Catholic Church has school's back on firing

The Catholic Church broke tradition Monday, releasing an official statement in support of a band and choir director's recent departure from Sandusky (Ohio) Central Catholic School.
Tribune Staff
Jan 19, 2014

Meanwhile, a group of outraged alumni are assembling on a blog and social media, expressing support and aiming to springboard the story to national media outlets.

Brian Panetta, who was in his fifth year of employment with the Catholic school, was forced to resign last week after announcing plans to pursue a gay marriage next year.

He initially received an unsigned letter of termination indicating he was fired, but school officials and representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, which oversees the school, later agreed he could resign.

Panetta, who identifies himself as Catholic, plans to marry his fiancé in July 2015.

A newly created blog,, is advocating for Panetta's rehire. It also links to a petition, which netted more than 200 signatures and supportive comments in its first day.

"Everyone loved him, even people who aren't in favor of gay marriage, because they loved him as a person and a teacher," said alumnus Fred Staffeld, who is managing the new blog from Washington, D.C. "We're outraged by the hypocrisy. Instead of firing others who are breaking rules, they only fired somebody who was just upfront and honest about who he is."

Staffeld graduated from St. Mary Central Catholic High School in 1982, during what he calls the "glory days" of band, when John Kustec, now a Perkins Schools employee, was his director. Panetta reminded Staffeld of a young Kustec, because he ignited passion in his students and more than doubled the once dwindling band's size.

When Staffeld received mixed messages about who was responsible for Panetta's abrupt resignation, and later learned the truth, he felt inspired to take action, he said.

"I've received some angry messages about creating a circus of this," Staffeld said. "If this school didn't want a circus, it shouldn't have discriminated in 2014. It's going to create a firestorm."

To read the full Sandusky Register story, CLICK HERE.



Agree or disagree, the Church must stand by doctrine else they offer no alternative to secular USA.
Yeah, yeah what about the deviant behaviors and cover ups in the past; the Church must have the right to adhere to their own standards for a private institution within the laws and constitution of this land.

papa bear

Homosexuality is absolutely wrong and the school made the right decision


Thats right because Catholic priests molesting little boys is not at all homosexual! The Catholic church is a joke.

Back to the Wall

The catholic church does not condone the molestation of little boys, either.

Your outrage is misplaced.


It took years of cover-up and denial, coupled with information made public, along with the accompanying public outcry, to reach a point where the predators are held accountable through de-frocking. The next step - charges should be handled by law enforcement.

The less-serious, but all too common actions by churches, as written in this article, still has the same negative, discouraging, and demoralizing effect on congregations, and are a big reason why so many churches are seeing an exodus of members.

papa bear

Tetra when priests are found to be guilty they are dealt with, not all priests are molesters the church has lots of great priests and as a Catholic I find your comment insulting, if you've never been to a Catholic church how can you judge learn more because there are lots of churches whose priests molest as wellnot just the Catholic church

Former Grandhavenite

Over time the Catholic church will either have to adapt, or continue to lose relevance as the only remaining priests and staff members in Catholic institutions will become more and more out of touch with the people they're supposed to be serving as the moderates are driven out. They can have an ideologically pure group with a small handful of older and more conservative members (Pope Benedict's vision) or a less restrictive and larger body that actually serves the needs of people in the modern world (Pope Francis' vision). They can't have it both ways. If being gay is supposed to be so wrong, they need to take that up with God since the evidence is pretty clear that sexual orientation is for the most part genetically determined.


Well said!!

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