A court found that a Catholic Diocese in Indiana had the right to make staffing decisions according to their religious mission.
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Mary Beth Ginalski was hired by the Catholic Diocese of Gary, Indiana to be the Principal for Andrean High School. Her contract specifically noted that the job of Principal of a Catholic High School is a ministry. It went on to explain that such a ministry is witnessed not only in the manner in which the Principal performs his or her tasks, but also in the example the Principal sets for the teachers and students both in and outside the school and parish. Further, the contract noted that the Principal coordinates faith-building opportunities within the school community, oversees the Theology Program, and ensures that the Catholic Faith is integrated with the learning process in coordination with the Campus Chaplain.
So, when Ginalski sued the Diocese over her termination, the question became whether the Diocese could choose its ministerial leader and, therefore, be exempt from employment laws that would have otherwise presented a legal burden to the school.
The Court found Ginalski to meet the definition of “minister” and that the Diocese was entitled to use the same ministerial exception that permits churches and other religious organizations to ensure its ministry is non-hindered by those it believes may not fully advance its ministry objectives.
Religious Freedom means that religious ministries should be able to direct their religious mission, which includes staffing decisions, without interference by the State.
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