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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 8, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 19
We won't fire Gay or divorced employees, German Catholic Church says
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We won't fire Gay or divorced employees, German Catholic Church says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Germany's Catholic bishops have adopted new rules for lay employees of church-related organizations that will no longer require them to adhere to Catholic teaching in their private lives.

The new rules mean that LGBT employees or those who have been divorced will no longer be automatically fired. Previously, employees could be terminated if their private lives did not match church doctrine.

According to a statement by the Catholic Church in Germany, 'up to now, one expected from employees of the Church that there would be in their private lives a coherence with the Church's Faith and Morals.

'A violation against these duties of loyalty - for example to leave the Church, to enter a second marriage after a divorce, or to enter a homosexual union - led at times to legal consequences even up to a termination of the contract.'

Under the new rules, only the most serious breeches will lead to termination, the bishops said.

'The civil marriage after a civil divorce is in the future, then, only a serious violation of loyalty if this conduct in concrete circumstances could lead to a disturbance within the community of employees or in the larger professional environment and to a weakening of the credibility of the Church,' the church statement says.

'The same applies to [Gay] civil unions. These actions therefore are only open to a termination of contract in cases of special circumstances and therewith only in rare cases.'

Germany's bishops adopted the new rules by a two-thirds vote on April 27 at a meeting in W├╝rzburg.

To placate more conservative bishops, the new employment rules will only apply in those dioceses which choose to adopt them, so not all of the 27 Catholic dioceses in the country must follow the changed rules.

The revised rules apply only to lay employees of Catholic organizations. Priests will continue to be expected to conform to Catholic teachings.

In the United States Catholic organizations commonly require employees to sign documents pledging to abide by the church's doctrine as a condition of their employment, and several Gay and Lesbian employees have been fired when their marriages came to light.

Because LGBT employees lack federal civil rights protections, such terminations are likely to be legal.

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