Monday, July 20, 2015


This is reported by Lifesite News. Yours truly is mentioned in the article. YIKES!

Catholic school teacher fired for same-sex marriage files federal lawsuit

July 2, 2015 (CardinalNewmanSociety) -- A Catholic school in Macon, Ga., is facing a federal discrimination lawsuit from a former teacher whose employment was terminated in 2014 after the school found that he would be legally marrying his same-sex partner.

“The argument being made in this suit—that a Catholic school’s commitment to upholding Catholic teaching on marriage is discriminatory toward homosexual employees—is a grave threat to Catholic education,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

“A Catholic school exists for the very purpose of teaching the faith and forming young people for God,” he continued. “The implication is that our religion itself, rooted in love and true concern for the good of the person and the common good, is discriminatory because it upholds standards of morality and natural law.”

The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014
According to Breitbart, Dollar argued that “he was fired because of his marriage plans and [because] he didn’t comport with the school’s ‘traditional gender stereotypes.’” An investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reportedly determined “that ‘there is reasonable cause to conclude’ that Dollar had been discriminated against based on his sexual orientation.”

“The suit seeks a jury trial, saying that the school acted with malice or reckless indifference to Dollar’s federally protected rights. Dollar seeks back pay, reinstatement to his job, compensation for his emotional pain and suffering, and attorney’s fees,” reports Breitbart.

The suit asserts that Dollar “complied with the school’s Professional Excellence Standards during his employment at Mount de Sales,” according to the Telegraph. “The school’s faculty handbook doesn’t require teachers to be members of the Catholic [C]hurch, and it doesn’t require any faculty members to adhere to the [C]hurch’s teachings on marriage.”

Mount de Sales Academy reportedly “released a letter last year saying that Dollar wasn’t fired because he’s gay, but because same-sex marriage goes against Catholic doctrine.”

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.
Last year, 13WMAZ reported on the controversy caused by Dollar’s termination. President David Held invited “protesting students and parents gathered outside to come into the school to talk. He explained his reasons for not allowing Dollar to return to the school, saying Mount de Sales’ staff and faculty must follow the [C]hurch’s teachings.”

Father Allan McDonald, a pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Macon, Ga., reportedly told 13WMAZ that “Held’s decision is justified by Catholic teachings that oppose same-sex marriage.” Dollar’s same-sex marriage “is a public contract recognized by the state but something that is opposed to the Catholic faith,” said Fr. McDonald.

diocesan statement released by the Diocese of Savannah “supports the decision of the Board of Trustees at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon not to employ Mr. Flint Dollar for the 2014-2015 school term.” The Cardinal Newman Society reached out to the Diocese of Savannah for further comment, but no response was received by time of publication.

School officials at Mount de Sales Academy were also contacted by the Newman Society, but did not respond to inquiries.

Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The "Hammer and Sickle" image in the word "Obamacare" reflects an exceptional misunderstanding of 1) the Affordable Care Act and 2) the stand of the USCCB regarding health care.

From an article by Bishop Murphy (Rockville Center), Cardinal DiNardo (Galveston-Houston), and Bishop Wester (Santa Fe):

"For decades, the United States Catholic bishops have actively supported universal health care." This is not some Communistic notion, but based on the fact that . . .

..."The Catholic Church teaches that health care is a basic human right, essential for human life and dignity." There is noting un-Catholic or Communistic in this aspect of the ACA.

There are parts of the ACA that we rightly object to: "The statute is also profoundly flawed because it has failed to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protections (both within and beyond the abortion context). In another essential problem, many immigrant workers and their families could be left worse off since they will not be allowed to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges to be created, even if they use their own money."

But to paint the ACA as some "Communist" bit of legislation is both inaccurate and inappropriate.

No Fear Cavalier said...

Here are some questions that the court is likely to ask as this lawsuit proceeds:

What is the band director's role in promoting Catholic teaching -- as opposed to say, the theology teacher or school spiritual director?
Is the standard applied equally to all or selectively?
Does MdS examine the private lives of all school employees to determine that they conform to church teacher? Are there, for example, any staff members who are divorced and remarried?
What about the teacher who retired a year or so ago who was a fallen-away Catholic and used to regale students with his detailed explanation of why he left the church. He retired with full honors and a public celebration. What's up with that?
The note on the school's website that said "Mount de Sales Academy is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, gender, ancestry, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or any other characteristic or status that is protected by federal, state, or local law."
Was that for real or not? Doesn't Catholic teaching encompass honesty, as well?

I think the school will have trouble winning this lawsuit, and it's got nothing to do with Obama (your cheap and easy villain for all occasions) taking away anyone's freedom of religion.
It's about fairness. Catholics have the right to live their lives according to their beliefs, but other people do as well.

Jusadbellum said...

As far as I understand the case, Mr. Dollar was terminated for going public with freely choosing to make public what was heretofore private: his choice to engage in sodomy (which is now legal). Hooking up and escort services are also "legal". So is acting in porn movies. But public school teachers have been fired for such private behavior that is made public.

Would the school be able to function if another teacher went public with his membership in the KKK?

See, membership in the KKK implies actions (words and deeds) one choses to engage in that is overtly against Catholic doctrine of both faith and morals. And yet as loathsome as the former paramilitary wing of the Democratic party is, it is still legal to be a member of the KKK.

Merely having the sexual orientation of 'same sex attraction' is not a behavior but an internal feeling. Merely having a feeling is entirely distinct from ACTING on that feeling.

Being straight "attracted to members of the opposite sex" is of course the norm. But it's expected that heterosexual teachers not engage in public behavior at odds with Catholic doctrine(work as strippers, porn stars, casual hookups). Many have pointed to other teachers' foibles. But it remains to be proven that these others publicly championed divorce and remarriage as a positive good to be celebrated rather than an unfortunate situation to be endured.

If a teacher posted on her facebook page a new hobby of stripping or doing porn, would MdS have grounds to terminate her? I think so. Because it would be promoting the scandalous idea to children that such legal behaviors are good.

One can't help but have the feelings one has....but one DOES have full control and thus responsibility for one's chosen behaviors. The whole area of harassment law orbits this distinction. Merely having strong feelings does not give one blanket immunity from any subsequently chosen behaviors.

Mr. Dollar was not fired merely for claiming same sex attraction but for voluntarily admitting and publicly promoting his intention to continue to commit sodomy with another man. That's no longer a characteristic he has no voluntary control over but an act entirely within his voluntary control which he chose to make public.

Let's game this out a bit shall we? If he wins then the principle will be established that freely chosen behaviors outside of work are protected. Brendan Eich can thus immediately sue Firefox for discrimination inasmuch as he was entitled to his political belief and the donation to the successful Prop 8 campaign. Nothing he did was illegal. But his donation ran afoul of the ideological beliefs of his employers. He would need to be reinstated with backpay and Firefox would be forced to employ someone they disagree with.

In most cases, working for GM but voicing approval of Ford (or working for the DNC while actively supporting the GOP) can get one terminated and it's considered fair. If Mr. Dollar wins, then the DNC might be forced to give jobs to people who moonlight working for the GOP.

The case will be interesting to watch. If he wins then the whole US Church will most likely change their hiring decisions to hire only known and vetted faithful Catholics...

gob said...

A "Congratulations" and an"attaboy" to Fr. K and to "No Fear". One of the VERY FAVORITE "HYMNS" of folks hereabout is
"Be Not Afraid".

Anonymous said...

This lawsuit is ridiculous, disgusting, disgraceful---yet if I am correct, a lot of parents and students at Mt. De Sales support him? I never thought of Macon as a liberal place (cultural issues)...did not realize that there were a lot of liberal Catholics among the small Catholic population down there (maybe 5 percent at best of Bibb County is Catholic?). Case should be dismissed on First Amendment grounds.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Heterosexual immorality (apart from a Church recognized marriage) is still natural sex while homosexual sex which is rightly called sodomy, oral or anal, is both immoral and unnatural I.e. Opposed to natural law. There is no equivalence even in the degree of immorality.

Anonymous said...

Amen to Father's 506 pm remarks! Can't be any compromise on marriage being man and woman, period. Not surprisingly, denominations that have compromised on that issue have lost lots of members, like the Episcopalians and Presbyterians.

Private schools should have the right to determine their own matters---teacher qualifications, curriculum, dress code, sports and the like.

I would still like to see Cardinal Wuerl (in Washington) take disciplinary action against Anthony Kennedy for finding in thin air the "right" to same-sex marriage---but I am not holding my breath! If only Kennedy had been Episcopalian---well, then maybe the ruling would not have been so shocking! But there are no Protestants left on the Supreme Court, so we can't blame them for that atrocious ruling!

George said...

The mission of a Catholic school is (or should be) to provide a good scholastic education grounded in the teachings of our Faith. The teaching of the Catholic Faith is of paramount importance, since one's eternal salvation is of greater consequence than one's temporal success. Teachers in Catholic schools should be required to uphold Catholic teaching (even by example - as we saw in the episode with Mr. Dollar). It does happen however that there are schools that become lax in this regard, and some are allowed to teach who promote ideologies and philosophies contrary to Church teaching, and this is why you see in some cases and in some places, Catholic parents home-schooling rather than sending their children to the local parochial school. This is what sets parochial schools,apart from the local secular public schools and private academies (at least if they are faithful to the mission of the Church). If this were (or is) not the case then why have the Catholic name or affiliation? So the example given by the teachers (at least in their public life) is of immense importance. Prospective teachers should be provided with a listing of conduct and behavior which is incompatible with Catholic teaching and which if engaged in and publicly known, will void the contract effectively ending their employment at the school.
Scandal is a great teacher, but the lesson it imparts can be most harmful. It is a better teacher when it is answered with sharp consequences.

Paul said...

Fr. Kavanaugh,

Some might argue that the name "Affordable Care Act", reflects neither "affordable" nor "care" and is misleading in both regards thus does not fall under Catholic teaching of "health care". So-called "health care" has been used to promote various societal agendas that are in direct opposition to Catholic doctrine. While the USCCB may applaud the *idea* of "universal health care" (the USCCB's idea, that is), try, just try to dislodge the ideas of "Obamacare" that are morally reprehensible. The government is not working in concert with either the people or Christ's Church and seems to be showing no sign of doing so. The "Act" is unjust.

The hammer and sickle stand for the laborers and the peasants, respectively. Together they represent a unity of both. Does not Obamacare reflect the workers and peasants? Universal, common, communis (Latin) healthcare for all.

The USCCB needs to understand and recognize that people (both inside and outside The Catholic Church) will lie to them and mislead them hoping that they can influence the entire Catholic Church to vote as a group. A shepherd needs to be constantly and personally mindful of the surroundings and not assume the surroundings are OK because an "advisor" says so.

Anonymous said...

With respect, I'm not sure I see the qualitative difference immorality that violates natural law and immorality that doesn't. The central issue isn't whether something violates natural law but whether it violates Catholic morality.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jusadbellum and Fr McDonald's comments. I don't know what the law is in the US but I did find this:

"ENDA Religious Exemption - Fact Sheet

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) includes a broad exemption for religious organizations. ENDA’s religious exemption recognizes that the U.S. Constitution protects certain employment decisions of religious organizations and that some religious organizations may have a specific and significant religious reason to make employment decisions, even those that take an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity into account. It also acknowledges that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees of religious organizations should be aware that they could lose their jobs, even jobs that do not serve a clearly religious function, because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The exemption consists of three parts:

A complete exemption for houses of worship, parochial and similar religious schools, and missions
A codification of the so-called “ministerial exemption” recognized by many federal courts, exempting positions at religious organizations that involve the teaching or spreading religion, religious governance, or the supervision of individuals engaged in these activities
A provision allowing religious organizations, for classes of jobs, to require employees and applicants to conform to a declared set of significant religious tenets, including ones which would bar LGBT people from holding the position

In the third section of the exemption, the declaration of an employer’s significant tenets is not subject to judicial review and is only applicable in proceedings under ENDA.

In practice, this language continues to exempt many jobs with religious organizations. Under the first section of the exemption, for example, a priest or minister is clearly exempt, as well as the church secretary and the administrator of Sunday School programs. Under the second paragraph, the chaplain at a religiously-affiliated hospital and the teacher of canon law at a religious university are also exempt.

Under the third part of the exemption, a religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society may decide to apply its religious tenets to classes of employees. Although this provision gives, as most courts would give, deference to religious organizations in declaring significant religious tenets, it means that ENDA will apply to some positions but not others at these employers. For example, a religiously-affiliated hospital could choose to require all nurses to follow a declared set of significant religious tenets, including avoiding same-sex sexual activity, and be able to terminate a male nurse who they subsequently learn is in a relationship with another man. Similarly, a social services agency run by a religious sect could require its executive director to subscribe to a set of tenets that it declares significant, including one that bars LGBT people from holding the job, but choose not impose the same requirement on its social workers or other classes of employees"

If that is correct then the school's decision is likely to be upheld.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A Catholic in a marriage not recognized by the Church or living in sin, and I am speaking of heterosexuals, have the possibility to correct the immorality either through a Catholic marriage or obtaining an annulment and being married in the Church. While their situation is immoral it isn't unnatural. Homosexuals in civil marriages cannot have their relationship moralized by the Chirch. Certainly though homosexuals are capable of chastity and celibacy for the sake of their salvation. In this case they could act as Catholic witnesses to an heroic virtue of chastity. Dollar on the other hand flaunts his desires, hates the Catholic Chirch's teaching on sexuality and marriage and exhibits it when challenged. He should have been fired. His lawsuit speaks volumes of his rejection of God and His Church in the area is sexuality and marriage and his anti-Catholic sentiments in this regard in light of the public nature of his unnatural marriage.

Paul said...

To me this situation would be like someone from PETA working for a butcher.

Why would someone work for a company whose "culture" they detest?

For the money? To infiltrate in the hopes of converting or subverting the "company"? Desire for a "gotcha" moment in the (seemingly) prevailing winds for a big payout?

I wonder how many of the school children and their parents are happy that the teacher is now suing?

What light is guiding them?

Hold fast Fr. McDonald. God bless you and prayers be with you.

No Fear Cavalier said...

A high school is not a convent or a monastery; the hiring standards should not be the same. And hypocrisy and denial won't win many lawsuits.

If a Catholic institution can't hire a practicing homosexual, then it's time to paint over the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Jusadbellum said...

No Fear Cavalier is just silly. The Sistine Chapel does not depict naked people engaging in oral or anal sex. Merely being without clothes does not a gay orgy make.

It's amazing that so many people cannot see that "orientation" is not the same thing as "behavior". How do you not notice the distinction?

Thus it's no contradiction or hypocrisy to offer employment to a person who happens to have strong FEELINGS in their mind but who don't act on those feelings - but fire the person should they act on those feelings.

The normal heterosexual man who is strongly attracted and erotically aroused by women is expected to control his passions and not give in to lustful thoughts or behavior. If he commits a sin in that area he's expected - as a Christian - to ask for pardon and sincerely try to avoid occasions of sin in the future. A man with same sex attraction is likewise expected to not give into HIS erotic feelings.

If a man has a strong Xenophobic feelings....don't we also expect him to resist these FEELINGS? To not act out on them in word or deed? Don't we expect him to work on these feelings to the point that he no longer has such strong negative feelings towards human beings of different ethnicities? Yes, yes we do.

But could a Catholic parish or school hire someone who harbors such racist feelings provided they don't do anything in word or deed to draw attention to those feelings of theirs? Yes, I suppose we could. We're be hiring them despite not because of these feelings with the expectation that the adult human being could keep his feelings in check.

As free human beings and ADULTS we are expected as a matter of course to be in control of our feelings, not controlled by them are we not?

Anonymous said...

Father Kavanaugh dodged the question of MDS and Flint Dollar. Instead talking abaout a pic. What is his take on it? I haven't heard yet. He's gotta be against the MDS decision. His silence indicates that he does not want to reveal his true disagreement with the policy.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - I suspect - no, in fact, I know - that the people who work in the USCCB's legal office have a far, far better grasp of the legal questions regarding the ACA than you or I. They are also not naïve - they know that they will have to deal with the politics of the Act.

The ACA does fall under the Church's teaching on health care because it is a health care program.

The Hammer and Sickle is a Communist symbol with origins that predate the Russian revolution. Using a Communist symbol in reference to the ACA is both misleading and inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Anon - Maybe you need to realize that you don't control Kavanaugh - or any other person who posts on this blog. You "demand" comments and then, when you don't get what you demand, you decide what the other person really think or believes.

Convenient, that.

Anonymous 2 said...


“I wonder how many of the school children and their parents are happy that the teacher is now suing? What light is guiding them?”

I repeat what I said in an earlier post a few weeks ago as the view of one parent: “The situation at Mount de Sales is most unfortunate. As a parent of a Mount de Sales student, a parishioner, and a member of the legal profession, I hate to see this development. I strongly suspect that it could and should have been avoided.”

Contrary to popular perception lawyers do not necessarily relish litigation. They know that much depends on the specific facts of a case. The guiding principle should be to do what is in the client’s true best interests including the client’s interest in the larger community to which the client belongs. Discovering the client’s true best interests, which are not necessarily what the client initially thinks they are, sometimes requires helping the client in a discernment process. If a lawyer does not seek to serve the client’s true best interests, then he or she is just a “hired gun.” One relevant alleged fact appears in the article in the main post:

“The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014.”

Of course, we are not privy to all the relevant facts that might contextualize this alleged fact, but it certainly appears highly significant.

Paul said...

The government -- especially in its current form -- is adept at passing ideology with words that seem "right", "fair" and "affordable" all wrapped up in "for the poor". The details (politics?!?!) get lost in the cries of "Yay! We're helping!" and "Yay! We're equa!l". That's why we have a government and judicial system that, publicly, appears to be "helping" people while behind the scenes is actively undermining the foundation of The Catholic Church bit by bit -- and they're doing so by manipulating the children.

Al Capone ran soup kitchens. I guess some people had problems with his politics.

Knowing what it knows now would a Catholic parish hire Pres. Obama? Rep. Pelosi? Vice-Pres Biden? Even if they did, would the parish fire them on the basis of their public stances against Church teaching? I hope so.

I believe, in this climate and perceived (intended?) direction of government that the use of the "hammer and sickle", while controversial, is appropriate for the debate.

Any thoughts on the present use of the sign of God's covenant with Noah?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - If you think the hammer and sickle are appropriate, what parts of the ACA do you find to be Communist?

Anonymous said...

There have been a number of cases of teachers suing because of being sacked on grounds of sexual orientation. I have yet to see one case where they have been upheld. Can anyone point to one? I think the situation in Macon will be the same because of the ENDA religious exemption clause referred to above.

" The U.S. Supreme Court set a national precedent in 2012, allowing religious schools to take sexual orientation into account in the hiring and firing of employees.

“They could certainly file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but it’s unlikely they’ll prevail in a claim,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign.

“Religious schools are going to have the ability to hire and fire teachers consistent with the school’s faith views," Warbelow told the Daily News."

I am sure that there will be a push for a law change but as the employee suing the Catholic school in Macon is under present law I cannot see they would succeed as things stand.


George said...


“The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014.”

So the Telegraph reported that Mr Dollar informed the school of his impending same sex marriage when he signed the contract. If true, this is not unimportant. Does Mr Dollar have any corroboration on this? If not, then it should not be entered into any court proceedings. One possibility is that the court could rule that since Mr Dollar was not explicitly engaged in religious instruction, then it was wrong for the school to terminate his contract. I hope this does not happen. Another problem for a case such as this would be if another school in the diocese continued to retain a teacher in a similar circumstance. This would, one would think, be entered into the argument in favor of the plaintiff. This is why there should be a consistent policy in all diocesan schools. I'm hoping and praying the religious freedom argument wins the day.

Anonymous 2 said...


Let me supplement my previous post and also address one other question you ask: “Why would someone work for a company whose "culture" they detest?”

Perhaps looking at the matter negatively as working for an entity whose culture one detests is incorrect, or at best incomplete. The teacher in question, Flint Dollar, was a music teacher. I do not believe he was teaching any subjects that implicated Catholic teaching, although obviously I stand to be corrected on this point. My understanding is that he loves music and also genuinely cared about his students and developing their musical talents and appreciation. It is also my understanding that the students thought very highly of him. Perhaps this helps one to understand his motivations and values a bit better and why many parents and students were distressed that he had to leave.

Anonymous 2 said...


The rainbow is a natural phenomenon (the visible light spectrum) that does not belong to the Judaeo-Christian tradition alone. Isaac Newton created a version of it in his laboratory. It has special meaning for us because of the story of Noah. By contrast, my understanding is that the hammer and sickle symbol has only one meaning. Its sole purpose in the context of Obamacare, then, is to suggest that Obamacare is a communist type initiative or, perhaps more generally, that Obama is a closet communist. Like so many other symbols and labels it is intended to evoke an emotional response that impedes clear thinking. If you want to engage in the latter we would need to compare seriously the doctrines and practices of communism with the doctrines and practices of the Obama administration. Other countries in the developed world have universal health care. That does not make them Communist.

George said...

I hope you are right.
Given the way recent cases were decided by the Supreme Court however, it would seem there is no such thing as settled law. The cost of litigation in time and money being what it is today, it is imperative that schools such as Mount de Sales re-examine and correct any deficiencies in their hiring process and teacher contracts, in order to as much as possible, protect the school up front from any potential legal action down the road.

Paul said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, It's not that parts of the ACA are communist it's that state-mandated health systems like the ACA would be a necessary part of Communism as a whole. State hospitals, state doctors, state nurses, state spending, and state goals. The present USA VA would be a closer example to a state-run health care system.

Catholics are called to feed the poor. Clever politicians desiring the Catholic bloc propose massive social spending. The unwary Catholics are relieved in knowing that they are doing their part for The Government to "feed the poor". All nice and tidy. The eventual message: people and churches can't be trusted to feed fellow people in need -- charity is from The Government.

Catholics are called to heal the poor. Clever politicians desiring the Catholic bloc propose "universal health care!" and propose massive spending. The unwary Catholics are happy that The Government will now provide "health care" to all people. That this spending comes from the people who must pay or be fined is lost on lazy Catholics who go about their business content with promised health for the poor. The eventual message: people and churches can't be trusted to heal people in need -- healing is from The Government.

"Health Care" has been used to fund artificial contraception and abortions -- all of which, I believe, have led directly to the widespread and overwhelming problems we see today.

Communism erodes virtues because all people must be equal.

The government is an active participant in lawsuits and legislation against Christianity and Catholicism, in particular.

Communism has no need of religion. Is The Government leading people to The Government or helping lead people to the Churches?

We are all called to love all people and God has given us all gifts -- hopefully we choose to use those gifts wisely, with great respect and humility. So, I'll rephrase: "Are the children and parents distressed that the music instructor made a choice or that the church made a choice?"

Spectrography is a fascinating subject. In that case then, a hammer is just a hammer and a sickle is just a sickle -- tools used by many cultures for centuries. The sickle helps feed the workers who make the hammers that in turn make the sickles. The discussion of socialism vs. capitalism vs. communism vs. Christianity is ongoing and the use of imagery is common to all. I'm of the opinion that some imagery can be reminders to help focus and deepen thoughts.

Other "developed" countries do have "universal health care". How are those countries spiritually? In what direction are they headed? Do they follow the footsteps of Christ or are they rotting inside?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - Would state mandated mileage requirements for cars be part of Communism as a whole? What about state mandated purity laws for drinking water? Would state mandated safety requirements for building construction be a part of a Communist system? Maybe you could live with state mandated minimum wages, overlooking your fear that these, along with all state mandated standards, are "Communist" at heart.

"State mandated" is not a description of a Communist system. The state mandates that you stop at red lights, that you pay sales taxes on most purchases, that you not fire weapons in populated areas.

There is nothing in the ACA that requires state hospitals, doctors, or nurses. States should have goals - stated purposes for the collection and spending of taxes. This is not a Communist plot, it is simply the way government works.

Paul said...

Fr. Kavanaugh - Yes -- why is the government in the automobile business? Yes -- why does the government have its fingers in water purity? Yes -- why depend upon the government for building standards? Yes, I do. Is it really needed that the government is, necessarily, involved in all these things? The function of the government is to promote and encourage a healthy atmosphere where these enterprises can operate -- not own them by way of expensive, time consuming regulations and fines.

Why is the state involved in Catholic institution hiring and firing practices? Why does the state legalize abortions? Does the state think it can run Catholic institutions better? Does the state think it can destroy life better? "State mandated" does not describe a Communist system. Mandated and regulated to the point where The Government, in effect, runs businesses as if they owned them or takes it over because it needs (in the Government's perception) to be "fixed" or "bailed out". That is the road to Communism and that is simply the way Communism works.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - The government mandates mileage, water purity, and safe construction for a very good reason - the Common Good.

Does allowing gas guzzlers on the highway benefit the Common Good? No. Does allowing poisonous water to be pumped through a city's water system benefit the Common Good? No. Does allowing shoddy construction of public buildings benefit the Common Good? No.

That is why the government is involved. And none of these involvements is in any way a matter of "Communism."

The function of government is not, as you suggest, "to promote and encourage a healthy atmosphere where these enterprises can operate." Rather it is "to defend and promote the common good of civil society, its citizens, and intermediate bodies." (CCC 1910) Within that function the state, "is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged to work efficiently and honestly. . . . Another task of the state is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsibility in this area belongs not to the state but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society."" (CCC 2431)

I want a government that fines the you-know-what out of a business that pollutes my water, that builds shoddy buildings that collapse and kill my neighbors, that produces a gas-guzzling vehicle that drives up my cost of fuel and causes further degradation to the environment. If businesses choose not to operate with the cost of regulation as part of their business model, they can (and should) go out of business.

Paul said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, I don't think this administration and a number of prior administrations reflect the CCC's definition or intention of "the Common Good". At some time I think we tried (or did we?) to follow where the Church's definition of "the common good" would lead us but instead allowed ourselves to became lost, scattered, fat and lazy in our fruits. Has our efforts for clean air, clean water and mighty buildings brought us as a society closer to God? If so, for all these efforts, churches should be overflowing daily. We'll see where this Government's definition of "the common good" leads us. We'll see if the fruits of The Government will pack the well-constructed churches where Christ is the center.

Anonymous 2 said...


"Are the children and parents distressed that the music instructor made a choice or that the church made a choice?"

The parents and children were distressed that Flint Dollar would no longer be their music teacher because the diocese would not permit him to continue teaching at the school. Let’s not get distracted from the point under discussion, that is, why someone like Flint Dollar would want to teach at a Catholic school. The parents’ and students’ distress over his having to leave confirm that he loved what he was doing, that he did it well and cared about his students, and that the parents and students knew these things and appreciated him for it (as doubtless many of his faculty colleagues did too). These are all good reasons for wanting to continue in a particular job. Is this so hard to understand?

“Other ‘developed’ countries do have ‘universal health care’. How are those countries spiritually? In what direction are they headed? Do they follow the footsteps of Christ or are they rotting inside?”

Leaving aside the issue of whether there is any connection between universal health care and the matters you mention, I have some very close friends (as well as relatives) in England who are not religious and indeed would describe themselves as agnostic or even atheist. I know them well (or knew them well because some are deceased). They are (or were) decent, kind, generous, and loving people. I truly believe that they will have (have had) an easier time at their particular judgment than many who call themselves Christian. I also believe that God is (was) at work in them even though they do (did) not recognize this. The United States appears to be the most religious Western nation but we all know that in many cases it is just that – appearance. None of this denies my commitment to Catholicism or the need to evangelize. It is just a reminder that we should not judge a book by its cover.

Paul said...


Didn't the teacher make a choice as well? I think he did and the choice wasn't music or the students. That's why I said: "hopefully we choose to use those gifts wisely, with great respect and humility". Perhaps the teacher had other priorities.

I'm sure that there are many, many people "of good will" (as some of the Papal encyclicals address) that through no fault of their own do not know God or reject Him outright. Not judging souls here. Just posing a question based upon surveys and statistics that seem to find a high degree of atheism and agnosticism amongst developed countries and (coincidentally?) that many of those countries usually top lists of "best places to live". Are they really?

Anonymous 2 said...


Yes, the teacher made a choice as well. But don’t forget -- he is alleging that the school knew about that choice and appeared to have no problem with it, giving him another year’s contract. If that allegation is correct, I don’t think you can necessarily infer that he chose his same sex marriage over his music and his students. Of course, I am just going by what has been reported. Now that the case has reached the litigation stage, the legal system will sort it all out.

There’s one sure way to find out. Go and live there and then compare. Of course one has to have criteria of comparison. It is always important in these comparisons of the best places to live or the greatest country etc. to identify what measure(s) one is using and how accurate the measurements are. Can we reach consensus on these matters? To what extent are they subjective?