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My Official Press Release

STATEMENT BY MICHAEL MOROSKI, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL AT PURCELL MARIAN HIGH SCHOOL, CINCINNATI

 On Monday, February 4, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati gave me an ultimatum after I expressed my personal opinion in support of freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. I was asked to resign as assistant principal at Purcell Marian High School, or keep my job until June by signing documents recanting my statements. I was given this ultimatum after I wrote a blog on my personal web page, http://mikemoroski.com entitled, “Choosing Your Battles.” I could not in good conscience recant my statements. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has now put me on administrative leave with a pending termination.

As a proud Catholic, I’m heartbroken that my belief that all committed, loving couples should be able to make a public pledge to take responsibility for each other for a lifetime has led to this ultimatum. The expressions of solidarity I have already received from Catholic priests, sisters and justice leaders in the community strengthen my faith during this difficult time. Due to my formation in Catholic grade school, high school and three Catholic universities – not to mention my marriage to the best Catholic I know, my relationship with numerous clergy and a devout Catholic family – I have firmly rooted my life in the Gospel principles of love and justice.

After twelve years of working with teenagers whose respect I have earned, I simply can’t teach them the wrong lesson now and deny my convictions. I would not be able to look them in the eye. I have tried to instill a sense of faith and fortitude in all of them regarding issues of justice for my entire adult life. I did not turn down the Archdiocese’s terms in spite of my faith. I turned them down because of my faith.

 

-Michael Moroski, Assistant Principal

Purcell Marian High School

42 thoughts on “My Official Press Release”

  1. I am so sorry to hear of your forced resignation. It makes this lifelong Catholic & Catholic school graduate (Annunciation in Clifton, Summit & Seton HS) very sad.

  2. Plenty of time now to plan that run for City Council! In fact, what a great windfall this has been to get a lot of attention and boost that name recognition!

  3. For what it’s worth, you have both my support and my admiration. I am so sorry – but not a bit surprised – that this is happening to you. I’m wishing you strength and fortitude.

  4. Thank you so much for your support of equality. I salute your courage and principles. I hope you are amply rewarded for your efforts. Peace to you and your family.

  5. Thank you. You are a great example to young people everywhere, and I hope you soon have a much better job.

  6. Mike, you probably don’t remember me (the mother of Ian, an ’07 Moeller grad), but I so remember you!

    My husband and I are in Fl for the winter, so I only heard of this just today thanks to an angry text from Ian, telling me you were “one of the best men he ever knew.” My final text to him after many back and forths was, “Who knows, maybe this will turn into a very big and past due conversation within the Church and Cincinnati. I have a sense that Mr. Moroski’s destiny is much bigger than serving in just one school.”

    That. Before I found your blog. Yep, you didn’t go looking for this, but you are perfect for the battle because I have a sense you were chosen.

    Bravo. Bravo. Bravo. Keep up the good work, good man. My family and I all support you and look forward to hearing of more ways we can show that support. You have my email. Let us know.

  7. Thank you, Mike. As a graduate of Catholic schools, and a lesbian, I find myself estranged from the faith that is at the core of my world view. So many in the church share your views that the social issues the church should focus on are those of health and social justice. Thank you for taking a stand and being a true teacher. I hope that those who can change the church from the inside will continue to do so because I believe it would be the work that Jesus would do. Anyway, thanks!

  8. Hi, Mike.

    As a gay man who attended Catholic grade school, high school and university, I am so sorry to hear what has happened to you, but I am also very proud to know you are out there — not only out in the world but standing out and standing up for your beliefs and having the courage of your convictions.

    Thank you for being an ally, a hero and a role model, a voice of reason, courage and, most importantly, of love.

    All the best to you and your family,

    William Ruiz
    New York City

  9. Perhaps this is not the right time, or perhaps this is the perfect time, but in the spirit of discussion, I can’t help but wonder what brought you to this conclusion? You say you believe this matter morally, ethically and legally, but never mention spiritually. You talk of your conscience, but fail to mention the Holy Spirit. Yes, Jesus IS love and showed love, but he also admonished sinners by telling them to sin no more. I am quite aware that homosexuals do not consider their lifestyle sinful, and to that, I do not wish to debate here. But our sacred tradition AND texts, not to mention beautiful texts like Humanae Vitae, tells us that it is not God’s design. While I may also agree that legally, same-sex marriage should be allowed, it doesn’t change my view as a Catholic Christian that I wouldn’t advocate for it. Just like I don’t advocate for abortion, though it’s legal, or the death penalty. There are a lot of vices that are legal, but don’t we as Catholics have a responsibility to God to not only love our neighbor, but also hold them accountable? I admire deep convictions, as we live in a very wishy-washy world, but why this issue?

  10. As an American and a cradle R.Catholic, now of the OCC English rite I am proud that like me, your training by the R. Church leads you to live and speak out vocally for the anawim, calling you to do justice, even at the expense of your livelyhood and Profession.

    You are a Saint, because you place people and their need for Justice over Power and control of a authoritarian misrule of Christs people. All saints suffer persecution for justice sake when they put the Gospel first in their lives. You are in good Company.

    You do honor to both American and Catholic ideals of “Freedom and Justice for all.”
    Thanks again, from a Gay Catholic and American.

    Peace & Joy,

    +neil V. Christensen, c.s.e.f,
    Abbot-Ordinary, OCC
    Dioceses of St. John the Divine, in the USA.

  11. To Confused Catholic:

    Not sure if it is appropriate to respond to other comments and I apologize if it is not, but I thought I might be able to shed some light on your question of “Why this issue?’ since I assume Mike is probably fairly busy.

    As a good Jesuit educated student I will answer your question with one of my own, “What makes something a vice?” Often it is defined as a moral failure or fault, typically associated with detrimental consequences for the person engaging in the vice and/or others surrounding that person. I think the answer to “Why this issue?” is because this issue has been incorrectly categorized as a vice or sin. There are little negative consequences of two people learning and growing with one another in a respectful and loving relationship. They have actually most likely achieved something that many couples of our day have faltered in accomplishing. Why would we as a society restrict the benefits of stronger social networks and more stable family structures through legal and social marriage between two loving individuals?

    Sorry for the length, but I thought it might provide a small explanation.

    Ryan

  12. Mike,
    After a ‘Thank You’ for all you do for students who are looking for positive role models in our uncertain and confused society, all I can say is “Adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it.”

    Good luck. Onward and upward.

  13. Ryan,
    Thank you do much for your very respectful response, a trait that many passionate about their views fail to do.

    Why, if homosexuality is not a sin, does both the Old and New Testament speak against it? If sacred texts are believed to be inspired words of God, did the Holy Spirit incorrectly classify homosexuality as a sin?

    I ask with no disrespect–I am just perplexed why Catholics are choosing to believe something other than the faith they were taught.

    Thanks again :-)

  14. Hi Mike,
    I am so sorry to hear of this recent problem. I am in Florida currently and my son Ryan taught with you at Moeller for a year. You also started there at Moe the same year I did.
    So proud of you and all that you have accomplished. As I told Ryan, this can only make you stronger in the long run.
    Thanks for standing by your convictions.
    Much love
    Kathy Patterson

  15. I am 2004 Roger Bacon graduate who now lives as an out and very happily partnered gay man in Florida. I began the process of coming out after graduation, and it was definitely an awkward two to three years to really arrive at discovering who the real me is — not the me I felt I was expected to be by peers, my family or the Catholic community — but the me who is true and honest and is not afraid to live in the light to share the person I am proudly. Because I understood what it meant when we were taught that we each are unique gifts, and I could not be a gift in the world if the gift I was going to give would be a dishonest one — where I lie to people I care about, where I deceive a potential partner into thinking my love and attraction to them is genuine but it isn’t. No one should live in a darkness like that, and you taking a stand to call for greater compassion and acceptance and justice in a messy world — which is also the reason it is an exciting world — is an inspiration to me and makes me wish I had a role model as strong and visible nine years ago.

  16. Hey Mike, I went to Roger Bacon and was thus not very far from Purcell. I was disappointed as a youngster that we couldn’t start a Gay-Straight Alliance in school. Now that I am a little older, and not much wiser, it all makes sense. And your story helped put it into an even further perspective.

    Thank you so much for standing up for the LGBTIQ community. We need allies like you to help spread God’s love to the world. I enjoyed my 12 years of Catholic school, and the allies I found there, but I often wish I could have had an even easier experience coming out and being a gay Christian. It’s something I’ve struggled with. I’ve read the entire Bible, I am sure — I was a religion major in college. So I know what it says. I know the old laws. I know what Jesus taught, and he didn’t say a word about homosexuality. I believe in His love, and the love of our Father. I believe in loving our neighbors, no matter what.

    Thanks, man.

  17. To Mike: You are an inspiration and as others have commented, definitely destined for greater things.

    To Confused: Do you not believe that what was written in the Bible and in Catholic documents can evolve?

  18. To Confused Catholic,

    Your question is a very important one, because largely many Catholics have forgotten something that is so beautiful about the Catholic interpretation (or really the academic interpretation) of the Bible. Our church calls us to perform exegesis or a historically and academically informed reading of the bible. When one does this it allows for a fuller and more appropriate understanding of the word.

    For example, the most commonly cited verse in the Old testament to refute gay marriage is Leviticus 20:13 (depending on the version of the bible you are reading) which says, “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” When we read this, our minds are immediately brought to homosexuality, but this is reading the verse literally and in the context of our time. The verse should be read from the context in which it was written so that the true message of the author can be revealed. It is in fact not about homosexuality but rather reproduction. When this verse was written, the Isrealites were in a time of population crisis and believed any “wasting” of sperm (or in their case potential children because they only saw the woman as an incubator rather than a contributor to the reproduction process) was anticultural. When one looks at the original translation of this text, the word “abomination” is translated from a word that means just this “anticultural” or uncustomary. As you see it mentions “their blood shall be upon them” I may speculate that “their blood” is the blood of the unborn Isrealites and “them” are the men who caused their deaths. They had no conceptualization of “homosexuality” rather were only concerned with the wasted “seed”.

    A very wise professor I once had told me this, “Everything in the bible is true, and some of it actually happened.” There are two levels of understanding the bible, historical and spiritual. If we take the bible as a historical and literal book we have severely decreased its value. To understand the deep and spiritual truths that are underneath the absurd laws in Leviticus or some of the prejudice writings of Paul, we can see how this book can truly be a guidebook for living a life of love for other human beings.

    I would recommend the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So” if you are interested in issues of the Bible and Homosexuality. It is quite enlightening.

    Thanks,
    Ryan

  19. Dear Mr. Moroski,

    There are tears in my eyes as I write this at my desk at work after having read your statement. Though I no longer identify as Catholic, I have a strong admiration and love for the principles of love and justice you speak of, which I too received in my years of Catholic school from kindergarten through high school. As a 36 year old gay man in a committed relationship of nearly 11 years, when I was struggling with my sexuality while a teenager at La Salle Academy in Providence, RI in the early 1990s it was my religion teachers who were most supportive, who cared for me just as I was (and who even took deadly seriously an episode of harrassment because of my sexuality). For this they have always stood for me as the example of Christ’s love in this world, and in my mind and heart now you too join their ranks. I applaud the courage of your convictions, and know that there is not only an ocean of gratitude for your words and courage from people like me, but also somewhere in the school that fired you there are students who are thanking you too, even if silently, for acknowledging the dignity of who they are.

    With deep admiration,
    Marco Wilkinson

  20. marco – you inspire me. your words are strength to me. much love to you and YOUR courage. much love, and be well

  21. Ryan, what you’re suggesting is that the Catholic Church has been wrong about one of Her sacraments for almost 2,000 years. What is a sin (sodomy) ought, in fact, to be approved and even celebrated; further, if same-sex relationships are not a sin, then they are no different than opposite-sex ones, and they should be recognized not only civilly/contractually by our government, but celebrated as a sacrament by the Church. For Catholics, sacraments are those means of grace instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ and given to the Church–not something the Church decides to narrow or broaden as the times change. So I think what you’re suggesting is not only that our Lord did not come to fulfill the law (which includes Leviticus) as it was understood merely because He said nothing contra to same-sexual relationships, but He actually intended committed homosexual relations to be celebrated as a sacrament by His Church.

    Right? And if same-sexual relations are not a Sacrament, then it’s not as good as heterosexual relations. And if they’re not as good, then why not?

    As a Catholic, I just find this sort of suggested change to our Church’s received (as in, God-given) sacramental theory and practice to be a bit too tenuous and a bit too radical. It’s not as if we just discovered an ancient Gospel authenticated by the Church that contains our Lord saying he wanted homosexual relations enshrined as a sacrament; instead, secular society has started accepting homosexual activities and some people who do not wish to continue in the increasingly difficult opposition such activities are finding convenient ways to justify their acceptance of them. “Post hoc rationalization” is the term, and while such rationalization’s not invalid per se, it sure seems unconvincing here.

  22. Jason,

    I am not here to debate the living tradition of the Catholic church, I am only attempting to provide the academic perspective to understanding the bible that I received from my Catholic Jesuit Education. I do believe the church is a living tradition that has changed and evolved throughout time, hence the halt of things like the inquisition and the oppression of women (to a certain extent). We as the catholic (lower case on purpose meaning universal) human family are called to be the leaders of our church and act as the body of Christ. We are meant to continually evolve and discover deeper understandings of teachings that have been passed down to us through oral tradition and countless translations. I am enthusiast and energized to know that our church is not static and can always evolve to learn the new ways that people like Mike Moroski are working to reveal. Thank you so much for your thoughts, they have made me think and challenged me to further understand my own understanding of the church.

    Ryan

  23. john – thank you for posting that link – it was quite interesting and quite well-written. there are indeed many sides, and dr. jeff mirus makes his points well. i would love to actually meet the man and discuss these issues with him.

  24. Interesting point, Ryan, but I would add more:

    Catholic theology is built around two concepts, one of which is abandoned by mainstream protestantism: the first, commonly accepted, is the idea of morality from a singular relationship standpoint. That is to say, that sin is disordered because it does harm to individuals (either the self, or to other specific people around that person). This is true in a sense: much of morality is built around whether or not sin does direct and tangible harm to individuals.

    But it’s also not the complete story. The other aspect of morality, which is only accepted by Catholics, Orthodox, and a select few protestant groups, is the construct of morality as a basis of social good. In other words, cultures grow and become strong from reproduction and passage of family values. The church’s teachings on contraception and homosexual marriage, among others, don’t do direct and tangible harms to individuals, but they harm the culture by destroying survivability (example: Italians are now on the path to extinction as an ethnic subgroup and France is on the path to being a Muslim dominated nation because their inhabitants are not reproducing as fast as the Islamic Immigrants… both countries’ cultures will be permanently changed as a result).

    So while Mike is right to say that homosexual marriage does not directly do harm to individuals, he’s wrong in stating that it does no harm whatsoever… just as wrong as someone who believes that contracepting to the point of population decline does no harm to anyone. The proof is likewise in the pudding: pagan Rome faded away after the plagues and barbarian invasions because they lacked the ability to repopulate while Catholic Rome struggled and recovered through the dark ages and then spawned the rebirth of western thought in the Rennaissance… because we had cultural survivability. These are lessons that have been learned over the last 2,000 years: that the un-malleable moral laws from God are given because they provide social good and we ignore said laws at peril to ourselves.

  25. Mike – I am sorry that you find yourself in the midst of this experience. This former teacher from St. Jude the Apostle in Sandy Springs backs you and your stance 100% and will continue to pray for you and your wife during what must be most difficult and trying time.

  26. Bad-mouthing marriage as you do is a serious sin. The Archbishop was right to remove you, and it was his duty. The problem with Catholic schools is that the faith is watered down in the extreme. The quickest way to lose your faith is to go to a Catholic school. If I weren’t homeschooling, I would send my kids to a Protestant school. There they would learn to defend their Catholic faith.

    Please renounce your confusion about marriage. God bless you.

  27. Oh, and by the way, your statement “public pledge to take responsibility for each other for a lifetime” isn’t marriage.

    Marriage involves procreation, the cause of children, and thereby of all humanity. That is why your confusion is so very serious.

  28. Prometheus

    You bring up some very important points that I believe dive deep into what I have seen as a young and possibly inexperienced person as a confusing aspect of the church. Its focus on reproduction. It is confusing to me because in some ways, it seems, the teaching is not relevant and could potentially be detrimental to the common good. To say that homosexuality is immoral because it decreases survivability suggests that allowing homosexuals to acknowledge the strong and loving relationships (which are very capable of supporting the many children in need of adoption and support) will somehow threaten the ability of the other 90% of the population who can procreate to compensate for them. With an already over populated world, why do we seek to increase the burden we are placing on the environment and resources which most likely threatens our survival more than human extinction due to lack of procreation by believing that anyone who is not capable of reproduction is somehow immoral, especially those who do not in fact have a choice to be that way? Those same individuals could provide supportive, loving, and joyful environments for the many children who are abandoned or forgotten in our world. In fact, by not allowing them to acknowledge and act on their love for each other we create a more disordered and socially unstable environment which contributes to the deterioration of the common good.

    Catholic Social Teaching has taught me that every human life is equally valuable, therefore French or Muslim, Catholic or Protestant, American or Nicaragua, man or woman each should be valued and loved equally. It also has taught me to view the human as more than simply a procreation machine but rather as a complex beautiful creation of God in relationship with countless others. This relationship creates culture. Cultures change, they grow and development and for us to seek static survivability of those cultures impedes their development and growth toward the true Kingdom of God here on Earth. To believe that the original works contained in the bible are static and should not evolve, develop, and grow with the culture around them, is simply something I cannot do. There is a long list of countless laws and beliefs that were once deemed “un-malleable moral laws from God” by the church (the world is not flat, men are not better than women) that we have abandoned because we as a culture recognized that although inspired by God, the bible was written by humans in an imperfect world. I hope that we can add to that list the idea that loving, stable, and supportive relationships between homosexuals are immoral. We continually grow closer to the true catholic church, a universal body of Christ, seeking love and justice for all life on Earth. I am proud to claim my Catholicism because of that ability and desire to grow as a human population.

    Thanks,
    Ryan

  29. matthew – i went to st. jude’s!

    glen – thank you for your two cents – but what about women who cannot get pregnant? they cannot procreate. i appreciate your differing opinion, but it has many holes. that said, thank you for commenting.

  30. @Mike, thank you, and for what it’s worth, I’m sorry you lost your job. While the diocese has the right to shape the speech context within the interest of institutions that teach doctrine, faith, and morals, that doesn’t make it any easier to have to find a new job. I pray that you will find something soon and that you and your wife will adjust well.

    @Ryan,

    I’d like to point out that several of the arguments you made have flaws. First and foremost, the world is not “over-populated”. Holding a degree in physics, I can tell you that the sun provides enough energy that mathematically the world can handle 50 billion people… we’re at 7 billion right now (in fact, if you moved everyone to South Africa tomorrow, the population density would be lower than it is in the city of Tokyo right now). We don’t have overpopulation, what we have is corruption in resource distribution and lack of charity. Second, the church has never dogmatically taught that the earth was flat or the center of the universe, or that men were “better” than women (quite the opposite, the church has ALWAYS taught that men and women are both imbued with equal dignity before God as a fundamental aspect of the nature).

    Next, let’s talk about a theological clarification: certainly I agree that it is good to love and esteem other persons, no matter what their background… but that does NOT give us carte blanche to accept other theological traditions as equal to our own, especially not where these theological traditions teach things that are morally anathema to the church. We can love people and respect their choices without saying “if your culture obliterates mine, I’m fine with that.” Furthermore, if we truly believe what the church teaches: that she is the Body of Christ on earth and that no one enters heaven except through the grace of God flowing through His church (including those who are invincibly ignorant), then we must recognize that while we can accept CULTURAL difference, that it is our job to expand our theological standpoint so that others do not HAVE to rely on invincible ignorance to HOPE for salvation when they can have it in the sacraments. To believe that focusing on the strength of culture is somehow contrary to God’s will is to abandon the great commission to “go out and make believers of all nations, baptising in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

    Third, all moral laws are doctrinal in nature and do not change. There are no moral laws which have changed since the church came into being (including those which the church inherited from the old covenant). Do not confuse Levitical Law, which was punitive in nature, with moral law, which is of ethical reconciliatory nature. The rabbinic and Levitical law were temporal: they were always meant to pass away with the fulfillment of the old covenant.

    So that being said, let’s launch into the question of gay marriage: I think one thing that gets in the way of discussion here is the idea of “love”… and the secular construct is SO disgustingly wrong. Love is not a “feeling” that just happens to someone, it is not something which is just “meant to be”. Love is a conscious choice made by a person as to how they regard others. Lasting love in a relationship is a daily affirmation of choices about how to view, treat, and behave towards another person. I agree with you that sexual attraction is not a chosen trait, but the idea that sexual attraction drives “love” is an incorrect notion. Furthermore, and Mike asked this question as well, there is a distinct difference between those who are infertile and those who are gay: those who are gay are BY NATURE closed to the development of life, while those who are infertile are open to development of life except by a flaw. Furthermore, the argument about gay adoption is a nice story, but it doesn’t really hold water: right now there are an estimated 2 million children living with same-sex couples who are UNABLE to establish contact with BOTH parents… of these, only 30,000 are adopted… furthermore, the vast majority of adoptions would not even be needed if we had strong families, appropriate chastity, and discouraged divorce, etc. We cannot separate the church’s moral teachings and treat them like they’re separate entities, because they are a package deal: the ideal society (to wit, the kingdom of God) comes about when ALL of the moral law is followed, not just bits and parts.

  31. You signed a contract saying you would act in accordance with official Catholic teaching. Regardless of your beliefs, it’s simple matter of breach of contract.

  32. @Promethius

    Unfortunately and fortunately for dialogue’s sake, I believe we have very different ideas about what the church is and how we as humans are supposed to create and embody it. We are the church. All of us. We are each loved and each valued whether we claim Roman Catholicism or not and we, through power of conscience and strength of community, create the catholic church, the human church.With that said, I simply cannot accept that the only three options a gay individual has in this world are to either:
    1)Marry and procreate with a member of the opposite sex, creating an unhealthy and unstable environment for the community and potential children but being considered moral.
    2) Remain celibate and restrict oneself from a physical and emotional relationship from potential loving and engaging partners.
    3) Live in a loving, stable, and non-procreative relationship that is somehow immoral and detrimental to the common good.

    I think we will have to agree to disagree, although your points have been well-received because they really have made me think about who and what the church is to me in my life and how I can better embody the true tradition of the catholic church.

    @Mike, I apologize that we have mucked the support and inspirational reaction of countless individuals with our religious and doctrinal banter. Know that you are supported and loved by a great many people, me being one of them.

    Ryan

  33. I believe you when you say you are following your conscience, but your conscience is badly formed. Conscience is an act of rational judgment in which you compare your actions to the moral law. If your understanding of the moral law is wrong, your judgments will necessarily be wrong. Having gone to Catholic schools for any number of years means nothing. I don’t know what’s going on in your head but from what you say you are definitely into compassion and acceptance, but these feelings must be oriented by truth.

  34. Mike, we have never met, but I have a very special place in my heart for your wife. She played a very special role in my spritual journey through a retreat in college. Knowing that she chose to spend her life with you, I don’t need to meet you to know your character.

    As a cradle Catholic, I am inspired by your courage and your actions. I couldn’t agree with you more and am thankful those students have such an incredible role model in you. Your decision has taught those kids more than any lesson could have.

    Sending some 143 love from Indianapolis,
    Sarah

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