In Montana, one church diocese has decided to take it’s moral Catholic values seriously, no matter what the cost.
According to the Montana Standard, Shaela Evenson, a middle-school English and P.E. teacher at Butte Central School, was dismissed after the Diocese of Helena determined that she had violated the terms of her contract. Superintendent Patrick Haggarty told the Statesman that Evenson’s contract requires her to live by Catholic teachings, and that since she made a “willful decision” to violate the agreement, it was necessary fire her. The diocese said an anonymous letter was what let them to know about the pregnancy.
Haggarty explained, “It’s not easy being a Christian or a Catholic in today’s world. Our faith asks us to do things that right now are not popular with society. I’m really OK, I’m not comfortable, but I’m OK with what’s transpired.”
The decision has been extremely unpopular with fellow Catholics, who have turned to social media to vent their frustration and even urge for Haggarty’s dismissal. One group has formed a Twitter hashtag to show their support, #JusticeforShaela.
Many of Evenson’s supporters have cited that the punishment is not in keeping with the recent actions of current head of the Catholic church, Pope Francis, who recently blessed unwed mothers in the Sistine Chapel.
Shaela Evenson, meanwhile, is referring all questions about the matter to her attorney. It seems likely that she’ll sue the Helena Diocese over the termination. In fact, a similar case filed by a teacher last year resulted in her being fully reinstated after she delivered her baby.