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NY archdiocese defends right to make hiring decisions


St Patricks Cathedral NYC. Photo credit: Sean Pavone CNA

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New York City, N.Y., Mar 9, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- The Archdiocese of New York argued before a federal circuit court this week that it should have the freedom to make employment decisions about Catholic school principals without government intervention.

“It is important that church-sponsored schools like St. Anthony’s be able to ensure that each student receives the best education in math, science, art as well as the Catholic faith,” Mercedes Lopez Blanco of the Archdiocese of New York stated on Tuesday.

“To do that, we must have the freedom to choose leaders – without government interference – who are dedicated to our mission.”

Blanco made her statement after oral arguments took place in Fratello v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York on Tuesday. That case involves a lawsuit filed by a Catholic school principal whose contract with the archdiocese was not renewed, and who says the decision was made on the grounds of unlawful gender discrimination.  

The archdiocese, represented by Becket Fund, says that they decided not to renew the contract of former principal of St. Anthony School Joanne Fratello because of her insubordination to the pastor of the parish and the archdiocese. The archdiocese says it has First Amendment protections in its hiring decisions of Catholic school principals, because it falls under the “ministerial exemption.”

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