Almeria Bishopric refuses to readmit teacher

ALMERIA Bishopric refuses to readmit the religious studies teacher who was dismissed for marrying a divorcee.

The courts have ruled in favour of the teacher and the bishopric has been ordered to readmit her under the same terms, but they refuse to do so and said in court recently that they intend to appeal the decision once again in the National Court.

They would also have to pay her some €100,000 for the salaries she should have received.

However, they claim she was never dismissed, and rather that the contract she had expired and was not renewed for the following academic year.

Resurreccion Galera Navarro taught ‘religious studies’ at the Ferrera Guardia state school in La Cañada, and at the start of the 2001-2002 term, was asked by the bishop to “quietly” give up her position, where she had been working for seven years.

The sole reason for this was that she had married a German divorcee. There had never been any complaints against her, but the Catholic community could not conceive that a woman who married a divorced German man at a civil ceremony could teach religion.

An Almeria court ruled in favour of the Church, as did the Andalucian Supreme Court of Justice, but in May last year the Constitutional Court recognized her right not to be discriminated due to her ‘personal circumstances’ as they do not affect her activity as a teacher or her knowledge on the subjects.

The Bishop of Almeria, Adolfo Gonzalez Montes, considered the sentence to go against religious freedom and that the Diocese “can’t be forced to take on teachers who ideology goes against that of the Church”.

The Bishopric defends that international law and treaties between Spain and the Holy See support that only they can decide who is adequate to teach religion, and that this goes beyond fundamental rights.

The case will continue in an Almeria court on April 11.

By Jennifer Leighfield

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