Catholic Students Across PA Unite to Support Michael Griffin
Published On December 11, 2013 » By Victoria Martin » Breaking News, From School, Pennsylvania
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Disappointment continues to roll in from across the nation regarding the actions of Holy Ghost Preparatory School’s administration in terminating the employment of foreign language teacher Michael Griffin. Mr. Griffin was fired last Friday from the Catholic high school in suburban Philadelphia for obtaining a marriage license to wed his partner.

Father McCloskey, the school President, released a statement saying that the school had “no choice,” but to terminate Griffin, because his decision to marry, “contradicts the terms of his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their employment.”

In response, LGBT community leaders from Catholic universities across Pennsylvania have written an open letter Father McCloskey and Principal Danilak of Holy Ghost, asking them to reinstate Mr. Griffin. The Catholic students criticized the Holy Ghost administration for treating Griffin in a a way that “does not clearly reflect Christ and His teachings,” and implored the school to “embrace all who devote themselves to the fullness of moving the gospel messages of love and charity to children and the whole world.”

Griffin’s termination has caused outrage among Pennsylvanians, and brought attention to the absence of a nondiscrimination law protecting LGBTQ employees. However, as Holy Ghost is a private religious institution, it is unclear whether a nondiscrimination law would have protected Griffin. The Supreme Court ruled in January of 2012 that nondiscrimination laws do not protect employees of faith-based institutions which perform religious duties.

Former Holy Ghost student, Dan McQuade, criticized the school in an Op-Ed for Philadelphia Magazine:

The school was happy to have him when it could pretend he wasn’t gay, though Griffin says he and his future-husband sat with the school’s president, Jeff Danilak, at a school event. But as soon as it felt it received an official notification, McCloskey said he needed to act.

Bensalem resident and Treasurer of the PC Alliance, Pennsylvania College of Technology’s LGBTQ group, John Fox, said he was “surprised” by the school’s decision. “Bensalem is not known for these kinds of actions. It’s an open minded town.”

“The call to change our legal system includes the moral imperative to change our culture as well. To affirm the human dignity of LGBTQ individuals, the Catholic community must grow in acceptance and in love.” said Jared Schaaf, Convener of the Pennsylvania Student Equality Coalition, a student at Gannon University, a Catholic university in Erie.

A message was posted to the school website Monday by Father McCloskey, which said, “We acknowledge that this decision has been difficult for everyone… We regret the pain that this has caused to any and all involved.” Father McCloskey stated that the administration will keep the school community informed at they “move forward.”

If you are Catholic student in Pennsylvania, whether LGBTQ or an ally, please sign the letter below urging the Holy Ghost Administration to reinstate Mr. Griffin, and move towards a more inclusive and affirming school community. The KSV will not post names that do not have both the full school name and class year.

Of the 26 Roman Catholic colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, 18 currently have an active LGBT student organization. LGBT and ally students at Catholic schools are increasingly finding and building safe spaces on their campus with growing support from faculty and staff. Many of the LGBT student organizations at these schools were formed in the past few years.

**Please note, the lead signatories of the open letter in no way represent the LGBTQ student organizations they helm at their universities,
but have signed on as individuals**




Catholic Students of Pennsylvania: Sign the Open Letter to Holy Ghost!
  • Your Name*First and Last Name
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  • Email Address*Your Email Address
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  • Catholic Colleges and Universites*Select Your School
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  • College/University Graduation Year*Expected or Past Graduation Year
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  • Catholic High Schools*Please Type the Full Name of Your School
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  • High School Graduation Year*Expected or Past Graduation Year
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Catholic School Students Across Pennsylvania

Brian Franchuk – University of Scranton ’15
Rebecca Taylor – King’s College ’14
Gabe Romero – King’s College ’15
Julia A. Ramsey – Conwell Egan Catholic School ’99
Amanda Fritschi – Duquesne University ’14, Trinity High School ’11
Daniel Simpson – King’s College ’13
Jared Schaaf – Gannon University ’15
Jesse Harvey – King’s College ’14
Michael Thomas – Archbishop Carroll High School ’05
Vanessa Cherry – Gannon University ’15

Joseph Gnahoui-David – Gannon University ’16
Zak Westfall – Gannon University ’16
Nicholas Ramsey – Conwell Egan Catholic School ’04
Jessica Kluck – Venango Catholic High School ’05
Meghann Taft-Lockard – La Salle University ’17
Caitlin Hammar – La Salle University ’14
Casey Schu – La Salle University ’17, Mount Saint Joseph Academy ’13
Andrew J. King – La Salle University ’17
Amanda Vogel – Chestnut Hill College ’15, John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School ’11
Patrick Herbert – Holy Ghost Preparatory School ’12
Veronica Hamilton – La Salle University ’17
Nicole Benzing – St. Joseph’s University ’14, Mount de Sales Academy ’10
Halee Burke – St. Joseph’s University ’16, Peninsula Catholic High School ’12
Erin McGrody – St. Joseph’s University ’17, Nazareth Academy High School ’13
Luigi Nunez – St. Joseph’s University ’17
Scarlett C. – St. Joseph’s University ’16, Academy of the Holy Cross ’12
Will Johnson – St. Joseph’s University ’16, Gonzaga College High School ’12
Andrew Nguyen – St. Joseph’s University ’17, Saint Louis University High School ’13
Jeannette-Marie Kelley – Holy Family University ’84, Nazareth Academy ’80
Beatrice Ayoub – St. Joseph’s University ’17
Raymond Lubrano Di Caruozzo – St. Joseph’s University ’17, Salesianum ’11
Liz Wardach – St. Joseph’s University ’16
Leyla Capitelli – Villa Joseph Marie High School ’90
Madison Donchez – St. Joseph’s University ’17
Jenna Harrison – St. Joseph’s University ’13
Christina Flynn – St. Hubert’s High School ’00
Eli Mancini – St. Joseph’s University ’16
Kesle Ffrench – St. Joseph’s University ’16
Gerry Gormley Rudewicz – Bishop Conwell High School ’78
Kayla M. Walker – St. Joseph’s University ’16
Terrell Mills – St. Joseph’s University ’16
Theresa Ta – St. Joseph’s University ’17
Catherine Murphy – St. Joseph’s University ’17
Amanda Matrisciano – St. Joseph’s University ’17
Elizabeth Krotulis – St. Joseph’s University ’17, Saint Rose High School ’13
Elizabeth Picca – St. Joseph’s University ’17
Reilly Igo – St. Joseph’s University ’15
Rae Coleman – St. Joseph’s University ’16
Nam Nguyen – Mercyhurst University ’16
Erin R. Mussett – Gannon University ’15
Jessica Johnson – King’s College ’14
Elizabeth Nawrocki – Villa Maria Academy ’12
Jodi Tunstall – Conwell-Egan Catholic High School ’91
Therese Stadelmeier – Conwell-Egan Catholic High School ’78
Emily Abramowicz – Archbishop Wood High School ’12
Joanna Lipniarska – La Salle University ’16
Kelly O’Brien – Nazareth Academy High School ’09
Christian O’Brien – St. Joseph’s University ’13
Catherine Elorette – St. Joseph’s University ’14, Academy of Saint Elizabeth ’10
Summer Rollins – St. Joseph’s University ’14
Jade Marie Nesbitt – St. Joseph’s University ’15

 


Post Photo Credit: Michael Griffin

About The Author

Victoria Martin is a third year Public Health major at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is originally from Shippensburg, PA; in Cumberland County. Victoria aspires to work in HIV/AIDS education after graduation. She can be reached at vmartin@pennsec.org.

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