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Patricia Jannuzzi Wins!

This is great news: [1]

Patricia Jannuzzi, the veteran Immaculata High School teacher suspended for her anti-gay Facebook posts [2], will be reinstated immediately, school principal Jean Kline said in a letter dated Friday.

Jannuzzi, a 33-year theology teacher at Immaculata, was forced by Immaculata to deactivate her Facebook page [3] after several alumni started circulating screen shots of her sharply worded posts against gay marriage and gay rights. Two days later, the school placed her on administrative leave.

The letter to students and parents, quoting school director Msgr. Seamus Brennan states in part:

Immaculata High School has reached an understanding with Mrs. Patricia Jannuzzi. It is the School’s position that a Catholic school teacher must always communicate the faith in a way that is positive and never hurtful. Tone and choice of words matter and I trust Mrs. Jannuzzi’s stated promise to strive always to teach in a spirit of truth and charity.Given Mrs. Jannuzzi’s otherwise good reputation as an educator over her 30 years at Immaculata, Principal Jean Kline and I have made the decision to reinstate her as a teacher as of today.

From the beginning this was a personnel and not a theological issue. We are now and always have been united in our understanding and commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church. By agreement with all parties involved, there will be no further comment on the issue.

Read the whole thing. [1] I appreciate that this news story points out that the Diocese of Metuchen initially lied about all of this to the public. And:

Oakley [Jannuzzi’s lawyer] said he was later told in a phone conversation with diocesan lawyers that she would be terminated at the end of her contract.

“At every point in our discussions the diocesan lawyers told us repeatedly there was no way that Patricia Jannuzzi would ever come back to the Immaculata classroom under any possible scenario,” he said.

Ha! We will never know what went on behind the scenes to force the diocese to do an about-face without Jannuzzi even having to apologize, but I bet there’s a great story there. I do hope, though, that she continues to teach actual Catholicism, but that she does so without being so shrill. That said, this is a surprising outcome. One is not used to the orthodox side in these disputes winning.

(Thanks to the reader who sent in the link.)

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56 Comments To "Patricia Jannuzzi Wins!"

#1 Comment By Eamus Catuli On April 13, 2015 @ 5:31 am

[NFR: We have no idea why this happened, or that it involved a threat of a lawsuit. I’m hearing that it did not, but this is just gossip at this point. — RD]

Are you kidding? She protested an adverse employment action through an attorney. That is inherently a threat of a lawsuit.

I’m glad that free speech won out.

I wish it had. I would like to see teachers, including teachers in parochial and sectarian schools, be able to express their political views without hindrance. That includes views like Jannuzzi’s with which I strongly disagree. What happened here, though, is that she was obliged to tone it down and probably keep it off Facebook. At best, her freedom of speech has been “chilled,” as has that of other Catholic schoolteachers.

#2 Comment By panda On April 13, 2015 @ 11:30 am

“So she states the Church’s position and they fire her? It sounds like someone needs to investigate what the local bishop’s been doing on vacation.”

Anybody else finds it amusing that a guy who calls himself John Galt online is out defending Catholic doctrine, given that Ayn Rand had as much love for religion and the inferior people who believe in it as she had for the rest of us moochers and second handers?

#3 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 13, 2015 @ 9:42 pm

Thanks to Bobby and John_E for your kind remarks. I’m most interested in seeing how John’s renewed commitment to the Roman Catholic Church does and doesn’t affect his musings on various subjects. I don’t expect much change — I’m interested in the subtle interplays.

A while back, I heard an AMEZ preacher (that’s old school orthodox Methodist with a deep tint) remark on certain people who have reservations about newly saved church members who are openly ecstatic. “Well,” the preacher said, “That’s because they’re emotional people. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Let me tell you something, if you were emotional before you were saved, you’re going to be emotional after you’re saved.” (As someone who is not emotionally demonstrative, I took that as comforting in the face of people who think we must ALL be emotionally demonstrative).

But I digress. I would like to offer a brief clarification on the right of a Roman Catholic school employee to open or reopen her Facebook account.

An employer has no business regulating an employee’s posting outside of working hours on their own private Facebook pages.

A religious employer is not subject to much of any labor protective laws, for teaching positions, because the employment is considered to be ministerial first, source of income second. First Amendment rules.

Hopefully Januzzi will reopen her Facebook page, and limit her postings to matters that are NOT about Roman Catholic doctrine, OR, clear the latter with appropriate authorities. It is a hierarchical church, after all.

#4 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On April 14, 2015 @ 5:48 am

@panda, it is kind of odd, but it’s not without precedent among conservatives. Paul Ryan being the most notable example.

#5 Comment By JohnE_o On April 14, 2015 @ 8:08 am

@SJ

As a new convert, I wouldn’t describe this as a renewed commitment.

At first thought, the extent of my change of thought is that para-church activities ought to have exclusions carved out to fit their doctrine, such as Catholic adoption agencies not placing children with gay couples.

I’m also more sympathetic to the bakers and photographers claims.

But since I don’t think my own salvation requires that I work to deny SSM rights to those who those who would like to make that civil arrangement, my views on the big picture of SSM remain mostly unchanged, as you predicted.

Bearing in mind that those views included that predictions of priests being forced to marry Ss couples and that churches losing tax exemption over this is alarmist nonsense.

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 14, 2015 @ 10:21 pm

Thank you John_E. I agree. I particularly think that in the matter of adoption agencies, let a hundred schools compete. A diverse and pluralistic society is best served when there are adoption options available for being sure a child will be placed with a stable married heterosexual couple, or if the child is placed by a different agency, open to placement with a stable, loving gay couple, and many other options. Mothers could choose whice agency to place their child with.

All other things being equal, I believe that that a child probably does best with a married mother and father, one male, the other female. But all other things are not predictably equal. There are many gay couples who would do much better by a given child than any number of alcholic, mysoginistic, explosively violent, married heterosexual couples. And ties of blood must also be considered… but again, not decisive.

And the tales you reference are indeed alarmist nonsense, albeit there are whining narcissists who give color of credence to the nonsense. We do have a First Amendment.