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Gay pastor reaches settlement with Catholic college, lands new teaching job

Sunday, April 3, 2011
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Rev. James St. George

A Pennsylvania professor and cleric, who was forced to leave Chestnut Hill College because he is gay, has reached a settlement with his former employer, and has landed a new teaching job at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rev. James St. George confirmed last week he is co-teaching a course on religion, social justice, and urban development, together with another member of Penn’s teaching staff. He said he was invited to co-teach the course with professor Andrew Lamas, and that Lamas compensating him directly, not the University.

St. George, who was dismissed from his teaching job at Chestnut Hill College on February 18 after the college learned he was gay, recently reached a settlement with the Catholic college.

The college terminated St. George after he made “public statements of his involvement in a gay relationship with another man.”

St. George had written about his 15-year gay relationship on his personal blog.

“There are no hard feelings on my part,” St. George said regarding the settlement with Chestnut Hill College. “We all own our own stuff and can move forward and not hate each other.”

Asked if he received a monetary settlement, St. George said: “I can’t comment on anything with Chestnut Hill College. I’ve never in my life sued anybody, or went to court, or wanted to get money from them.”

Chestnut Hill College, a private Catholic school, said that when St. George was hired, it was unaware he belonged to a branch of Catholicism not associated with the Vatican and that allows priests to be actively gay.

The church where St. George is a pastor — the St. Miriam Church in Blue Bell, Penn. — is affiliated with the Old Catholic Apostolic Church of America, which vows not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and performs commitment ceremonies for gays and lesbians.

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