[Content Note: Homophobia.]

Judge not or whatever: Colleen Simon, former coordinator of social ministries at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, was fired from her position after an article about the area mentioned that Simon is married to a woman, the Rev. Donna Simon of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church.
Simon's work as coordinator of social ministries was profiled April 30 in The Star's 816 newsmagazine. The article highlighted Troost Avenue — its history and the many interesting people dedicated to its vibrancy today.

Colleen Simon and her wife...were mentioned deep in the story, along with the fact that they are a married couple.

The freelance writer didn't intend to out the couple. They bear no grudge to her, nor to the priest currently serving St. Francis. The Simons have never hidden their marriage (in Iowa on May 19, 2012).

Rather, Colleen Simon kept a don't-ask, don't-flaunt attitude. She said she told the pastor who hired her in July 2013 (he is no longer at the parish) of her marriage. But day to day, she avoided pronouns that would highlight it, substituting "my spouse" or "my beloved."

"You don't want your legacy to be one of division and ugliness," she said. "It's awful. But there are laws, and until that law gets changed in the church, it is what it is."

She says that in a series of emails and discussions that began last week, she was asked to resign. Colleen Simon believes that the order originated from Bishop Robert Finn.

The diocese is declining to comment.

...Simon is devastated. But her refusal to resign, her insistence on being fired, is not a stand on principle. It's pragmatic. She might need unemployment benefits.

In November, Simon will reach the milestone of being three years cancer-free from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. But many bills from her treatment remain unpaid. At 58, she worries about her ability to find a new job quickly.

She's heartsick. But she says righteous indignation has no role here, not from her.

"I knew this was a losing engagement," she said. "I was just hoping for a longer engagement."
In her role, Simon encouraged parishioners to take a more active role in the pantry: "She pressed for the congregation to not only offer food, but to examine systemic reasons for why people hunger." The final delivery she oversaw was 2,000 pounds of food. This is a woman who was making a meaningful difference in people's lives, both people in need and people who have the means to give.

And her Catholic employer was willing to throw all of that away because Simon is a lesbian.

Great priorities.

I wonder why it is that the diocese, if they are so convinced of their moral rectitude in firing Simon because she's gay, has no comment. If running off a dedicated and effective employee in service to feeding people in need, which is something the actual person after whom their religion is named mentioned once or twice or a million times, is truly doing the bidding of their loving god, then why the silence?

Please, do tell us all about your terrific decision.

[Commenting Note: Please take care in comments to distinguish between the actions of church leadership and of other Catholics who may not support their leadership in its actions.]

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