St Vincent de Paul dismisses christian worker for not being catholic

I have heard of American companies being allowed to employ only those staff that are Christian, but this story reported by David Marr on Vinnies in Queensland has me taken aback.

I have had dealings with St Vincent de Paul and like all church organisations there is a bit of infighting however…

In January 2004 an ultimatum was delivered by the society’s diocesan president for Gold Coast, Peter Richards. [Linda Walsh] had until June to become a Catholic, resign her position or leave the society.

Miss Walsh sounds like a hard worker, someone prone to throwing everything into her job. She never hid the fact that she was not a catholic but did confirm her belief in some of the basic tenets, however, this wasn’t good enough.

By all accounts Linda did suffer from depression, but was managing it. As a result of her treatment by the society however she

* had to increase medication
* a personal relationship fell apart
* attempted suicide twice

It ended up in court with Ms Walsh represented by a Legal Aid lawyer and St Vincent de Paul by a QC, Junior Barrister and team of lawyers. Despite this stacking (at the poor’s expense), Linda slew her Goliath.

She was awarded compensation and the cost overall to the Society of St Vincent de Paul was around $150,000.

Perhaps it is different in Queensland and there is an abundance of workers who will work for the discounted rate that church charities offer? You just can’t afford to be that picky where I live .

It is a sad reflection of the society though, how long before they start restricting help to Christians only or start demanding conversion if you want help?

Cross posted on Sean the Blogonaut

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Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on January 3, 2009 at 12:45pm
The hidden problem is that Catholic charity is not provided simply to make people's lives better, but to show that the Catholic belief set is superior to other belief sets because it causes Catholics (and only Catholics) to do these wonderful things. If you have a non-Catholic in your workforce this destroys this argument.
Comment by Sean the Blogonaut on January 3, 2009 at 6:28am
No not really but the ends to which they were willing to go $150,000

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