Two weeks ago, when Patricia Jannuzzi, a religion teacher at Immaculata High School in the Diocese of Metuchen, posted a statement supporting traditional marriage on her personal Facebook page, angry same-sex “marriage” advocates, some of them Immaculata alumni, demanded that she be removed from her teaching position, and that the school address the “homophobic undertones in the school.” Creating a change.org petition called “Stop the Public Hate Speech of Teachers” alumnus Tom Robinson (class of 2001) posted: “I know that many of you want to see Mrs. Jannuzzi fired, but addressing the systemic problem of homophobic undertones in the school and publicly posted on social media is much more important than one person keeping her job.” For Robinson, anyone—including a religion teaching at a Catholic high school—who refuses to support the goodness of homosexual acts is an enemy that must be destroyed.There he goes again. I'm well aware Pope Francis is on record describing gay "marriage" in similar terms as Jannuzzi. Somehow, some way enemies of the Faith, including ones wearing Roman collars, draft him into their cause or use some of his other remarks as a fig leaf.
Jannuzzi is indeed being destroyed. Much of the media—including the local newspapers—have described Jannuzzi’s Facebook posting as a “rant” when the reality is that she wrote: “We need healthy families with a mother and a father for the sake of the children and humanity!” Pointing to her statement that “(gay activists) want to reengineer western civilization into a slow extinction,” as evidence of her hatefulness, more than 1,000 individuals have signed the petition to have her removed. And, rather than defending Jannuzzi for her willingness to defend Catholic teachings, the principal and the pastor of her school have suspended her—sending a letter to alumni, parents and students apologizing for “any hurt this has caused to any individuals and the negative light in which it has cast our school.”
And, to make matters worse, on March 20, Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, the episcopal leader of the Diocese of Metuchen, appeared to concur with the high school administrators by saying that “the teacher’s comments were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings on acceptance…. Pope Francis reminds us that we are to accept all of our brethren. We must ensure that our educators steer away from harsh and judgmental statements that can alienate and divide us.”
One almost can't help becoming cynical about working for the Church as a lay person, either as a paid employee or a volunteer. They ask us to pray for vocations, they encourage us to get involved... but if you're too Catholic or too bold about holding to orthodoxy, you'll get stabbed in the back by your brothers and sisters in Christ. Granted, Christ was betrayed by one of his handpicked Apostles, but this sort of behavior discourages otherwise good Catholics from working in the Lord's vineyard where their talents could be of real use.
Frankly, if you're not being cast in a negative light by the world, you're doing something wrong. The Gospel of St. John shows us that people said to Jesus Christ's very face that his teachings were too hard and that they walked with him no more. Do the clergy really think they're going to do Jesus one better? All Catholics have a responsibility to hold to the truth. The Holy Spirit is what moves people to repent and convert. If you speak the truth and people turn away from it, you've done your duty and they will be held accountable for it if they do not embrace the Gospel. If you do not speak the truth out of fear, then both you and your audience will be held accountable but you even more so.