After eight years serving as the director of religious education at a Catholic school in Pennsylvania, Margie Winters was fired in 2015 because of her marriage to a woman.
Her story is similar to those of a number of other Catholic educators in the U.S., fired because their relationships violate the church’s teaching against same-sex marriage. But on June 4 this year, Winters received something different: a clerical apology for the way she was treated.
As part of a discussion during the annual gathering of the College Theology Society, held virtually, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, told Winters: “You tell a story that has happened to you and so many others … to be betrayed by an institution that you love.”
“As part of [the] male hierarchy, I apologize for the pain it has caused you,” he said.
Stowe, who has become one of the most vocal U.S. bishops in support of LGBTQ Catholics, also said that his own Catholicism “cannot be reduced to a morality clause.”
“There is a hierarchy of truths and values that constitute the core of Catholicism,” said the bishop, who has led his diocese since 2015. “Catholic institutions have to be focused on the Gospel itself and on the extension of the reign of God … in ways that lead people to a deeper relationship with the Triune God.”…