But I have disagreed with him on other important issues, such as his view of women's suffrage, which seems to me to be rather extreme. Today's disagreement stems from this post, which he kindly linked to in the comment boxes of our ongoing discussion on this blog as to whether or not a Catholic school should fire an unwed pregnant teacher for the sin of being visibly pregnant:
To make a long story short, a Catholic school hired an unwed first grade teacher. The unwed teacher became pregnant, in violation of her contract which has a morals clause prohibiting fornication. The school let her go – really she let herself go – in compliance with her contract terms.Zippy then goes on to suggest that it would be really merciful (though above and beyond the call of duty) for the school to let the woman interview for a back-office job only if there happened to be one available, and if she knew she might not get hired anyway and had the right attitude about it all. Mercy, in this context, seems to be akin to dangling the carrot of hope attached to the stick of shame and derision, which I must confess seems like a novel use of the term to me; in fact, if the school let her interview for the job while having no real intention of hiring her ("I'm sorry, but you don't seem to meet our requirement that candidates must not be guilty of visible mortal sin," etc.) there might be an element of intrinsically evil deceit in such a ruse.
I’m with the school on this one.
I know all the arguments – we’ve argued about similar situations before. But I can’t get to where the right choice is to condone manifest grave sin and scandal around children because there are hostages involved. And to offer her a different, low profile, “back office” job for which she was not hired, so the school now has to figure out how to carry an extra salary for someone they don’t need and didn’t hire and go hire another teacher, is just capitulation to extortion because there is a hostage – her unborn child – involved.
Giving an unmarried pregnant woman a make-work job is not appropriate and likely not financially feasible. Referring her to a crisis pregnancy center is the right, merciful, and just response. Would the school’s detractors suggest that the diocese hire all the unmarried pregnant women in the diocese?
I asked a question of Zippy in his comment box, and I would like to reformulate that question here to throw it out for general discussion:
If it is consistent with Catholic values for Catholic employers to fire unwed women who become pregnant (while still unmarried) during their employment, how far does this right and duty go?
Should only Catholic parishes and Catholic schools get to fire unwed pregnant employees?
Should Catholic hospitals get to fire unwed pregnant employees?
Should private Catholic-owned businesses (e.g., restaurants, Catholic bookstores, etc.) get to fire unwed pregnant employees?
Should any or all of these businesses make it a practice to fire Catholic men who have abandoned their families via divorce (esp. in situations where the wife is clearly the innocent party)? Isn't it better to send the right moral message that men who have sinned by divorcing their wives are not worthy of working at Catholic schools, etc. than to worry that by depriving these men of income they are hurting the children who will not receive their justly-owed child support?
Or are men exempt from being held accountable by their employers for their visible mortal sins? Or would Zippy, or anyone else, say that unwed pregnancy is really the only truly visible mortal sin, and thus it's okay to hold single women to a standard no other person is ever held to?
I'll be especially interested to hear the answers to these questions from those who participated in the original discussion here.