West Catholic High School softball coach resigns over conflicting views of marriage with Diocese

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich– The softball coach at West Catholic High School has announced her resignation.

Kristen Nelson posted on Facebook Friday announcing her decision. She wrote the following:

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing you this letter. In recent weeks, a parent concern regarding my personal life and relationship has started an unpleasant conversation within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Throughout the course of those conversations, it was made known to me that my future plans to marry my significant other, Maria were “concerning” to them. It has been made clear to me through conversations I have had with the leadership at West Catholic High School, that both they and the Diocese “teach a single view of marriage” and that if I were to continue with my and Maria’s decisions to get married, I would not be able to continue coaching at West Catholic High School. 

FOX 17 reached out to Nelson but has not heard back.

On Sunday, the Diocese provided the following statement on the situation at West Catholic High School:

As a mission of the Catholic Church, Catholic schools are places where students come to learn and know the Church’s teachings, one of which is the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. For this reason, Catholic school administrators, teachers, or staff members that persist in public acts that are contrary to Catholic teachings disqualify themselves from the opportunity to continue in their leadership role within a Catholic school.

Bishop Walkowiak is grateful to the leadership team of West Catholic High School for working with staff to ensure that the Catholic faith is presented in a way fully in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

The Diocese also sent home a letter to parents alerting them to the situation. They also said they would be meeting with softball parents and students on Monday to discuss the coaching plan going forward.

Kristen Nelson graduated from West Catholic High School in 2008 and says her sexual orientation has never conflicted with or has hindered her coaching abilities.

I am hurt and mostly disappointed that I will no longer be able to continue, but I hope you can understand that I simply cannot continue to work in an environment that refused to support me. I know we have made some big plans for the program this year and I am very sorry that I will not be able to see them through. 

Nelson had been the softball coach at the school for five years.

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4 comments

    • Disagreed

      How can you be so narrow minded? What does the teacher’s sexual orientation have to do with her professional life? It is absolutely disgraceful that at this age, people are forced to resign because of something they have no control over and that doesn’t in any way affect their ability to work. This is a huge loss for the students at West Catholic.

      • Kevin Rahe

        You exhibit another conflict with Catholic teaching. According to the Church, we can indeed control the acts and relationships we engage in. In fact, such acts – not her same-sex attractions – were the only point of contention between Ms. Nelson and the diocese/school.

  • Kevin Rahe

    Relationships between men and women tend to either build or burn a society, depending on how they’re conducted. On top of that, while men and women are uniquely compatible in one important way, they tend to be INcompatible in almost every other. Their very relationships tend to profoundly affect people who did not choose to be part of them and for whom simple justice demands a shared responsibility by a couple for a long period of time, whether they intend their relationship to have that result or not. It is for these reasons that practically every society throughout history has sought to regulate such relationships, by cultural convention, religion, law or some combination of those. None of these things are true of any other kind of relationship. Treating other kinds of relationships like relationships between men and women is essentially making much ado about nothing, for those relationships can have neither the positive nor the negative impact on society that relationships between men and women usually have.