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Catholic college fires priest after learning he is gay

Monday, February 28, 2011

Rev. James St. George

PHILADELPHIA — Chestnut Hill College, a Catholic institution, has fired a part-time professor after learning the cleric was gay. The college said that the Reverend’s conduct was “contrary to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.”

The college acted shortly after a Philadelphia man sent a letter to the archdiocese complaining that Chestnut Hill was employing a gay priest.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

The college, in a statement, said it terminated the Rev. James St. George after he made “public statements of his involvement in a gay relationship with another man for the past 15 years.” The statements apparently were in a blog.

The private Catholic school seemed to suggest that St. George had somehow misled the college during his hiring process.

It appeared surprised to discover — well after it hired him in 2009 to teach Bible studies and other subjects — that he belonged to a branch of Catholicism that is not associated with the Vatican and allows priests to be actively gay.

St. George said that he was open with Chestnut Hill officials that while he is a priest, he is not a Roman Catholic priest — and that he asked if that was an issue when he was hired.

College officials appeared surprised that St. George belonged to a branch of Catholicism not associated with the Vatican that has different views on gay issues.

The church where St. George is a pastor is “affiliated with the Old Catholic Apostolic Church of America, which vows no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and performs commitment ceremonies for gays and lesbians,” the Associated Press reported.

“While we welcome diversity, it is expected that all members of our college community, regardless of their personal beliefs, respect and uphold our Roman Catholic mission, character and values both in the classroom and in public statements that identify them with our school,” said Carol Jean Vale, President of Chestnut Hill College, in a statement Friday.

“For this reason, we chose not to offer an additional teaching contract to St. George,” she said.

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29 more reader comments:

  1. We need an old preist and a young preist…

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:47pm
  2. Funny how the oldest church will tolerate pedophiles as long as they don’t admit to being gay, but just utter those magical, sacred words “I like men” and it’s “get the hell out of the collar!” Most Christians are laughable at times, but the Catholic officialdom is not in the least funny.

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:47pm
  3. bigot… to love these love faiths

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:47pm
  4. wtf is their f@#$ing problem!?!!?

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:47pm
  5. Ppl r bogus

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:50pm
  6. I’m so sad for that guy. The bible doesn’t explicitly say being gay is wrong, so for someone to be brave and do something against the close minded people should be admired, not ostracized.

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:50pm
  7. Well technically its part of their religion so theres nothing we can do about it.

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:51pm
  8. This may sound cliche, but the Roman Catholic way to go is to molest young childrens? I mean its okay for the Vatican to have ties with a criminial organization, embezzel funds, and molest children but it isn’t alright to be gay?

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:52pm
  9. I want change. Let them c wat they r really dishing out. I dont know how but they need to understand it is not alright to fire someone from their faith based on their sexual preference. Especially when there religion says all men are created in the lords eyes. Obviously he had a queer eye to otherwise I wouldnt be here. Gays aren’t against god, but got is against gays? Get real people. God made us this way and their is nothing that we already havent tried to change it.

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:56pm
  10. Tyler Smith. That kind of attitude will never bring change. People used to say that about slavery. “That’s the way things have always been, so we can’t do anything about it.” Guess what? We did something about it. >3

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:56pm
  11. Fuck that college

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:57pm
  12. It’s actually not part of the religion. Nowhere in there does it reference the identity of being gay. Levitacus puts gay relationships on the same tier as tattoos and noone fires a priest or nun for having a tattoo. It also forbids wearing mixed fibered clothes, ie cotton. The later passages were all mistranslated into modern english text. But people dont want to read the original texts or learn. This isnt about religion, its about modern bigotry. I mean, damn the term homosexual was coined in the 20s but people continually claim it pops up the bible. Ridiculous that people tolerate this.

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:00pm
  13. I am Catholic and I’m disappointed. Let me just say, it is not a sin to be who you are. And if it is (which God would never), Jesus died for our sins on the cross. He sacrificed us. People don’t understand anymore.

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:06pm
  14. Its a damn shame they do that its hard enough being gay in the real world. Us lgbtq people need to hurry and make a change cuz we are getting bashed on left and right

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:09pm

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:16pm
  16. Dislike!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:17pm
  17. Not surprised, catholic is a very strict religion

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:20pm
  18. I’m calling them up to yell at them.

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:24pm
  19. I understand everyone’s frustration. However, we all know the Church’s stance on homosexuality. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that it’s a sin. Actually, most Abrahamic religions feel homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes. Most Christians use the destruction of Sodom and Gomorah as a reference to God punishing people for “sodomy” which they interpret as homosexuality. I do recall something in the story about men laying with men and so forth.
    Asking any religion to change its doctrine is wrong to me. What should change isn’t their belief that homosexuality is a sin, that is their prerogative, but how they treat the “sinners”. God says to love the sinner and not the sin. If people would learn to not judge others, and to treat everyone with respect and compassion, regardless of their beliefs, and just let God judge people when they die, everything would be fine. If a person is concerned that a homosexual is living in sin, then let them respectfully express their concern, but if the homosexual doesn’t want to hear it, or disagrees, then the person needs to respect their wishes and let the subject go. If you really feel that pressed, then pray for them. Otherwise leave it alone!

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:37pm
  20. This college is a disgrace to anyone who worships god! He loves everyone gay, straight, back, white!

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:43pm
  21. @Billy Actually Sodom and Gomorrah fell because they were too greedy (doesn’t that ring a bell). They weren’t gay rather they were selfish and arrognant, they had everything yet they wanted more. God saw how they treated poor people, they ignore them for their own selfish needs and desires. As well as they humilated people, sodomizing men not because they were gay rather just a form of humilation. The Bible doesn’t explicitly say about homosexuality since it wasn’t discovered until like the 17th-18th century by a German scientist. In the bible they believe A LOT of stuff that to us is completely outdated

    Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:44pm
  22. im an ex catholic and i love it!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 12:25am
  23. the bible was written by an old sexist hoophobic jewish man!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 12:26am
  24. I would have a lot more respect for the Catholic Church if the current pope hadn’t been directly involved in covering up child abuse; if they didn’t denounce abortion and birth control as sinful in countries so poor no family needs to keep having children they can’t afford to feed just because the church wants more Catholics to make money off of; and if they would stop using the Bible against their own believers.

    They do all these horrible things and yet they say they do so in the name of God and charity. I don’t believe that if there was a God – the Catholic version or otherwise that he would be pleased to see us judging others when that’s part of his job description. I can’t believe he would condone the way the Catholic Church has profited off of their followers from selling indulgences to rich people who, when they’re children died to young to be baptised or they could afford to have the Catholic Church preabsolve them of sin. I don’t think God would look favourably on the fact that the Catholic Church is in actuality less of a religion and more of a corporation and yet millions of loyal Catholics live in horrible conditions of poverty while the Vatican’s own bank has more than enough wealth to distribute to those in need.

    I was as a child very close to god. I loved the ritual of mass and the idea of this kind-hearted god, but even I realised the hypocrisy of the church at a young age when I was told to play only with other Catholic children.

    Yes the church can argue that priests take a vow of celibacy. In fact in this case that is the only leg they should be standing on. To violate a vow of chastity is cause for being de-collared, but if the decision was made because this priest was gay, I don’t think god would be okay with that. As I was preached to until I stopped being a practising Catholic – god sees the wickedness in your heart and we do too.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 3:42am
  25. The Catholic Church is hypocritical. It doesn’t want gays in the Church in any manner, yet it has protected pedophiles and fights for the lives of serial killers. It decides which “sins” are acceptable and which are not.

    Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 5:11am
  26. Father Jim St George is a wonderful Man! Stop casting the first stone if you don’t know this man! Go and find out at St Miriam’s, then come back here and tell what you learned! My prayers for him and his church!

    Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 6:23pm
  27. Its a shame, this is 2011 and ppl still leaving under a rock. If Father George did the job that he was hired for, what does hes sexual preference have to do with anything ? Like so many responses here and cant blame the anger, why its ok for the Church to hide Pedophiles and crucify a man Like Father George ? Learn how to love ppl how they are, and the world that we leave will be soooo much better. WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE.....

    Replied on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 2:07am
  28. Instead of firing him for being gay, they should have been giving him props for having a relationship for so long because gay or straight, married or unmarried, being with one person for 15 yrs says a lot these days.

    Posted on Sunday, April 3, 2011 at 7:09pm
  29. PEOPLE !!! Get all the scoop before you turn this guy into a hero! I’m a cleric and, yes, I’m GAY. This guy makes me SICK!

    On another comment list “Thomas Q” says: Since won’t post my comments about this story, I was wondering whether Ms. P [the Daily News reporter] will answer a couple of questions I have about her involvement with Jim St. George:

    1. When did you find out that he is a convicted felon?
    2. When did you find out that he was fired by Albert Einstein for impersonating a Roman Catholic priest?
    3. When did you find out that he was fired by Lehigh Valley Hospital for impersonating a Roman Catholic priest?
    4. When did you find out that your column about St. George “concelebrating” the Cassidy Mass with the “permission” of Rigali was predicated on a complete and utter lie?
    5. When did you find out that Jim St. George stole over a million dollars from people who invested in his casket business?
    6. When did you find out that he was dishonorably discharged from the Navy?
    7. Ask him about why he was expelled from the Episcopal seminary (Virginia Theological). It involves forgery….Or did you know that back story already? It’s quite something…
    8. Do you know about all of his bankruptcies?
    9. What is it like to be played by a 21st century version of a snake oil salesman?

    You see … the reason he “settled” with CHC is that he didn’t want to answer questions about these things…for good reason.

    Posted on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 12:08pm