Officials Placed on Leave After Catholic School Fired Lesbian Educator


President James Vail

By Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry, September 16, 2016

Top officials at a Catholic high school which fired a lesbian educator have been placed on leave, according to the Archdiocese of Newark, though why this has happened is unclear.

Paramus Catholic High School President James Vail and Principal Stephanie Macaluso were placed on leave Monday amid uncertain circumstances. Archdiocesan spokesperson Jim Goodness only referenced a “personnel matter,” reported NJ.comand said top archdiocesan education officials would be supervising the school for now.

There is speculation, however, that the removal of Vail and Macaluso may be tied to the firing of lesbian educator Kate Drumgoole. The Record reported that some students suggested Vail and Macaluso had supported the educator against the Archdiocese. Drumgoole was fired last January after an estranged family member leaked to school officials photos of the educator’s wedding to her wife, Jaclyn Vanore.

The Archdiocese may have influenced the decision to fire Drumgoole. Archbishop John Myers is on record supporting the dismissal, saying the educator’s marriage could “create confusion and uncertainty in the moral formation” of students. His Vicar General said the couple’s marriage was “odious.”  But Goodness pushed back against this most recent personnel decision and Drumgoole’s firing, saying, “If you try to link everything together it might not be accurate.”

Christine Robert, a parent at Paramus Catholic, said the handling of this incident “shocked and unnerved” her:

” ‘Once again the archdiocese manages to mismanage a situation and create friction with the very people who spiritually and financially support it. . .All we want is a little respect. We know because of privacy laws that they can’t give details, but give us an idea of what’s going on.’ “

The firing became public in August when Drumgoole filed a lawsuit against the school and archdiocese, and an alumni letter supporting her received more than 3,000 signatures in just a day. Later, Fr. Warren Hall was suspended from priestly ministry in part because of his public support for Drumgoole and LGBT Catholics. They are among the more than 60 church workers who have lost their jobs in LGBT-related employment disputes since 2008.

Like other church worker incidents, the firing at Paramus Catholic has caused divisions in the community and harm to those involved. Commentaries have sharply criticized the school and the archdiocese, pointing out that while the school may be legally exempt from state non-discrimination laws, it is not exempt from the New Testament.

Transparency is a prerequisite for justice and reconciliation to be possible, and placing top administrators on leave without any explanation only hinders that cause. It would be especially tragic if more church workers lose their jobs for defending a peer against unjust discrimination. The Archdiocese of Newark should clearly and publicly explain why President Vail and Principal Macaluso have been placed on leave tor the good of all involved, the Paramus Catholic community, and the credibility of the church.


11 replies
  1. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    The marriage of two women who love each other is odious? The condemnation of love is odious.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand how the condemnation of lesbian and gay relationships has become so central to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. This teaching is like a cancer that has entered the body and is eating away its very heart.

  2. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    If the facts are that Vail and Macaluso supported the teacher in opposition to the Diocese, then they are courageous. Nothing will change until we all stand together. In an Orwellian effort to avoid “confusion” , the Diocese sends a message of spitefulness and confuses the faithful.

  3. amagjuka
    amagjuka says:

    The hierarchy is causing scandal in the community by demanding explicit and/or implicit discrimination against LGBT people. This is against all the Catholic social justice teachings of the church. It is against the call for mercy and dignity. Firing is the opposite of dignity, since work and dignity are intrinsically related, according to church teaching. The hierarchy must stop demanding that the faithful stand by and watch them commit acts of aggression and persecution against a group of God’s children, LGBT people. This is ripping the church apart, and the majority of Catholics see dignity in every one of God’s children and want equality for all.

  4. ellenmcnally
    ellenmcnally says:


    Have you seen the letter to the editor in the Sept. 9-22 NCR? It quoted Mercy Sister Mary Camille Kelly, in the July 15-28 issue, “Our Archbishop (Vigeron, Detroit) announced to his congregation that if we were a family member or even a friend of a lesbian or gay, we should not be receiving Communion”. This is horrible! Ridiculous to punish us for our friends’ and relatives’ “sins”. I hope someone forwards the letter to Francis. I don’t know how I missed this in the original letter or hadn’t heard about it.

    Ellen McNally

    SW Florida CTA.


    • Friends
      Friends says:

      Thank you, Ellen. The clerical overlords of the RCC — at least here in the United States — appear to be losing their minds. I keep coming back to the prayerful spiritual discernment that FORCIBLY CELIBATE clergy within the RCC have no clue whatsoever about the real-world life experiences of their parishioners. Is this any way to run a major Christian denomination? I’m starting to wonder if our genuinely admired Pope Francis himself understands the depth and extent of the social malpractice and dysfunction within the American administrative hierarchy of the RCC.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] controversies in the local Newark church this fall. Fr. Warren Hall, an archdiocesan priest, was suspended from priestly duties in part because of his support for Drumgoole.  The school’s principal was suspended from work […]

  2. […] a number of controversies in the local church.  Fr. Warren Hall, an archdiocesan priest, was suspended from priestly duties in part because of his support for the teacher.  The school’s principal was suspended from […]

  3. […] Goodness, the archdiocesan spokesperson, has refused to comment on why the administrators were placed on leave initially and why Macaluso but not Vail had been allowed to return. An email from Archdiocesan Schools […]

  4. […] de la escuela y que muestra el apoyo a Drumgoole. Después de recibir la carta, la escuela anunció que dos administradores superiores han sido […]

  5. […] the school’s decision and showing support for Drumgoole. After receiving the letter, the school announced that two top administrators have been suspended. […]

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