BERLIN (RNS) The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday (Sept. 23)
that a church organist's employment rights were ignored when he was fired by a Catholic church for remarrying outside the church.
The court said German churches have some latitude in firing staff who violate the faith's moral tenets, but said it must be weighed against the prominence of the job and the worker's own rights.
The case involved Bernhard Schuth, the longtime organist at St. Lambert parish in Essent, who separated from his wife in 1994 and started a relationship with another woman in 1995.
The new relationship might have gone unnoticed until Schuth's child mentioned a new sibling at school in 1997. Schuth was fired in 1998 because, the church said, an extramarital relationship violated basic Catholic teaching.