Holy Ghost Prep Headmaster Responds to Firing of Gay Teacher

holy ghost prep

Over the weekend we reported the dismal news that Michael Griffin, a gay teacher in Bensalem, Pa., was fired from Holy Ghost Prep after telling his boss that he was going to apply for a license to marry his partner of 12 years. I followed it up with a bland response from the school, in which the school’s employee conduct policy was used as the reason for the firing.

Now the school’s headmaster, James McCloskey, has issued a message that was emailed to alumni and posted on the school’s website. Thanks to former student Robert Nectan Schell for the heads up. It reads as follows:

In recent days, our school has been the subject of news stories arising from the decision to terminate the employment of Mr. Michael Griffin as a teacher at Holy Ghost Prep. We acknowledge that this decision has been difficult for everyone involved – for Mr. Griffin certainly, but also for students, families, faculty and staff, our alumni and all who are a part of the Holy Ghost community. We regret the pain that this has caused to any and all involved.

In response to press questions about this matter, the school issued the following statement on Saturday, December 7th. The statement is as follows:

“At a meeting in my office yesterday (December 6th), teacher Michael Griffin made clear that he intends to obtain a license to marry his same sex partner. Unfortunately, this decision contradicts the terms of his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their employment. In discussion with Mr. Griffin, he acknowledged that he was aware of this provision in his contract, yet he said that he intended to go ahead with the ceremony. Regretfully, we informed Mr. Griffin that we have no choice but to terminate his contract effective immediately.”

I have included the statement in an effort to keep everyone in our school community fully informed about this matter, and we will continue to do so as we move forward.


Fr. James McCloskey, C.S.Sp.


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  • Rap Tor

    What’s the problem? If he’s a good teacher, he should just resign from the religious institution and seek employment at a public institution. Then he can go forward and live his life in peace. It’s obvious he knows what the conditions for employment are and the doctrine of the religious institution. What, is he trying to change the whole religion to fit himself? Why would he want to work for an institution that goes against his own personal beliefs? Be gone and bid them good riddance in the process.
    OTOH, if he’s actually a bad teacher, then maybe the school did itself a favor.

    Not having a lot of sympathy here.

    • Dean C

      Have to agree with your statement! I’m unsure as to what his end game is in all this. If he thinks he’ll get sympathy this gay man has none to offer.

      • mungemach

        You are a hateful homophobe. I can’t think anything else!

        • Alec Leamas

          I think Dean C is saying that he is himself a homosexual but that he finds no sympathy for Griffin. Would that make him a self-hating homophobe in your world?

        • Rap Tor

          My impression is that it is YOU who may possibly be a heterophobe. If true then maybe it is you who should get over your homosexuals “can never do wrong” attitude.

          • mungemach

            Insane “logic.”

    • mungemach

      Nonsense! He believed in the institution and his faith, and he dutifully supported the school for more than a decade! And the headmaster, McCloskey had entertained this man and his partner in his own home, and at many school faculty events. McCloskey should resign, unless he has kiddy fiddling episodes that he is trying to hide. Why the hypocrisy? You people need to get over differences in sexuality and focus on the true faith! Shame on you!

      • Alec Leamas

        Nonsense! In other pieces he’s quoted as saying that he left the Catholic faith years ago. And your statement about “kiddy fiddling” is libelous.

      • Rap Tor

        Nonsense! This does not have to be a continuous issue and I don’t see where it is McCloskey’s fault. Griffin is not Catholic and that alone could be cause for dismissal. But he wasn’t dismissed, which could be a testament to the understanding and compassion he was shown by the school leadership for more than a decade. However, Griffin decided to push the envelop and gave McCloskey no choice. Not hypocrisy. But it’s not necessarily the end either.

        • MoPhilly

          Guess what? You didn’t do your homework again. You are not required to be Catholic to work at Holy Ghost Prep. It’s not even part of the archdiocese so they could easily fix this rule if they wanted to. You really are wildly uninformed here.

          • Rap Tor

            “wildly uninformed”…sigh…

            Ok, MoPhilly, if it makes you feel better I confess to knowing little about Holy Ghost Prep. And I will take your word and implicit deduction that the teachings and influence of the archdiocese does not come into play here. Ok, cool.

            But this is the position of the school:
            “…requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their employment”.

            Now apparently there are institutional stipulations that Griffin decided he would challenge. Whether the school is Catholic, Episcopal, Anglican, Protestant – whatever, Griffin’s marriage decision is a violation of the school’s philosophical teachings, religious teachings and contractual agreement; an agreement by the way that Griffin abided by for 10 years. Griffin decided to initiate the ultimate conflict with the school. The school did not initiate conflict against Griffin.

            Indications are McCloskey does not harbor any ill will towards Griffin or his partner. But under these specific circumstances he had no choice but to carry out the personnel action.

            My personal opinion is THIS; Griffin deserves to be happy. And no matter what a great guy you think he is Griffin should find his happiness by leaving the religious institution and cease causing additional conflict within. He must choose his future away from the obstacles of religious doctrine and restriction.

    • MoPhilly

      Well, you’re missing some key details. 1) he went to high school there, 2) he’s worked there for 12 years as an *openly* gay man (he brought his partner to functions… they sat at a table with the Principal at the last one) without any kind of issue, 3) he cares about the school and the students and its community, 4) until the day he went to get his marriage license he was accepted at that school for exactly who he is. So, you can see why this was a bit of a surprise to him, and hopefully you can see why he might have chosen to work there. Furthermore, RC doctrine also says no divorce and remarriage without annulment and yet those divorced and remarried teachers are not being fired. Don’t blame Mike for being an upstanding guy and giving a damn; the hypocrisy of the school is incredibly evident here. Finally, ask any of his students, he is a fantastic teacher.

  • mungemach

    James McCloskey is a homosexual and a hypocrite! Shame on him!

    • Alec Leamas

      Do you have proof, or are you just libeling a man because it feels good for you to do so?

  • Sean

    What is the Church’s official teaching? Here are the infallible (Church’s teaching) Pope Francis’ comments about homosexuality,
    “By saying this, I said what the catechism says”. The catechism, the Catholic Church’s book of official doctrine, condemns homosexual acts, but says gays and lesbians “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity”. The firing of a popular, qualified teacher due to his sexuality is not a acceptance of respect, compassion, and sensitivity. I think Holy Ghost Prep needs to change their handbook which is line with the infallible Pope Francis’ teaching!