Analysis: Vatican decision on Indianapolis could impact pending lawsuit, and Catholic identity in Catholic schools


December 21, 2020

By JD Flynn and Ed Condon

The outcome of a Vatican appeal involving same-sex civil marriage and the Catholic identity of an Indiana school could have effect on a pending religious liberty lawsuit, and on the way other Catholic schools approach the issue of Catholic identity among their faculty.

Layton Payne-Elliot is a math teacher at Brebeuf Jesuit High School in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. In 2017, the school became aware that Payne-Elliot had contracted a same-sex marriage with Joshua Payne-Elliot, a teacher at Cathedral High School, which is also in the archdiocese.

The archdiocese asked that both schools not renew the teachers’ contracts, because, they said, teachers in Catholic schools are supposed to be witnesses of Catholic doctrine, and contracting a same-sex marriage constitutes a public act of counterwitness to that doctrine.

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