Catholic Church Fires Music Director Over Same-Sex Engagement

GayzColin Collette (pictured left) — the music director who served at the Holy Family Catholic Community church in Inverness, Illinois for the last 17 years — got fired by pastor Terry Keehan after Collette posted photos of his proposal to his long-time same-sex partner.

Though Keehan initially asked Collette to resign, Collette refused and so Keehan fired him. The Daily Herald reports:

”Holy Family was supposed to be a place where all are welcome," [Collette] said, noting the church's motto is "Inviting all to new life in Christ.”…

On Tuesday Collette sent an email about his firing to all the members of the church's choir, which he estimates to include 100 to 120.

"I needed them to know that I'm not doing this to contradict church teachings or make a political statement," he said. "I believe God has given me this in my life and saying no to this relationship would be saying no to God."

The response from his choir was overwhelmingly positive, Collette said. Their kindness and acceptance often moved him to tears.

In a statement released this week, the Chicago Archdiocese said they knew of Collette’s firing, but declined to comment on this specific case, instead adding, "Those that serve as Ministers of the Church, including worship ministers, are expected to conform their lives publicly with the teachings of the Church.”


  1. Jason MacBride says

    What do people expect when they work for a bigoted institution that has a legal right to exercise their bigotry? People need to get over the idea that there is anything redeeming about the church that served as a business model for la cosa nostra.

  2. Bob R says

    Religion poisons everything and that is just a fact of life. When you work with poison, eventually it’s going to cause you harm. Every gay man and women should remember that the Catholic church is the enemy. There are many others, but the Catholic church is the longest standing and most influential enemy our community has.

  3. Chazwm says

    Colin should take that talent, all those years of experience and join a United Church of Christ congregation that CELEBRATES all LGBTQ people and includes them fully in all facets of the local, regional, and national church life! We would love to have him with us if he lived here in Cleveland and celebrate who he is, who he loves, and how he wishes to serve the community! And I am sure there is a terrific UCC congregation near him where he lives now…

  4. says

    In all these Catholic Church and school firings, the out-of-touch powers-that-be are always perfectly OK with gay people on the down-low or the shenanigans of priests behind closed doors, but as soon as an employee is openly gay (healthy instead of ashamed) and has a loving family, then they must be axed. It’s incredibly disordered and yet the big boys in the robes, the ones completely removed from contemporary reality, will continue digging in their heels.

    Meanwhile, the students and laypeople who serve alongside these gay people and generally have no problem with their friends and colleagues being–gasp–happy will see how backwards and obsolete their Church is … The younger generations will want no part of this hypocritical nonsense.

  5. pete n sfo says

    Is is wrong of the church? Yes, of course.

    But in how many ways has this man enabled their hypocrisy & negative themes toward gays over the years by lending his own integrity to such a corrupt organization?

    I have little sympathy for him. What’s that old expression, lay with dogs, wake up with fleas?

  6. says

    Just like Ernie said:

    Pork an 8-year-old boy, that’s just lovely.

    Have a (consensual) relationship with a man over the age-of-consent? We’ve gotta show righteous umbrage to that!


  7. Eugene says

    On one hand, this isn’t even a school. It’s a church – so they had a right to fire him, and what was he thinking?

    On the other hand, we shouldn’t be too eager to blame the victim – others are equally culpable. I wonder, for example, how many members of the choir will just keep on going despite their “positive” reaction to his letter.

  8. reggie777 says

    “Those that serve as Ministers of the Church, including worship ministers, are expected to conform their lives publicly with the teachings of the Church.”

    Just like the priests who molest altar boys, and the bishops who have protected them.

  9. TonyJazz says

    I’m not superstitious, but at least go to a church that is not preaching bigotry and hatred.

    If the Catholic church took a true moral stance, they would at least be fighting for our rights to a job without discrimination.

    But, no…….

  10. Moretruth says

    These instances only muddle our cause. We are fighting for CIVIL rights, not to dictate how churches run themselves. If you get fired from your church job because your church disapproves of you. That sucks, but it’s all on you and by parading your story to the media you only confuse the issue and support the war on Christianity meme. If you church doesn’t support you, find a another church.

  11. Craig says

    If you choose to believe in “god” why must you do so in a church that clearly doesn’t like you? There are plenty of churches out there that welcome gays and will even marry them. I just don’t get why gays stay in the catholic church.

  12. ny2.0 says

    I’m sorry but its really hard to have sympathy for this guy. When you play with a venomous snake, you eventually get bitten. The Catholic church is a snake, I know because I was raised Catholic. He knew fully well what they would do.

  13. Bill says

    Since when is a choir director a “minister”. He’s supposed to make sure they sing on key and in time with the organ, not offer religious advice.

    Curiously the composer Hector Berlioz once said that the Catholic Church was the joy of his life for a full 5 years. At the age of 5, he started to understand what they were saying. While basically an atheist, he ended up writing a lot of religious music – it was mainly because he liked to have really large orchestras and super-sized chorus (listen to Berlioz’s requiem for an example) and you could only get funding to pay all the musicians if it was a state or religious event, and preferably both at the same time.

  14. imsixftsix says

    Surprise, surprise…please, you know what you’re signing up with, when you work for the Roman Catatonic Church…I find it hard to feel “sorry” for gays dismissed from this homophobic organization…

  15. Gay Guy says

    Younger guys are quick to condemn him for choosing this type of employment in the first place. They forget that he’s been there for 17 years. There were not all that many protections for LGBT people back in 1997. Any other employment he might have chosen at that time would have been similarly volatile.

  16. clint says

    You wanna know why he worked at that church? Because they had the money and the will to pay him a good, living wage for all that hymn and anthem picking, choir directing, practicing, and all the stuff that people like him and me do every day, that requires lots of time and a skill that few people anymore have acquired. We work for Rome because we have to, or we don’t get to be musicians. If you’re a high church church musician, it’s either Rome, Episcopal, or Lutheran, and usually only Rome has the money or the membership consistently to pay us what we’re worth. Episcopal jobs are the dream jobs, but there’s just not that many around. What else are we going to do?

  17. Bill says

    @Clint : it’s been an issue for a very long time (the Hector Berlioz example I gave, for instance, although in that case it is just funny as nobody fired him).

    One way people can help – by giving donations to performing arts organizations so people like Clint have more employment opportunities. Just going to performances at your local opera company (if you have one) will do some good.

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