Hundreds of Catholic parishioners yesterday attended an “emotionally charged” meeting about their former music director, who was fired after using social media to announce his engagement to a man.
Many of the roughly 700 people who attended appeared to support Colin Collette, who received a standing ovation when he entered the sanctuary. Members of the media were not allowed to attend, but parishioners described the scene afterward. Collette was terminated from the job he held for 17 years in late July, after being told that his same-sex relationship violates the tenets of the Catholic Church, he said. Collette has said that church leaders knew he was gay long before he posted the announcement of his wedding plans on Facebook. Kevin Keane of Bartlett, one of dozens of people addressing a panel that included representatives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, quit his position as cantor in protest of Collette’s firing. “He has given his entire life to the church,” Keane said, repeating a portion of his speech. “That leads me to the conclusion if he’s not fit to serve, then I am not fit to serve.” Others derided the church and called for change. But some supported the church’s decision, such as Frank Girjatowicz of Hoffman Estates. “I am not against homosexuals,” he said. “But their style of life, according to human nature, is not acceptable.”
The church’s pastor, Rev. Terry Keenan, released a statement: “Through the use of social media, the Archdiocese of Chicago has become aware that Colin has publicly endorsed a position in conflict with Church teachings. Employees who make such choices cannot remain employed by the Archdiocese.” (Tipped by JMG reader Ray)