generation of Catholics is that of heroes united to stamp out intolerance and hate. This is why a proper understanding of Christian charity as opposed human sentiment is essential. Love well-ordered to truth and goodness- specifically a fruitful love, physically and spiritually- must be preached clearly.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Dec. 20, 2013 8:58 AM ET USA

    And, Mr. Zmuda, could you address the topic of sin while you're talking to the students? We know what the law is, but how about the sins of sodomy and public scandal? Could you enlighten the students about those items perhaps?

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