One has to wonder how someone who possesses, what he himself describes as, a "religiously undereducated mind" could possibly write an article entitled "How the Springfield Diocese could have held to its principles and retained Athletic Director Christine Judd" and seriously expect the article to be anything other than religiously undereducated drivel. Oddly, that's the case with sports writer Scott Coen in his recent opinion piece on masslive.com.
Anyone unfamiliar with the story of Christine Judd, who was fired from her job as the athletic director at Cathedral High School after it came to the attention of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts that Ms. Judd had "married" her female partner in August, can get up to speed by reading my post from Sunday.
In Coen's article, he relates how he believes the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts could have avoided what he sees as a poor PR maneuver. Coen maintains that the Diocese could have continued to employ Ms Judd, in spite of her having, in the words of the diocese code of conduct from its employee handbook, by public example, engaged in conduct, which contravenes the doctrine and teaching of the Church. In other words, Coen believes the Diocese could have simply ignored the whole thing.
To illustrate his point, Coen tells a story of how he and his wife had asked Bishop Joseph Maguire to offer a prayer at their renewal of vows ceremony at the Dr.Suess Memorial. Bishop Maguire, according to Coen's story, explained that he could not do that because Coen's marriage was not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Coen, a baptized Catholic, had married a non-Catholic, "on the cliffs beside a lighthouse in Maine" by a Justice of the Peace and not by a priest in accordance with canon law. Coen claims that, prior to his conversation with Bishop Maguire, he had no clue that his marriage was invalid in the eyes of the Church. The Bishop did, however, drop by the reception to say hello.
I've read over Coen's article several times and for the life of me, I can't fathom why he believes the story of his encounter with the Bishop illustrates how the Diocese could have followed Catholic teaching and have allowed Judd to remain at Cathedral High School. Coen's solution seems to be the same as nearly every other supporter of Judd in this case; the Church should ignore her own teaching and simply look the other way. As I wrote Sunday, to folks like Coen, codes of conduct and religious teachings mean absolutely nothing.
Coen was right about one thing; he does have a "religiously undereducated mind". It is for that reason, Coen should avoid giving his opinion on religious matters. As a fan of Dr.Suess, perhaps Coen should stick to writing fantasy.