To the editor: I would like to begin this writing by addressing that its purpose is in no way to shame nor discomfort any layperson of the Catholic Church. I wholeheartedly only intend to bring various truths to light and hopefully strengthen the argument against the irrational and unjustifiable termination of former Lourdes Regional High School teacher, Naiad Reich.
The reason for Ms. Reich’s firing, as stated by the diocese, is that she was pregnant while out of wedlock. This is considered a sin against God in the eyes of the church. However, if the diocese truly believes that this defiant act against God merited immediate termination, how is it that there are unnamed educators and athletic workers in this same diocese, in the same school as the former teacher, who have been divorced? Divorce is, arguably of a different degree, also a sin against God. Why and where is this fine line of professional discipline drawn?
Each and every school year, a Mass is held in the Lourdes facility to financially and spiritually support the less fortunate of our area, specifically those who have been blessed with children but are unable to fiscally care for them. During days prior to this Lourdes tradition, students and faculty are encouraged to donate money to this cause. Additionally, the school encourages its students to join the Pro-Life Club, an organization committed to the moral belief that abortion should never be practiced, as it is a crime against God’s creation. This organization also manifests the fundamental belief of Lourdes, and, on a larger scale, the entirety of the Diocese of Harrisburg, that women carrying children are to be respected and valued as gifts of society.
My question for the diocese is this: How can we as Catholics claim to cherish pregnant women, be encouraged to spiritually support them, and respect the value of life? How can we claim to possess these fundamentals when we turn our back on a member of our own community, denying her the opportunity to work? Who are we to take away Ms. Reich’s means of providing for her future family while simultaneously sticking to our Catholic beliefs?
Ranging from general displeasure to intentions to leave the school, it is no secret that the student body of Lourdes is disappointed with the conviction of the diocese. Many students looked up to Ms. Reich as a role model. While we all hope for official reinstatement, we expect an apology for the decision of the diocese.
A concerned student
(The News-Item’s letter to the editor policy requires that letters be signed. We made an exception in this case because of the extraordinary nature of this continuing news story. We do know the letterwriter’s identity.)