European court upholds Spanish bishop’s dismissal of ex-priest
June 13, 2014
In a 9-8 decision, the European Court of Human Rights has upheld a Spanish bishop’s decision to dismiss an ex-priest from his position as a teacher of Catholic religion at a public school.
“In Spain, teachers who teach a particular religious community’s beliefs to schoolchildren serve at the discretion that community’s spiritual leadership to ensure parents and students are receiving instruction from those who share their convictions,” the Becket Fund explained. In 1997, after it became known that the ex-priest was part of a movement that dissented from Catholic teaching, the bishop chose not to renew his contract.
The ex-priest unsuccessfully argued in lower courts that the decision violated his right to personal autonomy. In a dissenting opinion, Russia’s appointee on the European Court of Human Rights, Judge Dmitry Dedov, wrote that “the celibacy rule contradicts the idea of fundamental human rights and freedoms.”
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