Sister Mary Scullion Criticizes Firing of Gay Teacher at Waldron Mercy

She joins op-ed calling on church to treat gays and lesbians with dignity.

Sister Mary Scullion | Facebook

Sister Mary Scullion | Facebook

One of Philadelphia’s most well-known Catholics has come out against the firing of a gay teacher at Waldron Mercy Academy.

Sister Mary Scullion and her Project HOME co-founder Joan McConnon were joined by James J. Maguire of the Maguire Foundation in authoring an op-ed in today’s Inquirer, calling the school’s firing of Margie Winters from the school “a moment rife with pain and struggle, but also hope.”

The trio acknowledged the firing was made by those acting in accord with the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality, they said the “church’s truest integrity is at risk when it emphasizes orthodoxy and doctrine without meaningful engagement with human and historic realities.”

While it is painful for us to have to publicly dissent, we are convinced that this is a moment when insistence on doctrinal adherence is clashing with what we believe the Spirit is unfolding in our history – just as it has in the past, with issues like slavery, the rights of women, and the environment. Many Christian denominations have listened to the movement of the Spirit and moved toward both full inclusion and full embrace of the gifts of our gay and lesbian sisters and brothers.

The church is at its best when it listens to the Spirit speaking in our times and through human experiences. As we listen, we hear the Spirit speaking through the testimony of hundreds of parents and former students, who affirm that Margie has been a marvelous teacher and influence. She has been a gift to the church, nurturing the faith and morals of countless young people, fostering a spirit of mercy, compassion, and justice.

Winters taught at the school for seven years as the director of religious education — and has said she was married to her female partner from the start. Her termination this summer caused controversy in the school community, though it was backed by Archbishop Charles Chaput. 

Scullion is a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, which sponsors Waldron Mercy.