An Open Letter to Bishop Bootkoski
I am writing to ask for clarity about your recent statements regarding Catholic theology teacher Patricia Jannuzzi. As you are aware, Mrs. Jannuzzi was recently punished by the school she has taught in for 31 years for writing a single post on facebook critical of the homosexual agenda and in support of traditional families.
In her post, she challenged the idea that those engaging in homosexual behavior had no choice in the matter, she posited the idea that there is a homosexual agenda leading to the extinction of western civilization, and she called for the need of healthy families consisting of a mother and a father.
Last Friday, the Lepanto Institute paid for an ad to be played during the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity radio programs urging concerned Catholics to call your office to encourage you to defend this teacher and secure her employment at your Catholic school. In response to the multitude of phone calls you received, you posted the following statement on the Diocese of Metuchen website:
My dear brothers and sisters,
We are a compassionate Catholic community committed to treating our students, faculty and parishioners with respect. We have never wavered from our traditional Catholic teachings.
To that end we need to correct some misstatements with regard to the teacher in question.
The teacher’s comments were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings of acceptance. However, she has never been terminated, as some media outlets have reported. She has been put on administrative leave. There has been no interruption in her pay and benefits.
Pope Francis reminds us that we are to accept all of our brethren. We must ensure that our educators steer away from harsh and judgmental statements that can alienate and divide us.
We regret that certain individuals and groups are using inaccurate media reports to push their own agendas.
Your Excellency, I can’t speak for any other group, but the only “agenda” at the Lepanto Institute is to stand in defense of this teacher’s fidelity to Catholic teaching; a fidelity you imply is absent from her facebook post. You said, “The teacher’s comments were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings of acceptance.” There are several things that are unclear about this statement, which we hope you will clarify.
- What was disturbing about Mrs. Jannuzzi’s comments? Aside from the grammatical and typographical errors in her online comments, Mrs. Jannuzzi’s facebook post says in its essence that there is a homosexual agenda, this agenda is aimed at the slow extinction of western civilization, and that children and humanity need healthy families consisting of a mother and a father.
- Was her comment about the existence of a homosexual agenda what disturbed you? If so, you should be disturbed by the reality of it, not because she said it. We know there is a homosexual agenda because in 1989, the book, “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s,” lays out a six-point plan for how they could transform the beliefs of ordinary Americans with regard to homosexual behavior in a decade-long time frame. A quick glance back shows how the plan was executed to perfection, and the end result is that same-sex “marriage” is the greatest fight of this generation.
- Was her comment regarding the slow extinction of western civilization disturbing? Considering the fact that no less than five cities (Sodom, Gomorrah, and three others) were completely incinerated for one of the four sins which cry to Heaven for vengeance, it seems that her only misstatement was the use of the word “slow.”
- It’s hardly conceivable that you would be disturbed by her closing statement that children and humanity need healthy families consisting of a mother and a father. So please explain to the faithful in precise and unambiguous terms what was disturbing about Mrs. Jannuzzi’s facebook post.
- What did Mrs. Jannuzzi say that did not reflect Catholic teaching? If there is something which Mrs. Jannuzzi said that is not in line with Catholic teaching, then the faithful need to be taught by Your Excellency what she said that was in error, and what the teaching of the Church is.
- What is the Catholic teaching on Acceptance? I searched all through the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I can’t find a single reference to a teaching on “acceptance.” Would Your Excellency be so kind as to explain to the faithful what the Magisterial teaching on “acceptance” is so that we may be sure of living in union with the teachings of Holy Mother Church?
As you can see, Your Excellency, the situation is confusing for the faithful, which is why a clear explanation from you is so needed. Additionally, you said, “we need to correct some misstatements with regard to the teacher in question,” and then proceeded to explain that Mrs. Jannuzzi “has never been terminated,” was “placed on administrative leave,” and that “there has been no interruption in her pay and benefits.” It seems that Your Excellency has been misinformed since Mrs. Jannuzzi’s children are reporting that her term of employment will end in August 2015, and she has been informed that her teaching contract will not be renewed for the next school year. This is commonly referred to as “terminal leave,” and it is quite clear that the situation is centered on her one facebook post.
Your Excellency, this situation is greatly distressing to the faithful. It is clear that the world is engaging in an all-out assault on the Church’s moral teachings and that our freedom to openly practice our faith is in grave danger. Please reexamine and reconsider the injustice being done to a faithful Catholic teacher in your employ.
God bless you, Your Excellency.
President, Lepanto Institute