Fired for having a baby?

Fired for having a baby?

I was going to comment on another one of those “parochial school teacher fired for extramarital sex” stories. In this case, a teacher at Archbishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Mass., part of the Fall River diocese, was let go after he admitted to having fathered a child out of wedlock. The story is full of inaccuracies, which isn’t surprising given that it was reported by Laurel Sweet, the same reporter who so butchered the story on Justice Antonin Scalia’s “obscene gesture.”

However, Ed Peters has beaten me to the punch by analyzing the various statements made in the article and measuring them up against reality, particularly this lede:

“When he confessed to impregnating his new girlfriend, the Catholic Church refused to marry a devoted parishioner, then last week fired him from his teaching position at Bishop Feehan High in Attleboro for choosing fatherhood over abortion or abandonment.”

For one thing, the story makes it sound like the Catholic Church is one monolithic institution and that his parish priest’s decision not to allow him to be married in the church is related to his employment situation. As Ed points out, there’s a good reason why a priest may ask a couple in this situation to delay. An out-of-wedlock pregnancy could be grounds for annulment later on and so it is prudent to move carefully and deliberately in this situation.

Update: An interesting factoid. The article says the girlfriend/mother of his child is 21. But sources in Fall River tell me that the girl is actually 19. Which means she was how old when the relationship started? Was she a student at Archbishop Feehan? The teacher, for the record, is 27.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli