St. Gabriel Parish employee terminated from music ministry
CHARLOTTE — Steav Congdon, the leader of the music ministry at St. Gabriel Parish, was terminated from his position Jan. 19 after violating the Diocese of Charlotte employee ethics policy, diocesan officials said Feb. 10.
St. Gabriel's pastor, Father Francis O'Rourke, sent an email to parishioners about the termination on Feb. 10 after learning that the former employee had spoken with Charlotte area media about being fired.
The diocese does not typically comment on personnel matters in individual parishes, but diocesan officials decided to comment in this case after a Charlotte area newspaper indicated it planned to publish a story about Congdon's termination later this week.
According to the termination letter, Congdon was fired from his post as music minister at St. Gabriel Parish by Father O'Rourke when it came to Father O'Rourke's attention that Congdon had joined another man in a civil union recognized as a marriage by the State of New York – a public act that is in disobedience to Church teaching and which violates the diocese's employee ethics policy.
Marriage can only be the union between one man and one woman, as established in natural law and set forth as a holy sacrament by Christ and His Church. Church teaching emphasizes that all people, including those with a homosexual orientation, are made in the image of God and therefore deserving of dignity and respect, but that the sacrament of matrimony is designed by God as the basis for family life and the conceiving and raising of children.
As with all employees of the Diocese of Charlotte, Congdon agreed upon his employment in 2004 to follow the diocese's ethics policy and a personnel policy that requires employees to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The employee handbook requiring this standard of conduct was updated in 2009, along with an ethics policy that requires employee conduct that is in keeping with Church teaching.
"His same-sex union in 2011 was in direct opposition to those policies and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and his termination was based on this alone," said David Hains, diocesan director of communication. Hains continued, "Individuals engaged in ministry while at the same time in opposition to Church teaching present a confusing message to the people of faith who look to the Church for guidance on their journey to salvation."
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor
The Poor Clares: Reflections on the Year for Consecrated Life: Self-giving love: The gift of chastityConsecrated religious life, as we know it today, developed gradually over the centuries. In the early days of the Church, we hear of men being called to live in the desert as solitary hermits, leaving the world behind to seek the Lord and pursue...
Father Patrick Winslow: The greatest lieThe greatest lies always possess an aspect of truth. Nobody believes a bold-faced lie that lacks even the semblance of truth. These are the weakest of lies. Who would believe that two plus two equals seven? On the other hand, good lies sell...
William L. Esser IV: Catholic discriminationI discriminate. So do you. Every day in fact. Yup, we are each guilty of discriminating. And I hope you are proud of it. After all, to discriminate means "to make a clear distinction; to distinguish." The blue tie, or the red tie. Orange juice...
Thomas R. Ascik: Catholics first to introduce religious freedom to the American ColoniesDuring the Fortnight for Freedom which just concluded July 4, the American bishops encouraged Catholics to think about religious freedom and the threats it faces today. It is not always recognized or appreciated that our country is both the...
Deacon James H. Toner : What we know that ain't so: My conscienceWhat we think is the right road Poet William Ernest Henley famously said, "I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul." People today cheer the mantra of nonconformity, of individual autonomy: "I gotta be me!" I celebrate me. I...
Victory of the Sexual Revolution presents evangelical possibilitiesThe legal dispute over same-sex "marriage" in the United States has now been decided, and in that contest the traditional Christian understanding of marriage lost. What you may be surprised to learn is that I welcome this defeat. Since I began...
Robert D. Potter Jr.: Same-sex 'marriage': What happens now?On June 26, five members of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the states must grant the right to same-sex "marriage." As Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out in his dissent, this decision flies in the face of our own Declaration of Independence...
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Grateful for your support of retired religiousOn behalf of more than 33,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests who benefit from the Retirement Fund for Religious, please accept my prayerful thanks for your diocese's...
Vatican II was indeed an eventRegarding the July 3 article "History professor speaks on 'Reforming a Challenged Church,'" it seems as though the attendees of this talk got a lot less history than one might expect from a history...
Remember our neighbors' griefTwo weeks ago I paid my respects by standing and praying outside Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Zion Church in Charleston, placing a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the people of Jacksonville, Florida's...
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Roger Arnsparger at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Jason Christian at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. Matthew Kauth at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Christopher Riehl's archive from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe. Listen to homily podcasts.
- Fr. Joshua Voitus at St. Mary, Mother of God Parish in Sylva, including homilies in Spanish
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Gospel reflection videos from St. Matthew Church
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen and watch homilies from St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy