Petition Asks for Reinstatement of Fired Teacher

Supporters of Margie Winters gathered 23,000 signatures. Archbishop Chaput is unmoved.
Archbishop Charles Chaput, Photo | Jeff Fusco. Waldron Mercy Academy via Google Maps

Archbishop Charles Chaput, Photo | Jeff Fusco. Waldron Mercy Academy via Google Maps

Margie Winters, the gay teacher fired earlier this summer from Waldron Mercy Academy, on Monday delivered a petition calling for her reinstatement to the Philadelphia Archdiocese. The petition contained 23,000 signatures.

“We ask for full inclusion at the table. And in the church,” Winters said, according to 6ABC. “And we ask now for a moratorium on firing any LGBT employee.”

NewsWorks notes: “While supporters initially called for Winters to be reinstated, the petition and Winters own words move the activism out of the realm of individual grievances and into one of seismic shifts within the Catholic church.”

The church will resist such shifts. The archdiocese on Monday issued a statement denying responsibility for Winters’ firing, but also affirming that her termination was correct:

“The basis of the petition itself is problematic. As has been noted several times, Waldron Mercy is a private Catholic school and does not fall under the administrative purview of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It’s wrong for any individual or group to perpetuate the falsehood that the Archbishop interfered with the school’s personnel decisions.

That being said, Archbishop Chaput continues to fully support the decision made by the leadership of Waldron Mercy. He remains grateful to the Religious Sisters of Mercy and to the principal and board members of Waldron Mercy for taking the steps to ensure that the Catholic faith is presented in a way fully in accord with the teaching of the Church. Schools describing themselves as Catholic take on the responsibility of teaching and witnessing the Catholic faith in a manner true to Catholic belief. The petition being presented does not change that stance.”

But Winters told CBS Philly she hopes to talk directly to the archbishop about the matter.

“The biggest hope that I can get right now is that we would have a conversation with the Bishop, or with any of the Bishops to talk about inclusion in the church,” Winters said.  “We would invite the Archbishop to conversation with the LGBT community.”