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Let he who is without sin...

Is Michael Griffin really the only Holy Ghost employee who has not followed Catholic teachings?

I DON'T THINK Michael Griffin was unfairly fired last week from Holy Ghost Prep.

But I do think he was selectively fired.

Griffin, of course, is the gay teacher who casually mentioned, in an email to the principal, that he was applying for a marriage license in New Jersey.

In a subsequent conversation with school president the Rev. James McCloskey (who hired Griffin 12 years ago), Griffin confirmed his intention to wed his longtime partner, with whom he had obtained a civil union in 2008.

The email, Griffin was told, constituted his "going public" about his same-sex relationship.


Holy Ghost requires employees to follow the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as a condition of employment. Since Griffin's marriage would be in conflict with Catholic catechism, which forbids same-sex marriage, he was terminated.

Harsh? For sure. But Griffin, 35, is a grown-up who chose to break the promise he made to Holy Ghost, and consequences ensued.

You make your marriage bed, you lie in it.

What I'm wondering, though, is whether Holy Ghost holds all of its employees to the same standards of Catholic behavior that Griffin was held to.

An insider with close knowledge of school personnel tells me that three Holy Ghost employees have divorced and remarried while working there. Although at least one allegedly had the prior marriage annulled (a church requirement for remarriage), it's unclear whether the others did.

If not, their breach would be as clear as Griffin's.

A few years back, says the insider, another staffer got his girlfriend pregnant, despite the church's prohibition of sex outside of marriage. Not only was he kept on the payroll, co-workers surprised him with a baby shower on school premises.

Since marriage, divorce and birth documents are public records, didn't these employees "go public" as much as Griffin had, in that fateful email?

Other married employees were not wed in the Catholic church, says the insider, who is also "100 percent sure" that some single employees (both straight and gay) are sexually active in their private lives.

If so, I'm thinking some of them might even use artificial birth control - another church no-no.

I'd hate to see anyone lose their jobs over these behaviors. Divorce is tough on anyone, as is single parenthood and, Lord knows, dating. But rules are rules. If Holy Ghost administration has been looking the other way when others broke them, why not do so for Griffin?

McCloskey declined to comment for this column, which is a shame. He seems like a good man, having toiled in overseas missions and among the Harlem poor before being appointed twice to head Holy Ghost, his alma mater. Between stints, he was vice president of "mission and identity" at Duquesne University, where the school president once praised McCloskey's ability to "make difficult personnel decisions."

I've got to think Griffin's firing ranks right up there. And it might be causing some employees to worry about their own Catholic transgressions - unless only gay transgressions are disciplined at Holy Ghost.

If so, that would be a violation of paragraph 2358 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. It states that homosexuals "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

No doubt, Griffin's attorney, Laura Mattiacci (yes, he has lawyered up), is taking a close look at that dictum.

I can't control how this story unfolds. But if I could, here's the warm-and-fuzzy ending I'd give it:

As fired teacher Michael Griffin woefully hefts his boxed-up belongings and heads for home, he notices that his co-workers have gathered outside the office of President McCloskey.

One by one, they confess to McCloskey their own digressions from Catholic catechism. Some are of the sexual variety - the use of artificial birth control, infertility treatment, masturbation, same-sex longing. Others have to do with excess - like overindulging in food, tobacco and alcohol (paragraph 2290 in the Catechism) - others with disregard for the poor (paragraph 2463).

"None of us are perfect," they declare as one. "So we guess you'll have to fire all of us!"

Noticing Griffin standing openmouthed, they hoist him in the air as they chant, "We are Michael Griffin! We are Michael Griffin!"

McCloskey, hands on hips, throws back his head in laughter and says, "No one is fired! Michael, welcome back!"

The crowd hoists McCloskey into the air, too, and the screen fades to black as he and Griffin high-five in reconciliation.

Wishful thinking? Maybe. But I was raised Catholic. I know miracles can happen.

Phone: 215-854-2217

On Twitter: @RonniePhilly