Resignation of Gay President from Catholic H.S. Highlights Dilemma

Dr. William Hudson

The president of a prominent Catholic high school in Minnesota has resigned because of his committed  same-gender relationship, in a non-adversarial and yet negative moment for Catholic education.

Board members Mark Motzel and Mary Wilcox wrote a letter to the Totino-Grace High School community explaining the resignation of Dr. William Hudson. The former president headed the school for nine years, and was spoken highly of in the letter:

“Bill served the Totino-Grace community well during his nine years at the school. He has an excellent record of accomplishment and provided strong academic and financial stewardship at Totino-Grace during his tenure…We thank Bill for his years of service to our community and wish him well as he explores new professional opportunities.”

Dr. Hudson released a statement expressing optimism in the future, and saying this resignation comes after a period of discernment. KARE 11 reported the statement, which included:

” ‘Though heartbreaking and painful, I must say that it is freeing to be open about the most important thing in my life and to live an authentic life…For over 20 years, I have placed service of the Catholic Church ahead of my family. I am excited to now be able focus on my two children and my partner of 18 years as my first priority…’

” ‘I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to meet some amazing people, to touch hearts and to have been blessed by so many…’ “

Daily Mail Online reports that Dr. Hudson previously headed up the National Catholic Educational Association’s secondary schools department and has classroom and administrative experience in Catholic schools.

By all accounts, the resignation came as the result of dialogue between Dr. Hudson, who wanted to openly acknowledge his family, and the high school’s board members, who felt adherence to Catholic teaching on same-gender relationships was the priority.Though this case proceeded peacefully, unlike the recent harsh firings of LGBT Catholic school educators like Carla Hale, Christa Dias, Tim Nelson, and Mark Krolikowski, the case still highlights the dilemma that LGBT employees of Catholic institutions face. Even though Dr. Hudson resigned peacefully and is seeking new opportunities,  the fact is that he did not feel he could both work in a Catholic setting and remain open about his identity, his partner of 18 years and his two children.  No one should be faced with such a choice

Catholic education is a source of pride in the Church, and to remain so will require high-quality educators to teach and administrate. Anti-LGBT policies are instead resulting in the lossof good educators, staff, and students over personal matters unrelated to one’s performance. Perhaps Totino-Grance student, Kathleen Leuty, said it best:

“I recognize that I do go to a Catholic school and it does go against Catholic teachings, but I mean it had absolutely no effect as far as I could see on his job performance so that is a little saddening…”

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

12 replies
  1. Will
    Will says:

    The thoughtful and unselfish way in which this good man approached the whole issue and his gracious withdrawal just indicate that he’s ABSOLUTELY the sort of man who should be involved in the education of young people. So it is the Catholic Schools’ loss not his.

    One of the rather cruel comments by some on gay blogs reporting such cases is that such people should never have joined Catholic schools in the first place. What they forget is that some years ago the world was different – it was more common to be very discreet about ones orientation (or deny it altogether for a while) – and also there was less fuss from the Church and many turned a quiet blind eye.

    Now the church hierarchy is forcing open those blind eyes and fixing all gay people with a disapproving stare. AND it is much less likely that young gay educators would consider working in a Catholic school any more.

    Again the church loses: good experienced educators like Carla Hale and Hudson leave; good young educators avoid their schools – and the Church’s image is fronted by leaders who let prejudice make decisions.

    Reply
  2. Annette Magjuka
    Annette Magjuka says:

    This is why it is so very difficult to remain associated with the Catholic church. As Will said, some years ago, the world was different–it was more common to be very discreet about sexual orientation. But it was not just sexual orientation. People were discreet about specific aspects of marital and family life. People used birth control and “didn’t talk about it.” People had affairs and “didn’t talk about it.” Girls would suddenly take “vacations” for several months and return, and people “didn’t talk about it.” The emphasis used to be on individual conscience formation. No one was expected to be perfect. There were strong cultural mores that kept people isolated in their differences. There were family “secrets.” The new openness is good in that people realize they are not alone. But this new finger-pointing and condemning is something I cannot abide. I feel that the church has been overtaken by ultra right wingers, akin to the Tea Party. All compassion, reason, and common sense has been thrown out the window. This is not what the faithful want., It is a minority of the hierarchy doing all of this. People are afraid to go against the letter of the law. We must change this before the the church as we know it is over forever. I am sure that the vast majority of families in this school want Dr. Hudson to continue. He should not have to resign. I do not want to be associated in any way with this action, or any injustice. How do we stop the madness????!!

    Reply
  3. Erma Durkin
    Erma Durkin says:

    Shame! for the loss of a young man’s valuable talents. Shame! for a Hierarchy that cannot find the unity and courage to announce a teaching about Human Sexuality that is richer, deeper, and more biologically & psychologically pertinent and healthy than the one it insists on repeating. Shame! on Lay leaders, who because they think they have no alternative, will not stand up for a fellow Catholic who has done no evil, but simply wants to live justly as God made him.

    Reply
  4. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    The RCC will eventually come to a place where there will be repentance, forgiveness and healing. And the repentance will include those of us who have seen the spiritual violence in actions like those of the Board of Totino-Grace HS and did nothing. That is the sin of omission. Can we get to that place in my lifetime? God willing.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […]  Bill Hudson, the former president of Totino-Grace, a Catholic high school in Minneapolis, who was ousted from his job because he was in a committed gay relationship, now has a new job as the head of Mounds Park […]

  2. […] references the dual departures at Totino-Grace High School of William Hudson and then Kristen Ostendorf in his home state as part of the ‘obsession.’ He then asks […]

  3. […] staff member leaving the school because of revealing involvement in a same-sex relationship.  William Hudson voluntarily stepped down as school president when he disclosed to school board members his long-term […]

  4. […] William Hudson, who resigned his position at Totino-Grace High School, a Minneapolis Catholic school, because of […]

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